Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Open

I took the month of September off from all social media and blogging, from all writing of any kind, from reading any non-fiction, from even thinking about my writing projects, and from participating in any theological and intellectual conversations. The first week was confusing, as I struggled to know what to do with my brain. It was like completely changing your diet, say from going from carnivore to vegetarian. But at some point in the second week of my brain fast, I started to like the taste of vegetables.

I started getting up in the morning with a glorious feeling of emptiness, like I had freed parts of my life to see, taste, hear, and experience different things. The word "open" kept recurring, but instead of thinking about what openness is, I let my body and my heart feel open. Just saying the word open would cause me to breathe a deep sigh, to let the tension fall out of my neck and shoulders, and to almost feel like a hole had opened inside of my stomach. But it wasn't the feeling of lack, it was a feeling of presence. It was a presence that didn't require complex theological thought or even many words. I began to realize how much my constantly pounding brain can cause me to be closed to what is right in my midst. How I can have an experience or a "sense" of something true and then immediately shelter myself off from it by analyzing it and dissecting it and theologizing it.

In September, when I had moments of illumination or the warmth of the heart touched by the Holy Spirit, I would open myself fully to it and bask in it. I relished it and wouldn't let it go until it decided to go. And it stayed a lot longer than I thought it would.