Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taking Your Spiritual Pulse...

Since reading Larry Warner's book on Ignatian Sprituality I have appreciated his monthly musings http://www.b-ing.org. Here are the highlights from October!

"This month I present you with a simple spiritual formation tool that will allow you to take your spiritual pulse, and if needed (and desired) provide you with the opportunity to re-orient your life so that you are more likely to live into and out of who God created you to be. The remarkable tool I am referring to incorporates a particular understanding of consolation and desolation

A simple way to remember the difference between consolation and desolation is this: consolation means that God is on the screen of my life, while desolation means God is not on that screen. When we talk about  consolation and desolation the best way to think about them is in terms of the inner orientation of an individual. The key question is not what do I feel, but rather which direction is my current life situation (emotions, circumstances, interactions, thoughts…) taking me – toward God or away from God? 

The simple spiritual formation tool I spoke of earlier is this; incorporating the concept of  consolation/desolation as defined above, that you from time to time throughout your day internally stop (you could be in middle of a meeting, an errand, a task or just finishing something, getting ready to start something…) and ask yourself where is this (whatever is before you, you are involved in, or just completed…) taking me; to God or away from God? In that movement you will have a good idea of where your heart is and in that precise moment be afforded the opportunity to make a choice toward God or away from God. Over time, you will discern in the flow of your day if indeed your heart is God-focused or not. 

What this simple tool helps us to do is to become internally aware and once aware we can make a choice. So much of life is mindlessly lived. We are swept through a day unaware internally and so are at the mercy of our circumstances, our culture. This simple tool helps to momentarily stop, become aware and adjust accordingly. One important note: when you stop and realize that God is not on our screen, this is NOT about condemnation (see Rom 8:1) but about being invited into freedom, freedom to live the life we want to live at the depth of our being, the life we were created to live, the abundant life in Christ. 

An ongoing awareness of our  consolation and desolation is critical to be free to more fully live into and out of who God has created us to be. This awareness also helps us to live proactively rather than reactively. This simple spiritual formation tool helps us to pause and become aware of where we are internally headed – toward God (life) or away from God (death). Once we become aware we can then adjust as needed and live life as God has intended. 

So give it a try and see what happens. " 

Larry Warner

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