People are busy. The demands of work, exercise, team sports and family life, in general, does not leave much time for hobbies or spiritual practices. During the lockdown due to Covid-19, there was an initial panic of how the country would cope without our busy schedules. The country coped very well. The air became cleaner; the birds returned into the city, sounds from further away became audible again. It seems nature sighed a sigh of relief. And so did the people. We found a new rhythm, and it wasn’t always easy. However, the demands ‘of the office’ could be dealt with at home. Sure the children missed their mates, people died, and others wanted to get married. Life during lockdown was no ‘picnic’. It sure had its challenges.
On the other hand, people took a good look at their present lives and commitments. Some decided to retire, others to re-evaluate their spending of money and time. In the wake of what is happening in the world, things became relative. In general, people valued having time to themselves and enjoyed family life.
I wonder how many people re-engaged with a spiritual practice, whether in the form of art, prayer or meditation. Spiritual Disciplines include a wide variety of practices.
Writing is a tool for reflection and gaining insight, if you trust your inner wisdom to come out. As a child, I used to keep a diary, nothing earth-shattering, I was far too worried someone might find it. I still find journal writing a helpful tool to process life experiences and an excellent tool for self-care and discovery.
Henri Nouwen said:
“Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions to reflect on our experiences to give artistic expression to what we are living and to store significant events in our memories”.
Writing as a spiritual practice, is more than writing liturgy or prayers. It is a tool to gain insight and to develop intuition, or more precise to be attentive to the nudging of the Spirit.
Writing as a spiritual practice challenges me to be honest with myself, to question my beliefs and the teachings of the Church. The dogmas may be black and white. Life is not. Life is more than the grey-scales some see; there is an exuberance of colour and excitement.
Now that I have reached the age of maturity, I no longer want to look over my shoulder and worry what other people think. There is no need to hide behind the common held beliefs; it is time to explore and decipher what those beliefs and philosophies means to me.
Writing is a gift from God, like painting and all other creative expressions. The fascinating part is that when I put my fingers on the keyboard, I never know what rolls out of my fingers. Words can be tricky; they have a life of their own!
Whatever you write, be honest with yourself and trust your inner wisdom. The saying “Don’t ask if you are not prepared to hear the answer” might be right for some places, I think you might be surprised if you trust the writing process.
Another saying is: “When you ask the question, you are ready for the answer, (which is already within you)”. In many cases this will be true too. At times in our writing, we may surprise ourselves, we may have an inclination, but writing helps to process the quests of life.
There are many posts and articles on writing as a spiritual practice. If you want to explore this, you could start with writing about ‘how you are feeling today’, or ‘what is your deepest desire’. Reflect on what you need to feel at peace, or what you do when you feel at peace.