Sunday 9-18-16 Getting through the wilderness

desert wilderness“The one who has lost the need for security is truly secure.” ~ Sadhguru
Happy Sunday.
I woke up this morning still in this numb place. I watched Joel. He spoke about how we create the storms, our own troubles, when we turn away from the direction we know God means for us to head toward. He used the bible stories of Jonah and the whale.
After Joel I showered and went to the kitchen to make my breakfast. As I fussed around the kitchen my mind thought about what might be going on with me – emotionless most of the time, sad and even lonely other times. ‘Is this the dark night of the soul?’ I asked myself. I pushed the thought aside as not wanting to promote such drama or importance within me, about me and about what might be going on within.
I carried my breakfast up to my office for my Sunday morning contemplations. I turned on Youtube to watch a Richard Rohr sermon as I ate my breakfast. (This has been part of my Sunday morning routine for the last few weeks now.) The title of the sermon was “A Different Journey” and was reflecting on verse 1:13 from the Gospel Mark about Jesus going out into the wilderness. Richard said that the second line says that Jesus first encountered wild animals. Richard said that this is what keeps many from the spiritual journey, the encounter with all the wild beasts within such as all the vices they carry supported by false beliefs.
“You secure yourself, not your true Self.” ~ Richard Rohr
This quote struck home and formed the question in my mind, “What am I afraid of?”
I am afraid of losing my comforts, my security, control (which I know is a false belief) – I am afraid of suffering.
And yet I know suffering is a choice. Richard spoke of how Jesus showed us pain will come and we can accept and let it pass, the cross. But, joy will also come, the resurrection. This I learned from Richard a few weeks ago is the ‘Mystery of the Cross’ that I have wanted to understand for such a long time. Jesus brought to earth the example and experience of non-dualistic thinking – a new intelligence for humanity.
I digress a bit but that was an important lesson so I am glad to have written it down.
Following the video I opened Richard’s book “What the mystics know” which I am reading a segment from each morning. This morning’s section is called ‘Sharing in Suffering’, it speaks about learning to stand in solidarity with the outcasts of society and from this gain from “their privileged position in hearing the word of God”.
The last paragraph affirmed for me to go deeper and reflect on what I am being shown this morning.
“Every real saint eventually left the system of possessions, privilege, and power, so that he or she could hear and speak the truth. In doing so, they were joining Jonah in the whale, Jeremiah in the cistern, Job on the dunghill, and Jesus on the cross. It seems the way.”
Joel said that Jonah turned away from Nineveh, where God wanted him to go, and boarded a boat. A great storm rose up which was putting all off the people on board the boat at risk. The other people asked who was to blame for the storm and Jonah admitted that he was not doing what God asked of him. The people threw Jonah overboard into the sea where he was swallowed by the whale. Joel said Jonah was not angry or negative about being in the whale but accepting of the situation and surrendering to God. The whale spat him out on land after three days. God told Jonah again to go to Nineveh which he did.
So it is time to be like Jonah and look at myself and what the wild beasts are within me that I hide from. I turned to Richard Rohr a few weeks ago to learn about the Christian mystics starting with Saint Francis. He chose to live the message of Jesus which seems to be to live in poverty and to serve the poor. This is uncomfortable to me. I avoid the outcasts of society.
In reflection I allow myself to approach a homeless man sitting curled up on the sidewalk on some dark dirty city street. He looks up at me and asks, “Why can’t you see me?”
My heart opens and I know I can love and accept him as a person who has wants and needs just the same as me and everyone else. Perhaps he has had terrible trauma in his past that has broken him or perhaps he has just chosen a life that is outside of society being wise to see many of its failings.
Now that I have looked I see so much but what keeps me from looking? What is the belief that I carry that keeps my head firmly turned away and my eyes averted?
I am afraid they will want something from me – they’ll want more than I am comfortable giving.
Oprah always says everyone just wants to be seen and heard. Do people really want more than that from me? What is it that I want from others? Sure it is nice to have others help you out with tasks, cleaning the house, fixing a problem, but what I most want is to be seen, heard … really to be understood.
Hanging on my bulletin board over my desk is the prayer of Saint Francis. It says ‘grant that I may not seek so much … to be understood, as to understand’.
Is this all it takes to leave the wilderness, to be willing to understand another person? This feels right.
I can see it. I can see how when I am with someone I am just focused on ego stuff, that I am happy with the words I say, that I come off wise, or I am judgmental of the other when they don’t represent who I think they are. I think that I am good at defending someone and seeing the possible reasons for their behavior when they are a third party to a conversation. But, in the one on one relationship communications I am all in my own head being ego driven to be right.
How do I stop this so that I am able to be present and to understand?
I don’t know.
… acknowledgement that I don’t know and cannot know anyone else’s experience;
… Just to be there with the other person allowing them to express want they need to say without letting my mind decide that it has it all figured out.
I have learned that it can aid someone in healing after a trauma to be able to say ‘me too’ but I realize that I must learn to be able to sit with the other person and allow them to get to the place of expressing themselves before I should interject that I have it all figured out. I think the ‘me too’ will be more powerful at that point.
If I think about what Brene’ Brown taught about vulnerability I can explain this. If someone goes into vulnerability to express their pain, when you give them the time to get fully to that place and then offer a ‘me too’ you have willingly moved into the vulnerable place yourself. When you approach the person from a place of having it all figured out beforehand then you are coming from a place of superiority and not giving of yourself to the other.
And what if I can’t offer a ‘me too’ as is the case for most of the people who suffer greatly in this world? (Thank you God for all your blessings.) This is where the Grace of God is needed.
If you go down into the place of vulnerability offering your story to me but I don’t have the experience to understand your pain this is where I must find the strength to realize “I don’t know” and “I can’t fix this.” Funny … I realize that these realizations will bring me down into a vulnerable place where I can now meet you.
My heart tells me that the thing to now offer is to pray together for Grace.
Thank you Lord for this time together in contemplation.
And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. ~ Mark 1:13


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