It’s been nearly four weeks since my last post. Upon returning from a short holiday in North Wales during this time, I found myself unable to write. Obviously I experienced some very beautiful landscapes – some very high and majestic, which can take your breath away. Maybe they took my words away too!
Metaphysically, it feels like I have been taken up to a very high place (not to be tempted I hope). The view is astonishing. I’m speechless. Like being in a fantasy tale exploring some rocky terrain, I have discovered a crack in the rock. Squeezing through I have fallen into a whole new world, the surprise being this is far from fantasy – it is very, very real.
I think what I am trying to describe is the phenomena of having ones thinking and awareness radically changed. We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. Many of us are even told what to see. When this is pointed out it can be quite shocking, and we experience a necessary shift of consciousness, after which things can never be the same – a bit like Neo taking the red pill (The Matrix)! I have experienced this phenomena a number of times on this journey of following Jesus. After all I believe him to be the true reality, the sum total of all truth. He keeps revealing things along the path – if and when we are ready and open to see. What I am currently seeing and experiencing afresh is how important it is to control the power of our mind and observe how, what and when we are thinking – rather than be dominated by the mind and our thinking.
However, on a micro-scale many of us just cannot stop thinking. It dominates our personal world, and causes us to career along in habitual unconsciousness. If I said try and spend a few hours not thinking, most of us would have apoplexy! But if we could I believe most of us would find ourselves waking up in a very special moment – the NOW! But how would we experience it? Most of us have forgotten how to use the tools of ‘now-ness’ (developed in childhood); of sensing in a different way, of being open to the present with more than just our five senses. What about our intuitive, aesthetic and spiritual sensibilities?
So many of us have become compulsive thinkers – addicted to the insanity and noise inside our heads without realising it. And some people call this growing up or maturing! Many of us have been hoodwinked into thinking that we are our thinking (I think therefore I am) – that whole Cartesian dualistic way of thinking; is there no other way to see the world, to see reality? Maybe this is why we in the West have lost touch with nature, and with Spirit; we have ceased to value as highly the aesthetic and spiritual dimension to life, to spend time musing and reflecting, or just enjoying silence. Q: Do you find your thinking gets in the way of such ordinary things?
What I hope to show in the next few blogs is how a contemplative life, the silence of prayer balanced with passionate activity and service, can bring about a radical change of consciousness. How with a regular discipline we can see and experience our world in a different way (Part 2 will follow shortly).