Rev. Catharine Is Currently
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Impatience and Persistence in Spiritual Practice

Impatience and Persistence in Spiritual Practice

“Ageless Beloved…. Ageless Beloved… Ageless Beloved….”

If you walk by my study early on any given morning, you are likely to hear me singing.

“Core of Peace, I rest in you. Core of Peace, I rest in you. Core of Peace, I hear you calling. Core of Peace, I rest in you.”

You may smell the scent of Shoyeido incense.

“Change us…Touch us…. Touch us….Change us….”

You might catch a glimpse of a candle burning or shadows on the wall as you look through the space where the door hasn’t quite closed.

You might also have seen me eat breakfast, drink coffee, take medications, hear the shower running, hear me muse on what I’m going to wear today, or watch as I help feed our household’s furry companions.

Lifegiving routine

They, along with my other spiritual practices, are what help keep me grounded in my days, open to the present moment, available for others, and able to love myself. These actions are the routines in my house, some of them. And they are the actions I hope to become more and more routine.

As I’ve written here before, routine—not rote, but routine—is a tremendous help in spiritual practice.

It is not a coincidence that Muslims, those in Christian religious orders, Zoroastrians, and devout Jews all pray at more or less set times of day. Routine trains us.

And oh, let me say…

Almost everything in me balks at routine, especially where the spiritual life is concerned. One, at least if I am the one in question, longs for the peak experience, the sense of Union, Communion with the Love at the Origin and Circumference of All.

The demanding impatience of the toddler

I just want, want, want.

I want, I long, I yearn for the taste of the Beloved’s kiss.

And there is nothing. Wrong. With. That.

There is nothing wrong with longing for God. Entire religious communities have been built upon the principle that the only reason to enter religious life is to find God. There is nothing wrong with yearning for Spirit.

Where it becomes more dicey is in those spaces where I find I, I…hm…I simply feel petulant, impatient, grasping, annoyed with the Divine for not acting the way I think S/He/It/They should, the way I want them to NOW.

There is no room in my impatience for the blessings that are with me in that moment. My grasping is pushing out any sense of the moment, any awareness of the blessing of my breath, my heart, the sweetness of joy or the sadness of grief. Impatience is all about now-and-not-now.

Now because I want something.

Not-now because I refusing to be aware of what is with me at this moment.

And yet, of course, the remedy for this kind of impatience is to continue. Perhaps to read something slightly different from one’s regular spiritual text. Shift your spiritual practice slightly But to continue, to persevere, to persist.

But not to persist in a way that becomes angry or twisted and rigid.

How to persist with gentleness

I find I need to persist by asking my heart what it needs, where I am afraid, what I am truly longing for, where I need love. And then, still continuing in my practice, bring those longings and desires and petulant impatience to the lap of the Goddess (my language). I bring them to the altar of God, as some others would say, and I sing them over and over again. “Ageless Beloved….Ageless Beloved….Ageless Beloved,” I sing it over and over, sometimes until tears come and the insistence on getting my way is relieved.

Sometimes, though, it doesn’t happen. Sometimes the relief doesn’t come.And what do we do then?

That, beloved, is another post for another day.

For now, let us be gentle with ourselves and our spiritual practice, be loving with ourselves, for we are children of Earth and Starry Heaven.


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