Spiritual discipline

File:John Everett Millais - Isabella (Walter Deverell face).jpgI get up in the morning and kneel for ten minutes in my ritual space.  I get aware of my breath, practise metta meditation, or channel Qi to my chakras. Some say ten minutes is pointlessly short, but it is what I like. Before going to bed, I have a similar ten minutes.

Except I don’t. I lie in bed until I have got to get up and no longer have time for it, and I waste time with facebook and blog comments and telly until it is too late, and I just go to bed.

I know it is good for me. I know it makes me think more clearly and creatively and perceive better, and I remember feeling better after, and I still put it off, often until I just decide not to. There is something in me which finds it uncomfortable and difficult, as well as something in me which finds it beautiful. It might be useful to have a dialogue of those two parts.

I think human beings are created Good, and Romans 7-8 is therefore a difficult passage for me. Romans 7: 15, 21-25:

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do….21 So I find this law at work: William Holman Hunt: the Light of the WorldAlthough I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

A dialogue.

Inner being: Before we start, can we think of a different name for me? Kind of judgmental, “sinful nature”, v.18, don’t you think? Paul’s word is “sarx”, “flesh”. Remember “The Word was made sarx, and dwelt amongst us”.

-mmm. I love my ritual space. Why do you not?

Sarx: “Sarx” will do me.
-It is uncomfortable. How often have we knelt there and just started crying? I hate crying. It is uncomfortable. It looks silly, and people deride and despise me for it. Feeling feelings is really painful. Suppressing them stops the pain.

Inner being: Suppressing them is really difficult. They come out in other ways, and the whole process is destructive.

Me: OK. It is beautiful and constructive and creative and healing and all of that- but it is also painful and difficult, and sometimes even the delight is too much. And sometimes, afterwards, I feel so open and vulnerable, and that is difficult, and so going out or applying for jobs or seeing people is just too much for me- though it is too much for me when I suppress, too.

So it takes discipline to go into the ritual space. I cannot just imagine ooh, it’s lovely, of course I will do it. It takes courage. I go where I have been badly hurt. It is worthwhile.

10 thoughts on “Spiritual discipline

  1. No sarx please, we’re British! 😉

    Ah, Clare – why do you think you are any different from the rest of us? I always postpone my pleasure, always I do the cleaning first, the shopping. That is nothing new, or uniquely difficult. And, no-one despises you for crying – at least, if they do, I should think that was their problem, not yours.

    Yes, it is difficult being self, and it is difficult suppressing self. Sometimes, control is a good thing. As you have written before, control is often necessary, in context. But in the wider scheme of things, you have no choice, really, but to live with yourself. Accepting that you and she will just have to make friends in the end, should help to quieten the inner judge, the commentary. Then, you may just find it easier to go out in public. When we stop thinking about it, it gets easier.

    Lots of love and hugs. XX 🙂

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    • LOL. Thank you.

      The inner being could have contradicted the Flesh (sounds like a James Herbert horror novel) on crying, but forebore: she knows it is not true, but is unsure how to convince the flesh of that.

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    • This may differ substantively or only verbally, but I want to be conscious of feelings rather than unconscious through suppression or overwhelmed by feeling; and sometimes one may ride the wave of feeling, in the moment, as it is good to live in it: with a deep friend, for instance.

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      • What I said was for feelings that perplex you and force you to act in a wrong direction…Obviously,it is always better to flow with the good feelings.What you can’t feel isn’t a feeling 🙂 …but it is the irrational desires that we have to get rid of and that can happen only once we start discriminating between our true feelings and horrible desires…By becoming an observer, we may prevent ourselves from committing a sin.

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        • Welcome, young student. Thank you for the follow, your blog is fascinating.

          Oh, these categorisations! We talk of balancing intellect and emotional being. When humans started farming, we had to learn to defer gratification. It is a fascinating growth opportunity

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