One thing I often struggle with is the tension I seem to hold between my life and all its practicalities and my deep inner world. I go on a retreat or a quiet day or even just to a 30 minute meditation and come away feeling at peace, calm and very centred. Then I am plunged back into life. It never seems to be gentle. I come home to children arguing or a frantic hurry to complete a piece of homework or just the hustle and bustle of being part of a busy family and all seems lost. Sometimes it feels like living two different lives.
Yesterday, I received a book from a wise friend. I haven't had time to read it properly yet, but a small part jumped out at me. The book is "The Testament of Devotion" by Thomas R. Kelly. He says,
"There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings."
This offers me some hope - there is a way!! I have chosen to live my life in family and community, not in solitude and silence. I need to find a balance; find a way of living in the presence of God in my everyday life. I could just give up on meditation and quiet times seeing them as pointless and a waste of time amid my busyness, but I can see the benefits. Even though I am dragged back to the realities of my life, I return calmer, more in perspective and hopefully more able to love.
Kelly goes on to say,
"Between the two levels is fruitful interplay, but ever the accent must be upon the deeper level, where the soul ever dwells in the presence of the Holy One. For the religious [person] is forever bringing all affairs of the first level down into the Light, holding them there in the Presence, reseeing them and the whole of the world of [people] and things in a new and overturning way, and responding to them in spontaneous, incisive, and simple ways of love and faith. Facts remain facts, when brought into the Presence in the deeper level, but their value, their significance, is wholly realigned."
I love that image of bringing all things from life down into the Light. Imagine if this became a natural thing for us to do - to bring everything into the presence of God. What an amazing way to live! I guess the only way to begin is to get used to being in that deep place of the Light. The more often I go there, the more I will know the way and will just find myself there when it is least expected.