I was thinking the other day about the physical versus the spiritual. These are the two sides of all people that Paul in the bible says ‘war against each other’ causing conflict within. And I was thinking about how the physical is so easy to get in touch with compared to the spiritual, which at times feels like trying to catch the mist – you might bump into a tree but you’ll never bump into the mist! I came up with two analogies that I thought I would share.
The first analogy is that everything in the physical realm has a voice. Not literally of course, but everything in our busy, physical world shouts for our attention. Some things shout louder than others and which has the strongest voice will be different for each person. It may be our devices, television, work, sport, partying, the ‘stuff’ we own, the opinions of others, responsibilities, desires, etc; it all shouts for our attention. Some things may have only a quiet voice but even the quiet voices add up, and it all creates a cacophony of sound that is deafening. Being in this 21st century world, when we have so much and when there is so much going on, is like being in a crowded bar with music blaring, every person shouting to make themselves heard, glasses and cutlery clashing, people crammed in……..and you are trying to find a spot to quietly pray and meditate.
The second analogy is that each of these same things has a magnetic pull that draws us constantly so that we are being pulled in all directions at the same time. We become trapped and unable to move, unable to break free from what holds us.
Of course, the spiritual has a voice and a magnetic pull too, but so often this is drowned by the noise and pull of the world. The bible tells us that God speaks in a ‘still small voice’ so to hear Him, we need to be still and quiet too. But the world is so ‘noisy’!
If you follow me, you will know that I love to go backpacking, and one of the things I really like about it is the pure simplicity that that brings for a short period. You carry everything you NEED on your back, your house (tent), your bedroom (sleeping bag), your kitchen (camping stove), and you simply walk, eat, sleep, walk, eat, sleep, walk, eat, sleep, and so on until you reach your destination. It is a wonderful simplicity. And while you are away, you are, for a period, free and separated from the noise and magnetic pull of all the ‘stuff’ of our lives that deflects us and drowns out the spiritual; that so often drowns out God. For that period, you can hear the silence, and you are free to focus on what really matters – after all, the physical may last a lifetime, but the spiritual lasts for eternity!
The question is, can you simplify your every day life to reduce the noise and the magnetic pull of all the extraneous things that we think are so important, but that frankly don’t matter? Can you bring backpack simplicity into your normal life? If you can, if you can reduce the noise and pull of all that distracts you, you will find a far more rewarding experience waiting for you! As Hans Hofmann said……
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak”.
More accurately, if you reduce the noise of the unnecessary, you will be able to hear the voice of the necessary! It is then that you will be able to hear God!
Be blessed and thanks for reflecting with me.
(All pictures and words on this site are copyright of Terry Yarrow unless otherwise stated)