More on the desert theme which is central to Lent.
The original desert experience was that of the Hebrew slaves who escaped from Egypt. But Egypt has always been understood as more than just a place. Indeed the word for “Egypt” in Hebrew – Mitzraim – means “a narrow place.” So “going out from Egypt” can mean going from a narrow place where we are stuck, from repeating patterns of behaviour, from a sense of ourselves as weak or defective, to a wider sense, a place where we are free. The desert is a symbol for the space to face what holds us back, which we often think cannot be changed and will keep us stuck forever:
The only permanent thing about our behaviour patterns
is our belief that they are so
The start of the season of Lent – an interior simplification and going into the desert. Seeing what is essential through a letting go of some of the distractions and non-essentials in our lives:
I like to ask one of the questions I have found most useful in setting intentions and making choices: Where does the energy want to go now? I ask this question and sit with the sense of the life-force within. . . . following my breath, letting go of my to-do lists and all the things I think I “should” get to. . . .and every time- if I am willing – I get a sense of where the energy that is manifest in this one small human life, is drawn. This isn’t a passive exercise – it’s not “just” about “going with the flow.” It’s discerning where our essential being is drawn, what holds meaning and mystery for us now, and then coming into alignment with that flow to take actions, make choices, offer what we are to the world
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
photo tiia monto
Our instinct is to run away from the difficult moments in our life,
when in fact they may be sent to teach us and help us grow:
Medicine and illness heal one another
The whole world is medicine
Yunmen, 862 – 949
photo CGP grey
Research by Carol Dweck at Stanford University says that it is better if we develop a “growth mindset” which sees challenges and mistakes as opportunities to grow and does not give up when things go wrong. A learning organization is one that is prepared to make mistakes. And, as someone said to me yesterday, even the challenge of a person’s mood can be an occasion to learn:
If I had a message to my contemporaries it is surely this: Be anything you like…. but at all costs avoid one thing: success . . .
If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live.
If you have learned only how to be a success,
your life has probably been wasted
Close some doors today.
Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance,
but simply because they lead you nowhere
Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now.
The conditions are always impossible