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Friday, January 20, 2017

When God Is Needed!

One of the things I most like about writing this inspirational thing is how it forces me to live life more attentively.  I do not know of any major spiritual tradition which does not say one needs to live attentively.  The other amazing thing about myself is how easy it is not to live attentively.  This is probably true for many of you, too.

It is easy for me to fake out myself.  If I am not thinking about it, I assume that I would be living attentively.  If I am honest, I have a pretty high view of myself.  By that, I don’t mean I am a walking, prideful, arrogant guy.  I don’t think that.  By having a high view of myself, I mean that I see myself as pretty capable---pretty “with it” when it comes to functioning in the world. 

At one level this is probably true.  I am educated at a level higher than the average American.  By now I also have lived long enough to have accumulated significant experience.  And the list goes on.  What I have achieved has been a mixture of some ability and, surely, some luck.  That is not different than most people.

But having a high view of myself means I can fool myself.  Instead of living attentively, I might be prone to live more selfishly.  Instead of being open to what is, I might see things from a warped, self-centered perspective.  That does not mean I see things wrongly, but I do often warp the way I see things.  And this is contrary to a truly spiritual way of going about life.

So that’s why I like this discipline of writing.  It forces me to live attentively---or, at least, to try to live attentively.  That includes a fairly broad range of things.  I pay attention to people, to situations, and many other things.  Another key place for me to pay attention is reading pretty widely.  When I do this, I find interesting and, sometimes, challenging ways of understanding myself and my world.  And yesterday I hit one of those interesting things.

I was reading an interesting online article, entitled, ““What Atheists can Learn from Religion.”  It is written by a British atheist, Alain de Botton.  But he is an open-minded atheist, which attracted me to what he had to say.  I wanted to be open to how he would challenge me.  Basically de Botton says he does not believe God exists, but understands those situations when God is needed.

For example, de Botton says that  “God may be dead, but the urgent issues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions…do not go away…”  Clearly, I am not in the same boat as de Botton.  I do believe God exists, although that does not solve the urgent issues any more than de Botton’s atheistic starting point.  Oddly enough, the point is not whether God exists.  The point is urgent issues exist and those issues demand resolutions.

So what would these issues be?  De Botton does not cite them, but it seems easy enough to identify a few of them.  They are the “big” issues of our world.  One issue is the whole global warming phenomenon.  Of course, I know there are many people who do not believe this is an issue.  And lucky for me and sad for the world, I probably won’t live long enough for this to affect me.  But with luck, my little granddaughter can live until the next century---yes, until 2100!  Will she be so lucky?

De Botton and I both would agree that God will not step in and magically change the global warming situation.  De Botton does not think there is a God and I don’t think that God works that way.  Global warming is a human problem that we have the God-given ability to resolve.  But will we?

This brings me to another quotation of de Botton.  I like him because he can admire the strength of religion.  He says, “Religions merit our attention for their sheer conceptual ambition; for changing the world in a way that few secular institutions ever have. They have managed to combine theories about ethics and metaphysics with practical involvement in education, fashion, politics, travel, hostelry, initiation ceremonies, publishing, art and architecture -- a range of interests which puts to shame the scope of the achievements of even the greatest and most influential secular movements and individuals in history.”

I love the way de Botton affirms the “sheer conceptual ambition” he sees in religion.  That gives us God-believers a mighty challenge.  We need (along with God’s help) to continue changing the world.  How about working for world peace?  How about raising the standard of living of the poor and derelict in our neighborhoods and in the far reaches of our world? 

I am bold enough to believe that we can pray the Lord’s Prayer and actually mean it!  Let’s boldly pray that “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done.”  In our religious boldness let us begin to pray that prayer and to do that work of Kingdom-building.  This is truly when God is needed.  And I believe I and you are needed, too.  Let’s go!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Night God

As part of my daily discipline, I try to follow the lectionary reading.  A lectionary is a pre-selected series of readings.  The one I follow from the Benedictine monastery has morning prayers, evening prayers, night prayers, etc.  If one knows anything about the monastic life, one knows that monks follow a daily regimen that alternates worship and work.  In fact, for the serious, classical monks there are seven different periods of worship throughout the day.  And this pattern is repeated day after day.

To live your life with this kind of schedule is bound to shape you in ways that most of us are not.  For example, contrast your daily schedule with that more worshipful structure of the monks.  Even though my daily schedule can be fairly busy and, in some ways, pretty structured, it does not approximate the monastic life.  Of course, my goal is not to be a monk.

But a monk’s goal is not to be a monk either!  The monk’s goal is to live life in such a way that the monk is living in and from the Presence of the Divine One.  I once read Thomas Merton saying that the goal of the monk is to be a saint.  I would amend that to suggest the goal of any of us is to become a saint.

Now of course, when one thinks about becoming a saint, it cannot mean that we come to live perfectly sinless and mistake-free lives.  That is likely not humanly possible as long as we are in this body in this world.  So to be a saint cannot mean being perfect.  Being a saint means one is living in and from the Presence of the Divine One.  As such, Love becomes the goal of life.  And Love is the motivation of life.  And Love is the resource of life.

If this is my aspiration, then how will I best tap into that Love---that goal, that motivation and that resource?  The simple answer is through worship.  And that worship surely has to be scheduled and perhaps structured.  In many ways this is funny coming from the pen of a Quaker.  Quakers tend to be wary of schedules and structures.  We want to say that we can worship any time we want to worship.  And we can do it any way we want to do it.  

That is true, but it also means I have to do it.  I truly may not need a schedule or a structure.  But I need the discipline to do it.  And that is where the lectionary comes in very handy---even for this Quaker.  I may not need schedule and structure, but they surely can help on a daily basis.

So I use the lectionary.  For example, the evening reading for last night came from Psalm 16.  The evening reading prepares one for the night---that time of darkness and transition to a new day.  I like the words found in the middle of that Psalm.  The Psalmist says, “I will bless the Lord who gave me understanding; even in the night my heart will teach me wisdom.”  I resonate with that.  Thanks be to the God who gives me understanding.  And glory be that during the night I can still be taught wisdom.  I can joke by saying, “Good night; I am going to wisdom school!”

The Psalmist continues: “I will hold the Lord for ever in my sight: with him at my side I can never be shaken.”  There is a peace and calmness that comes to the one who can read these words of the Psalmist and take them to heart---let them become part of that night-time wisdom.  The Psalmist says it effectively.  “Thus it is that my heart rejoices, heart and soul together; while my body rests in calm hope.”  That is the nighttime gift.

With this kind of assurance, we can go to bed and go to sleep.  I am comforted by the fact that with God at my side, I can never be shaken.  It does not matter that I go into the darkness of the night.  I can never be shaken.  I am in the hands of the Night God.  My body can rest in calm hope.

I will be carried in that calm hope throughout the night.  In fact, in the night my heart will be teaching me wisdom.  There is no fear.  In this calm hope I do not fear for I know that I have a future.

I am grateful for the lectionary leading me into these kinds of places where I encounter the Night God.  On my own I do not do as well.  I realize I am aided by a schedule and a structure.  I am helped to know it is time for the evening reading.  It is time for the structure of the Psalmist’s words.  Theologically I can affirm that God is always ready to reach out to us.  But too often, I need a prompt.

I need the lectionary to tell me it is time.  I need to be led into the Psalmist’s words and reassurance that the God who is ready to meet me is the Night God who not only will meet me, but also take me calmly through the night! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hearts That Speak

I do not usually read books looking for quotations.  But inevitably a phrase or, even, a whole sentence will jump out at me and I know it is a “keeper.”  Sometimes, I do not even know for sure why it is so important or why it captivated me.  I am convinced that sometimes I am captivated and, then, I have to figure out why that is the case.

Just such a thing happened recently as I was reading a book that is being used by a group of which I am a participant.  Parker Palmer’s book, The Active Life, is a good read.  I confess that I like Parker, that he is a friend of mine, and I am biased to like whatever he writes.  But that confession does not mean he cannot say important things and everyone would agree.

The phrase that jumped out to capture me comes in a chapter he entitled, “Active Life: The Shadow Side.”  Thinking about the shadow side does not entice me.  In fact, I find it a bit foreboding.  I don’t have doubts that I have a shadow side.  To be honest, part of me really hopes it stays in the shadows!  But I also know that is not the way to grow and deepen in the Spirit.    But most of us would have no clue how to find the shadow side, even if we acknowledge we probably “have one.”

So Palmer gave me a clue.  The shadow side is typically (in my understanding) seen as bad news.  It is something that may be negative---something we are “stuck with,” but would rather not have.  The only way we “get rid of” it is to face it and deal with it. 

But I get a different take from Palmer’s one-liner.  He says, “It often takes years for our hearts to speak, and when they do we often cannot hear them…”  I know exactly what grabbed me.  It was that phrase that suggests our hearts speak.  Clearly, that is metaphorical.  I know the organ beating in my chest does not speak.

But wait a minute, I think.  Of course, the organ in my chest does not speak---speak with real, vocal words.  But I do think it speaks.  Sometimes, it speaks literally.  Ask somebody who has just experienced a heart attack and see if she or he would not claim the heart spoke loudly!  Ask someone who has fallen heads over heels in love if their hearts are not speaking?  Their heart literally throbs in the absence of the beloved.

But surely, there is also the metaphorical “speaking” our hearts do.  I think Palmer suggests there is a true inner voice inside each one of us.  It is our “true self” that Thomas Merton and so many others have claimed we possess.  It is the Divine Voice within---the Divine Whisper.  But it is like the shadow self.  It is there…but hidden.  It is obscured by the self our society and culture require us to be.  Our true self may never see the light of day.

The question is: will I ever truly be me?  My answer is a resounding “yes.”  But it is not automatic.  I have some work to do to get in touch with the true self.  I know that true self is the “heart speaking.”  I am convinced everyone has a “heart speaking.”  Some of us don’t listen.  Some of us hear it, but choose to ignore it.  But it “speaks.”

The place I have to be most careful is not to assume my heart is the same thing as my ego.  I know all too well what “ego speaking” sounds like!”  Seldom is “ego speaking” the same thing as my “heart speaking.”  In ego-speak there usually is no Divine Voice involved!

So my quest (and even prayer) is to turn down the ego-speak volume.  I want to be quiet, pay attention, and begin to catch the utterances of my heart speaking.  I am confident it speaks.  I am hopeful I can hear it.  And I dearly want to practice what my heart speaks. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Already There

I was innocently reading along in the textbook for the next class and I hit an arresting line.  Before sharing that line, let me give you the context.  The book I was reading is one of my favorites.  It is by Richard Rohr and entitled, Everything Belongs.  I find the subtitle quite interesting: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer.  It certainly is that, but it is so much more.  In some ways, the book is a spirituality primer.

In a chapter, which Rohr titles, “Vision of Enchantment,” he charges that we modern people have a problem.  He says, “We have to accept that we share a mass cultural trance, a hypnotic trance.  We are all sleepwalkers.”  In many ways this is hard to believe.  I do not generally think I am in a trance.  I certainly do not think I am hypnotized.  I often have wondered what it would be like to be hypnotized, but so far have not stepped forward to let someone do it to me.  So I find it strange to hear Rohr tell me culture has already done it to me!

Rohr sets this context because he wants to get to the main point, namely, we need to learn to see.  Of course, that may strike us as odd since most of us think we see and, perhaps, see quite well.  I may not be 20/20 now, but with my contacts and glasses, I do very well.  I see fine.  What does Rohr mean when he says that we need to see?

In an ironic way Rohr has brought us to the doorstep of religion.  Boldly, he says, “religion is really about seeing.”  So there, I think.  If I can get my mind around that sentence and learn to live it, I will have full understanding.  That may be true, but it is going to take a little more pondering---and maybe praying.  So let’s ponder---and pray---and read a little further in Rohr.

If religion is really about seeing, that must mean, according to Rohr, that we don’t really see.  We don’t really see what’s there.  Like someone with cataracts, we have distorted vision.  That is exactly what Rohr is suggesting.  We see, but we don’t see clearly.  To see in a distorted fashion is to be misled.  Seeing what’s there is key.  Seeing clearly what’s there is imperative.  So what’s wrong, according to Rohr?

Rohr shows me, at least, my cultural distortion.  He says, “We’re used to focusing on attainment and achievement, a sort of spiritual capitalism.”  From here Rohr leads us around an analytical corner to begin to show us how to see.  He reminds us that religion is about seeing.  And then he affirms that spirituality is “not about earning or achieving.  It’s about relationships rather than results or requirements.”  Let’s unpack this to see the deeper truth that he is revealing.

I think it is a fair critique that many folks may see religion as a kind of attainment or achievement.    And why wouldn’t we?  We live in a capitalistic society.  We prize “working” on things.  It does seem like things often have to be achieved or attained.  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” is a line I have heard many times.  “You get what you work for” is another one-liner that often is used.  That might be true---or sometimes true---in the financial, work world.  But is it true in the spiritual realm?

Rohr does not think so.  What if God leads with grace?  What if God’s first offer is gift, rather than expectation or demand?  Indeed, in the spirit of Rohr, what if it is already there?

What is “it” in that last sentence?  Rohr suggests, and I agree, that “it” is nothing less than God’s Presence.  It is the very Divinity Itself.  We don’t create it; we don’t fabricate it,  It already is there because God is always everywhere around and surrounding us.  We bask in this Presence and are bathed in it.  Sadly, we usually are not aware of it and, therefore, don’t know it.  And that’s where Rohr’s profound insight comes to the fore.

If God is always and already there, then spirituality is about relationships, not results or requirements.  That is why it is first and foremost about faith.  Faith is the way humans form relationships with God.  And faith grows into love.  Love is the faith relationship lived out deeply and passionately.  And hope is the love of faith lived out in the sure and bold knowing that God is already there and we, too, are “there” with God.

Maybe that is why the Psalmist was so quick to say Hallelujah!  Maybe that is why men and women of God are so ready to say Praise---praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  No wonder we have a hymn of that title!

I will admit it is taking me some time to wrap my mind around Rohr’s perspective.  I think I may be, in part, a spiritual capitalist.  Perhaps I am too good with attainment, achievement, results, and requirements.  My spiritual development may well be an exercise in awareness.  Wake up to the fact that it already is there!  Hallelujah!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Vicarious Spirituality

It hit me as I was reading the first journals handed in by students in a course I am teaching.  Although I generally don’t think about it this way, I realized in a way I am forcing students to engage spiritual issues.  “Forcing” is a heavy word.  It makes me a little uneasy when I see myself as being “forceful.”  After all, I try to make my classes as full of choice and voluntary as I can. 

I am forcing the students just because they are taking the class.  I suppose if one is going to be forced, this is about the most benign way force can happen.  I certainly am not coercing any of them to take the class.  But if they sign on for the class, then they are going to have to engage in some spiritual exploration and spiritual work.  The hope is that engagement will lead to spiritual growth and development.  I do not map out what the spiritual growth and development has to be.  In fact, different people will develop in very different ways.

It hit me that I ask the students to engage a spiritual process and assume that there will be some spiritual growth and development, but I do not necessarily go that route myself.  Instead, I can vicariously participate in their growth and development.  Maybe I should pause at the word, “vicarious.”  I know I never heard that word when I was growing up.  Maybe I learned it in college.  But perhaps I never really encountered it until graduate school.

Basically, “vicarious” means that one experiences something sympathetically through the experience of another person.  It means that I do not really go through something; I go through something by watching someone else go through it.  For example, I might think about being involved as a princess in a royal wedding by watching the royal wedding at Westminster with one of the English royalty.  I am a princess vicariously.

Perhaps a more common vicarious experience comes in the sports world.  So many parents are involved vicariously in their kids’ sports.  We want the son to be a world-class quarterback on the football team so that father figures can be that quarterback vicariously.  Countless sons and daughters have suffered from crazed sports parents who are living someone else’s dreams.

This is what hit me, as I was reading those journals.  I have little question but that they are experiencing some significant spiritual upheaval, growth, development, and so on.  Their journals ring with authenticity, honesty, and hope.  Many of them come alive.  They face problems and, sometimes, conquer fears.  Occasionally someone even goes through heroic struggles only to emerge as a saint-in-the-making.  Truly sometimes the process is amazing.

My concern is that I am doing spirituality vicariously.  I am having spiritual experiences vicariously through the experiences of others.  It is easy to kid myself that great things are happening in my life.  It may actually be that nothing is happening in my life---certainly not great things.  But great things may be happening in the student’s life and I participate vicariously.  Their experience is real; my experience is a facsimile.

We don’t use the word, facsimile, any more.  Instead, we use the word “fax.  I can send you a “fax” if you give me the phone number.  A “fax” is an exact copy.  In the business world that is efficient and effective.  Send me a “fax” and I have the document and can proceed.

But in the spiritual realm, I need to be wary of the “fax.”  If I am participating vicariously in someone else’s spiritual experience, then I am “faxing.”  I have a copy of their experience, but it is not real---it is not the original!  It is a cheating way to be spiritual.  It is a pretension.  It is a kind of spiritual voyeurism.  It is spiritual plagiarism---spiritual copycatting!

I want to be able to enjoy the power and profundity of the college-age student on his or her own spiritual journey.  But I don’t want to take the easy way out and become spiritual only vicariously.  I want to engage my own journey.  I need to suffer my own pains and setbacks.  I need to experience my own mountaintops and glories.

I want to be free to support the other people’s spiritual odyssey, but not neglect my own.  I revel in the fact that I get to read about their experiences.  But I need to attend to my own.  I want to be able to give what I ask for, namely, to engage, reflect, and live into the fullness of all God wants us to be.

God does not want me vicariously---no vicarious spiritually.  God wants the real me and the real you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spirituality and Serenity

Occasionally, I run into a quotation that I want to embrace, ponder, and keep in mind.  I know there are some of my favorite authors who often provide just such a quotation.  They are dependable friends, if you want to put it that way.  Many of them I have never met, but I feel like I know them.  And I am always quite happy to invite someone else into that circle of people who offer memorable things for my life.

One such author is Rollo May.  I feel like I have known Rollo May for decades.  I probably first bumped into his writings in the 1960s.  I really don’t know how many books he has written.  I have encountered him in articles, in interviews, and other venues.  I have never met him.  Some day, maybe, in this life or the next phase of life---whatever that is---we will become friends.

Some twenty years or more ago, I encountered May’s book on beauty.  I liked the title: My Quest for Beauty.  Part of what attracts me to this work of May’s is the fact that I really don’t know much about beauty.  I am not quite sure why that is.  I could blame it on my farm upbringing.  Or maybe it is simply the culture in which I grew up.  I don’t even recall people in my family using the language of “beauty.”  Of course, I heard people talk about a physically stunning person as “beautiful.”  But even then, it would be more likely to hear someone say that person was “pretty” or something like that. 

When I encountered May’s book, I knew he was talking about beauty at a whole different level.  Rather than physical looks, May was diving into the philosophical, aesthetic, and sometimes, religious levels of beauty.  I began to read with curiosity and with joy.  The sentences rolled by my eyes and I began to feel like I was encountering beauty for the first time.  I was learning.  Often, I felt challenged.  But I read on.

I love it when I come to a sentence that stops me in my tracks.  For example, I felt stopped when I read the following sentence.  “There is also a cultural reason why we do not talk much about beauty.  Our culture worships change.  As Don Michael puts it, we become bored instead of serene…”  I am sure I was grabbed, in part, because May was giving me a reason why I felt so culturally out of it when I thought about beauty.  It was nice to have a reason.  I thought perhaps it was just I!

Even in the 1980s, when the book was published, May could say that our culture worships change.  How much more so now!  When we think about how quickly our technology changes, we sense even more the pace of life in our worlds.  I never thought about a culture worshipping change, but I can understand it.  I think about my pre-computer days.  Having a typewriter was a big deal.  And then came the electronic typewriter.  And probably about the time May was writing his book, the first computers entered my life.
I certainly am not the first adopter into the technological evolution, but I do adopt.  Then came the internet.  And now if the internet is “too slow,” I complain bitterly!  Where is beauty in all this?  I am not concerned with beauty.  I want speed, efficiency, etc.  And that is precisely where May’s book and his focus on beauty is so compelling, even though it is arresting.

May comes to his punch line with his quotation of Don Michael.  With our cultural worship of change, we become bored instead of serene.  That is a powerful statement for me.  How many times I hear students and others complain of being bored!  By this, they usually mean, “nothing is happening,” or the like.  Seldom is this seen as a spiritual issue.  But I actually believe boredom is often a spiritual issue.  In the spiritual literature of early monks, boredom was know by a technical term, acedia.  This could be translated as apathy or lethargy, but boredom is as good a translation as any.  So what’s the antidote?

Serenity.  I think serenity is a beautiful spiritual word.  But it is more than a word.  In fact, it is more than an idea or concept.  Serenity is an experience.  It is closely related to joy.  It is akin to the feeling of peace and contentment.  As a spiritual experience, serenity suggests to me an at-one-ment with the world, with others, and with God.  In a word it is a “unity” with self, others, and the Holy One.

Having put it this way, one gets a profound sense of how beautiful this is---beauty not in the physical sense, but in a deeper spiritual sense.  Serenity is an acceptance of things as they are.  It is this contentment with who one is and how one is with the Divine One.  Instead of boredom, serenity gives rise to gratitude. 

Although I still feel like a beginner, I would like to cultivate beauty in my life and the world around me.  I would be open to the serenity that likely comes from spiritual beauty.  And I want to be appropriately grateful for the Divine gift of spirituality and serenity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Look for the Doorknob

I am aware that I have three consistent teachers of spirituality.  Two of them are pretty obvious: other people and books.  In fact, books really are other people, but most of them I have not met.  Some of them are deceased---maybe long-ago dead.  Others are people who are living, but I have not met them.  I value these teachers very much.  I am always open to meeting new ones, so that my learning can continue.

The third teacher is also fairly familiar in the literature of spirituality, but this teacher often is not recognized or overlooked.  This teacher sometimes goes by the name of nature.  However, I like to widen it beyond nature.  Too many times folks limit nature to the outdoors---to trees, water, etc.  Those are very valuable, to be sure. 

Instead of just saying nature, I like to mention the third teacher as my natural and normal surroundings.  This obviously includes the outdoors---the winter snows, the lovely sunsets, the soothing ocean.  But my natural and normal surroundings also include things indoors.  That is where I go for the content of my title: “look for the doorknob.”  It probably is not self-evident what meaning is behind this title.  So let us proceed.

It hit me last night or early in the morning as I made my way in the pitch black of night from my bedroom to another room.  I could have turned on the light, but chose not to do that.  I knew the room to which I was going would have a closed door.  Even though I know the layout of my place, I proceeded slowly.  I don’t know if that is what it is like to be blind, but I certainly could not see.  That meant there was a looming door and I needed to watch out.  However, it is tough to watch out when you can’t see!

So I did what most folks probably do.  With extended hand and arm, I felt along until I contacted the door.  I reached for the doorknob, turned it, and entered the room without a second thought.  What I did I have done a hundred times, if not more.  It seems perfectly natural and normal---as I said, I did it without thinking. 

But then, I began to think about it.  I began to reflect and realized I had a nice little parable of spirituality.  I certainly would not claim looking for the doorknob is the key to spirituality, but it can be a viable method to discover and develop spiritually.  I find it reassuring that method is natural and normal.  Just look for the doorknob.

Of course, when I use that phrase---just look for the doorknob---I am speaking metaphorically.  The image of a door is a familiar one in spiritual literature.  Clearly, a door is an opening---it is a way from one room to another, from one place to another.  It is a different kind of opening than a window.  Normally, we don’t walk through windows; we do walk through doors.

Even though the door is an opening, it might not always be opened!  Often doors are closed.  So it is in my spiritual experience.  Often I am closed off from where I can or want to go.  There is a door, but it is closed.  Does that mean there is no hope?  Of course not!  Does that mean there is nothing I can do?  Of course not!

It is obvious that when the door to spiritual growth and development is closed, we should simply open it.  But what if it is “nighttime” in our spiritual life?  The sun may be shining brightly outside, but spiritually it might well be pitch black.  In that case I can’t even see the door---I cannot spot the opening to spiritual growth and development.  I am in the same situation as I was last night as I felt my way along the hallway to the other room.  I had to feel my way to the door.  So it likely is with my spiritual pilgrimage.  Sometimes I have to feel my way.

If I do that, I will come to the door.  Spiritually the door may be closed, as that door was last night.  So like last night, I will have to look for the doorknob.  It might seem odd that I use the verb, “look,” when it is pitch black and you can’t see a thing.  But there are others ways to look than with one’s eyes.  Feeling your way---seeking the doorknob with our hand---is a form of “looking.”

The spiritual doorknobs we find that will open doors can be varied.  A tried and true one for me is simply to take some time to meditate---to reflect or maybe even pray.  Busyness is a door that I close myself off from the spiritual reality.  I speed along through my life, but I am unconnected and not spiritual.  I have slammed the door shut on my own growth and development. 

When I come to my senses, I realize spiritually I am in the dark again and I want to find that door.  And I realize I may have to look for the doorknob.  It can be fairly simple.  It does not require a miracle.  It simply asks for a little intentionality and a bit of courage to walk through the night, look for the doorknob and go on into the other place.

Spiritually speaking, that other place will be a place of spiritual growth and development.  It will be a place of spiritual nourishment and nurture.  It can be a place of community and communion.  All you have to do is go through the doorway.  But sometimes you may have to look for the doorknob to open the door.