“For a spiritual life is simply a life in which all that we do comes from the centre, where we are anchored in God. . . .” -The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill
This line jumped off the page for me during my morning reflection time earlier this week. And it has haunted me all week. I began to wonder if all that I do comes from the centre, from that place where I am securely anchored in God. Sometimes we think that God is “out there” but Christian mystics like Underhill remind us that this holy presence of God is also within our own souls and that part of the challenge is attending to this inner life.
Often times, our decisions and habits come not from our “centre, where we are anchored in God” but from our frayed edges. The clutter of worry, stress, anxiety and fear creeps in uninvited. The lawn needs to be mowed. A teenager huffs away and slams the door. Granddad needs help filing quarterly taxes. As we rush around with life’s practical realities we cannot even remember, let alone attend to, the centre. All we can think about is getting through the day.
Underhill wonders if the reason we experience life’s conflicts and difficulties so keenly is because we have attempted to separate our spiritual life from our practical life. When really it’s all the same life. If our daily lives are frantic and worry filled, then our spiritual life will be also. Or as she puts it “The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan: there are few soundproof partitions in it.”
I long for the simplicity that Underhill describes. Each day we are bombarded by so many options: Facebook, Instagram, television, poetry, a walk in the park, a conversation with a neighbor. What would empower us to pay closer attention to the spirit of God alive within us and around us? The goal I think is not become more “spiritual” but to become more whole, the person that we were each created to be.