Often, we are so desperate to be master’s of our experience that we tend to envelope ourselves in cycles of self-absorption and egocentricity. If we are feeling good and experiencing all kinds of pleasant sensations, then we tend to inflate our egos; speaking to ourselves that we are on the right path and have it all figured out. When we suffer or when we are confronted with discomfort and unpleasant experiences, we either try to desperately rid ourselves of the sensation or we fall into despair and confusion.
True spiritual freedom is learning to recognize that we all must go through cycles of consolation and desolation. Furthermore, we must learn to adapt to our experience in ways that help us to recognize and maintain our connection with the still point of Christ’s unconditional love. Receiving and giving the unlimited love of God is not about trying to maximize enjoyable feelings and positive thinking, but rather learning to turn to the Lord whatever may come.
In this way, we must learn to allow ourselves to experience our experience without judgment, condemnation, or the labels that prevent us from penetrating the mystery of God’s providence. As we learn to bury our limited understanding under a cloud of unknowing, we learn to let go of our limited perceptions and our attachments to self so as to open our hearts to Christ with complete abandonment. Christian Meditation is the linchpin of such an attitude because in our spontaneous encounter with the Lord, we learn to experience reality and to invite Jesus Christ into the totality of our lives.
As this takes place, we learn to encounter Christ’s presence in all things and we allow him to be the sovereign of every breath and every movement of the heart. Prayer becomes more than simply a matter of ritual or words as we enter into an interior communion which echoes in the depths of our being. This communion allows our prayer to connect with the every aspect of experience as Christ becomes our all in all.
For this to take place, we must give time in meditation for the Holy Spirit to move in us and to enlighten our hearts. We must make space for God’s activity to energize our interiority with the living vitality of his love. In short, we must make spontaneous time to experience, to suffer, to ache so as to love and be loved.
Thank you, Father Ian for this beautiful post.