Friday, January 14, 2005

the new, contemplative, you

i think this is the year for going internal journey of the spirit...studying the spiritual disciplines has made me re-focus on what the mystics call 'the interior life'. this is key i think. i've had enough of shallow spirituality. never mind the width, feel the depth. i went to a Tai Chi class the other night. i know, i know, some of you will have issues or concerns with that. but i weighed up the pros and cons and made a decision that i am comfortable with. it's really about breathing, relaxation, and controlled movement. and the Christian tradition has been sooo poor when it comes to a spirituality of physicality. i want to recover something of that whole side of what it means to be a spiritual being; and seeing as there are so few resources for this within the Christian tradition i am happy to discerningly look elsewhere.
Last night in my huddle we were discussing the discipline of solitude and silence. and it occurred to me that i can't remember the last time i did nothing. now my wife would probably be surprised to hear me say that...but I'm talking about NOTHING AT ALL. e.g. sitting on a chair, no music on, not watching TV, not reading, not talking to anyone, NOTHING. and just waiting. i'm going to try it sometime this next week. i think perhaps I/we don't do that because we are afraid of what we may encounter. so we fill our lives and time with much clutter so we don't have to look too deeply within.
at the end of our huddle meeting we spent between 5 and 10 minutes in complete silence together as a group. it was rich and powerful.
silence, solitude, Tai Chi, retreat - these are going to be important things for me this year i think.


Naomi said...

i'm fascinated by the Tai Chi thing - I am always hopeful of finding some form of Christian spiritual/physical exercises... always think it's such a pity that the monks stopped at gardening!

Matt said...

yeah - i loved doing my placement at Burford Priory and doing the gardening with Brother Anthony. it felt great to be potting herbs as part of my placement! unfortuntely there is probably far more body-denying stuff in the monastic tradition that body-affirming stuff! you know i'm a big fan but they can't get everything right!

Garth said...

I have been musing over these very things the last week or so myself and I think its difficult to do nothing because our minds seem to be designed to need constant input. We sit and the TV goes on, we drive and the radio goes on. It takes real effort to stop if we want to turn the 'noise' of living down. But it would seem our minds like it that way.

I would also add that as worship is more than singing, spirituality is more than candles and quiet corners. I wonder how many Christians practice spirituality in the ordinary as well as in the well worn mystical.