The Call to Journey Inward and On
Sr Carmel Moore
For many years I have been meeting with hundreds of people who are on a spiritual journey and are pushing ahead to break the confines of their lives, their inner reality, and discover the ‘great unknown’ which beckons. The starting point for many is a crisis, either a sudden distressing event or a gradual increase of bewilderment with the ‘emptiness’ they experience. So they come to a meditation group seeking enlightenment, seeking a deeper reality.
For many the call to journey inward and on is a deep conviction, a drawing them into ‘mystery’, a sense of the Other whom they seek. The journey has a beginning but no end, as it leads into the limitless abyss many people call “God”. It is similar to how a religious vocation may have been perceived in earlier days.
Each form of life: the cloistered monastic life, the vowed life of active ‘religious’, the life of those in a family or single in the world – each has its benefits and its challenges, but for the 21st century the latter two will be the spiritual milieu for the great majority. One of the staples of the life known in recent decades as ‘the consecrated life’ has been community – and there is no doubt that the support of others is a great benefit. In the life lived ‘outside the walls’, community life will be understood in a different way. It will be the coming together of like-minded people at certain times to pray and to discuss how to keep alive the gift they have been given.
Take as example our recent Mediators’ Community Day. When over forty people gathered on a sunny Spring day there was an evident sense of joy amid many warm reunions. To share silence together, to listen to the story of God’s leading of one of our companions, to walk in contemplative awareness, and to enjoy each other’s company are precious to our group. Our guest speaker for the day, Donna Mulhearn, Pilgrim and Story-teller, lived up to her name. She held us in the palm of her hand as she talked about her radical life-change and her conviction that, through what she calls ‘ordinary courage’, we can all live an active life while we preserve our well-being by choosing times of contemplative restoration. These times may be a retreat or daily meditation or stargazing or bushwalking while seeking the beauty of the Divine. It was a talk founded on her whole-hearted response to the Spirit and her grounded common sense.