Monday, May 18, 2009

the era of the house guests

I am alone at home. This is kind of a big deal, because I have had house guests for 30 days out of the last 33. I love house guests, and all of them have been fun and interesting, and we got to do lots of cool stuff together. I loved having coffee and croissants at the French patisserie, walking down by the canal and having ice cream and deep conversations, going to see Cirque du Soleil, and playing parlour games with a group of friends and family at Dean's birthday party. There is a time for house guests and socialising, and there is a time to get back in the rhythms of contemplation and work and rest and household chores and thoughtful learning.

This past month I have been more aware than ever that my life is meant to be lived as one, as a whole person, not split into different roles and functions which must be done in isolation from each other. It is totally possible to be contemplative in a noisy room full of people. Prayer and thoughtful wisdom can be included in a light social setting, amidst laughter and wine and games. Rest can be found even without solitude. Household chores can become an enjoyable social activity. Too often I have associated a certain religious setting or prayerful posture with my spiritual activities, and failed to see that all of life is spiritual. It is so simply because I am a spiritual being, and I invite the Holy Spirit to walk with me.

Part of the heritage that our modern western culture has running through its bones is this notion of dualism, that there are separate realms of the spirit and the body, and in these realms reside good and evil, respectively. Thanks in great part to Plato, this thinking has remained in much of our thinking and acting to this day. We are dualistic in nature in many ways. We have a work life and a home life. We have a spiritual life and a social life. We have a private life and a public life. Our lives were never meant to be hewn into all these parts, each trying to survive on its own without the benefit of the others.

If you read the Bible or look at the life of Jesus from this dualistic or fragmented point of view, you will become confused. The stories won't make sense, and Jesus will come off as somewhat of an irrational and odd fellow. But he is one. He shows us what it is like to be one. And he invites us to be one as he and the Father are one. I want to learn what this "living as one" means, and as is to be expected, I am sure I will get more opportunities to practice this as the spheres of my life collide and clump together.

May I endure the scrapes and bumps and fatigue with grace as we work our way towards fusion.

This is some beautiful blooming tree just outside the Cirque du Soleil tent in Vieux Montreal.

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