Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A level of discomfort

Our faith community should help us to boldly go where perhaps we have not gone before. 

These bold journeys may be to places within or places without. Some of us are more comfortable with inner journeys and some of us more comfortable with those in the outside world.  We do well if we attempt the uncomfortable ones. Mike Scott Peck in one of his books, cannot remember which one, suggests that we should do at least one thing that we are not good at. If we are constantly engaging in activities that we can do then we are not challenging ourselves - we learn much more if we struggle.

It was with this in mind that about ten years ago I took a cartooning class. I have always struggled with art. Having some very good friends who are very talented I have been convinced over the years that I have no artistic talent. Reflecting on doing something that I was bad at I decided to try the easiest form - the cartoon. No need for realism or for subtle shadings - just an ability to draw and to colour. 

I actually found myself enjoying the process - sitting with a pen or pencil, either copying or creating, focused on the page. Then being faced with an array of colours and shades - pencils and pens - to bring my drawing to life. I discovered that I could draw - a bit. That I did enjoy it. That I loved to colour. And that it was very restful and therapeutic.  I have long since put my pencils down - perhaps I should pick them up again. Or perhaps I should focus on something else that I cannot do.

In our spiritual lives do we always go for the easy option - doing those things which come easily, which will bring few surprises and which demand little of us? Is this spiritual living for wimps? What do we need to do to bring a level of discomfort into our spiritual lives? What do we say to ourselves ... I don't like that ... I can't do that .... this has no meaning for me ... I am not drawn to this? I need to think about this but my immediate thought for me is around ritual. Apart from lighting a candle or two I don't really do ritual - perhaps I should.

What might we risk? A broken bone or a bruised ego? Probably not. Our biggest risk may be that the divine speaks to us in a language unfamiliar. That the divine (our divine?) which we have configured in our heads is transformed. That the divine becomes challenging rather than comforting. 

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