Updated: Feb 15
This week’s theme for my teachings is “spiritual path.” When I began to put together the writings for this week surrounding this theme -- at a time when there is so much pain in our country -- I considered changing the theme to something more relevant.
That still, small voice of the Holy invited me to pause and reconsider this. Then it was there -- the clarity needed to bridge the gap between our country’s pain and our individual spiritual paths.
It is in precisely these moments of chaos, disruption, injustices and anger that our spiritual path becomes the beacon for our thoughts and actions. Or what I meant to say is -- our spiritual path should be the beacon for our thoughts and actions.
The spiritual path is not an easy one. It isn’t a buffet where we get to pick out the yummiest, most glorious parts without facing the parts of us that are blocked from pain, trauma or anger. An authentic spiritual path requires an acceptance that the journey to discover God expands as we let go of the mistaken notions that we are in control, we are not wrong, we know it all, and we don’t need healed.
Our world is hurting, and our country is burning. There is so much chaos, disruption, and pain. But it’s exactly in these moments where chaos and disruption are rising that an invitation for growth and awareness emerge-- that is if we choose to pause and listen. This listening pause is for us to move closer to the pain, closer to the hurting, and closer to the outraged. This is how we journey farther down our spiritual path and closer to the Holy.
Let us pause here for a moment to ensure we’re all on the same page, because up until now it isn’t clear “how” the world is hurting, and our country is burning.
These past few months:
A black man was killed in broad daylight while out for a jog.
A black woman was killed by police in her home.
A white woman falsely accused a black man of threatening her life.
A black man suffocated under the weight of a white police officer’s knee.
The list could keep going, because people of color are suffering under the oppression of racism in this country.
It is a fact.
It is inarguable.
Racism is killing Americans. To heal what is broken in this deadly cycle of chaos and disruption, it requires -- no demands -- that we face what is our American truth, and what is our spiritual challenge.
Now that I have placed our spiritual journey in context with racial oppression, what has shifted for you? There are a multitude of responses, including a turning away from and rejection of the notion that your spiritual truth has anything to do with your brothers and sisters of color.
But if you’re still reading this, I pray you’re doing so with a heart that is open, ears that are listening and a soul desiring to be a part of the healing balm our country needs right now.
Any other response to racism suffocates your spiritual path.
It is a fact.
It is inarguable.
While racism certainly has no place in spirituality, complacency in addressing racism is just as toxic to one’s soul. Rationalization and defensiveness are weapons of denial. We fuel the fires and show our ignorance when the ego rises up, and we shout back that “all lives matter,” ignoring the sobering statistics that reveal the toxic and deadly cycle of racial oppression in this country.
It is easy to ignore it if we aren’t willing to listen.
And it’s hard to listen when we refuse to stand still.
Our refusal to stand still and listen confirms that the heart is hard, the ears are closed, and the soul is detached.
The spiritual path is blocked.
When I turned 50 years old, I accepted God’s call on my life to discover the Holy in other spiritual paths. And I did, but more importantly, the journey stripped away the parts of me that no longer served my highest good. It was scary and painful, and now, 9 years later, I’m still learning and growing on this spiritual path that will forever ebb and flow while I’m on this side of heaven.
I don’t know everything -- I never will. That is the sacred part of this journey.
But I do know this. Beauty, grace, healing…
and the Holy arrive when I stay focused on a spiritual journey that catapults me toward the pain of the world.
May we all be part of the healing balm the world needs.
For that is the sacredness of any spiritual path.