I enjoyed the gathering this past Tuesday for Morning Meditations as we read chapter 2 called, "Distinguishing Spirits of Truth and Falsehood." After checking in and a little discussion, we decided to move the start time to 8am rather than 7am considering the lessening light and increasing cold in the coming months. So next Tuesday, October 4th, we will begin meeting from 8am to 9am for a Morning Meditation and reading chapter 3 of Discernment.
Our practice began with a time of sitting in silence for a couple minutes. A few people commented that it did not seem as long as last time. I imagine each of our experience will be different and as we continue the practice I recognize each time will be different yet maybe still more familiar. I have experienced times of meditation and prayer when time flies by and other experiences when time seems to crawl by and that is when I am so wound up, distracted, anxious, or scattered that my ability to focus, relax, breathe, and actually be present is near impossible. All this said, I am certainly enjoying the practice with a group and getting some feedback as to what the experience is like for others.
A couple things have stuck with me since we met. As I reflect on what we read and other comments two things stood out. First, that often the biggest obstacle and greatest temptation is self-rejection, to think we are not enough or unlovable. Second, is that often a person's story is helpful to understand a concept or truth actually making a connection to it because it can be seen in someone's life. I am sure I will continue to reflect of both of these long after this week.
Self-rejection is when we have experienced ourselves as worthless, useless, or nobody special. The comparison to being humble was made in this chapter and I found that to be helpful to reiterate that "being humble" has nothing to do with self-rejection. Actually, just the opposite, as "being humble" requires a deep self-respect knowing who you are, your gifts and abilities, as well as not claiming to be something more because who you are is enough. Being humble starts with acknowledging our core identity as a "beloved" child of God, which is enough. This reminds me of how Martin Luther would splash water on his face and remember he was baptized when feeling fearful, discouraged, or not enough.
A person's story can help illustrate many things. Even as we may think of Martin Luther and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year we acknowledge there are many people and many stories that influence our lives and our faith. Chapter 2 referenced a number of saints but spent more time on Marthe Robin who was unknown to me. It was a fascinating story to read and imagine what her life was like and those who interacted with her. I am encouraged to look up more about people I have heard of but even more to find more ways we might gather and share some of our stories that might be encouraging to each other.