The spiritual life cannot be made suburban. It is always frontier, and we must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed. ~Howard Macey
This morning I’m reading in Ann Voskamp’s Blog where she recommends a new book Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption by Jeff Manion, and I think to myself, what a great thought.
As I’m studying how to hardwire happiness, some things begin to converge. You know it’s our feelings that make us human. Contentment is a feeling of well being.
I look at Ann Voskamp’s beautiful blog and see how her focus and delight in God are continually hardwiring contentment. She uses several modalities to savor and deepen the change. She has an incredible story.
Grand Experiments in Spirituality
I’m in a grand experiment in spirituality that isn’t in a book. I’m doing a month of Mindfulness with Leo Babauta that’s helping me to be intentional with being awake and aware in the present moment. I tend to rush off into my worries or work and go into a downward spiraling autopilot. Mindfulness helps me to center myself in God’s presence rather than my problems. It’s not an escape, but rather a working from a position of rest.
The Contemplative Gospel of John
I’m also reading John meditatively, Lectio Divina is the theological term.
John the Beloved is the Contemplative Gospel. He had years to soak into what Jesus had really done and said before he put it to pen. Just think about it. Who did Jesus choose to take care of his mother? His brothers? No, his heart was with John. When Jesus said, “Dear woman here is your son,” and to the disciple, “here is your mother.” Something deep happened to both of them. Mary lived with John the rest of her life.
John never calls attention to himself. His focus is always on Jesus, to reveal Jesus to the world. John is the bystander in the story, always pointing to Jesus. So The Gospel of John has some of the richest pearls and staggering concepts in the whole of Scripture.
My goal is not to over do it, but to integrate quick access to some good feelings into my neuro network. As it’s been said, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
We in the West have taken a cerebral approach to faith, and we’ve left out our emotions. But it’s always been our emotions that define our humanity. Our love, and compassion. Our heartfelt joy.
Enthusiasm is not contrary to reason. It is reason-on fire. Nothing great has ever been achieved without it. ~Nicky Gumbel
My experience is that mindful contentment lays the ground work for our enthusiasm to burst forth. It brings me to the springs of life that are bubbling and flowing deep inside me. It sweeps away the subterfuge and gives me access to the life of God that I need to live even a little bit of eternal life in this world.
Thank God for Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I want to be like John, resting his head on Jesus, content in the moment. I want to feel the burning, feeling heart of God. I want more of Jesus in more of me. Otherwise, I have nothing to give of eternal substance.
So these are the three tools:
- Practicing Mindful Contentment
- Practicing Hardwiring Happiness
- Contemplative Reading of the Gospel of John
- This deserves a practical look at… Here’s to the Journey!