I’ve had the internal calling to do a week of silence and something interesting came up – where to do it?
I’ve done almost all my retreats from a Buddhist perspective or at a non-sectarian location.
But this time it’s different – there’s a calling to do it in a place that rings of devotion to the One. Where could that be?
I started to research – a Christian Monastery? Really? I would have never guessed, even a year ago, that I would want to do a retreat at a place that’s Christian based.
But here’s what I’ve come to know: that as my wound has healed from the dogma of Catholicism, that my judgment of other religions has healed too.
The irony of having been a practicing Buddhist, but “pushing away” other traditions, even though I said they were all speaking the Truth on the foundational level.
What was going on in the chamber of my heart though, was a great conflict.
A resentment of God, and keeping God at an arms length (at least) from getting in (even though I’m made of the Divine). When I left the Catholic church at 16, I vowed to never ever go back.
And with that, my arms were held out in front of me with my middle fingers sticking up.
It broke my heart (not on a conscious level).
Not because of the church.
Not because of what I was taught, not because of feeling shame, guilt and fear with my church experiences, but because of the resentment I carried from it.
This is a really important distinction.
If I were to blame, it perpetuates the same thing – resentment. And resentment is like injecting the heart with poison.
I was doing it to myself. Yet I didn’t know it, and I didn’t know how to heal it.
I followed the Buddhist path looking towards “the mind” and how to see through the fears and beliefs of the mind – it was true to what I needed and taught me many many valuable tools and gave me insights that have paved the way.
Until it wasn’t serving me. Thirteen years along this path and things began to change – a calling from my heart.
I literally was hearing the word “heart” in my mind. My heart was aching to be engaged with the Divine, to literally know God.
And I couldn’t get there through all the mind training in the world.
This is when I realized I still had my arms outstretched to God, with the “f____ you” symbol.
I was blocking myself from truly knowing my self and the unconditional love that’s possible when one opens to the Divine – to bring it in, to acknowledge it as ones own, to pray to it, to give to it, to devote to it.
That was the shift.
To devote to it.
Slowly, my arms came down, resting by my side, tears rolled down my cheeks and my heart called out with a great song of longing to come Home.
St. Theresa of Avila has a stunning metaphor: the Palace is within, and Your Majesty is the King/Queen who’s throne sits upon your heart.
When I see the dogma for what it is (fear based teachings to control the followers) – and go to the heart and the Truth of the Christian traditions, I find incredible devotion to the Beloved. And with other traditions as well.
It is what I was missing.
And what I know now is that sensuality and sexuality are part of this. It is ALL Divine. Sexuality is not separate as our culture teaches, but is OF God.
I encourage you to look at your own experience of a religious upbringing and how that has shaped your own beliefs about God – the use of the word, the triggers of the word it brings up, if you might have your arms outstretched with two middle fingers up, while walking the spiritual path.
There are many of us who are or have been in this deep inner conflict. Yet, as adults, we can change this, we can open, you can open, you can heal the wound from the past and let God/Divine/Spirit truly into your heart.
Give yourself to the One who gives all of itself to you.
You will experience the greatest joy, peace and love you will ever know.
I begin 7 days of silence early next week – at the Monastery of the Risen Christ near San Luis Obispo, California.
It makes me giggle to think of the title in relation to my tumultuous and unforeseen spiritual journey. Yet it feels right.
I’ll send you an update from the other side – who knows what will happen this time….
Finding my bliss on Catalina Island
No matter what your journey is and what path you choose to take and how many times you wander off the path, the path is always awaiting you with open arms.
Categories: Conflict & Forgiveness, Heart Centered Living, Inner Wisdom & Intuition