Our choosing to deal with feelings through spiritual endeavors takes us deeper than we’ve typically been taught. As St. Hesychios the Priest says, “Dispassion and humility lead to spiritual knowledge. Without them, no one can see God.” His point is, at least, uncomfortable. His words delve into things out of sync with how most of us see a withdrawn and emotionless life. I’ve begun learning to see those last words as terribly off the mark.
Dispassion, for me, has ceased being the absence of feelings. Now it is becoming a dissociation from my long practiced dysfunctional fashions of fitting experience and feelings together.
Humility has become a confidence seated within a constant unfolding of self coming with progressively discovering that God isn’t the one who’d pulled away.
Being rather a shedding of mutated understandings, dispassion has become a tilling, watering and nourishing of what our God embedded within me, in the first place. As mom and dad had taught me back on the ranch, I knew the literal need to sweat as I broke my back working beside dad. Our crops, cattle, hogs and dogs were better able to make it through the seasons because of what we did. Having, also, learned at the knees of my parents, teachers and all the kids I played and fought with how to live life. Now, I am having to shed most all of it.
Not because of each item being evil. Learning, in my 50 plus years, to see most of those things as pretty well on the mark, anyway, I am coming to see how mistaken I have been in my fashions of fitting those together! Too often, clients I dealt with in domestic violence groups lived out no connection between what they’d done and why they had been sentenced to see me. Feeling this point prodding at me, I am only now beginning to catch sight of how often what felt like God keeping a distance from me was really my keeping my back turned on that One regardless of what He did.
I am close to being shamed by how long it has taken to catch onto the jumbled nature of my own emotional life. After all, what had I done for nearly two decades before my surgeries? As a counselor, I knew a good share of his own emotional flaws. Practicing at owning into those flaws makes for a continual need to keep at working on those blemishes. Following one of two parts of the physical essence to my emotional life extracted I have spent nearly 12 years refashioning the whole thing again. But now, what has the Spirit shoved at me? Now, I’m beginning another adventure which makes the last two seem trivial.
Coming to see our common uses of feelings as a dysfunctional tangled mess is difficult enough. Meaning to catch onto how I, like the rest of us, keep my emotional eyes turned from God, even when I’m pretending to be looking at that One makes me quake at my core.