Friday, April 29, 2011
In his book "Anam Cara" John O'Donohue says Celtic spirituality is more a matter of mindfulness than of will. Many spiritualities recommend methods and structures. This author says, "We should not force ourselves to change by hammering our lives into any predetermined shape. We do not need to operate according to the idea of a predetermined program or plan for our lives. Rather, we need to practice a new art of attention to the inner rhythm of our days and lives." This makes for a more flexible spirituality.
While my present relationship with God owes a lot to several structured spiritualities, I have also found myself through the years more and more willing to follow my heart. I have encouraged others to do the same when they found that a particular approach seemed no longer to be helpful. When I was no longer looking forward to prayer, to a particular form that I had been using, it turned out to be the way God had of helping me to move on to another kind of prayer.
Celtic spirituality seems even more flexible than this. O'Donohue says, "Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape." When I accept the conviction that the Spirit of Love envelopes and permeates my whole being, then I follow the promptings of that Spirit by paying attention to what my heart and soul are telling me. Spirituality then becomes a matter, not of wilfulness, but of mindfulness.