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Beside Restful Waters

by Greg Hermann



“While we pray and meditate, we may see, hear, or feel the divine presence in many ways. However, it is also possible, and often very likely, that we will not experience the divine in any form. The soul may feel, as a result of this lack of experience, that it is not making the desired connection and therefore that something is wrong.”

~Megan Don

“Meditations with Teresa of Avila: A journey into the Sacred

As reported by Fr. Richard Rohr


Let's re-read the second part this statement:

However, it is also possible, and often very likely, that we will not experience the divine in any form.........something is wrong.


Later in this discussion, Megan Don makes a reference to 'being lured into spiritual sensationalism'.


Here is where I need to start: spiritual sensationalism.


I have dabbled in a variety of spiritual experiences over the past 30+ years. These have included retreats, Christian mens' gatherings of 1- 4 days, Native American sweat lodges, Native American gatherings, and many other efforts to find a spiritual high.


Often I did experience a high. I was deeply disappointed when I fell out of the high. Often I questioned what I had done wrong. Where did this connection to Great Spirit, God, Higher Power – where did it go? Eventually, I ended up in some kind of spiritual low.


Why?

What was I doing to let this experience escape?


The practice of sobriety has taught many lessons. The most powerful lesson is the need for the low spaces, the dark spaces, the spaces where I seem to be alone and lost. I am beginning to learn that I need these spaces where I know that I have no control nor can I manage my life. When I am in these places, I call for help. I know I cannot heal and grow on my own.


These are also the places and times when I really miss my addictive friend. He always made me feel better. His lies were reassuring. He gave me something concrete to grab on to. But I slowly recognized that he gave me no peace. He only gave me loneliness and a desire for more, and more.....and more.....and more of something that always left me lonely.


I was told to “fake it till I make it.”


Fake what? Sobriety? Happiness? Healing? Wholeness?


I missed the “spiritual sensationalism” of my previous experiences. I tried a few more but I always lost the high. I would practice something, or fake it for a while. When I didn't get the expected high, I quit.


I quit.


It wasn't working.


I was doing something wrong.


There was a strange experience with the people of my recovery groups. I heard the stories of practice: go to meetings, read, pray, go to meetings, phone a friend, go to meetings.......... Fake it till you make it. Another way of 'faking it' is to practice until you become.


Practice sobriety until I become sober.

Practice forgiveness until I become forgiving.

Practice self care until I become caring for myself.

Practice being quiet until I become still.

Practice means that I accept less than perfection.

Practice means observing small steps of growth.

Practice means courage to change what I know I can change.

Practice is commitment to something greater, especially when I don't feel great.

Practice patience until I become patient.

With practice, I notice a freedom. I notice a freedom to be still.

In stillness, I notice the courage to be taught.

With courage, I am able to be present to the gifts of those who are walking this path with me.

On this path, I am never alone.

On this path, there is purpose to the pain and darkness and fear.


On this path, WE guide each other as we learn what our life experiences are teaching us. We become the Divine Presence we so desperately seek.


Namaste'


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