Maybe that’s a lot. A life of meditation, prayer, and intense inner life. You might join us each Sunday to just take a moment out of a busy life and rest. Maybe you just like sacred, quiet space. Maybe you’re here for connection with the community (and can’t wait for coffee hour to resume). Maybe you’re here to sit with Grace and offer up your own quiet prayers. Maybe you’re here for you own private reasons. Whatever your reasons, you are welcome.
Maybe building an intense inner spiritual life is the last thing on your mind and sounds so completely overwhelming that running out the door is tempting. It’s just another story to share. What we do with the information we take in, what we feed ourselves with, is our own choice. Looking at the way we live and how the “Guides” who have come before us have chosen to live is a way of reflecting on how we choose to live our lives.
We’re going to start with…hunger.
What do we hunger for? What do you hunger for?
Hunger. How do we feed the hunger? How do we nourish the hunger? Food? What kinds of food? Nutrients? What kind of nutrients? Even a well nourished body still hungers. Why?
What do we hunger for? What do you hunger for?
A lack of nutrition means we hunger and can lead to disEase. We’re uncomfortable, unhappy, and feeling like there’s something missing. Mother Theresa calls this a state of Acute Spiritual Malnutrition. We feed ourselves and our lives in ways that actually leave us malnourished and hungry.
We don’t have time. We don’t have enough time. We need more time than we have to make space for our spiritual needs. We need more time than we have to make space for what’s important. We use up our time in hopes to make more time.
Instead of prioritizing, we hope that we will have more time in some distant future day or week or year or decade. Who’s waiting for retirement to have more time?
Hurry. We spend our lives in a hurry and seeking greater developments, better technology, greater riches so that we will have more time…later. When this is over, then we’ll have time. When this is over, I’ll be better able to nourish myself. When this is over, I’ll have more time to nourish others. Then I won’t hunger. I will feel fulfilled.
The great thing about malnourishment, hunger, is that it can easily be reversed. How? Better nourishment. Fill the hunger. Eat. Digest, take in. We can feed ourselves, fill ourselves, or nourish ourselves. We best nourish ourselves with love.
We don’t have time for love. There’s a big connection between love and separation. Separation is time. Time is used to nourish and connect or to separate. Time devoted to other things separates us from connection and love. We become too busy and overwhelmed. Time used for love nourishes and connects us.
Temporal factors. Time. This can be a root cause of Acute Spiritual Malnutrition. In order to be well, we must have a nourished body, mind, and spirit. All these parts need to be cared for and nourished.
When we spend our lives in a hurry up and GoGoGo, we have less time for others. We have less time for reflection. We have less patience. We have less time to listen. We have less time to consider. We have less time for compassion. These things all take time. When we use our time for one thing, we lose time for other.
We have the same twenty fours hours in our day. What we do with it is mostly a matter of choice. Maybe some choices we made in the past and are fulfilling now, but it is mostly a matter of choice. If you’re too busy…simplify.
Simplifying is to do less to create time for what matters. Complexity takes time.
Busy also narrowly focuses us. It creates an overdeveloped sense of Me Syndrome. Busy makes us focus on how much WE have to do and how little time WE have to do it. Perhaps also: how little time we have is something we don’t like to contemplate and so we maintain more busy to not contemplate this thing we don’t want to reflect on.
Good will takes time. Patience takes time. Love takes time.
We can look at the people we admire and want to emulate. What is their relationship to time? Look at a spiritual leader you admire. Jesus. He had time for the children, when he was tired. He had time for the sick in the middle of his journey. He remembered the journey and not only the destination. I loved the Mr. Rogers movie and how he would take all the time he needed with each guest to the chagrin of his producers and workers who had another agenda that was dictated by time. Mr. Rogers made time for good will, patience, and love.
Who are your guides? Who might be our guides? How can we be guides? Hint: we don’t have to be perfect.
Don’t know where to begin? I’ll offer two things to consider as keystone to connect and love and nourish.
One. Wake up early. Every single spiritual discipline holds to waking up early. Again, rushing creates the Me Syndrome. I’m late. I’m behind. We stop seeing others and listening to others. We send our kids out the door without listening to them. We yell at the car in rush hour for putting on the breaks without realizing what’s in front of them. Perhaps we yell at or ignore our co-workers and don’t see that they have been crying all morning. We stop seeing, noticing, and listening. We miss the subtle clues to what’s happening around us. We get stuck in our agenda and our lack of time. We become separated from others so much so that perhaps we become a source of harm without even realizing it.
It is said that when we take time to see others as like us, we usually find that we like them. When we don’t take time to see others, we separate ourselves from others, and we find that it’s easy to dislike others. For instance, that person in the car in front of you when you’re in a hurry…
Two. Eat slowly and with gratitude. Every single spiritual discipline holds to an appreciation of the food we eat and the company we’re with for meals. Especially in the morning. Especially with kids. We are their guides. We set the example for them. Teach them, and yourself, to settle into the day slowly and with ease.
A teacher of mine calls this “loving breakfast”. Allow the kids, and us, to share stories, to ask questions, and to learn to tackle their emotions over, say, a glass of spilt milk. That spilt milk is much less of an issue if we’re not rushing around. Engage in table talk and good, nourishing food.
Learn to see others. To slow down. To listen. When we move slower, we catch those unkind words, our urge to look the other way, our own emotions. When we rush, we get stuck in busy and Me Mode. When we’re “behind”, we’re always behind. We lose sight of other people for work. We don’t hear people’s stories.
We become separated. Separation is less time consuming. It takes time to listen to the story of why our co-worker is crying. It takes time to listen and reflect on someone else’s point of view. It takes time to see where others are like us.
It is much easier to hide behind a newspaper or busy and not see and listen and really reflect on another’s words. It is less time consuming to put up the boxes that separate others from us. And when we already box others, we don’t have to listen, reflect, or use our time on them and their notions.
Watch separation. It’s primal. Energy conservation. This side, that side, my side takes less energy. It’s easier. But to grow and evolve and become like our Guides, we must be more.
Wake early. Have a cup of tea or coffee, create some space to reflect, find peace, and settle into your day. Be an influence for others to do the same.
Have a loving breakfast. Eat slow and with gratitude. Begin the day by listening to one another, seeing one another, and living with grace and gratitude. Be an influence for others to do the same.
It was Mother Theresa who said that “In the home begins the disruption of peace in the world.” Are you crafting a life of peace and calm and kindness? Or are you too busy?
Remember that the opposite applies. In the home begins the disruption of peace in the world. At the same time, it is in the home that peace in the world begins. Are we cultivating a fulfilling life of peace? In nourishing our home life, we nourish our community. In nourishing our community, we nourish the world.
By the Grace of God and through the Guidance of Jesus Christ, may I slow down this week to listen to those who need to be heard and to see those who need to be seen. May I pause before the mirror to listen to my own needs reflecting back. May I be kind to myself and all those I meet. May I look at every person as a reflection of your divinity and share with them your love. May I seek to be a Guide to others by setting the example of living my day with intention, gratitude, and peace. Amen.