Our interior life is ultimately a mystery. Even when we are exploring the past, our experiences are not as clear as if we are watching a movie in high definition. In a certain sense, experience has a kind of ineffable quality to it. The movements of the heart require a great deal of sensitivity by which we learn to learn how to identify and relate them to our Lord. A big part of our spiritual life is about learning to identify and relate the mysterious realm of experience to the Lord in prayer.
We often get into trouble when we either lack the insight to understand what we are experiencing or we lack the courage to allow ourselves to explore it. In the case of the first, our inability to understand and relate our experience reinforces the illusions that we all tend to have. We hide our interior life from ourselves and from God, and often due to our inability to see it for what it is. In the case of the second, navigating our experience involves a real dying to self. We have to learn to see and explore things that we would rather keep hidden.
The truth is that though we may put up a good front, we will never experience the fullness God intends until we take the time and the effort to explore the darkness of experience. This world is deeper than merely surface information, and requires time and patience. A good strategy is to have good spiritual friends with whom you can share this journey. This is often the role of a spiritual director, but with the lack of trained spiritual directors, most people will need instead to rely on a good, spiritual minded friend. This need not be viewed as an unfortunate worse-case scenario. I truly believe that the Lord wants us to flourish and will provide everything we need to grow.
As we walk with others and learn to enter into the darkness, reality begins to take on a new perspective. Our conversations with our spiritual friends become a spring board for our conversations with Jesus Christ. There are three interrelated relationships, all of which will begin to flourish. In our relationship with ourselves, we learn to see and understand our experiences and how they are shaping our actions. With others, we develop trust and friendship, and this launches into our third relationship which is with God. As we take the time for spiritual friendship, we find it easier to take time with Jesus.
Our exploration is not an individualistic quest for enlightenment, but rather a shared journey towards a deepening expression of the communion that flows from the Eucharist. Our friendships are the catalysts by which we live the reality made present in the Eucharistic mystery. This reality is that we are formed as a community, a fellowship, a Church, through which we discover ourselves and God.