.::Why Can’t It Be Easy?

How great would it be if the spiritual life was something that was EASY to do?

Yesterday in my Spiritual Disciplines class, I had my students practicing the discipline of Solitude.  This entails giving them the bulk of the class hour to actually BE in Solitude with God out in nature.  Up to this point in the class we have covered all sorts of ways to BE in solitude such as lectio divina, meditation, and silence so they aren’t just thrown in to it, they are asked to marshal their resources and do it themselves.  I really enjoy GIVING my students this GIFT.  I realize for many of them the idea of spending extended time with God in silence and meditation and reflection is foreign to them.  However, my hope is that they find something Holy, something Sacred as they enter into Solitude with God.

The main point I am trying to get them to practice with this hour is the idea of being “Fully Present” with God.  I want them to make their entire being available to God:

  • Their Mind—by blocking out any distractions like the traffic, people walking through campus, the buzz of a text message in their pocket, etc.
  • Their Heart—by dialing in to the amazing created order that is surrounding them such as the turning leaves, the gentle sunlight and the singing birds.
  • Their Strength–by giving an hour doing something that seems like “wasting time,” being silent in a noisy world, and listening when we like to talk.
  • Their Soul—by really, truly being transparent and completely open and bearing their sould to God.

I am a realist.  I know some of my students probably wasted their time by studying Calculus or Psychology.  Others texted away with their friends about the most recent episode of “The Office.”  One probably slept their way through the hour.  While this saddens me, I also know that one cannot be FORCED to practice the disciplines.  One must go willingly.

Granted, there have been a few times when I have been dragged to practicing the disciplines and ended up in a place where I NEEDED to be.  So hopefully, many of my students ended up at a place they needed to be at the end of it all.  It is a delicate balance with these required courses of introducing students to spiritual practices that they are REQUIRED to practice and INVITING them to enter in to it willingly.

On the one hand, I wish the Disciplines were EASY so that I could introduce them to my students in a way that is easy to digest and palatable.  However, I am glad they aren’t as that makes them so much more precious and beautiful.

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