The Sacred Dark invited me and I said, yes. Like so many of the imperfect characters in Christian scriptures, I had to enter in and deepen. How many of us refuse the invitation in order to belong? And how many of us leave places because we entered in and became other?
After spending nine years in the Dark Night of the Soul, I visited various spiritual communities, even participated in worship with what some, in my tradition, might consider taboo. Nevertheless, my curiosity was stronger than my individualism or anxiety.
In most communities, there was an intention to open to people who were other, such as people of color, jews, LBGTQ or evangelicals, while quietly dealing with inner prejudices that invariably came out sideways toward the ones they were trying to include. Perhaps I readily saw this, because all of a sudden, I was no longer a respected leader, but other.
At first, I was disappointed that more people did not embrace my intention to cross dividing lines. As I went from place to place; however, I found deep gratitude for those who looked for ways to connect, rather than dismissing the whole of me because of my faith tradition or white skin.
Going deeper requires tough inner work. My tradition of origin often substitutes inner work with biblical knowledge and doing good for other people, both of which can keep us living in the external.
How do you side step personal transformation?
Many people today are trying to be inclusive; but we all carry prejudices. Only when we find home in the Sacred within, are we truly free to love.
Frequently, when we open to diversity, we are met with disapproval or outright disdain. If we can refrain from taking interactions too personally and instead see through to the other person’s pain, we may be able to move forward.
In the end, my exploration begged a question. Should I give up on all people of a race, gender preference, background or tradition because of the disfunction or harshness of a few?
And then I remembered: each of us is other to someone.
Only you know what your heart can handle at the present. That being said, what if your abundance tomorrow depends on your openness toward people who are other than you, today?
What prompted this post? Several people have asked me what I believe. I no longer find that an interesting question. After spending 65 years trying to live out the first Bible verse I ever learned, “God is love,” if my life, does not give you a satisfying answer, perhaps I am other.