Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sudden and Spontaneous Conversion

I've been reading William James "Varieties of Religious Experience." He gives many examples and makes it quite clear that God's pattern of individual enlightenment, or conversion as he calls it, is this: desperate deep despair of sin, surrender, spontaneous salvation. Most of his examples are not of people who spent years in monasteries, or in self study, and achieved God's favor. In fact, most of his examples are of the ungodly.

And so yesterday evening, as I spoke quietly to what ever voice speaks to me, I expressed my disappointment and resentment. I have wanted enlightenment ever since the moment on a Jerusalem street when I first desired God-at-all (more than 25 years ago).

The voice replied, "this does not negate your simple practice of listening and waiting." In other words, "Be still and know," as the Psalmist said, is a valid and real thing to do. The embodiment of inner peace is a real connection with God. It doesn't carry the emotional liberation of spontaneous enlightenment/ conversion. As I write this blog, I realize that the listening practice carries cosmic implications of which I am unaware.

I live on faith alone, practicing the silent waiting. I continually offer up my resentment that I have not received spontaneous conversion. I have not reached the depths of despair which seem necessary for conversion. I realize that I cannot self generate despair. But I accept the grace full life and present peace given by the Spirit of the Lord to me today. Its possible I view the quiet continuously present inner connection with Spirit as a "better than nothing" option. That sounds terrible to realize that I resent God because God is present to me, but not giving me special experience.

I slept late today as I am going to a workshop. Today I enter a new relationship. I am to officially become a mentee. Yes, my company is having a day long workshop with a group of us entering these relationships. My fellow mentees are an awesome group of individuals. Several of them will also be part of the Passport Leadership Program which starts in April. I am among a great group. I am humble because I don't feel worthy.

So, on the one hand is resentment for lack of enlightenment. On the other hand is a great gift of relationship and learning experiences. I sit still in the middle, waiting and listening.

Tomorrow night is the Aslinger Endurance run. I am resting from workouts today and tomorrow I'll drive to the race site. Who knows what a night of running will hold. Races are always holy environments for me.

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