The spiritual life isn’t about pretending everything is great because we believe in God. That is a form of spiritual bypassing, of not taking seriously the pain and suffering of the world. Instead, we are called to be present to the grief, the sorrow, the rage that is stirred in these times and make space for them. We are also called to make space for kindness, compassion, gratitude, and wonder within us too.
There are a thousand things each day I am grateful for, from the simplest of moments, of food and companionship, of meaningful work, and much more. But that expression of gratitude is never a denial of the anxiety and suffering. We must hold them together in tension. Living into the paradox of a world of terrible cruelty and sorrow with a world of spectacular beauty and moments of extraordinary kindness is what it means to be a mature contemplative. To honor the both/and of our human experience.
When my initial anxiety over what all this would mean for us subsided, I was left with a clear sense of purpose. I knew that the ancient wisdom of monks and mystics had a gift for all of us today trying to live in meaningful and transformative ways. I have centered my life’s work on it, but somehow now, it feels even more vital. Perhaps because these are the kinds of circumstances which test us. Being grounded in contemplative practices doesn’t mean we don’t feel fear and anxiety, but it does mean we have deep resources that can steady us. It means we might be moved to more appreciation and kindness in the moment. It means we have practiced leaning into the Mystery and learned to grow a bit more at ease with unknowing.
~Christine Valters Paintner
the fine line between grace and despair….
inquiry for today~ as you land in disbelief, know there is room for this too…..
But on paper,
everything can live forever.
a butterfly never dies.