Spirituality, relationships, and contemplation
|Datu Hapao of the Manobo tribe in Binatonan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur.|
Spirituality in my life is manifested by my personal relationship with the Divine and my experience of these relationships.
I say relationships, because depending on my need and on the situation, I try or am led to experience the Divine in different forms of relationships.
There are times when I feel the need of a mother, a father, a lover, a comforter, a provider and I go to him/her and experience these qualities of the Divine. Or in the experience of the other, I try to recognize the Divine and to experience his/her magnanimity in these experiences.
Like in a cancer patient that I was blessed to encounter, I felt my relationship with the Divine as the comforter, the provider because despite the lack of the patient, in the absence of his family who were supposed to be his caregiver, the Divine manifested his presence in the people who helped him in the various stages of his treatment.
Or with the lumad mother where I experienced the Divine as the courageous and hopeful spirit that fuels the will to fight for what is right and just, this despite the many challenges that she had to face, like to personally witness at close range the killing of her father or their frequent evacuation from their land, and their settling in uncertain and unhealthy refugee camps.
These relationships and experiences must however be translated into action for me to own them as my spirituality. An empathic smile, a comforting ear, or at times there is just no need for me to say or do anything, my mere presence is the action itself, the expression of the experience.
Contemplation is at the center of this spirituality. It is the heart of the experience, but what is contemplation?
The experience of contemplation is not some mere abandonment of the outside and the going within in a solitary place; rather it is the ability, the willingness, to dive into the depths of the experience of the Divine, the willingness to go deep into the relationship.
The challenge is to do this in every interaction that I am blessed to experience, right at that moment without having to wait for a time for me to go to a solitary place to think of the experience.
Contemplation is active in that it is not separated from the experience itself; rather it is an element of the experience which brings depth to such experience.
Contemplation would grant me the wisdom as to the action to take, whether to say a comforting word, to express anger or frustration, or to just be there.
And that is the next element of my spirituality, action. But not just any action, the action must be transformative. Action that leads to my growing desire to be more like Christ, for me to let go of my biases and anxieties and allow myself to be transformed in the experience.
This is my spirituality, and enriched by the spirituality of the Carmelites, I could only say that I am blessed.