Archive for June, 2011

Spiritual practices and teachings are filled with concepts about the impermanent nature of life: “This too shall pass.” “Live in the present moment..it’s all we really have.” Etc. So too it seems that my particular types of and commitment to spiritual practice metamorphose.

Today I reopened Jennifer Louden’s The Life Organizer, which I originally purchased for myself and started using in early 2007 and stopped using in 2008 (Wow! Has it really been that long?). Previous to owning and using this book of Louden’s I had really enjoyed her Women’s Retreat Book.

I decided to pick up where I had left off, which was at week 13. The opening reading to weeks 13-16 describes a woman taking quiet time to escape the “shoulds” and “have tos” by lighting a candle and making prayer cards. There was a point in my life when this idea would have seemed very appealing to me. I might even have been inspired and encouraged to scheduled some “quiet candle time” into my own life. Today (three years later) this feels utterly unappealing. The woman describes shifting from a state of “human doing” to our more natural state of “human being,” and this is a shift I subscribe to and feel strongly about. And yet, there is something about it that unnerves me. I have to wonder if this is then something I should push through (e.g. make myself sit quietly with candles lit and arts and crafts) or has my sense of and ways of expressing spirituality merely changed?

All I know is that instead of the urge to spend quiet candle time, in fact even instead of the desire to continue working with The Life Organizer, I had the strong desire to write. This is not new, and I’m not sure it necessarily fits into the realm of spiritual practice (or maybe if it centers and fulfills me, then it does), but it’s what my soul wanted in that moment. A moment in which I turned to The Life Organizer because I wasn’t sure what to do next (or at all for that matter), and what came out of it was this blog entry.

Now this result may initially seem like a “good” thing: I found what to do in moment in which I was lost; however, much of my increasingly severe anxiety is attached to productivity. I haven’t done much in the way of meditation lately, because sitting makes me antsy (which is precisely why I “should” sit). The “shoulds” that turn us all into “human doings” have been chasing me at full speed. But there is another side to this as well: While writing a blog post on spirituality and meditation might feel productive to me, it is also something I’ve been craving and putting off because it’s not the kind of writing that gets me ahead at my job. Writing for a little, unknown, pseudonymous blog without readership doesn’t count toward my tenure file. And so in breaking away from my constant need to be “productive” in one particular way, I’ve made some room to reconnect with my interest in spirituality in meditation in another way–through writing (which was, after all, the point of starting this blog to begin with).


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