After I read Nouwen’s “In the Name of Jesus”, I started to read more of his work. The walk of our spiritual journey is no more theory, but as real as walking in the desert alone. It is like talking to your own soul, quietly listens to the whisper of your own heart. There are tons of books telling us “how to…”, like becoming an effective spiritual leader, be a discipline Christian… The reality is that before we become someone effective, discipline and successful, we ought to walk through some painful and suffocating loneliness in dealing with our own self. The deeper I look into my own heart, the more hypocrisy I found I actually am. Without a genuine and honest look inward, the skills will just remain theory, a “hello kitty” bandit to cover up the wounded self.
The spirituality lies not on how well a person can lead bible study. It does not lie on how thorough a leader can interpret the bible, how punctual and precise the works are accomplished or the amount of service he/she can bear. It surely does not lie on the years or seniority in service.
The authenticity of spirituality is when the prodigal son kneel before the father and admitting all the wrong doings, embracing the reality that how selfish he actually is in the past and yearning the father’s forgiveness.
Excerpt from the book of Reaching Out by Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
1st Movement: From Loneliness to Solitude - A Suffocating Loneliness
“…To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. This requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching craving to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”...Continua
This book is so RICH. Okay please don't be scared by the term "spirituality" or "religion". It is not even about teaching you how to be sacred. It is about how to be empathetic, and trusting, and letting people BE THEMSELVES. Letting your friends and people you don't know to be themselves, without being uneasy while hanging around you.
It is about, how to be hospitable without being "false". To Rev. Father Nouven, it is more important to receive your friends and people around as who they are, and be prepared that they will leave at any time. Nobody is immortal and so important that somebody can't continue their life without a particular person. What more important is, we should not let us have the illusion that we have to depend our lives to certain group of certain person.
Only by then, we are free; and by our freedom, we can create an empty as well as non-judgmental space to receive others.
Aiya. Not an easy path....Continua