29 June 2011

Being honest

Through the Gate
Come regularly to meeting for worship even when you are angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold. In the silence ask for and accept the powerful support of others joined with you in worship. Try to find spiritual wholeness which encompasses suffering as well as thankfulness and joy. Prayer, springing from a deep place in the heart, may bring healing and unity as nothing else can. Let meeting for worship nourish your whole life.
- Advice & Queries #10

This is passage is one I go back to time & again to remind myself it's okay to struggle. Because I do struggle; I'm usually tired, in pain, depressed and spiritually cold. It makes reaching that state of quite balance I'm searching for so difficult.

It feels like months since I achieved the magical reassurance, peace and even discovery, that I can find in the silence of meeting. Today was particularly frustrating. Between my sprained toe, the ache in my kidneys, the fibro pain in my hip and the swollen thyroid gland pressing on my throat, I was driven to distraction. Each time I accepted one pain enough to ignore it, another jumped up in its place. Like a frustrating game of whack-a-mole, I just couldn't settle into the deep silence.

After twenty minutes of frustration, someone started drilling outside our window. I've never been so glad for the harsh grating noise of construction work. While I'm sure it irritated others, the grinding noise blended all the pain into a single feeling I was finally able to ignore.

Finally I settled into the silence, only to find I couldn't reach that voice deep inside. Whether you consider it you conscience or that of god inside each of us, it is wonderful to experience. Somehow you can see the world objectively, without the cloud of our own worries and perspectives, revealing to you the path you should follow.

But I can't reach it, it's like there's a thin barrier in my way. I can feel a tension in my mind that I can't release. I take a deep breath and try to relax the knot in my mind, only to find my eyes watering. Such sadness and I can't even tell you why.

And I think that's the problem. How can I reach that voice of truth if I'm not opening myself to it completely? Instead I have an attic of emotional boxes. A collection of life's everyday obsticals that I can't change. So rather than fret, I pack them in a box, slide it out of the way and move on. But like lead weights, these boxes seem to drag me down.

So today I tried to be honest. I tried to open myself so that the 'light' could reach every corner. I imagined I was shedding the hard protective shell I hide behind to reveal my true emotional centre, with all its raw and ugly intensity.

I failed of course. Its second nature for me to put a cheerful smile on everything and a difficult habit to fight. I'm not suggesting of course that I need to solve every problem in my life, or even that I need to talk about the experiences hidden in these boxes, but perhaps I need to accept them and the difficult emotions wrapped around them.

Maybe I can't find myself and that centre I'm looking for because I'm ignoring so much of myself. Maybe I can't find my voice in my writing because I'm hiding from myself. To reach that deep restoring silence, maybe I have to honestly accept the weaknesses I'd rather just ignore.