“The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”
~ Henri Nouwen
Painting by Salvador Dalì, Archaeological reminscence of Millet’s Angelus
“Freedom belongs to the core of the spiritual life; not just the freedom which releases us from forces that want to oppress us, but the freedom also to forgive others, to serve them, and to form a new bond of fellowship with them. In short, the freedom to love and to work for a free world.”
“The temptations of being relevant, spectacular, and powerful are real temptations and stay with us all of our lives. They are strong because they play directly on our desire to join others on the upwardly mobile road. But when we are able to recognize these temptations as seductive attempts to cling to the illusion of the false self, they can become instead invitations to claim our true self, which is hidden in God alone. When we find ourselves able to continue to serve our fellow human beings even when our lives remain the same, even when few people offer us praise, and even when we have little or no power, we come to know ourselves as God know us, as sons and daughters hidden in God’s love.”
“When you think you deserve, expect, or need something specific to happen, you are setting yourself up for constant unhappiness and a final inability to enjoy or at least allow what is actually going to happen. After a while, you find yourself resisting almost everything at some level to try to remain in total control. I think this pattern is entirely common and widespread.
Only when you give up your preoccupation with control will you be able to move with the divine flow. Without all the inner voices of resistance and control, it is amazing how much you can get done and not get tired. Giving up control is a school of union, compassion, and understanding. It is also a school for the final letting go that we call death. Practice giving up control early in life. You will be much happier and much closer to the truth, to the moment, and to God—none of which can be experienced when you presume you can be in control anyway.”
“Expansion never happens through greediness or pushing or striving. It happens through some combination of learning to relax where you are and, at the same time, keeping the possibility open that your capacity, my capacity, the capacity of all beings, is limitless. As we continue to relax where we are, our opening expands.”