STONE FIVE CONTINUED
Connect: Not only will I try to discern through mental activity, but I will also discern by connecting with The Divine through prayer, meditation, and contemplation.
Instruction: Give it time.
Most people who try prayer, meditation, and contemplation have periods of time when they find it boring, just like my author friend who wrote that prayer bores him. Sometimes this happens at the beginning, sometimes after we’ve had some initial success, and sometimes after we think we are veterans of the craft. When we set out to do anything worthwhile, especially something as important as developing our spiritual connection, our tendency is to start off strong, lag in the middle, and finish either with a flare or a frown. If we decide the project wasn’t worth the effort we exerted, we are likely to finish with a frown. If we decide the project was worth our effort and we would gladly do it again, then we will most likely finish with a flare. The thing to remember is there will be times of discouragement. We might find that when this happens, it is best to go back to the previous advice to keep it simple. We stop pressuring ourselves. We give ourselves time to rest and let things play out without our efforts to improve them.
If we push and push and push, we will eventually burn ourselves out and discouragement will replace our joy. Building a relationship and connection with our Higher Power will withstand our need to be human, vulnerable, irritable, and just plain tired. The Divine isn’t going anywhere. He/She will be waiting for us to reconnect whenever we are ready. In fact, there is nowhere we can go away from the presence of The Divine, and those who have led a highly spiritual life have learned to pray without stopping — that is, they turn their waking moments into a constant dialog with The Divine. They realize that there is no place on earth that is separate from Divine presence, and no place where we are not seen, heard, understood, and in spite of how badly we act, we are always loved without conditions. We can take our time, be patient with ourselves, and build a relationship that is adult in nature but will still allow us to be spiritual infants, toddlers, and even teenagers when we need to be.
Examine the quality of your spiritual connectedness. Is it mostly boring or satisfying? What can you do in order to change things up? Give yourself a grade on the quality of your connectedness. Are you still an infant, a toddler, a teenager or an adult? Don’t be too harsh in your scoring. Remember we are doing the best we can, and our goal is not guilt or shame, but encouragement and guidance — hopefully given with love and respect.
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