Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 8, 2015
Mindful, Nourished Soul
Today’s chapter by Stephen Levine stretched my way of thinking. Yes, I usually think in terms of a Judeo-Christian mindset. However, this reading had a definite Eastern, even Buddhist view on mindfulness and the soul. Not my usual way of thinking, at all.
But, he also speaks of nourishing the soul. No matter what background each individual comes from, no matter what belief structure each one espouses, practically everyone acknowledges that the soul needs to be nourished. Strengthened, and encouraged.
A universal breakdown of that nourished, strengthened soul happens when distrust happens. I don’t care if people have Jewish beliefs, Christian understanding, Buddhist mindset, or whatever else is there. Mr. Levine tells us more: “We don’t trust ourselves, so we stay rooted in the easy and convenient. We eliminate as much pain as we can from our lives and end up painted into a corner we call safety. Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take.” 
This last statement reminds me of the chaplain internship where I served, from 2002 to 2003. I was attending seminary full-time, but I also worked at the retirement center 20 hours per week. The director of chaplaincy was awesome. A wonderful administrator, he knew how to delegate authority. More than that, he knew enough not to hand-hold us chaplain interns. He turned us loose in the retirement center, with very little safety net. He took calculated risks, and gently encouraged us to take risks, too.
Further words of wisdom from Mr. Levine: “It’s important in everyday life to work with kindness. Learn patience. When you stand in lines or are at a red light, soften your belly. Open your body and your mind to the subtler levels of experience, letting go of your attempt to control, to be right, not worrying about appearances, not trying to be safe.” 
So, here I am reminded of how I am to be, and how I am not to be. Yes—kind, yes—patient. Those attributes are good and positive. No—to safety. In other words, no fix, manage or control.
Yes, these are all attributes I need to allow myself to work on. Get better at. God willing, I shall. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? One step at a time. One day at a time.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 50.
 Ibid, 51.