Second Step

It was an early start as I needed to leave for Queenstown by 7.00 am . This morning's readings included a verse I was force fed when a new young Christian in a Church which believed that learning Bible verses by heart was the best way for people to become what God intended them to be.

I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19b-20).

I am amazed the difference 40 years makes to how I read the verse, even as it still conjures in me a deep recognition of truth.

But it is some words from Jean Malcolm's Facebook page which stay with me through the day.
The great Anglican spiritual teacher Evelyn Underhill once defined mysticism as the art of bringing the self into union with reality. The mystic—the truly spiritual person—is one who embraces that challenge. And that means facing reality, not fleeing it, and all of its hard edges

I follow nervous tourists, driving their campervans through the narrow gorges on the wrong side of the road - to them, and, occasionally, to us. Queenstown is busy and entrepreneurial and energetic. People wander across roads and there is nowhere to park. I sit with Chris and discuss the church's immediate and long term future. He too is busy and entrepreneurial and energetic.
In Roxburgh more people turn out to meet me than I was expecting.  We meet in the hall beside the pretty little stone church. They have all put so much into this place. We discuss the church's present and past. And I guess, it's immediate future.  We have tea and muffins and biscuits and cheese.
I drive 7 1/2 hours today.

At 5.00 pm it is time for my afternoon meditation but I am in the hill country near Lawrence following yet another nervous tourist. I pull into the car park beside the old  Beaumont Bridge, where the  Millennium track begins and turn off the engine.

My morning meditation is, after all this time, a well established habit and it is so much part of my daily routine I don't have to exert myself very much to do it. The afternoon sit is another matter. My schedule is so unpredictably varied that I am seldom in the same place at the same time on any given day, and my afternoon practice is patchy at best. But hey! This is Lent, and I'm putting in a special effort in the late afternoon, so I stop to meditate in my car. Which I don't find easy, as the angle of the seat is all wrong. It's important to have your back straight when meditating. The Easterners say this is because  spiritual energy flows from chakra to chakra along the conduit of spine and the spine should be straight and perpendicular to facilitate the flow. I don't know what any of that means really, let alone whether it is true or not, but it does seem to work. The reason I kneel on a prayer stool is because I have found it the best and most comfortable way to keep my back straight for a reasonable length of time.  So here I sit. My knees are too high. The air is too stuffy. My back isn't straight. A enormous refrigerated truck parks beside me for a bit. But I manage some silence, and drive home through the twilight behind still more nervous tourists.


Kathryn said…
It is amazing how the same verses can be read many times and yet a different slant on the meaning comes through. Maybe it is because of our state of mind at the time, or the state of the heart, whether we are really prepared beforehand to hear what God has to say.