Another Tip from a Messy Contemplative

empty hand

I get tripped up on the shoestrings of western thought. I read when Teresa of Avila meditated she would catch herself levitating. Get that! Unbeknownst to even Teresa she would find herself unmoored from the bonds of gravity and for a length of time unknown she’d be just float in contemplative bliss. I’m luck if I don’t trip on my way to my meditation mat. There’s so much clutter on my way to bliss consciousness.

This is especially true as it relates to my tendency of idolizing “more”. I have been preconditioned to want more. I want more food, more stuff, more time, more space. I am driven by the notion: satisfaction is met with the acquisition of more. We are predisposed to this truly western idea that all will be made better by more.

The contemplative pause out rightly rejects this claim. Being fully present to God in sacred space says, “no”…

The Press of Loneliness

Loneliness 1

Jesus knows what loneliness feels like.

I imagine he is well aware of the sound, the texture, the alkaline taste of aloneness. Loneliness colors so much of His time at the Mount of Olives. His closest friends fall asleep on Him in the midst of His deepest sorrow. His most committed followers scatter and leave Him upon His arrest. Jesus gets my loneliness.

I wear my loneliness like an under garment, always unseen yet constantly the closest thing to my skin. And like most clothing, our minds allow us to filter out its sensorial presence. But when I allow myself to perceive it the loneliness is in fact perceived. I think this is the first time I’ve admitted my loneliness. I’m so thick with rich community it’s seems almost a travesty to admit its existence. But I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that loneliness is not about having the necessary number of key relationships in your life. I think it’s something more.

I sit with so many lonely people in my practice. Most of them Millennials who are surrounded by laughing acquaintances, helicopter parents, and thousands of friends, followers, and the like on social media. But in the lightness of our day we sit in the sticky darkness of their loneliness together. And I’m honored to hold vigil with them there. Because journeying into the dark of their aloneness, bearing witness to their grief, serving as wet nurse to their tears offers rich wisdom.

For many, loneliness is a product of this age. They’ve grown up in a generation marked by fear…