Thomas Merton writes that “there is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality.” 1
When I first read this statement, I wasn’t sure what he meant. But as I’ve pondered it this week, the beauty of it has become clear.
Living in reality, in the here and now, is central to a spiritual life in union with Christ.
Christ is not outside our existence, He is living, active, and present in the world we live in.
To live life in Christ. therefore, is to live a life truly present today, alive in Him.
To live life in Christ is to see Jesus in all things, in all people, and in all events.
Jesus Christ is the all in all. 2
“Jesus lived the ordinary life of the men of His time, in order to sanctify the ordinary lives of men of all time. If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives.” 3 writes Merton.
The question then is, how are we to escape from unreality, and to truly live in reality? How are we to be fully alive?
Waking up to Reality
I’m learning what this means myself. I’m learning how to live in reality, to see Christ in everything, and therefore, to be truly alive in Him. Here are a four ways to discover reality flooded and filled with Jesus.
1. See Jesus in all
Be active to see Jesus in all people. When you walk on the street, see Jesus in those you pass by. As you work your job, see Jesus in your co-workers. Find Jesus in the lost, the hurting, the broken, and the mundane. 4 See Jesus in all.
This is a challenge for me. At times, I can be a social media addict. But for the last few months I’ve intentionally tried to stay away from all technology for at least the first hour of waking up. I find that I am less reactionary and more proactive and aware of reality when I do this. When I simply be not always do, I find reality. Unplug, therefore, and wake up to reality all around you.
3. Pay attention
Pay attention to what’s happening. Notice details. Sit outside and listen to the birds. The world is a wonderful place filled with awe inspiring moments of astonishment if you will just sit and wait for them. There is beauty everywhere. There are hidden treasures of delight in all things, just waiting to be discovered. Pay attention.
4. Savor silence
Enjoy silents. Feel the simplicity of life. The rhythm of your breathing, the beating of your heart, and the cool breeze of the day. Sit and just be. There’s no hurry. There’s nothing more important than the simple solitude of sitting alone with God. God is in the silence. Savor silence.
What does unreality mean to you? How can you find reality? Leave me your thoughts below!
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