Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nouwen on Desires and Spiritual Disciplines...

Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires. Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another's enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction."

Nouwen's daily email (subscribe to the email service here) a few months back focused thinking on the role of spiritual disciplines in the ordering of our desires.

"Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome. Still, being is desiring: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires. Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God. Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires. Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another's enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction.

Spiritual disciplines are not ways to eradicate all our desires but ways to order them so that they can serve one another and together serve God."
The ordering of our desires it seems to me is caught up in the realignment of self that spiritual disciplines bring, as we seek to understand what it is to exist in a space dominated by selflessness.