Richness and poverty, and what I can do about it.

When I left my ex, I found myself with a vacuum to fill: how to spend my leisure time. In all the vast, empty space of my new freedom, this was a small challenge with which to wrestle: compared to the immensity of learning safety, the question of how to choose my own activities was a walk in the park.

There were difficulties to it, and I actually felt a sense of relief when my DVD player broke, and took one choice from the terrifying new array.

All of which prompted me to have a conversation with myself: what did I want this new life, suddenly and miraculously my own, to look like. I wasn’t up to thinking about the big things – career, travel, family. I meant the little things, the day-to-day things. Those small things that go together to make up a life. And I decided: simplicity, solitude, vibrant friendships, music, hard work, and intellectual richness.

It’s been hard but I’ve built a life which – with some trial and error – maintains a balance of all of these things. It’s a sometimes precarious balance, and there are times when it feels like the merest angle’s tilt will tip the balance catastrophically, but it’s mostly in balance. With a foundation of the love of amazing people, I’ve created a life from the wreckage of abuse and violence, and it’s a good life, and I’m grateful.

There’s only one thing my life lacks, though (other than the winning lotto ticket, and the capacity to eat as much chocolate as I like without consequence): if my life is intellectually rich, it’s spiritually barren. I dwell and have my being in the loving Ground of all things, and yet, it’s an intellectual phenomenon. Head, not heart. I engage with the Sacred in the same way I engage with air: I’m aware of its flow over my body, it’s temperature, I know that without it I suffocate and die; but over the course of a month this miraculous experience might cross my mind once, if I’m lucky.

I yearn for the Sacred. To be able to live, knowingly and mindfully, in the nourishment of the Sustainer of the world: I thirst for that. And somehow, all I have to do is find a way of opening myself up to that. Of resting in that love, of submitting to that compassion. Of folding myself around the rhythms of prayer, and learning to centre myself, once more, on the Source of my life.

Not sure how to go about it; but at the moment, I wonder if the yearning might not be enough. Just for the moment.


One thought on “Richness and poverty, and what I can do about it.

  1. Meister Eckart says,”The soul must long for God to be set aflame by God; but if the soul cannot yet feel the longing, then it must long for the longing. To long for the longing is also from God.”

    I think you are being too hard on yourself – you are one of the most spiritual people I know. I used to have long discussions about the issue you raised with one of my mentors, Keith Bowes. He used to question why we always seek an emotional response … he was of the opinion, and I think I agree with him, that an intellectual response to God is just as valid. He would say that he could count on one hand a life time of emotional responses, but had a daily intellectual response. Yet he walked as close to God as any of us flawed human beings. I don’t claim to be walking as close to God as many, but my experience has been similar to Keith’s … and I don’t denigrate either kind of response.

    Be patient … you have had a lot to deal with … just walk day by day and see what comes, but don’t question your own spirituality.

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