Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
I continue my Lenten series at Patheos this week on A Different Kind of Fast. This week I explore fasting from multitasking and embracing attention to a single thing at a time.
It can be so tempting to think, that in our busy lives multitasking will somehow make us more efficient and productive. We bemoan not having more hours in the day, but the hours we do have our attention is scattered, always trying to keep up. We spread our gaze between so many demands that we may get many things done, but none of it is nourishing.
St. Benedict wisely wrote 1500 years ago, that we are called to always be beginners in the spiritual life. The desert is a place of new beginnings; it is where Jesus began his ministry. In the desert, we are confronted with ourselves, naked and without defenses, called again and again to bring back all of our broken and denied parts into wholeness.
The monastic cell was a central concept in the spirituality of the desert mothers and fathers. The outer cell is really a metaphor for the inner cell, a symbol of the deep soul work we are called to, to become fully awake. It is the place where we come into full presence with ourselves and all of our inner voices, emotions, and challenges and are called to not abandon ourselves in the process through distraction or numbing. It is also the place where we encounter God deep in our own hearts.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner