Selection #2 From “Discovering the Essence: How To Build a Spiritual Practice When Your Religion is Falling Apart

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This is one of the lessons of deconstruction.  I once believed there was a formula.  I once believed there was a list of things that you said or believed that would significantly change difficult times.  

Now, I know that you get through it.  Pain is part of the process.  It is hard.  There might be some paths that are easier than others.  But there are no paths that are easy.  There is no black-and-white prescription that bypasses the difficult things.  

Those list of pat responses, the party line…  they had their value to insiders.   It just isn’t in the words themselves.   When I was hurting before, and somebody provided the “official” response to the kind of pain or hurt I was experiencing, it reminded us both that we belonged to that group.  It was like performing a secret handshake, or saying the scout’s motto.  When I believed that group was enough for me, this reminder was sometimes welcome.

As we walk away from the group, the words they say can seem hurtful and shallow.  We wonder why they were ever comforting.  It might be helpful to remind ourselves: the comfort was never truly about the words themselves.  It was always about what those words signified.  

Exercise #5: A Welcoming Prayer

  1. Create a safe, quiet environment for yourself.  Turn down your phone and consider lighting a candle.
  2. Breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  3. Take a mental inventory of where you are, right now.  List the feelings you are experiencing.  Do your best to engage this with a non-judgemental attitude.  Your feelings are neither good nor bad.  They simply are.  
  4. Choose the feeling which seems to be the most impactful.  Think, or say “Welcome ___________”  (E.G. ‘Welcome, Fear.  Welcome, sadness.  Welcome, anxiety.  Etc.)
  5. Inhale.  Exhale.  
  6. Say, or think “I let go of my desire for security and survival.’
  7. Inhale.  Exhale.
  8. Say, or think, ‘I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.’
  9. Breathe again.
  10. Say, or think ‘I let go of my desire for power and control.’
  11. Breathe.
  12. Say, or think, ‘I let go of my desire to change the situation.’
  13. If you wish, you can repeat this process to welcome as many feelings as you are  carrying.

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