I am on my way down to visit the inner sanctuary. Everything about this day will be changed, altered, transformed because of this visit. Does that sound too dramatic, a bit soap-operaish? In fact, I can’t stress this point strongly enough.
Meister Eckhart said, “there is a place in the soul that neither time, nor space, nor no created thing can touch,” and John O’Donohue, the Celtic poet interpreted the truth by saying, “Your identity is not equivalent to your biography. And there’s a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.” This place is where I am just about to visit.
When I was sitting with several peers in ministry this week, those who come for spiritual direction, I was inviting them also to go down into that place in the soul where they are one with God, where there is no need to even speak, where all of our brokenness can be gathered up and brought into contact with that deeper wholeness. I am not just giving them advice. Advice is cheap. I am sharing what I experience as our deepest Source, the place the Quaker author Thomas Kelly speaks of: “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return,” (A Testament of Devotion, 1941).
In a frantic culture where capitalism is the god and constant productivity is our goal, the call to keep going down into the inner sanctuary, home of the Divine who dwells within us all, must seem like a joke. At the least, our culture would interpret this daily journey as a big waste of time.
But a contemplative is not just wasting time in selfish navel-gazing. A contemplative is going down into the inner sanctuary for daily sustenance, nourishment, what Jesus meant when he said, “I have food that you know not of.” A contemplative is also listening in the inner room for marching orders. How shall I face this overwhelming challenge? How shall I manage my vast insecurities? How shall I know whether to step to the right or the left?
So just before I hit the publish button for this little blog and practice the Presence which I so desperately need, can I say again, I am on my way down to visit the inner sanctuary. Everything about this day will be changed, altered, transformed because of this visit.
For more thoughts like this see Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture.