On Facebook this morning, my friend Elmdea posed an interesting question. “What is up with our tendency to be compulsively addicted to checking and rechecking our emails, our FB pages, etc?” As I reflected on this I was immediately drawn to a little ritual that happens in our house each morning. When either Scot or I check our emails and find nothing new, we utter the following words, “Nobody loves me.” Of course, we don’t really mean this……or do we?
Love, we have been programmed to believe, is something that is outside of us and a commodity to be bargained for. As such, we spend much of our human journey looking outside ourselves for validation, affirmation, love. I wonder if our “addiction” to email, etc. is a reflection of this compulsion. I know that everytime I get an email (even those unsolicitied pieces of SPAM), I feel just a little bit lighter, I feel like somebody out there knows who I am and maybe, just maybe….this somebody gives a damn.
This outward search for love is a symptom of the unhealed spiritual wound within us. We have forgotten that love is not a commodity to be bought, sold or bargained for, neither does it have to be earned, nor can it be denied. Love, in fact, is who we are. When we rest in the knowledge of this truth, we know peace, we experience contentment and our lives are filled with joy.
Now, what in the heck does this have to do with Contemplative Community, you may ask. To put it succinctly, remembering this truth about love is the very intention and purpose of contemplation. Contemplation is the fruit of diligent practice and when the grace occurs in which contemplation can be realized, we remember the truth of love. In contemplation, we find ourselves resting in that peace-filled place where we recall our Oneness with God and with one another in love. Love, we rediscover, is our very nature. Cultivating our spiritual practice, we find ourselves living more and more fully in the truth of this love and are less tempted to seek the truth of love outside of ourselves. Remembering the truth of this love then becomes the remedy to all of our human compulsions, addictions and unhealthy behaviors.
So, while I won’t be giving up my email, Facebook or internet subscriptions, I will be more mindful of my own temptation to indulge these activities at the expense of time that could be better spent elsewhere – in time with family, indulging creative endeavors, reading a good book, writing, meditating, spending time with friends, etc. Oh yea, and I might actually get the bills paid on time!