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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Teresa of Avila, Wow!

This morning I was re-reading "Let Nothing Disturb You," and this quote struck me as something I need to share.

We pray to our Father “who art in heaven.” But where is heaven? Where shall we find our Father? It is important to know and experience the answer to this question, if we are to concentrate our minds and souls. You know that God is everywhere; and this is a great truth, for, of course, wherever God is, there is heaven. No doubt you can believe that in any place where his majesty is, there is fullness of glory. Remember how St. Augustine tells us about his seeking God in many places and eventually finding his father within himself.

Remember that Jesus said that we've looked all over the place, lo here and lo there, but the kingdom is actually within. It may be general knowledge among those on the spiritual path that we each must do our inner work in order to know this at an experiential level. One of the current problems, however, as I see it, is that way too many have given up on the spiritual path for various reasons. 

Some have given up because they think secularism or other isms are more modern and useful, or because they cannot swallow the ancient myths and strange beliefs, or because they don't see any use of it, or a thousand other reasons. I gave up on it, sort of, when I was in college. I gave up on church, but I kept on searching spiritually. I found out what they were telling me in church did not match up with history or science or any number of other things. I read a mountain of books, went to a lot of seminars, talked to a lot of people, and eventually, there I was, being ordained in 1978.

Now, I see a dire need in society to turn again with fresh eyes and hearts to the spiritual path. People are becoming untethered from the morals and ways that hold civilization together and give us the opportunity to grow and seek, to prosper and share, to be more and more of who we can be. It is as if some act as if they are feral, like feral cats - wild, scratching violently, fighting, only for themselves.

Science, medicine, arts, history - all areas have been updated. None are like they were a hundred or two hundred years ago, let alone thousands of years ago. Yet most of religion has not been updated with the breakthroughs in language, history, archeology, theological understanding or anything else. In fact, it's gone backward in many groups, adding 19th century misunderstandings (such as John Darby's rapture) or dismissing parts of itself because of the "enlightenment,"  and ignoring the consensus of the great mystics who had a direct relationship with The More, and lived across all times and places. 

If we wish to reattach ourselves to the spiritual path, I think we can go backward and forward in our search. We can read and contemplate words of people like Teresa I quoted above or others including Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, and Mechtild of Magdeburg, We can read and even watch on YouTube modern thinkers on all things spiritual - for example: Richard Rohr, John Dominic Crossen, John Shelby Spong, the Napa Institute and Fr. Robert Spitzer (for amazing science + religion), Brian McLaren, Cynthia Bourgeault, Matthew Fox, Amy Jill Levine and a huge number of others. You can read the two best sellers in the religious category in the 20th century - the first half was Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism" and the second half was Aldous Huxley's "Perrenial Philosophy." These and others include new information on history, language, science, and how it reframes our view. If you seek at least some of these out, I guarantee your spiritual engine will be recharged and off and running.

Clear spiritual thinkers are needed right now, yes always, but maybe especially now. Together we can lift the present and set a direction for a positive future.

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