Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Spiritual and emotional life - adrift?
Returning from a couple of leisure weeks in Honolulu and Portland, I find that my spiritual boat has drifted a little. Although it is impossible to ignore the beautiful God-given gifts in the two aforementioned cities, e.g., the scenery, the weather, the rainbows, the ocean, the family....and on and on; however, my spiritual discipline of focused attention to God's presence in my life is not as keen when vacationing as it is when I arise at the same time, focus on my faith firsthand and then move into my day. So, why upon returning to home, was I not surprised to open Henri J.M. Nouwen's daybook, Bread for the Journey daybook, and find the following reading waiting for me -
The Dynamics of the Spiritual Life - Our emotional lives and our spiritual lives have different dynamics. The ups and downs of our emotional lives depend a great deal on our past or present surroundings. We are happy, sad, angry, bored, excited, depressed, loving, caring, hateful, or vengeful because of what happened long ago or what is happening now.
The ups and downs of our spiritual lives depend on our obedience - that is, our attentive listening - to the movements of the Spirit of God within us. Without this listening our spiritual life eventually becomes subject to the windswept waves of our emotions.
So, do you relate to the emotional/spiritual dimensions of your lives as I do mine? Have you found your present surroundings or circumstances suddenly jumping up and stamping for no reason having to do with the present, but perhaps with a long list of issues you have been unwilling to face in either your immediate or long-distant past? Do you find your own spiritual boat drifting as I've described mine to do, only to immediately find God's ever present assurance patiently waiting for your willing obedience to return?
Here's to my and your emotional and spiritual balance remaining friendly and as steady as we can manage as we go about our lives this week. Thanks for visiting the Mindsieve!
Photo - SS, Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii