Sitting In It
by Amanda Petersen
Ever have one of those weeks?
What does this bring to mind when someone asks you that? Does your mind go to a week filled with upset and trouble? Does your posture and mood change the moment you get a chance to share? How does one sit in the “I wish it were different” and practice “This is the way it is”?
The key word is to sit in it. Again the contemplative journey invites the person to slow down, not solve or ease the pain right away. Instead, the invitation is to get one’s bearings, own where they are, live in the tension. It is so easy to find ways of numbing out. In fact, once one is aware, sometimes all that can be done is to admit they are numbing out right now. Learning to sit in that tension of “I’m not where I want to be right now and I want to immediately get up and fix it” is a deep, deep spiritual practice. So is listening to the questions that come up from that staying still. I think the biggest gift in learning to sit with an imperfect life is, instead of running from it or fighting against it, one can use their energy to be free and learn from it. In a sense, “here you are again dissatisfaction, tell me about yourself today.”
Teresa of Avila spoke of reptiles one must deal with when entering the Interior Castle. Reptiles are the pieces of life, like dissatisfaction, that distract from the Love and Enoughness of God. At first it feels like they are everywhere, yet once on the journey for a while, they only pop up occasionally, not to distract, but to remind the journeyer to listen to their life. Something is calling them to pay attention to the tension of some distraction.
When dissatisfaction or the reality of an imperfect life becomes more of a truth than a problem, or when one gets comfortable in the uncomfortable, then true movement towards Love and Enoughness can happen. There are so many things in the world to create a sense of dissatisfaction that there will be plenty of opportunities to practice. The next time you find yourself in “one of those” weeks or feeling dissatisfied, try just sitting in the uncomfortable and listening to the deeper questions. Let me know what you notice.
As always, you may turn to one of our spiritual directors and coaches to help you hear the deeper invitation.