Practicing Spirituality

I used to think that spiritual practices – to be really meaningful – had to have had a long or even ancient history, and that they were developed by monks or priests, or spiritual leaders. Wise guru's. I don’t know why I thought this, but there it is.

Then I read in a book, a few months back, of a woman who attended a catholic evening prayer session using rosaries. At the end of praying with the rosaries, the man leading the session asked that they each silently consider

'If God were to ask you a question what would it be'?

That idea stuck with me and at first it seemed a little counter intuitive, in a way. We think that God has all the answers. We ask God questions. Why would God ask us a question?

This has become a spiritual practice for me and I have come to realize of course God doesn’t need my answer – but I do.

So after a bit of centering prayer/silence and inviting God to speak into me, it really is about just listening and wondering.

What would God's question be?

At times it is hard, and nothing comes to mind. It can take some time, or when a question does come I think – that can't be it. That's not a question God would ask. I need to have faith in the question and give it some time. There are no rules – God may ask

What are you afraid of?

Why do you make other things a priority?

What do you want from me?

A lot like Lectio Divina, this practice can be wonderfully revealing. Where in Lectio Divina you read a piece of scripture, and allow a word or passage or image to speak to you, to jump out and stick with you, here you allow God's question to come to mind.

Then ask yourself -

Why this question? What does it say about my life, right now?

Is this question calling me to make a change? To think more about what I do or how I understand things?

What would my prayer be in response to the question?

It may be a question that you go on through your day wondering about. In fact the question may stick with you much longer than that.

One thing I love about this practice is I don’t need anything to do it. I don’t need a special place, or a reading, or a journal. No icons or tools.

I was walking the dyke in Pitt Meadows the other day. After settling into the walk, the pace, the beauty of the day, and I had given Thanks for all that felt like blessing to me, I began to try and focus.

God, what would your question be for me today. As is often the case, it took a lot of time, but eventually I heard it.

Why are you making things so hard – making them so    difficult?

And as usual for me, my immediate thought was, "that's not my question". "And anyway, I'm not making things hard – they just are hard!"

The next 30 minutes of my walk were wonderful. In the company of a Loving and Holy presence, I pondered through the parts of my life, the ones that I had been troubled with, and frustrated by, and the overall feelings of not quite getting it right. I felt like I had to dig deeper and pull together some tools I had been learning, and I had to own up to the fact that it is true. I do make things harder than they need to be, and the weight of it all began to shed.

Not all my concerns are solved. I'm not anticipating a free and picnic-type of life from now on, but I love the conversation I had, and I love that I was startled into seeing the simplicity of what my life can be.

Lord, what would your question be for me today?

Maybe saints and sages from our ancient past did consider this. I don’t know. I know that once in a while, an idea jumps out and speaks to my soul and when I pay attention and I incorporate it into a spiritual practice, I can be awesomely blessed by a new and meaningful way to be present and close to God.

Lianne Eriksson