5 Radical Mystic

breathing under the open heaven

Questions for reflection

How would you define the word ‘spirituality’ in a way that includes the experience of people from different faiths and beliefs while also being true to you own personal understanding?

What do you think of the claim that the concept of the ‘supernatural’ is absurd from a biblical perspective?

Where do you feel that you would most need to struggle to ‘re-reflex’ a certain type of behaviour to replace old ingrained habits?

What do you think of the understanding that real ‘purity’ is something that contaminates evil with goodness, rather than something that has to be protected from being contaminated itself?

Further reading and further thoughts

“Live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue

“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul”. – Simone Weil

“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” – Anonymous

‘God is good and all things that proceed from God are good’ – Hildegard of Bingen

Read: Psalm 1:1-6

Gerard W Hughes, God of Surprises, Darton Longman & Todd, 2008 (3rd revised edition)

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: spiritual wisdom from the Celtic world, Bantam Books, 1999

A peacemeal idea

When the weather is suitable, try an outdoor Peacemeal around a huge tree like an ancient oak tree or whatever may be growing near to you. Choose foodstuffs that come from a tree – for example, using apple cider to drink and fruit or nuts to eat. Try using your own creative liturgy that weaves in the rich imagery of trees for inspiration.

Living it out

Nurturing spirituality is a vital part of our spiritual journey. What activities do you find most spiritually nurturing? Begin with these, giving time to develop them. Some may be solitary (this is not a problem), but try to include spiritual activities that include other people as well – learning together with them. Be open to discover new paths to spiritual growth – if they have the ring of truth about them for you – but resist any ‘religious practices’ about which you feel uncomfortable.

Spiritual growth involves struggle. One area in which we engage this struggle is in temptation, with its power to entice us into wrongdoing. However, there is no sin in temptation, instead recognise it rather as a test – part of God’s quality control to see how spiritually mature I am. Embrace temptation as a teacher from whom you can learn and grow.

Embrace your identity as a ‘Tree of Life’. Someone whose character is rooted and strong, whose words and actions are like tasty nourishing fruit and whose presence is welcoming and sheltering for others.

A meditation

Try going on a walk in a familiar surrounding and putting into practice the following from this chapter; “Take the time to look at the world with wonder, questions, and awe and quiet confidence, like children do. Touch the world with curiosity, excitement, a sense of discovery and joy. Discover that blend of innocence and truth, which creates emotional and intellectual gentleness and vulnerability. Nurture the remarkable honesty and shrewdness that can be so disarming and terrifying for so-called ‘adults’.” Use a journal to note any fresh insights you feel this has given to your everyday life.