“…But I Don’t think of myself as a spiritual person”
You’ve heard this statement before, right? Maybe you’ve even said this statement. Maybe not out loud or to someone else, but somewhere to yourself you might have spoken it form within. Often times we use this as a reason not to try something new in our life of faith. It usually follows with statements like, “isn’t that from an Eastern religion”, “I prefer practices of faith that are more traditional,” and my favorite, “I’m not really into that new age kind of stuff”. Here’s the thing; there’s more than one way to be spiritual. In fact there’s a whole lot more than one. There’s an old parable you might know about a group of blind people trying to figure out what an elephant is. It goes like this:
A group of blind people heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall.” Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
Each experience of touching the elephant lead the person to come to a conclusion that helped make sense of the world around them but were also missing the larger picture. This is also true about our faith. We will NEVER be able to see the entire picture of who God is and what God is doing in our lives. But the more experiences and encounters we have with the divine the more it will help us make the picture clearer.
You might have never practiced meditation or contemplation before. It might sound like something that doesn’t appeal to your spiritual life. But our invitation to you this summer is to just try it. Knowing that it will feel different. Knowing that it might take some getting use to. But also knowing that you will be encountering the living God and a new way. Adding more color, texture, shadowing, shape, and feel to the very real image of God working in you.