Monday, September 18, 2006

Brokenness and Spirituality

Things that have been running through my mind of late...

In Sunday School class we were continuing our discussion of Nuowen's book the "Life of the Beloved" and a question came up, "If we're suppossed to be the Beloved, why do so many of us keep choosing self-rejection?" The class paused for a minute and some people responded - but their answers for me didn't stick. But my response was, because "it's easy, it's safe, it's familiar. You know exactly what you're getting and what you'll feel when you choose self-rejection - that that was as Nuowen said, "the great trap"and that choosing to believe I am Beloved was much harder because it was unknown territory, that until you kept choosing to believe and embrace that you are Beloved you wouldn't feel safe". Sometimes I think it's alot harder to love oneself then it is to say you aren't good enough.

In the same book Nuowen talks about our "brokenness" and that our brokenness is as unique as we each are just as is our chosenness. That we have to claim our brokenness, befriend it and put it under blessing. By doing this we enable ourselves to heal, that our brokenness when befriended and blessed can turn into a source of hope. It gives meaing to all that pain - instead of dismissing it as worthless.

It has taken along time to choose self-love, to believe in myself, to feel Beloved more often then broken - to accept that I am ok. I've begun to acknowledge that self-rejection is selfish - it's like this anti-acknowledgement of ourselves and our worth.

I'd like to tie this idea of Belovedness in with The Rule of Benedict (I highly recommend "The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy Series) by Joan Chittister) and in with another book, "Broken Body, Healing Spirit: Lectio Divina and Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. But I'm not sure exactly how to do this - so bare with me.

Today's reading from The Rule of Benedict talks about loving God with your whole heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself. To find the holy in the human, to not only see Christ in others but to treat others as Christ. Earle's book (which I've just begun) talks so far about claiming one's illness - owning it, so that you can then honor it.

What do all three have in common thus far, at least in my mind: Own your struggles, Love God, Love yourself, then go one step further. The other common thread is prayer. I always thought prayer was suppossed to long. But, what I've begun to discover is that "quality" is better. I've begun to separate my "verbal prayers" from my "quiet praying". By internally verbalizing what I want to talk about with God I find clears my mind for two-way conversation - I get out of God's way - if that makes sense. I'm learning to be "one with the silence", to be still. In the silence and the stillness I can then begin to hear and to heal.

I don't know about you, but for me sitting still is hard! I'm constantly either physically moving or mentally "moving". Silence for me is hard too, but I'm learning to get comfortable in the quiet spaces and places. I think it's easy to miss what's going on around you if you can't stop for a minute and become aware.

My inner self at this moment is worried about being too something - too preachy, too too something - the flip side is "shhh, be quiet, it's ok, just share". I wasn't sure I'd even be able to "blog" because it requires opening up and sharing and being ok with that - it requires vulnerability.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. I don't even know if this entry makes sense or is just one big jumble of something. And if you've made it this far in the entry, thank you for your time, thank you for listening.


Susan Palwick said...

Do you ever use exercise or movement as a prayer/meditation discipline? I have trouble sitting still too, but I recite mantras when I swim (timed to my breathing and my strokes), and that works very well.

jsd said...

I hadn't really thought about using/incorporating movement into my prayer discipline. Though that's a great idea! The closest I come to movement and prayer is when I walk my bosteruos boxer, Dora, in the wee hours of the morning. This is the time when I say the bulk of my "verbal prayers", and I try to spend the rest of the time being in the "now". I'll have to try to practice a more deliberate walking and like you, time my breath to my steps. Thank You again for the suggestion.

Lee said...

Way back when I was newly married, I had a hard time going to sleep with the constant music my ex required. Our compromise was to put on something soothing and turn the volume down to the point where I had to concentrate to hear the words. As it turned out, that worked better for me than silence. The act of focusing on hearing that quiet music took my mind off of the daily stresses and any other thought in my head. I slept quickly. Nowdays I do the same thing when sitting in bed reading scripture or studying for helping serve on Sunday. It is so unconscious that it doesn't get in the way of prayer. If the music is still playing, it is like a backdrop to my thoughts. A tapestry.

Does the idea of "active" listening appeal?


jsd said...

I too had an ex who liked to fall asleep to music and at first I had the same problem of not being able to fall asleep. Eventually I began to "day dream" to the music to fall asleep. And now there's only rare nights when I would like to fall asleep to music, but my wife can't sleep at all to music so it's not something I do anymore.

But to actually answer the question: Yes, active listening does appeal to me on a number of levels. I really enjoy guided meditation CDs (especially once I've listened to it a few times - that way I can relax and quit anticipating what's next and go with the flow of the meditation instead), I like having a word phrase to use as a point of focus during Lectio Divina (though I am very new to this form of praying), and I like (at least attempting to) sit still with silent listening. All three of these forms of prayer require me to listen but in different ways.