Self Creation

Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Congregational Care, Senior Minister Blog

The last few weeks have been more chaotic than typical. We moved out of our house to have some small rehab projects done. And though we were lavishly and lovingly cared for by local relatives who took us in and fed us and didn’t complain when the stay extended an extra week, still, life felt chaotic and unsettling. And I didn’t feel quite myself, or at least the best version of myself.

In the middle of this chaos, I listened to an interview that Ezra Klein did with award-winning novelist George Saunders. They discussed the similarities of meditation and writing. Both require quieting the monkey mind. The mind jumps around from thing to thing. Saunders said, “The mind is busy all the time. And what it’s really doing is it’s basically creating yourself, it’s creating you, this illusory thing called you. And when your thoughts die down, then that self creation gets a little less energetic. And in my experience, something else happens or something else rises up in that space that you have created.” He goes on to describe how he edits his writing over many days and at the end of editing, he realizes he likes the person who wrote the last draft better than the person who wrote the first draft. The later drafts are more vivid, more true, less deceptive, smarter, funnier, kinder.

I thought this process was a beautiful description of why we gather in faith communities as well. We come to church to become a better version of ourselves. To let something else rise up in that space that is more vivid, true, kind, less deceptive. That happened for me last night when I moderated the panel that included a local Imam, a Sikh neuroscientist, a Baptist pastor originally from Haiti, and a composer from California whose parents are Catholic and Muslim and whose husband is Hindu. I left that conversation a better version of myself. More open. More available to the peace that is possible on this planet and more committed to trying to understand my brothers and sisters who have walked a unique and often painful journey.

Grace and Peace,

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