“God’s Transforming Presence”…That was a phrase from my reading this morning of Ruth Haley Barton’s book, “Invitation to SOLITUDE and SILENCE.” And it struck a chord because it gets to the essence of why it is so essential that we bring our “baggage thinking” and our false beliefs into the light of curiosity and understanding in a moment of silence. In The Silence! When we are not listening to anything or anyone else but are open to the possibility of hearing that still, small voice we hear people speak about, we experience It. For when we decide to do that, to trust (have faith), we truly become transformed, in any given moment, by being present to It and in It!
Why is that true? Because that is when and where we receive the gifts of God…like love, compassion, understanding, clarity of vision, patience, joy, and peace, to name just a few. There is a shift that takes place in these moments when we let go of the controls and just allow Spirit to work through us; we experience the transformation from a consciousness of doing to one of Being.
And as I look back on my life over the years, I understand now why it took me so long to realize such a transformation and perhaps why that is true for others as well. And, for me, the reality is that I “worked at” this business of spiritual growth and transformation, but never consistently; it was an on-again-off-again effort (and it was an effort because it was ego-driven, with fear of “not being enough” the underlying factor). I can only compare that life to what it may be like to bipolar, or as it was termed in my earlier days, manic-depressive; one moment flying high with all kinds of energy and visions of success followed by days and weeks of depression.
I remember Eric Butterworth used to refer to being “over read and under done” which I took to mean that in all my voracious reading and studying books about spiritual truths and how to achieve peace and a sense of gratitude for the gift of life, I rarely stopped and spent time in The Silence, in practicing prayer and meditation, and I certainly wasn’t consistent about doing it when I did. And even when I did, I was simply going through the motions. So, it was only a matter of time before some situation would occur in my life that triggered old ways of thinking and seeing and of feeling.
And how removed am I from all of that history? I can’t say for sure, but with the amount of gratitude I feel for how Spirit is guiding me today, I don’t think it’s likely to happen anytime soon!