New Springing Forward
It is the middle of May and May first is known as the half way point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. This all to say, we are still in the season of awakening. However, when speaking of a spiritual awakening most often it involves rebirth or being reborn, but not as much about being new. There are similarities, but are different.
In looking first at new; we might get a new TV, a new phone or a new sofa. Though seldom has it been heard of a TV being reborn or the sofa experiencing a rebirth. Although some fresh upholstery the sofa may feel a rebirth and a repaired TV May feel reborn, there is still a difference than new. The similarity is in the change.
The desire for spiritual change, is the most common reason people go for Spiritual Direction. This process takes a look at spiritual experiences and knowledge, to identify where there may be an opening toward awakening. It might be a gradual process of letting go of old habits or thoughts, while also being open to new habits and thoughts.
Although we read about dramatic transformative moments from saints and laypeople, most transformative moments are not like a bolt of lightening. The transformation that most people experience is gradual and happens while awareness becomes new. This does not make the newness within an awakening any less important or any less valid, than an awakening that happens like a bolt of lightening.
The ability we have to see newness in our life begins with the willingness to be open to new. The obstacle most often experienced is thinking there is control in opening to newness. This is where the letting go of the fear of not being able to handle something new, opens us to the meaning of having faith. To have faith that whatever is experienced, can be handled or there will be assistance in some way. This is where we are surrendering to God and being open to that grace. To remember that spiritual awakening does not occur with the intent to do us harm. This even if initially it might feel uncomfortable, to remember there are often adjustments moving toward new.
It might seem more dramatic to say reborn or rebirth, because those words almost command attention as a way to say starting over. Although, a spiritual awakening can feel dramatic, words often fall short to describe spiritual shifts. The danger with dramatic language, is the opportunity to miss all the subtle spiritual shifts. In this way, Spiritual Direction can be like baking a cake. While baking a cake requires a little something added here and there, slow transformation of blended ingredients, taking form, releasing of the old form and a more newness added and evolving with each step. The cake is not reborn, it is new.
Just like in spiritual direction learning what to add, identifying possible distractions and noticing those gradual shifts of awareness, opens up the opportunity to newness. As a Buddhist teacher once said to me, “each moment lets go and becomes a new moment, continually evolving into newness. We may remember the old moment, but with a new way of seeing in each new moment”.
As the season continues to shift into summer, see where newness may appear. See how what may evolve into something new or what may be needed to continually evolve and grow as we spring forward in life.