We hear birdsong. We see flowers. Right?
Here is a Springtime spiritual exercise: Take a walk in Nature. Work to see the sounds of birds and hear the colors and forms of flowers. Journal about your experience or write a poem or do a painting. This is a spiritual paradox. New imaginations will form in your soul when you reverse your senses.
You may need first deepen your ordinary experience of seeing light and hearing sound in an earthly way before you can begin to awaken the spiritual activity of hearing light and seeing sound. Meditate on the birdsong. Meditate on the rose red petal. That is wonderful preparation for spiritual exercise as it sharpens your attention and strengthens your intention.
When I took a training in flower essences with David Dalton, he taught us to experience the “signature of the plant.” This was about learning to listen to what we were seeing. I didn’t do very well then, but today as I write this inspiration, I “get it.” I receive the Light! When you hear what you see and see what you hear, life, the outer life of nature and the inner life of the soul reveal their secrets to you.
Do you see this as an Easter Season exercise? Doesn’t Easter ask us to experience reversals and opposites? Do we see everlasting life in listening to death? If we listen deeply to suffering, do we see joy glimmer?
Spiritual exercises are not meditations that calm and center. Please understand that most spiritual exercises require us to be both calm and centered enough to take up something that challenges our ordinary and ordered ways, truths and life experience. So meditation is preparation for spiritual exercises.
Spiritual exercises take us beyond our daily reality, our familiar narratives and perceptions, and our meditative comforts. Spiritual exercises take us on the soul’s rollercoaster and up becomes down, in becomes out, moment becomes eternity. Angels and demons are everywhere and look identical (mirror images). Nothing is ever the same again and everything is constant.
What I just wrote and you just read gives me spiritual confidence. Play with ironies and paradoxes on your own. Sink into them. They will give you inner freedom and outer love.
For years, I have loved and shared Rudolf Steiner’s ironic quote, “Wisdom is crystalized suffering.” The first time I read it 25 years ago, I felt the light of truth singing in my soul. Only recently when a young friend asked me what makes this true and what is “crystalizing” did I have to move my feeling into thinking and take my higher knowing into a language of understanding. This expanded my feeling about my own sufferings, the hard work of crystalizing and the blessing of wisdom.
Crystalizing is paying fierce, dynamic, acute and nuanced attention. It’s applying intensely pressured reverence to what you wish never happened to find its essential necessity. It’s about crawling on your soul’s knees over the surfaces and along the edges, finding the opposites and the centers and bathing in the light buried t in the darkest dark … an Easter Imagination in the Season of “Receiving the Light.”
Now, I must add, not every lifetime do we need to crystalize suffering or to do spiritual exercises. For some of us, this life is just about breathing, loving, laughing, crying, watching screen, doing laundry. For some it is just about reading holy books, for others it may be self-help. For others it is being an early childhood teacher or a gardener or an engineer.
I also want to add a note for those who don’t meditate. If you experienced trauma in your childhood, you may have played dead. You may have stilled all life and avoided all memory in order to survive. The stilling of your body, your thinking, your feeling and your willing through meditation may/will trigger an unconscious sense of your trauma, so meditation becomes something that doesn’t feel safe. A gut level discomfort and dis-ease comes up. You can’t let go. It also means that you learned to enter the still state a long time ago. Do not negate yourself because you can’t meditate. I went through this. If you want to know more about my experience or talk about your own, email me.