Scattered Thoughts on Spiritual Practice
As of yesterday I was given an assignment to talk about beauty. It doesn't seem to fit with any of the other eight talks I have to deliver. I've been fussing with it.
This morning I woke thinking about the last words I typed in last night...
Beauty has a shape. It is dimensional.
I don't know what that means. Except it somehow fits with a conversation I had with a friend, about what prayer looks like. I said I think prayer isn't just sitting alone in a room, staring at the four walls and saying some kind of obligatory words. I said I think maybe praying could be as simple as this: go on a hike, with a sense of openness and a willingness to compose (think David and his poems) and all of it in a posture of "here I am God."
Prayer has a shape then too, a shape that includes footfalls, rock climbing, touching dirt, maybe picking wildflowers. It's seems to me this is the primary prayer shape recorded from Jesus' life. And he went out into the hills. (that's my paraphrase). There were the Festivals too, great times of prayer and devotion. These were also dimensional (one of my favorites is when they would pour water out of jugs, onto the pavement, for the Feast of Tabernacles).
Have we pared spiritual practice down to a thing we do with pencils and books, barely dimensional? And, as we instinctually know about beauty when it is pressed flatter and flatter, have we lost something vital along the way?