Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Compass

While in the hospital, I have worked on fine-tuning my spiritual compass. The following rings most true for me in the face of anxiety, fear and the unknown:

1) We will never empirically know whether God exists. So I will risk the possibility.

2) Think of all the blessings in our lives. Think of all the hopeful and positive moments. Those places and times belong to God. We, too, in our better and fullest nature, belong to God.

3) God listens. The mind may dismiss prayer and lament as foolish activities. That's ok. I will do them anyways. In the very practice of speaking with God, in time, God responds. I feel God's presence in the heart - it's the experience of warmth, comfort - of being held. It's deeper than knowledge.

4) I take the notion of imago dei seriously. God lives in other people - often most explicitly. Don't self-isolate. Laugh, play, be merry with others.

5) More specifically, I involve myself in the lives of others. This begins the construction of life's ever-sustaining web of connection and communion. Fellowship happens at many different levels and in many different circles. Holding others close is embracing God.

6) Do things, don't just think things. Reflection will only get me so far. I must choose a discipline (prayer, meditation, chanting, etc) and vigilantly perform it as a continuous ritual. In turn, it will grow part of me, and I will grow further into God.

7) Know that God is in control, and that I'm not. That's not to say that I don't have agency or input. On the contrary, I determine my actions. But the world is bigger than any single individual, and in turn more significant than the sum of individual actions. The surplus is God, and it's that extra little bit that keeps balance and order. I try to accept my finitude and embrace the many gifts that I receive that are beyond my own control.

8) Love life. Trust life. God does.I strive to daringly take on the disposition of affirming life - consequently, life will affirm me.

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