Saturday, November 05, 2005

In tune with the Spirit

In the last couple of weeks I have stripped away a lot of what I guess I could call "spiritual junk". I have come to a place where my concept of God is not tangible; I have no image or metaphor, no logic or reasoning - all of my attempts to define God tangibly only distracted me from the true Spirit, so I've stripped all my tangible ideas away. I cannot describe it right now, only experience - but my experience with God right now feels much stronger than it's been in the past. I feel in tune, always with an inner ear, attentive to nudgings.

I have been open to nudgings to stop what I'm doing to go and listen for awhile, or perhaps you could call it worship (in the same sense as Meeting for Worship). Several times this week I have taken a break from homework - or whatever I was doing - to just go sit by the lake or step outside for a bit, having the understanding that that's what I needed to do right then and whatever I was doing could wait.

As I go through my daily activities I sense an inward focus, an inward open listening. Fitting this renewed and intense spiritual experience into my life - into my academic life as a full time student - is challenging. Having a continuing spiritual experience is a challenge to reconcile with many, many others around me who are not necessarily having any sort of spiritual experience, or are having a very different spiritual experienc than I. It's a challenge to have any sort of spiritual experience and not know how to express that to those around me.

As I sense this inward focus and listening, I also sense and inward struggle. I'm lovingly wrestling with God, I am inwardly tender. I am being attentive to where I am right now, rather than trying to form or push myself toward some goal. This is where I need to be right now, and right now that's ok. No need to distract myself by trying to figure out where I will ultimately be led, only where I am led right now.

This is my current experience, as best as I can describe it, though words often fail for me when trying to describe these things.

Love and Light,


Blogger Liz Opp said...


Your experience sounds tremendously important. I'm glad you are sticking with it, and hope the Quaker blogs can be a new sort of "companion" for you.

Also, your words about being "inwardly tender" remind me of this piece I found on the internet earlier today (First Day): A Tender, Broken Meeting, by Margery Post Abbott. Just as meetings for worship can be experienced as tender and broken (in a good way), so can Friends.

You are in my quiet thoughts...

Liz, The Good Raised Up

6/11/05 4:02 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

This spoke to me in a very direct and practical way. I was starting to make some "knowledgeable" response about your post and early Friends...and then paused for a moment to see what the teacher within might have to say to me. I opened to how I have been attempting to find a solution to a vexing problem in my life without God's help. I saw that I was attempting to have a "fixed image" in my mind of the solution and that that in itself may be a large part of the problem. At the moment at least, I am at peace with this. Your ministry here has borne fruit!

8/11/05 2:29 PM  
Blogger Nancy A said...

Your message gives me pause, and I wonder why we call it "Meeting for Worship" at all, when it's really "Meeting for Listening." Worship is a strange, old-fashioned word that brings to mind supplicant kneeling gestures with waving arms and pie-eyed adoration. After all, to worship, one must know what one is worshipping, must somehow have an image of it/him/her. And as you describe so clearly, much of the time, this image is unclear.

I would like to change the name of Meeting to Worship to Meeting for Listening.

9/11/05 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

This is a great post, Claire. Thank you. I think that the early Quakers might have used the prase "becoming settled under Christ" to describe what you are experiencing. For them, Christ was living and experiential, rather than a concept. To be "settled" meant that this living Presence was working its way towards the center and place of orientation from which all our life proceeds. A person might have experienced this Presence many times before, but at this time there is a deeper and unconscious re-ordering that can take place when God wills it. This re-ordering might even feel like we are been stripped of much of the person that we have been before. Many of us might use different language that feels more inclusive to us today, but I think the experience is the same. Peace, Andrew

10/11/05 6:54 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

Liz - Thank you for the link; I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I hope to, soon enough.

Dave - I am glad my post helped you steer toward a more grounded approach with the problem of which you speak. Much Light, Friend.

Nancy - You say, I would like to change the name of Meeting to Worship to Meeting for Listening. In the way I use language, this would make perfect sense to me - I've begun using "worship" and "listening" somewhat interchangably.

Andrew - Thank you for speaking of the connectedness of my own experience to that of others. It's often difficult to see past words and different ways of practicing faith, and to instead see the essence, the core of what's really happening.

Love and Light,

13/11/05 3:12 PM  

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