Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Preparation for Transformation

I read the Pendle Hill Pamphlet Members One of Another: The Dynamics of Membership in Quaker Meeting by Thomas Gates a couple of days ago. In it, the author describes my condition of a year and a half ago that lead to my forming the "Motherhood and Spirituality" retreats, to my opening myself to deeper and more intimate awareness of God and to my desire for strengthening my Quaker identity.

The second paragraph expresses so well my experience of agitation and an awareness that something was happening to me, something beyond me that I did not understand. I was being readied for a change but I didn't know what or how, all I could do was to trust God and open myself to God's will. I had no idea what the feeling of discontent meant to me but my instinct was to reach out and connect with other spiritually aware mothers. Being a woman and a mother is integrally connected to my understanding of the Divine and so I sought out other women to help me find the path I seemed to be searching for.

I no longer have the feeling of agitation. I feel a deeper, more mature awareness of the Divine (on most days). I no longer feel like a spiritual adolescent. I still don't have any idea where I'm going or who I'm in the process of becoming; I don't know where this path is leading me, but I trust that God does have a plan for me and I trust that one day my purpose will be revealed to me. I'm sure that I have a lot more lessons to learn about obedience and letting go of my own will. My desires-ego-attachments still get in the way of my "living up to the Light" I currently have. I am hopeful, simply because I am more aware than I have ever been before of the Light and of my own obstacles. I know that I am on the path I am supposed to be on; God has put enough trail markers on the route (in the form of people, books, synchronicities, large old trees, songs, epiphanies, wonderful coincidences and warm streams of fresh air) that I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and I trust that there is Divine purpose.

"...Up to this point, we have been talking about what is conventional, comforting, secure. By contrast, what begins at this stage is challenging, uncomfortable, transforming. William James once said that for some, religion exists as a dull habit, while for others it is an acute fever. Embarking upon the stage of transformation involves just such a shift in perspective. What up to this point may have been peripheral-the dynamic relationship between individual, community, and God-now becomes central.

This transition may first come to our awareness through a vague feeling of discomfort, a sense that something is about to happen, or perhaps that something unknown is struggling to be born. Before, we have been seeking,
but now we are aware of being sought. Before, we have
been turning toward God, but now we sense God turning toward us. Before, we have depended on our own initiative, but now we are being asked to respond to God's initiative."
(italics mine)