Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Voice of Burnt Offerings

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to review, rewind, rewrite, release, and renew. Today marks the Christian tradition of Lent. While there are many of us who have stepped off the paved road of our religious training and are exploring the well-trodden but dirt path of other spiritual masters, we are each blessed with the traditions of established faith. Each religion offers to us something of the deep sacred in the traditions of old. Many of them were inspired by deeply devoted, spiritually aware humans. Whether we call those humans God, saints, or simply enlightened individuals, each of these Masters, in their own way, cleared a part of the tangled jungle of everyday life so we might each travel our own Spiritual path. Lenten Season is purposeful and beautiful when understood in that light.

The purpose behind the ceremony of Lent is not necessarily to isolate ourselves from something we enjoy but rather, it is a time to make a commitment to our own lives. I know that I have been burdened in my own life with things from my past that have prevented me from embracing the sacredness of each day. To take a time, especially a time when many people pray and fast together, is to let go of that which limits or lives. There is a power in that practice. To step away from any spiritual tradition because we have become disillusioned with the dogma of that religion is sometimes equivalent to throwing the baby out with the bathwater! The practice of Lent, of letting go of our past or of some personally harmful behavior, is healing not only to us but to the world.

It is no mistake that Lent coincides with the transition from Winter that is dormant into the Spring that is sparked with new life. The seedling lying deep within the soil, cannot reach for the warmth of the sun in the darkness and cold of the Winter. Let Lent be your time to discover this equinoctial process within your own soul. Be willing to shed light upon the personal darkness of misunderstanding, fear, regret or anger; be willing to say no to the things that harm you or others...even if it is simply to give up criticism. I long to be renewed and find new energy and life within me so that I cannot simply live my life, but so my life can live me. I wish the same for everyone.

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