Home Forums Noticings… 190529 – The Elusive Spirit

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    May 29, 2019

    You can’t force it. That’s what I’ve noticed today. I tried noticing something spectacular. I wanted to share something deep, and spiritual, and moving. But every time I started to write I hit a dead end after a couple of sentences. It’s tough to write a thing called Noticings when you can’t seem to notice anything! So I went for a walk. It was a lovely walk. Billie, my dog, certainly enjoyed it. We heard birds chirping, smelled fresh cut grass, felt the breeze blowing. Surely strolling through God’s magnificent creation would help me notice something – anything. Nope. Nada.

    I thought of a cartoon that makes me chuckle. It’s a picture of a woman seated in a classic yoga pose, but she has a furrowed brow. The caption reads, “Come on inner peace. I haven’t got all day!” You can’t force it. Some days it just ain’t happening. And the harder you try the more frustrated you get. The proper spiritual advice in this situation is to stop trying so hard and just go on with your day. Sooner or later you’ll feel it again, and you’ll start to notice things. That’s good advice.

    Trying to notice something is kind of like trying to explain the idea of the Holy Spirit. One of my favourite descriptions of the Holy Spirit is to say that it is elusive. Elusive. You can talk about it, but you can’t really say anything definitive. You can feel it, but you can’t really say how. You can be moved by it, but you can’t really explain what that means. Try it for yourself. Try to complete this sentence: The Holy Spirit is…
    See! It’s hard, isn’t it! It’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall! (By the way, if you come up with something really good please share it with me!)

    Sometimes we use the language of “catching” the Spirit. Sounds easy, right? But it’s elusive! It’s not that the Spirit is hiding and doesn’t want to be caught (whatever that means). Theologically I’d even argue that you can’t catch something that you already have within you. But if it’s within me then why can’t I grab it? Like I said, it’s elusive. And like I said, we already know exactly how to catch it. The secret is to be still. Just be still, and breathe, and stop trying so hard and it will emerge. You can’t force it. Of course that’s true. But I have to write Noticings – and I haven’t got all day!

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