UPON FURTHER REFLECTION With most hikes there is the going out, or up, and the coming home, the coming down. It means ascending and descending, unless, of course, you are on a loop. In the spiritual life , ascending has to do with the realm of the spirit, while descending has to do with, soul work My spirit and soul got a great workout, on that hike. Actually you could say there were two hike, in one. The ascending was in the peace, and security of clear skies, and bright sunshine. This lifted the spirit into the realm of freedom. Freedom from care, concern, fear, and worry. It was so easy to say, "Thank You". An attitude of gratitude was so apparent. The descending was so much, the very opposite. It was a journey into insecurity, fear, and concern, just to name a few. This was, and is, the journey of the soul. Soul work is not that appealing, that is why the spiritual journey is not attractive to so many. Soul work IS hard work. On the hike, I was given a deeper insight into both. Upon reflection is not this the way we spend, the way we live out all of our daily living? We do not have to go on any hike to have the aforementioned experiences. They are the both sides of you every day.
There are some days, well let’s say, there are some moments of our day when are in sunshine, we can safely say, “I have got this life thing wired?". When we are in that much desired place, Fr Rohr calls that place, that pole he calls "inflation”. We never stop there, we then go to the opposite pole. Here, we are meeting the challenge, of being lost, lonely, and so alone where we ask the questions, “How did get into this mess?" and "Is this ever going to stop or go away?”. This pole at which so much of our lives are spent, is called "alienation". When we are that pole in our daily journey, we are really frazzled. We do not know which way is up. We are facing the limits of our endurance. Here, we border on hopelessness and helplessness, we are in the best place possible. Yes! I will repeat that again, as you may think I was having a senior moment, we are in the best place possible, SPIRITUALLY, that is. This is where our ego does not want to go to.
The ego will do everything in its power to avoid being in this situation. The ego has the power of the Devil on its side. What do we have on our side, as we slowly come to admit our human limitations, we are guaranteed THE POWER of GOD which overcomes all evil. WE have to face however, what the ego hates ,the the great challenge, we call surrender. That is why soul work is so repulsive to the ego, and so to us who want to look good and powerful.Here we face what Fr. Rolheiser calls , the challenge of our insufficiency. We are here challenged to face our own inner incompleteness. For the ego a root canal in more acceptable.
When I returned to the cabin I had a great big bowl of soup. Did that taste good? Later, I had a very relaxing hot bath. That night before I went to bed I had a big mug of camomile tea. As I lay there feeling very safe, cozy and warm, I had to ask the question, " Can this get any better?”. To make things even better I was in that state where I knew I was going to go to sleep. I suffer from insomnia, so this was the cherry on the sundae, I fell asleep listening to the wind and the rain. My very favorite sound. It was great to experience that feeling of contentment. The big question that is begging to be asked is, would it last? Of course not, I am sad to say. Within a short period I was back facing my essential loneliness, insecurity, incompleteness, discontent. I was again back in daily struggle of what it means to be a spiritual being, having a human experience. T hank the Good Lord, this is not our lasting home. We are here on a visit, so in the meantime we have our daily struggle. There is no escape.
Fr. Karl Rahner has written the following; " In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we come to understand that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished". Fr. Rolheiser writes the following in commentary, "What does it mean to be tormented by insufficiency of everything attainable?” How are we tortured by what we cannot have? We all experience this daily. In fact, for all but a few privileged, peaceful times, this torment is like an undertow to everything we experience;" beauty makes us restless when it should bring us peace, the love we experience with our spouse does not fulfill our longings, the relationships we have within our families seem too petty and too domestic to be fulfilling, our job is hopelessly inadequate to the dreams we have for ourselves, the place we live in seems boring and lifeless in comparison to other places, and we are too restless to sit peacefully at our own tables, sleep peacefully in our own beds, and be at ease within our own skins. We are tormented by the insufficiency of everything attainable when our lives are too small for us and we live in them in such a way that we are always waiting, waiting for something or somebody to come along and change things so that our lives , as we imagine them, might begin. ..... To be tormented with restlessness is to be human."
I have found great consolation, and courage in those words.