Lenten Linkages

Turrell Skyspace Sequence-2The topic of conversation amongst many Christians this week is “what did you give up for Lent?“. An eavesdropper will occasionally interrupt the complex weaving of conditions surrounding various abstinence commitments with a simple “why are you doing this again?” I know they are thinking that we might have lost the plot with some of the intricate formulas we create -anyone heard of anything like ‘no red wine on week nights, except Tuesdays’, ‘no shouting at the kids in the car going to and from school’, ‘no chocolate at work in the afternoon, unless we’re in a boring workshop’ …. You get the idea? Crazy, right?

There are many reasons given for all this: preparation for Easter, renewal of spiritual practices, penitence, etc, you can look them up — but what is the real reason at a personal level? And how do you connect these clunky contracts with spiritual progress?

It seems that the best we can hope for, is some new change in our lifestyles to truly ‘stick’ with us after Lent. The worst might be a crankier than usual person to live around for 40+ days. That is unless, we can integrate something into our routines that connect the physical experience with a spiritual experience – possibly spiritual growth. The only way I know how to attempt this is through meditation and journaling.

There’s that theme of meditation again. Can’t get away from it lately. Anything that involves “doing” and “action” is easy for me. Anything that involves what appears to be “stillness” and “inactivity” make me twitchy, restless, dissatisfied, impatient …. Therefore the Lenten discipline I am taking on this year is meditation.

It’s Day 2. How am I doing? All I can say is that I’m doing something. Nothing to brag about! (notice how I have to use the word ‘do’ again?) Day 1 I lasted 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Day 2 a group of us went to the 6:16am sunrise sequence at the Turrell Skyspace (must see if you live in Houston!). I had to sit there for 40 minutes. I did it, but my mind was racing all over the place, like a chicken with its head cut off.

Tomorrow is Day 3. More to come …


About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
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10 Responses to Lenten Linkages

  1. kathrynbturner says:

    Excellent!!! Meditation seems to be the word of the moment for me as well. Will need to check out Turrel Skyspace the next time I have some free time in Houston!

  2. kathrynbturner says:

    Excellent, Lynn! Meditation is the word of the moment for me as well. Will check out Turrell Skyspace the next time I have free time in Houston.

  3. Elisa says:

    great visual there… your head as a headless chicken!
    Thanks for suggesting we go to skyspace, it was lovely. I got a little restless too, I freely admit.

  4. Jenella Smith says:

    I call it monkey mind! Not to insult the monkey like we do the chicken, ha. Then I remember each sitting is the beginning. Keep going dear friend. The path is wide open and what you can’t see is the mystery.

  5. suzetteharrel says:

    Lynn — this is a great Lenten practice. The “monkey brain” is a very normal, common response to the quiet. When I sit in centering prayer for 20-30 minutes, my brain is racing all over the place, practically all the time. When I notice the racing, I try and come back to a word or phrase, and that word or phrase almost becomes like a mantra, because as soon as I stop saying the word, the monkey brain is back.

    Your life will be changed because of this time spent in quiet, although you will most likely see the transformation, the fruit, outside the time of meditation. I trust that you will get glimpses in the midst of your ordinary days that you are being transformed.

    • lynnmorstead says:

      I hear this from everyone who has experience the “other side”. It’s rather like the runners high. It takes some stick-to-it-iveness to ever experience it.

      • suzetteharrel says:

        Yeah, and unlike the runner’s high, the high will rarely happen in the moment, at least that’s been my experience. You will have moments when you notice that you respond differently to someone or something than you would have typically done in the past. I’ve had several of these glimpses in the last few days — one I think you would especially enjoy — yesterday I reacted with laughter, instead of disgust, to the young (oh, so very young) cashier’s innocent question to me at the neighborhood IGA, “Do we get a discount today?” Today being Senior 10% discount day. I assured him that I would not be receiving a discount any time soon.

  6. Rhonda says:

    I was planning to ask you when you “liked” Turrell Skyspace — “Sunrise” or “Sunset”? Now I know. I had heard sunrise was equally beautiful!

    • lynnmorstead says:

      Rhonda – I’ve done both and they are very different, and very beautiful. I liked the deeper quiet of the morning. It was more reflective, sparsely attended, and ended with a sense of anticipation and energy – the beginning of a new day!

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