Summary 3: Starting Where We Are
Here and Now
- The journey to where we are is the preliminary to starting where we are. Where we are is where God is. The place where God is near. Christ is the door to seeing this, the way into the inner room, the beginning of the inner journey. We meet God in the here and now by making the most of the present moment.
- Living in the present moment, we learn the value of moments; moments that take a lot of unpacking, that expand the present to become infinite and eternal. Here and now is where we live, where we receive the good news, where the resources of God become available to us. We access those resources by paying attention to what we have in our hands, here and now, by being real before God and choosing to believe.
- The good news is often resisted, but there are reasons why it is resisted and by working with those reasons, resisters can become witnesses. By working with the resistance we discover within ourselves, we travel from where we are to where we want to be.
Seeing Visions, Dreaming Dreams
- The transforming power of a vision. Imagining ourselves as free. A vision of life. Imagining abundance.
- Vision. What vision is not. What vision is. Examples of vision. Seeing abundance. Allowing grandeur to give us pause.
- Why vision is important. We are renewed by abundance.
- Making the vision real. Vision and strategy.
- What was Jesus' vision? How Jesus saw himself.
- Meeting the multitude. How Jesus saw the crowd. How Jesus sees us.
- What did Jesus show us? What we show others.
- How Jesus made his vision real.
- Holding onto the big picture. Creating vision. Creating a vision that is shared. Creating choices.
- Boundaries and obstacles.
- Choosing what we see. Creating the life we want.
Seeing and Being Seen
- What we see and what we have to deal with are related; our focus determines our reality. What we see and how we are seen are related. If we see enemies all around us, we will create more enemies than we would have had otherwise. God sees us as we are, but that sight is positive and creative; God loves us as we are and sees our potential. Knowing we are received enables us to receive the child. Knowing ourselves beloved is foundational to learning to love ourselves.
- The love of God is a three-stranded love: the love of three Persons as One: and what God asks of us in return is a threefold love: love of God, of our neighbour and ourselves. To love our neighbour, we must learn to negotiate between our neighbour's needs and our own.
- If we are to receive the love of God we must allow ourselves to receive from others. This begins with our willingness to receive at all, to "open the box". It also means learning to say no, understanding when our heart is not in something, when we are being assaulted or abused, when we need to resist in order to defend the core of who we are.
The Rainbow Personality
- The "praying personality" is made up of many dimensions or aspects. Body, heart, mind (memory, reason, imagination), will and spirit. The process of prayer is a way of uncovering these layers and discerning how they work together and how they work against one another.
- In the process of this exploration, we may feel that we are being stripped down to nothing, but we become empty so that we can be filled. We are cleansed so that we can become more healthy. We are hollowed out so that we can become ourselves. We learn the relative value of our various energies so that we can gather them and align them Godward and act with all we are. When we do this, we are more than the sum of our parts. Our integrity gives us, not only authenticity but also authority.
Aiming for Integrity
- The process of bringing all our various aspects together so that they work together and receive/transmit the love and grace of God is the life-long process of aiming for integrity and working towards a greater honesty, attention and trust. In the process, we learn gratitude towards God who loves us despite our failings and a greater degree of acceptance towards ourselves and our failings.
- Jesus affirms us. Jesus says "yes" to us. But to accept ourselves, we have to challenge the critical voice in our heads. The voice that is the voice of those who belittled us when we were children or youngsters. We affirm ourselves and our direction and in doing so, gain the courage to say "I am" in both positive and negative senses. "I am beautiful" or "I am angry".
- This process requires us to do our own work on our own experience. God's grace assists our efforts. In being prepared to play our part, we find the more life, the more strength we need to do God's work. We learn how even our weakness serves God, because in acknowledging it and offering it and being honest, attentive and trustful through it, our weakness conveys God's grace. But we have to gather our tools, practise using them, develop our toolbox, listen to the teacher and become ourselves by listening to ourselves.
- It is a process, too, of entering into a number of conversations - with ourselves, challenging our own assumptions, with our questions, by staying with them and listening to them and refining them, by learning to play, when to stand firm, how to climb the stairs one by one, how to offer all we are.
The Individual and the Body
- Even when we pray in solitude, we do not pray alone. By the spirit, we are connected to everyone else who prays and everyone else who longs to pray, or has a longing within them that they do not recognise or that they sense but cannot articulate. The individual is part of the Body. Jesus says yes to other people too. We learn from others, we celebrate one another, but we also learn the limits of other peoples' compassion.
- We learn where to place ourselves in prayer and work, how to place ourselves between, how to set ourselves aside so that we become fully focused on others. We gather wisdom, learn to speak, learn to speak to our time. We learn how to trust others, and how to trust God for the world.