after-WEAVE-ings: what is a spiritual life?

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We spent some time talking last night about spirituality, what it is, how we have it (or don’t have it), what’s easy and what’s hard about our spiritual lives, etc. Some of us think of spiritual life as something other people have, some of us aren’t entirely sure what it means, for some of us it’s heady and for others of us it’s emotional, for some of us it’s easy for others it’s so difficult as to appear impossible. All of us admitted that it takes practice.

That sounds about right.

One of the difficulties with trying to talk about our spiritual lives is that they are so individual–our personalities, our backgrounds, our context, our knowledge all play into how we experience God and the life we build around that experience.

One description I used (which is admittedly incomplete, and breaks down almost immediately, but is the best I can do right now) is to think (but not too much, lol) about God as the air–always there, but rarely noticed until the moment we gasp for breath. Nurturing our spiritual life is a little bit like nurturing our awareness and gratitude for the air–being aware of its presence around and within us, and working with the air to continue to build that relationship. (see what I mean about the metaphor breaking down? Though I suppose our bodies work with air on a subconscious level….what we’re trying to do here is bring it to a conscious level.)

In order to nurture a relationship, we have to put in time and energy, right? We talk to our friends, we spend time with them, we do things together–can we also do that with God? It requires thinking a little more abstractly since God is not a physical presence, but I think it can be done.

So we’ll be spending the next few weeks exploring ways to nurture our spiritual lives, to connect our spirits and God’s Spirit. Some ways will be old–people have been practicing these disciplines for centuries. Some will be new–no one will have even heard of them (except you) until my book comes out next spring. Some may take time and lots of practice, some may come easily. The idea is not to add even more things to packed lives, it’s to change our vision and attitude so that our whole lives are spiritual practice. In a quote from the essay I handed out last night (stop by the office this weekend for a copy if you’d like one!): “it doesn’t take time, but it does permeate all of our time.”

See you next Wednesday!

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2 responses »

  1. I like the air metaphor, and I think it holds up quite well. Spirituality is a heady topic, but one worth wrestling with. I’m sorry I missed last night’s session and will miss next week’s as well, but I intend to be early in line to get an autographed copy of your book when it comes out. It will be wonderful reading, I am sure of it!

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