Spiritual Courage and the Mind
One of the things that sets human beings apart from other animals is our ability to process information, to reflect upon it, and to use our imaginations to envision new possibilities and the means by which to manifest them. Spiritual courage comes, in part, from our ability to sort through the realities of our existence and to recognize or create hopeful new trends.
These are some of the questions we might explore during a Spiritual Direction session:
What are your core beliefs about who you are and why are here?
What have you learned about ultimate meaning? From whom did you learn it? How did that help or hinder you?
What problems are you wanting to understand or relate to differently?
What burdens your mind?
When is your mind clearest?
This is how I am choosing (today) to answer such questions for myself:
I believe life is an incredibly complex, fragile, resilient web, made stronger through diversity and a shared commitment to nurturing our interdependence. No matter who you are, you are precious and necessary.
I learned this through observations of nature, through the love and trust and support of others, through art, poetry and sacred scripture. I continue to learn it anew each day.
I'm wanting to understand how to soften hearts hardened by fear and hatred. I'm wanting to learn how to relate to them in a way that will minimize the harm they cause and not turn me into that which I abhor.
My mind is burdened by all that I can not change, and by the unpredictability of the years I have left.
My mind is clearest when I am in nature, when I am painting, or feeling gratitude.
My answer to the question "what would you take from your home if it caught fire and you had only 2 minutes to save something" has always been: my books (with the caveat that I would first assure all living beings had been brought to safety). The books in my home office at this time are sorted according to category, with the largest number of books in the poetry section, followed by social and environmental justice books, ethics, world religions, spiritual direction/pastoral care, history and governance, Jungian psychology, mystic tradition, addictions/recovery, and various sacred texts. And then, of course, there's my library of children's books and books on magic.
Inspired to a love of learning early on by my mother, I have always appreciated life's unanswered questions and contradictions for their ability to challenge my world view. I relish visiting museums and archeological sites, as much for what they reveal about the past as for what they reveal about those who seek to interpret it. I take advantage of many opportunities for continuing education, including those offered at the Chaplaincy Institute and the Tree of Life Center, at colleagial gatherings, through on-line courses, and even the magic classes I've been taking.
For me the most awe-inspiring way to engage with life's mysteries is through relationship. The older I get the more curious and interested I become in others. I want to know what they have experienced, what they have overcome, what they have learned. Each one of us carries pieces of a puzzle that no single person will ever be able to solve. Together, we have a chance to recognize certain patterns and, hopefully, use that information to make better choices. Such is the power of focused spiritual companionship! When I sit with others consciously seeking to deepen their spiritual identity and connections I feel Divine presence.