“… To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.”
Words: John O’Donohue in “To Bless the
Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, 2008
In contrast to our age is the profound wisdom of the spiritual masters, who advocated the highest order of dialogue— unceasing prayer.
Henri Nouwen, the renowned Catholic priest and theologian,in his book, Clowning in Rome:says
“Thinking about God all the time is an unrealistic expectation that might cause mental imbalance . . .
our prayer can only become unceasing communion when all our thoughts—beautiful or ugly, high or low, proud or shameful, sorrowful or joyful—can be thought in the presence of the One who dwells in us and surrounds us.
By trying to do this, our unceasing thinking is converted into unceasing prayer, moving us from a self-centered monologue to a God-centered dialogue.
To do this we want to try to convert our thoughts into a conversation.
The main question, therefore, is not so much what we think, but to whom we present our thoughts, because to pray unceasingly means to think and live in the presence of Love.”
To move out of fearful isolation to courageous conversation with God is the wholesome yet frightening path to a healthy, productive life.
Socrates wisely urged us to reflect when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
But Nouwen points out that introspection without dialogue can lead to paralyzing self-centredness and narcissism.
O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. . . .
O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.
Both images above and the top image From Tess Cooling, Calligrapher from here