Not There Yet, but Close?

Forest

The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! John 4,14b, NRSV

Grateful to the Creator leading me in the ways of ever deepening living in Spirit. Connecting to the Source of Life within is the greatest goal you can have. But also very often the most challenging.

Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries that only make us identify too much with our egos, instead of identifying with Christ living within. The Christ that wants to become our lives.

Rilke supposedly said, the only journey is the journey within. Since I believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, I would like to rephrase, the journey within is the deeper one. It is the journey we must take if we are to grow, in our second half of life (check out Rohr’s book, Falling Upwards).

So am I there yet? At times my experience is of a great energy and life flowing from my innermost. Other times my mind’s thinking and my feelings of fear and sorrow can be blockages to the flow. So, we must be patient and keep walking in the life that has been set ahead of us, a life filled with evergrowing richness and thankfulness.

Be blessed!

Finding Hidden Treasures (or Embracing Your Shadow)

big tree and blue sky

Growing up means, among other things, that we suppress and hide the things about ourselves that scare us or do not seem to be good enough, likeable or acceptable, for example to our parents, to other people of significance in our lives or to our social environment. This could for example be emotions like anger and joy or it could be our creativity. The things we suppress, hide and later forget so we often cannot see them in ourselves, create our shadow. These aspects are then easily projected unto others in our daily life.

It is helpful to notice what we admire, sometimes envy or even what irritates and angers us the most about other people or the world. Then we can, through reflection, contemplation and silence, find courage and wisdom to realize that what creates the admiration or even irritation is really something deeply buried within our own hearts.

Jesus talked about how easily we see faults in others instead of in ourselves (Matt. 7:5). How often do we not criticize others when instead we should have set aside some time for silence and contemplation.

It often takes years, yes even a lifetime, to fully embrace our shadow. But still, by realizing what we are actually doing when we are projecting our shadow (gifts, emotions, personality traits) upon others, we find a way to start. When we truly realize the need to look within we find a new beginning.

It is important not to think that shadow and evil are the same, because they truly are not. By actually finding and embracing our shadow we may find hidden treasures. What this process, often painfully, can do, is to lead us to greater acceptance, freedom and joy. Eventually we can let go of the hazzle it is to be critical of others when we more and more embrace our own shortcomings. At the same time we find new meaning and joy through rediscovering hidden gifts that were given to us at the beginning of our life journey.

Suggested reading: If you would like to learn more about shadow work reading books by Robert A. Johnson, like “Inner Gold” and “Owning Your Own Shadow” could be a place to start.

Feel free to leave comments below if you like to comment or discuss this topic.

Revised October 14th, 2018

New Beginnings

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…He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds (Isaiah 53:5)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the wounded healer and by His wounds we are healed. But what does that really mean?

In my Protestant Christian upbringing I grew up with the understanding of Jesus as paying the price for our sins and at times we were close to thinking of this as a transaction: Our sin, the blood of Jesus, we go free. I still accept and receive this as a truth. At the same time I think the typical protestant (evangelical) preaching about this can become very technical and may leave us void of any true and transformational experience.

Now my understanding of the suffering Christ has developed and deepened. Yes, he died for our sins. But at the same time he suffered and died to show us a way through our sin and suffering. This understanding has become an important and necessary step in my faith, and it’s about taking life and Jesus seriously.

Not only is Jesus the wounded healer (check out Henri Nouwen’s great book: The Wounded Healer), but he shows us how we can grow and walk through our own suffering, and even bring healing and forgiveness to this world through our own woundedness. By God’s grace we can all become wounded healers by following his example.

Jesus told his disciples to follow him. I believe that the Creator calls us to be and to become truly human by being honest and truthful when it comes to the experience of sin and suffering. Jesus and the cross invite us to accept suffering and “dying” as a an important way of healing in our lives.

Now I not only believe that Jesus saved us from sin and suffering, but also that he shows us a way to deal with the suffering that’s part of every human’s life. For example in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus in prayer shows us that he wanted to avoid suffering when asking the Father to take the suffering away. But at the same time he accepted the suffering and surrendered to the will of God. The surrender to God happened again at the cross, when Jesus in his final words before dying let go of his spirit.

One important thing Jesus shows us by his example is that we should not run away, deny or avoid suffering and pain that may be necessary in our lives, no matter how painful it is. He shows us a way to live with wounds, truth, acceptance and most importantly a way of surrender to the Creator amist the suffering.

He does not only show us a way in and through suffering, but also that by following this road of surrender we will find new life. Jesus rose from the dead! This means we can go through the valleys in our lives knowing and trusting that there is a way through that leads to new life and new beginnings. Again and again.

I am not so focused on heaven being a particular place after death. I believe the example of Jesus shows us how to live our lives now and how we also will experience breakthroughs and freedom many times throughout our lives. By accepting and growing through the suffering, we can bring healing to others through our example since then our lives point to the greatest example of them all, the example of Jesus.

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

 

 

 

 

The Gaze of God is Love!

God rays

I believe that the greatest truth that can be revealed to man is that he is God’s beloved! No matter who we are and where we are coming from His gaze upon us is love! This is a love that trancends our understanding, it is pure grace and a gift.

When I, as a young student, truly realized that the love described in 1.Corinthians 13 was a description of the nature of God I felt joy! Since then life has led me through bright days, but also dark valleys of suffering and pain, yes, even what some would call dark nights of the soul. But time and time again after growing through the pain I have been led back to God’s gaze, which is always a gaze of love.

Why not contemplate this in silence and rest today knowing that God’s gaze upon you is love and that you are His beloved?

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In Silence Love Speaks

Friendship in Silence

Just think about it: Why is silence in a way both difficult and attractive at the same time? We say that together with a true friend we don’t have to say anything. We can be together in silence and feel good about it, yes, even nourished.

Sometimes the only thing we really need is silence. Words can become a nuisance and a disturbance. We are often not in lack of words, but more often in lack of silence and rest.

In silence we may experience acceptance. And freedom. In silence we can just be, be human beings. Being in silence together with someone can be a road to truth, and our true identity. In silence together we can find rest…and peace.

Is it not so that in silence we can also find our innermost soul? And there we can find God, the Creator of the Universe, and also our true Friend.

Why do we so often escape or struggle with silence, and still we long for it? Could it be that we don’t truly  dare to believe in the Creator’s love for us? Could it also be that by escaping silence we escape “listening” to the true Word, and then we’re actually escaping the love we hunger for?

Do you hear His calling?

Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while  (Mark 6, 31a)

 

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

The Walk Already Prepared

Walking shoes

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10)

In earlier posts I have written quite a bit about surrender and I have meant to convey that a surrender to silence is also a surrender to God. Since God is something and someone beyond your thoughts and feelings, and someone spiritually living deep within you, a surrender to silence is a way to tune into and “listen” to the life of God in you.

It may sound so easy, but as many of you know, being silent is for most people very difficult. Not only is it difficult to actually sit down, stop doing anything and stop talking to become just quiet. It is also difficult to really experience true silence since our minds chatter non stop.

So, in order to tune into God’s life and the walk he has planned for us, we need to get serious about surrender and serious about silence. My opinion is that through an experience of non-action and silence outside and also within we may be able to connect to our deeper ground of being, which actually is God’s Spirit within us (or you might say, God’s image in us).

Through my novice experience surrender to complete silence is not so much about stopping your thoughts, something very few people are able to do for any significant time, but it is really more about how you deal with or live with your chattering mind. It is about truly accepting, but not dwelling on, the thoughts.

I actually believe Christians can learn something from mindfulness practitioners here, when it comes to how to tackle the monkey mind. One example is to acknowledge thoughts as they appear, but then visualize them as leaves floating away upon a creek, one bye one, then disappearing. I believe that by doing this until it almost becomes a routine, thoughts become less powerful and as a result the mind also becomes quieter.

This choice of silence is not a war on thoughts, but actually an acceptance of thoughts, and at the same time it is a choosing to give less power to them. If you want more information with a Christian perspective on how to become at peace with your thoughts and praying contemplatively you may read books by Thomas Keating (ex. The Way of Christian Contemplation).

Later I will write about a book I am now only mentioning. This is a book, that can be read no matter your spiritual or religious beliefs, that truly changed my life by altering the way I related to my mind. The book is called “The Unthethered Soul” and written by Michael A. Singer. More about this in a later post.

For now the message is: By choosing and practicing silence we may be able to connect deeper. By connecting deeper and getting in touch with the often very quiet or soft-speaking Spirit in our innermost being we will able to live from the inside out. We will be walking into the world coming from a different place so to speak, we become more and more able to walk a walk already divinely prepared. Our lives become a response to God’s life in us!

If you found that this blog post was somewhat inspiring and would like to be notified when further posts are out, please send your email address to: sveinboerge@hotmail.com and I will reply with an invitation link. Accepting the invitation involves registering for a WordPress account, but I hope you will not think of that as too much of an obstacle (maybe you will even discover other blogs that are worth following).

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

 

 

 

 

Surrender

Surrender

I surrender my mind

I surrender my feelings

I surrender my heart

I surrender to The Only One

 

I surrender my morning

I surrender my day

I surrender my night

I surrender to The One who gave me life

 

I surrender my thoughts

I surrender my sorrow, my joy

I surrender my innermost being

I surrender to The One living within

 

I surrender now

I surrender now

I surrender now

Now in silence

Let The River flow

 

Falling Upward and Living Water!

Living Water

I’ve read some very interesting books lately. I will be writing about some of them in posts to come.

One of my favourite books now is the book “Falling Upward – A Spirituality for the two Halves of Life” written by Richard Rohr, a Fransciscan priest. This book has opened my eyes to a better understanding of two different states we can be in as human beings wandering this earth.

Basically, I think a main message in the book is this: In the first half of life you need to build your ego and in a way become secure and grounded in this ego. The second half of life is about going deeper than this ego and starting to figure out more about your truest identity.

Another aspect here, as I understand Rohr, is that the person in the first half of life is more dualistic and black-and-white in his thinking. He may also be more focused on orthodoxy and dogma, which makes his faith often more exclusive. Later in life, by going through some processes that involve contemplation and also suffering, the person becomes less preoccupied with dogma, orthodoxy and also more inclusive when it comes to where truth is found. You really need to read the book to get the full understanding of what I am (/Rohr is) trying to say here. If you happen to be in your thirties or older I really recommend giving the book a chance.

The title, I think, refers to the process you have to go through to spiritually cross over to the second half of life, which involves a kind of falling. Partly this falling may involve quite a bit of suffering and emotional pain. But, in the end you will find that the road downward is actually the way up! As I see it, this can also be understood in light of what Jesus said about dying to your own self, which in my opinion can mean (among other things) that your ego has “to die” or lose importance, in order for a new and true identity (God’s image in us) to grow forth (see f.ex. Luke 9,23 and Gal. 2,20).

I truly believe that by preparing for and going through this tranformational process in life, by the grace of God, we can find a way to connect more fully to the living water that Jesus talked about to the Samarian woman, and finally find a deeper and more (ever-)lasting joy!

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Surrender to Silence

trees and light

At times you realize that your chattering mind makes you very talkative. Words, words, and words fill up the space between yourself and other people. Then you realize that these words are what they are, just a lot of words! You feel an energy that makes you keep talking and this whole process just makes you fed up with yourself. You tire from taking up so much space. The ego is truly showing its face. It wants to be something important in this world.

Now you may realize it is time to sit down and quiet yourself. It is time to choose silence and follow the energy inward. It is time again to realize that you (the ego) is not important and again it has to go. It is time to stop talking and start listening and looking inward. As the German poet Rilke said The only journey is the journey within.

Are you realizing now that you are talking too much and your ego is taking up too much space? Jesus said we have to die from ourselves to find our (true) selves. Your ego has to die for you to find truth, true life and existence.

It may be that you are ready for silence. You may listen to and say these words of  the Psalmist, when you sit down and surrender to silence:

Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be…