A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and Soul Care
Hi Everyone, I pray that you, even at this very moment are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak to your heart.
I also pray we all have begun to settle into this Holy season of Advent as we prepare ourselves, heart, soul, mind and body to celebrate and to experience the birth of Christ on Christmas day as we simultaneously wait for Christ’s second coming.
This year our focus is on what we are calling “The Slowing.” This week, in part three, we consider how a posture of “Beholding” is important to The Slowing.
The Slowing (Part Three)
I remember as a child living in Ocean Grove New Jersey that I would spend hours outside playing with my friends. I can remember slow weekend days when parents and grandparents would just sit on the front porch talking leisurely. I remember various gathering places where people met and spent time with one another; the church, Nagles Ice Cream Parlor, Pathway Market, the beach and the parks were always filled with people together, with one another, and rarely in a hurry. I remember Mrs. Ehlers, a wonderfully eccentric little old lady who today would likely be placed in a home. But then it seemed that the adults always had time to keep an eye out for her and make sure she was alright. I remember when we explored the woods, built forts, spent time getting to know one another. If we passed by someone on the street, grocery store, or wherever, even if we did not know them, we would never think of not looking at them and not saying hello, good morning, afternoon or evening. The doors in the neighborhood were never locked if someone was home. I think back and I remember sensing a respect for one another in the air. Even now, as I reminisce, I feel connected to those days, that place and the people. When did this change? When did we stop trusting one another? When did our neighbors become strangers? When did we stop thinking about the people around us? When did getting to know one another by spending leisurely time together become an inconvenience?
I think we have forgotten how to truly “Behold.” Let me explain. Today we hardly even look at one another. Our faces are always in some electronic device, as we rush from place to place. Our children are scheduled to the hilt, with little time to just hang out. Beholding and being go hand in hand. We have become so busy doing that we have forgotten how to just be. I think we can recover a large part of what has been lost by learning once again how to “Behold.” We must learn to behold ourselves, one another, creation, and God. And you cannot “Behold” in a rush. To Behold we must slow down and take things in. When we “Behold” all betweeness, all sense of separation disappears. The other is not seen as an object to dissect or exploit but as a life to be entered into, explored and to spend time with. To behold is to deeply acknowledge the being and the presence of the other so deeply that we become open to allowing the others presence to change us forever. To “Behold” is to be open to the sacrament of the present moment. To “Behold” means to slow down, even stop, and just be present to the presence of other people and all creation as we all live leisurely in the Presence of God, together for a time.
John the Baptist said as he watched Jesus walk by, “Behold here is the Lamb of God.” This was not simply a call to take a quick glance at Jesus and be on our way. It is call to Behold, slowdown, stop and allow that in which you are beholding to change you and become part of you. The same holds true as we behold our inner true selves, when we behold the image and likeness of God in other people, and behold all creation. We then find that we are all connected in community, physically and spiritually. And when we find ourselves mutually beholding it is a beautiful thing because we then become aware together that God is the source of the connection. This awareness then compels to behold God. In so doing we discover that we are, beholding the Presence of the Beholder who is eternally beholding us. Furthermore, we find that we begin to behold everything from the perspective of God, though the eyes of God, who is the only true Beholder. Our desire to behold is transformed into a deep reverence for all people, places, and things because we now see through the eyes of God, who is the Creator and Beholder all there is and ever will be. This is a place of perfect love and relationship, which can only be discovered when we slow down and recover a sense of mutual beholding in the midst of
If you have an article, poem, or thought that may be edifying to the human soul, please consider submitting it to “Awakening”, for publication in a future issue.
Coming in 2017
1. Introduction to the Enneagram:
a) Six hour, one day, seminar
b) 11 week course
Introduction to the Enneagram
This is an Eleven week (27.5 hour) course into the fantastic world of the Enneagram.
This class will include an in-depth look into all nine spaces as well as their subtypes, wings, triads and Holy ideas, with emphasis on its usefulness within the context of spiritual direction and self-care. Syllabus is now available; firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The Awakening Community Bible Study
Watch for Details
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