Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Choice Points

I am currently participating in an "online retreat" with Wayne Muller
The other day Wayne put forth the following comment:

"Throughout our lives, we make only one choice.  We essentially do only one thing, again and again, year after year. It is how we live our days, how we shape our lives.  The choice is this: What is the next right thing for us to do?  Where, in this moment, shall we choose to place our time and attention? Do we stay or move, speak or keep silent, attend to this person, that task, move in this or that direction?
With each succeeding moment, we make a new choice. After each decision, there is another. And another.

These are not enormous choices, decisions about whether to change careers, get married, or move to a new city. More likely they resemble the choice we make when we have to decide whether or not to attend our son's soccer game this afternoon. We have gone to most games this season, and we are feeling especially tired, may feel a cold coming on, but we don't want to disappoint our child or feel like we are a bad parent. So our choice is whether or not to sit for a few moments and have a cup of tea to think more about it, or jump up, get dressed, and run out the door.

Every choice we make, no matter how small, is the ground where who we are meets what is in the world. And the fruits of that essential relationship — a conversation between our own true wisdom and capacity, and the way the world is emerging, requiring, offering something in this moment — becomes a lifelong practice of deep listening for the next right thing we are required to do. We make the only choice that feels authentic and honest, necessary and true in that moment.

These tiny choice points arise hundreds of times every day; yet each can feel terribly difficult because of our deep yearning to do the right thing."

It occurs to me that we put a lot of effort into those enormous choices.  The ones we believe will shape our lives.  Change the direction of our quest.  But we often don't pay much attention to the many choices we make each day that may we define who we are more than the big choices.  Do I make that call?  Do I do this task or not?  Do I stay that extra 30 minutes at work.  Do i do that note tomorrow or today?

So often the next choice is driven by forces that are not that positive.   A sense of "not enough".  A sense of emptiness, or powerlessness.  We are seeking and striving, instead of walking through each day, with that awareness that we carry in us the Spirit, the presence of God.  I am having to learn to take the time, more often, as I go through my day, do go deeper, and reflect upon my choices.  To attempt to decide whether my choices are the right choices, the choices God wants me to make, that I need to make, to be authentic and honest, true in that moment, or whether the choices as driven by a need to  please, to "be enough".

Will the earth shatter if I make the wrong choice?  No!  God is the great innovator and can work with whatever I offer.  However, too many wrong choices, and I begin to wear down, and erode.  And my authentic self, which I have a hard enough time getting in touch with anyway, begins to retreat anymore.

And then this man, who want so much to be useful and helpful, and do the right thing -  has nothing authentic left to offer. To return to Wayne's words.

"I know one place I get caught: I am trying to convince myself I can handle something, when in truth, some inner knowing, some thermostat has been going off, giving me clear, repeated signals that it is time for me to rest, to pull back, to stop, at least for now, this moment, this day.

It is the instant I choose instead to push on, past that moment of “right-stopping,” that all my kindness becomes dishonest, my comforting presence a lie, a false promise. In that instant, I pretend to offer something – whatever it is - that I am not honestly able, in that moment, to provide.

I wonder how many of us know this moment?

What happens when we push through, cross over, or hurtle past any authentic capacity for honest kindness, striving to appear as if we have not really run out of genuine, mindful presence or companionship?

What, then, are we truly offering?"

Today will be a day of many choice points my friends
As reach the many choice points that will come your way.... go deeper
Listen to your own heart, and listen to the Spirit

go through your day one choice at a time
follow gently the breadcrumbs of God
and it will be OK


1 comment:

  1. Get up Suit up Do the next right thing But remember the results are Gods. With that no room for resentments, remorse or the what if game it just all the way it suppose to be even though we can't wrap our heads around it it does have it's purpose and maybe it is just none of our business.