Anyone who knows me or reads this blog, knows I used to live in a Benedictine monastery. I was there for almost 4 years, then suddenly pushed out the day before I was supposed to make my vows. This part of my past is continually on my mind. Why did this happen? Why did I go there in the first place? What was I wanting at a deep level?
I wanted contemplation. Check. Mission accomplished. I learned alot about silence, solitude, spiritual reading, listening.
I wanted to validate my life with religious profession. Nope. Not accomplished. And my ego has been bitter about this ever since. Daily I compare myself to the nuns and try to make me look better.
Recently, I was reading my journal from 2003, the year I got kicked out. I got kicked out in August, so there is a good deal of before and after writing. Clearly I was hugely depressed before getting kicked out. Lets call this mental torment "Egypt." For the years since leaving the convent, my mental state has had periods of difficulty; but overall, my spiritual curve is trending positive. Furthermore, for you calculus fans, there is more and more area under the curve. That is, I am continually integrating and expanding.
This morning, reading Emmett Fox's "Sermon on the Mount" he said something about how regretting the past is to dis God's activity of salvation, and bringing Israel out of Egypt is just such an example of God's activity of salvation. Sudden bingo for me. If the convent was Egypt, then God, in a sudden turmoil of spiritual activity, brought me out of it. There was a few days of turmoil and then long years across a desert. This is a new thought for me. A new connection and a new synapse that signal a mental change.
I don't know if I am across a desert yet. It seems like it as I ponder my 2015 life story. This life I see is tremendously successful. At work, my Starship idea has been adopted for the plant and I am heavily involved with Creative Thinking teams. In my running life, I am first celebrating the end of my 55th year with a 55 hour run. Then in June, I am going on my first ever running expedition in the Utah desert. And in between January and June are several happy races on trails for which I intend to sign up.
But I wonder about my spiritual life; at least until today when I realize where I am at in graphical terms. I did leave the nuns in Egypt. Should I stop looking back? I need to stop looking back with an ego mindset. I could look back with a miracle mindset.
Reading Fox's book, I realize my ego measures itself against the explanations to determine if it is good. To know my thoughts are doing this is a great thing. It allows a bit of distancing from the activity. And in turn, an extreme gratitude for the presence of Spirit which taught me. From there, just keep walking, and be in awe of that power greater than myself.
God is in charge of the journey.