I have turned the last page on The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation by Thomas Merton. It was wonderful. I was absorbed in the concepts and thoughts, the suggestions and ideas. I found myself really contemplating (haha) the text and ideas at hand and it was good for me. I’ve always been drawn to more of an inner spiritual journey and this just kind of affirmed and pushed and pulled me in all kinds of ways.
Many who follow the Christian Mystic path seem to write about God in terms of darkness instead of light. It’s the perfect imagery for me. Light is everywhere. It lights our days, our nights and affects us in ways we cannot fully comprehend. It doesn’t even need to be close. The sun is millions of miles from earth, warming and brightening our days. Light allows you to exist in the presence of something at a distance. One doesn’t need to draw close to see.
Darkness is another story. With no light shining for you, the path is forged through feeling and persistence. Careful steps are required and one must really be dedicated to getting where they need to go if they cannot see where it is they are going. Travelling in the dark requires preparation, commitment and guts. It’s not for the faint of heart.
I have found in my own journey that the more I study and seek, the dimmer the light gets. I find myself having to work harder, reflect longer and really sink into my faith and wrestle with what I believe. The more I study, the more I want to know. The more I know, the more I realize I really know nothing. I think when we begin the light is strong and full to guide us towards God but the closer we get, the more focused the light seems to become.
I’m quite happy to acknowledge that I myself am no guru or mystical genius. I’m but one woman questioning, wrestling with and fighting for her faith. I never want to accept blindly. Instead I wish to walk ahead into the murky darkness with a determination to find God on the other side. As I journey I find myself drawn into the teaching of these mystics who remind us that the journey is not easy, the destination is not self-fulfillment and happiness, but the effort is oh so worth it.
As of late I find myself wondering if the loss of our mystical side in the community as a whole is perhaps one of the reasons we find ourselves struggling in the church these days. Does our need to keep things light and bright rob us of our chance to really meet with God and hear where it is we should go. There are no easy answers, only questions it seems. For now I will continue on my own journey and see where it takes me.
This week I am reading Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assissi by Richard Rohr