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Lectio Divina Reading

June 30, 2003

 

The Forgotten Desert Mothers, pg 154 - 155

While God always remains present to us, we can move through life oblivious to the divine presence in our midst. The ammas teach us of the importance of cultivating attentiveness to the Divine. This is mindfulness, awareness and alertness to the many ways God and the Holy Spirit move in our life and in this world. With attentiveness, we listen deeply within, filtering out all that blocks our God-awareness. We let go of resentment, bitterness, jealousy, envy, and anxiety. We are intentionally present to each moment. We discern all that is happening in our life with a wise mentor: Is it noisy chatter, conflicting interests, or is it God whispering? God continuously invites and entices us inward toward the Divine. A wise mentor helps us to become familiar with and trust how God chooses to speak to each of us. How do we best cultivate a quiet inner sprit? Do we attend to what feeds and expands our soul? What helps us focus on God? Where is our sacred Space? Have we made a cell in our home, at the ocean, or in our favorite park? It is that place where we are away and alone.

Our dominant culture tends to favor do-ing over be-ing. In our frantic do-ing, our inner world can be neglected and left unheard. Our self-image and sense of self-worth are intimately connected with all our do-ingÖeven the do-ing of our play! We experience a measure of success in our attempts at avoiding pain, loss, and defeat. The desert invites us to face and befriend them. The desert teaches us to dwell faithfully and fruitfully in these periods of stripping and loss. We learn to live through our times of pain and sorrow, passing through the varied landscapes of our inner desert. We may feel lost, but the Divine is always with us on our sojourn, nurturing us and abiding with us.

The ammas understood that we must order our lives to support this inner journey. We need to live simply, in harmony with our surroundings. Our inner and outer worlds must be balanced. We must risk trusting our emerging relationship with God. Our signals are internal and external, physical and emotional. Are we aware of the signals that warn us that we are out of balance? Do we trust our emotions and the wisdom they express? In what ways do we cultivate listening? How do we create and protect our sacred inner space?

The ammas taught me that the way out of the frenzied pace of our culture involves both external and internal journeys. I simplified possessions and needs. I am committed to owning less, not accumulating more. I let go of all commitments and activities that did not support or fit in with my life goals. Friendships are fewer but deeper and richer. Do we give ourselves permission to say "No" to self and others? Do we live intentionally, making choices by our values and goals?

Do we give way everything we havenít used in the last six months?

I began literally to slow down. I am learning to be more mindful of what I am doing while I am doing it. I am not so scattered, with my mind drifting in so many directions. I am deepening the awareness of Godís presence throughout my day. I stop to breathe, take note of where I am and what I am doing, and notice the Spirit in the midst of my doing.

 

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