On A Metaphor of Amma Syncletica, a Desert Mother

The life of faith looks like a mother bird brooding her eggs and waiting expectantly for them to hatch.  For all we know, the mother bird has moments when it seems like nothing is happening.  There are moments when real boredom sets in and the temptation to leave the eggs and do something more interesting arises.  (Mary C. Earle; The Desert Mothers, Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness, Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, NY, 2007, pg 22)

This week with all the snow and my inability to get out and about has reminded me of Amma Syncletica’s story.  Here I am “stuck” in the house and brooding about when this stuff will melt.  Amma Syncletica would tell me this is an opportunity to sit and listen for a word from God and I’m sure she would say quit wasting your opportunities!

Two of the most frequently asked questions about spiritual practices are “how do I quiet my mind and how do I stop fidgeting?  These two questions are as old as meditation itself and all spiritual practices, and the only answer I’ve ever heard for either of them is to “there is no right way to do this except practice, keep doing them until you discover for yourself that which draws you into your deepest being.”  My problem with this answer is it’s so vague, it could mean anything, but I also know that it is true and right.  The only way to become proficient at any Spiritual Practice is to “practice” that’s why it’s called a practice.

In the last 4 days I have sat and quieted my mind and stilled my heart but suddenly I am remembering something I have to do, only I can’t because I can’t get to where I need to be.  Such moments in our lives are sources of frustration and are filled with “have to’s” and need to’s.”  I have been, we have been, given the opportunity to slow down and listen, for that quiet word of the Spirit being whispered to us every day, but too busy to listen for, rather than the lists in our heads.

Yes being still is a problem, especially when you have an active family, or a job that provides our families with the things we use to survive.  If you only take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to sit and stare out the window at the white wonderland, over a cup of steaming coffee or tea, letting the days troubles take care of themselves for a few moments, you will find you are more centered within and able to cope.  Don’t worry about mental intrusions, acknowledge them and let them go, let the stillness of the winter’s day, enter into your life for just a moment.  It might take a few days, and for some of us a few weeks, to get to that still point, but when you do you may just hear the whisper of the Spirit.

Peace and Blessings to you all

©Ruth Jewell, January 20, 2012

4 thoughts on “On A Metaphor of Amma Syncletica, a Desert Mother

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