How easy it is to lose our spiritual hunger when we are so satiated in our society, when we have so many choices that we suffer from choice anxiety and we don’t feel a need for God. In that vein, here is some more wisdom from Richard Rohr that I want to take on board:

Beginner’s mind is a posture of eagerness, of spiritual hunger. The beginner’s mind knows it needs something, just as children do. This is a rare feeling in today’s treacherously seductive culture. Because we are offered so many things that are immediately satisfying (albeit in a superficial way), it is hard to remain spiritually hungry. We give answers too quickly, take away pain too easily, and too commonly stimulate ourselves with nonsense. In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. Much that we call entertainment, vacations, or recreation are merely diversionary tactics,and they do not “re-create” us at all. The word vacation is from the same root as vacuum, and means to “empty out,” not to fill up. One wonders how many people actually have such vacations!

We must be taught HOW to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. That is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer. It is how contemplative prayer differs from the mere recitation of prayers (which can actually be another diversionary tactic instead of any kind of self-emptying).

Adapted from Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, pp. 43-47

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