“Love is patient.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
It is a new year in the Christian Church calendar, and a new season is coming for all. We are practicing Advent at our house these days, the season of preparation. We are attempting to sweep out the dust and junk to make room for pretty trees and bright lights; we are readying the house for wonder and magic, renewal, peace, hope, and joy. The kids ask, loudly and with great passion, “Why do we have to clean before we decorate?!” Living long enough, we realize it just doesn’t feel quite right to decorate over dirt. So, insted of getting overwhelmed, we take our time, picking up, putting away, wiping this, and shining that. We have weeks ahead of us, and not everything must be completed in a day.
All this physical work is the manifestation of the spiritual discipline going on inside, successes and failures. The kiddos roll their eyes at me when I talk about sweeping out our hearts. “Sweep out our hearts!” I exclaim as I sweep through the house. “Sweep out the anger! the whinning and pouting! the self-pity!” Of course, I am exclaiming these things first to myself. See, the children are a miraculous aid in undestanding, and in the daily practice of loving and being loved. Without them I am nothing, and my spiritual practices lie dormant at best, absent at worst, devoured by self-centeredness. But with the little ones at my feet I am mindful of them and the presence of God.
Advent is four weeks long. I tell the children we will clean out our heart of all the negative stuff that has collected in our absent-minded way of moving through the days, and each week we will decorate our hearts with virtue. My husband has chosen Patience, Understanding, Kindness, and Honesty as the qualities our family will cultivate for Christmas, gifts we will give to each other, and so to Christ.
Certainly, as Christians and Yogis we are called to grow these goodnesses in our hearts and spread them all year, daily living mindfully, living and practicing the presence of God. But seasons help us focus. So today, join us in practicing patience and long-suffering. Its well is deep and full.
Happy Advent, Happy Practicing!
The Catholic Yogi
“The word mindfulness is not used [much] in Christian and Jewish circles because mindfulness is a Buddhist word. But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is to be aware of everything you do every day. Mindfulness is a kind of light that shines upon all your thoughts, all your feelings, all your actions and all your words. Mindfulness is the Buddha. Mindfulness is the equivalent of the Holy Spirit, the energy of God.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh