Hurry is a great enemy of the spiritual life.
I know that I am approaching spiritual death when there are no non-purposive, non goal-oriented activities in my day. When liesure is absent. When I race through workouts, fail to really taste my food, am unmoved by the sight of a sunrise or sunset or, conversely, by human pain. When I lose my ability to savor each word of the Sacred Text, or get lost in the Divine Presence.
It is then that I begin to lose touch with God, with the world around me, and with my own heart–my joys, my loves, my heartaches, my dreams, my hopes, my aspirations, my sense of what makes me “tick.” Everything fades into a gray mist.
But we are called to “taste and see…” Faith, like life… life, like faith… is sensate. And senses dull when we live like addicts rather than like lovers.
Slowing down is a primary spiritual discipline.
I must slow down long enough to be able to drink in, really experience, the world around me. I must see and really hear the images and sounds of my kids engaged in their endless play, and let my heart swell with gratitude that they are young enough to still crave my attention. I must read the Bible with fresh eyes, each time like the first time, getting caught up in the peculiar glory and wonder of this odd and beautiful text. I must focus my heart on tasting each moment of communion with the Divine Presence… open my eyes wide enough, staring long enough, to have my breath taken away by the sight of the sunrise… the brilliant reds, oranges, yellows, painted across the sky, bellowing the Glory. I must savor each morsel of food, drink my beer like each one was the first and possibly the last, pray each word like a shoot slowly growing out of the soil of Infinite Concern, kiss my wife as though eternity hung on the moment, as though Time itself had ceased her endless race, sun standing still.
Only then will I find myself coming into harmony with the song and dance all around me, the energy coming not from within but from without, my “self” merely caught up in the celebration.
Only in leisure will my soul come alive.