Adventures that are Free

The Peddler
"A LONG TIME AGO, up in the mountains, there lived an old peddler. This was back in the days before 7-Elevens and convenience stores. Back in those days, if you wanted to buy something, you had to get it from a peddler or do without. "

   So begins our Adventures in Soulmaking. Our entire journey on this planet is about soulmaking. Our Infinite Creator put us here in this garden for the purpose of growing our souls. I describe this growth process using the appreciations of both Jungian psychology and spiritual direction in my book titled, Adventures in Soulmaking: Stories and Principles of Spiritual Formation and Depth Psychology.  
   Over the coming year you will be able to read Adventures in Soulmaking for free as I post it a chapter at a time. I hope you will enjoy it and profit from it on your spiritual walk. Please find the first chapter in pdf format using the link  HERE.
   In chapter 1, I tell the story of The Peddler. Like Dorothy following the yellow brick road, the peddler spirals far from home then back around to his own back yard in order to discover the treasure that he always had. This is the story of our lives. We are not in Kansas anymore even though the mundane features of our lives suggest otherwise. We are on a spiritual quest. Adventures in Soulmaking will give you eyes to see this expedition. 
   Join me, and feel free to write or call with your challenges, observations, or feedback using the blog or the contact information on the HOME page.  

The Eye-Opening Power of Paradox

       We dislike paradox, ambiguity, contradiction. Grey is far less acceptable than black or white. When we debate, argue or contemplate something we want to arrive at clear, certain answers, solutions and plans.
       Many times life simply doesn’t work that way. Things are more complicated, complex, and even chaotic. Which of the following examples can you relate to?:

• Self-interest AND the common good.
Many businesses are seeing the interconnectivity between people, planet, and profit … have seen the imperative to act responsibly to ensure the sustainability of society, communities, the environment in their own interests. They are discovering that in the process profits improve. 

• Compassion AND Power (soft/hard)
Neuroscientist Keltner’s extensive research exposes our limiting beliefs about power. He shows clearly how compassion and selflessness enable influence – both direct and indirect, and invoke followership. Compassion produces positive power. (2) 2500 years ago Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism, taught that “Leaders whose position will endure are those who are the most compassionate. Compassion is a mysterious intellectual force that allows reality to act on the mind in a deeply affecting way; and in turn the mind may act upon reality”.

• Separate AND together (hate/love)
Two turbulent, fiercely independent Mexican artists, Diego Rivera and Frido Kahlo, whose on/off, on/off relationship saw them marrying each other twice, deeply loved each other. They lived in adjoining studio-houses in San Angel, Mexico City. The architect designed a home made up of two separate concrete blocks linked by a narrow bridge that joins the rooftops. A red block represented Diego, a blue one Frida. The bridge that united them was the bond of love.

• Lose AND Win
When we switch away from feeding ego, chasing after position, power, possessions - and learn to be content with less, learn to focus on and give to others, then our self-esteem and happiness is boosted. We give AND receive.

• Myth AND Reality
When someone presents as a literal truth what you believe is a myth, this can be fertile ground for argument. Novelist, philosopher and theologian C. S. Lewis refers to the life of Christ as a myth “which is also a fact”.

From the Michael Card song, God’s Own Fool:

For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable, 
And come be a fool as well 

       The part of our mind that makes sense of and integrates paradox is the synthetic mind that the Bible calls the "nous.”  Nous is a Greek work that is usually translated “spiritual mind” in the Bible. It operates like this:

       There once was a man who lived at the foot of a great mountain situated in a land of perpetual darkness.  It was this man's life's work to gain an idea of the true shape of the mountain, but, as the darkness was perpetual, he could only do so by feeling it out, and he couldn't go over much territory in that way:  the formation of his mental picture of the mountain was consequently a very slow process.  Often, he forgot some detail that he had felt out and often he misinterpreted some feature because he could only feel it, not see it.  
       Then, one day, he was feeling his way about the mountain when a storm arose.  Rain fell and wind howled, but, most important, there was a huge flash of lightning that illuminated the entire mountain.  It only lasted an instant, but that was all the man needed to comprehend the true shape and size of the mountain.  He was so transported with joy that he did not even hear the thunder, nor heed the wind, nor mind the drenching rain, for he had seen the mountain in its totality, and from then on, he knew that all that he was able to feel, all that he had already felt, in his explorations by touch would have meaning because of that brief flash and would confirm what the lightning had revealed.

       Our proverbial man on the mountain had a flash of nous insight. He had an awakening of sorts. He saw things from a more complete or holistic perspective.
       I recently undertook inner healing work with a directee. This man struggled his whole life with the inability to feel loved or safe with God. When we took him back in his memories to the earliest time associated to that feeling of lacking safety, he realized that when he was born he did not even feel safe. His family was tense. His father suffered Asperger’s syndrome, leaving the father empathically impaired. The religious models of the world that arose out of the father’s limitations and foisted upon my directee’s young soul were painfully narrow and over-controlled. I undertook to help my directee see things from a higher perspective. 
       A source of both scientific data and dramatic story available to our generation like none before is the vast library of reports and research of near death experiences. In such experience, the veil between the transcendent world of spirit and everyday world of life and suffering is lifted. People come back with a wide array of visions, some of which agree with our common Christian notions and some which challenge us to look further and see beyond our more limited imaginings.
       My directee read these stories and pondered the research. Gradually his fear subsided. His suffering from earliest childhood no longer seemed to him to be the highest truth. He discerned something greater, and that greater reality transcended all that he had gone through. The lightning of the near death visions exposed a vaster and more beautiful vista than his fearfulness could have imagined, truncated as it was by its shuttered windows and tightly locked doors. He could not immediately put this new understanding all into words, but he now was free to open the doors and windows to let in the fresh air after the rain. Gradually, God’s ongoing radiance broke him out of the hard shell that the father and he created. My directee’s nous was awakened. 

  The man on the mountain would keep exploring, of course, for one never tires of finding new confirmations of the truth that one knows already.  And he would occasionally experience other brief visions in the occasional lightning flash, which would only spur him onward to seeking more confirmation of the truth so revealed.  And then, one day, there would be a flash which would not fade back into darkness, and the mountain would be forever before his gaze in all its beauty and majesty.

       In Adventures in Soulmaking, I devote a chapter to describing the nous. Then the rest of the book illustrates the action and experiences arising from God through this spiritual part of the mind. We explore stories of Jesus alive in the nous of souls today. Finally, we see how the nous can be kept open to God and lead to greater joy in the journey of faith. 
       The newly re-edited e-book will be available on for a limited time at the price of $2.99 in the month of February. Be on the lookout for an email alerting you to this special sale. 

Simple Reflections on Retirement

         My career as a psychiatrist is 98% complete. I chose this year to lay down my pills and needles and regular working hours and yield those tasks to younger men and women. I take my empathy, listening, and attunement with me in my ongoing role as spiritual director. Is there anything profound that can be said at such a time as this?

         First, I was surprised to read on a “Happy Retirement” card from my grandchildren that I have been practicing medicine for 39 years. It didn’t seem like it was possible, but I counted. They were correct. I have been doctoring for 39 years. Amazing how time passes!

         Second, it’s nice to be remembered. Many thank-you’s to my gracious children for throwing me an unexpected and festive retirement party. Who’d of thought? I didn’t even know that people had such things as retirement parties.

         Finally, let me say it has been a privilege to be a servant to others through the practice of medicine and psychiatry. Let this be a lesson to all who will hear. Doing your daily duties because you enjoy them and because you wish to serve is much more valuable than merely amassing wealth. I doubt anyone reading this needs the reminder, but I’ll send the message to the universe as well. As Jesus taught us, “whosoever would be first among you, shall be servant of all.”

         Speaking of sending messages to the universe, I give thanks to the Infinite Creator who got me through the hoops required prior to doctoring and through the snares and pitfalls of doctoring without too many deep wounds. What bruises were received, were not wasted. They, instead, were used surgically to progress me on that path we call the spiritual journey by a loving hand.

         I hope you feel the same at the end of your career. If your trajectory is not taking you toward that end, may you find the grace to change, grow, triumph, or endure with patience and even joy. Such things are worthy of discussion in spiritual direction. Come, and let’s discuss them, if you wish.


Simplicity in Retirement & Life

         Contemplative practice has fostered simplicity of heart within me for decades. Part of this simplicity is what Richard Rohr describes as a “second naiveté.”

Our first naiveté is that of childhood where things seem simple and one assumes things are merely as they appear on the surface. Our models of the world are simple and we do not appreciate that people and reality are multi-layered and complex.

If one takes seriously their college education, such naiveté is seriously challenged.  Add to that, the deep dive into the human experience of suffering which every doctor must experience, then life becomes complex and emotionally challenging indeed.

Take that complexity one step deeper by looking into dark depths of human brokenness and inhumanity by working with severe trauma victims, and the bulwarks of the first naiveté stand no chance of enduring. Yet, strangely, the gifts given me by walking with the various biblical Job’s toward recovery from trauma, has enriched my life forever. If God cannot address the deep questions that arise from the lives of such people, then God is too small. I found that He is large enough, but His help came not in the ways that I might have first imagined.

As time passed, my faith became both very traditional and very progressive. I do not fit in with either the liberals or the conservatives. Instead, I have learned to live comfortably, even joyfully, with paradox.  In doing so, I found a much larger and even happier garden. I thoroughly believe in Adam and Eve now, but on about ten different levels. I am both complex and simple—orthodox, yet more. It is enough to both boggle the mind yet quiet the heart.

Through the practice of psychiatry and spiritual direction, I was steadily moved toward larger viewpoints and greater inclusivity in my ideas, a deeper understanding of people, and a more honest sense of the Ways of God. God always became bigger and led me to larger places. If God could include and allow the experiences and ideas I was challenged with, then so could I. If God asked me to love unconditionally and universally, then it was clear that God operated in the same way.

This process of transformation was gradual, and the realizations that came with it were not “either-or”; they were great big both-and realizations. None of it happened without much meditation, discernment struggles, study, and conversation. Understanding soul development enabled me to appreciate a bigger picture. I felt free to transcend my old ways of thought and limitations precisely because I knew that God was always bigger than I had yet become. I found spiritual direction training and practice helping me to do this. I honor both my teachers and the souls who have allowed me to walk with them on their own journeys to the broader, deeper places.

As Richard Rohr so aptly states,

It seems we all begin in naiveté and eventually return to a “second naiveté” or simplicity, whether willingly or on our deathbed. This blessed simplicity is calm, knowing, patient, inclusive, and self-forgetful. It helps us move beyond anger, alienation, and ignorance. I believe this is the very goal of mature adulthood and mature religion.       

Troy Caldwell

PS: Some may have noted bad links on my “Spirituality Teachings” section of my web site in the past. Retirement has let me fix that. Try it out here:

A Surprise Found within our Longing

O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you;
   my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you,
   as in a barren and dry land where there is no water.
Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place,
   that I might behold your power and your glory.
For your loving-kindness is better than life itself;
   my lips shall give you praise.
So will I bless you as long as I live
   and lift up my hands in your Name.
My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness,
   and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed,
   and meditate on you in the night watches.

                                                                        Psalm 63

     Where does the writer of this psalm get his joyful praise? He tells us in his last phrase. “When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the night watches.”  This whole psalm reminds me so much of the experience of the Cloud of Unknowing contemplation. Like so many of our prayers, the Cloud of Unknowing prayer starts with a felt need. “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you as in a barren and dry land where there is no water.”  The Cloud of Unknowing urges us to gently direct that naked longing, our unhidden need, to God who is imagined as a cloud above us. Many a soul discovers that this longing to know the great Unknowable, though it starts with a seeming absence, it grows into a great Glory as God ffills the heart with God's Self.

     C.S. Lewis called it “Joy.”

     It is difficult to ffind word strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton's 'enormous bliss' comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?...Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse... withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased... In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else... The quality common to the three experiences... is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy. … I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever… exchange it for all the pleasures in the world.

                                                                                                         Surprised by Joy

     The great Unknowable, infinite One who dwells beyond all categories and beyond all images and concepts, chooses to make himself known through His energies—the energies of love and longing. And when we feel that flood from beyond our little ego, we say with the psalmist, “Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory. For your loving-kindness is better than life itself; my lips shall give you praise.”

     The psalm goes on to suggest what is the effect of entering the presence of God in this way. “My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches.”

     The contentment of the soul spoken of here is an entry into a deep parasympathetic peace of the heart that becomes to us like a food—marrow and fatness. It is also like drink—a river of living water. Over time, this food and drink transforms us as we include it in the wider practices of our discipleship—ethical living, church community life, works of service, and spiritual study. We carry the peace of heart with us into the day, and it transforms our relationships and all that we do. Father Thomas Keating offers several means of extending the practice of contemplative prayer into everyday life. These are very worth considering. Click the link to read further.

     May you know His supernal joy this day. You may unexpectedly ffind it through your need and longing.

Waiting for a Second Coming

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a well-loved passage about the time of Messiah.  Here are my reflections for Advent on this verse. For all you lectio divina fans, I was drawn to the image of the shoot growing out of a cut off stump, and the rest flowed from there. 

11:1 ¶ There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

    We are all like a shoot from the stump of Jesse, David’s father. We are cut down but not destroyed. We weep, and sorrow in this broken world. We grieve that the world as a Peaceable Kingdom has not yet arrived on planet Earth. 
    Yet we will, with the power inspired by Messiah’s first coming and the promise of the Second coming, await that great Day, even as Mary and Joseph awaited Jesus’ birth and we now await Christmas—our symbol of light arising from longest darkness. 

    When Messiah came and when he comes again…

11:2 the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear.
 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

    How hidden are the machinations of governments and ungodly souls—even our own souls sometimes! How we need One who can see behind the masks and lies and get to the very heart of matters! No more political theater or hidden motives! No more spin doctoring! Won’t that be a switch!
    When Jesus was here, he saw deep into our hearts and the hearts of those who loved the hierarchy. In fact, they killed him for it. It’s dangerous to see life deeply, looking into our souls and into the deviousness of hierarchical systems. Do we have that courage today? 

    As we wait for the fully manifested Peaceable Kingdom on Earth, Lord, let at least our hearts, be like Isaiah described. An bring peace to the world in these dangerous times.

 5 Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
 6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
 7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
 8 The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea

Artwork by Nancy Conant @

Artwork by Nancy Conant @

Adventuresome Announcement

The Voyage of Saint Brendan the Navigator and Book Announcement

No, Brendan is not holding my newly released book, Adventures in Soulmaking. But you can. Please read on. 

Click image to purchase.

Click image to purchase.

The earliest extant version of The Voyage of Saint Brendan was recorded around AD 900. There are over 100 manuscripts of the story across Europe, as well as many additional translations. The Voyage of Saint Brendan is a Christian semi-allegorical narrative that  also contains descriptions of natural phenomena and fantastical events and places, appealing to a broad populace.  It is a true epic soulmaking adventure. 

On the Kerry coast of Ireland, Brendan the Navigator built a boat of woven branches, covered it with hides tanned in oak bark softened with butter, and set up a mast and a sail. He and a small group of monks fasted for forty days, and after a prayer upon the shore, embarked in the name of the Trinity. The account is characterized by many wonderful harrowing adventures and contains references to sea monsters and hell where “great demons threw down lumps of fiery slag from an island with rivers of gold fire” and “great crystal pillars.” Many now believe these to be references to the volcanic activity around Iceland, and to icebergs, suggesting that at least some of Brendan’s adventures actually happened.

My favorite band, Iona, sings a haunting melody in honor of Brendan’s allegorical saga.  You can listen to it here: IONA - Brendan's Voyage / Brendan's Return . I hope you will. 

Both Brendan’s tale and my more modest Adventures in Soulmaking convey the profound processes of soul and faith development that we undergo on the spiritual journey. Adventures in Soulmaking stories are perhaps not as Hollywood as Brendan’s, but they have the advantage of having actually happened in your day and age. I say “actually happened”, because my wife, the storyteller, insists that all good stores are true. Some of them, however, actually happened. So both Brendan’s and my stories are true in different ways. Adventures in Soulmaking's clinical and spiritual tales link modern human struggle with the ancient wisdom of spiritual formation tradition, the Bible, and the more recent wisdom of Jungian psychology--still pretty heady stuff, even if not full-on Hollywood. Like with Brenden’s tale, there are a few monsters in Adventures in Soulmaking. See page 57. It is also filled with the monstrous love of God. Come and see. 

Adventures in Soulmaking: Stories and Principles of Spiritual Formation and Depth Psychology is now available in a print version and the updated Kindle version. The print version can be purchased by clicking here: 
Print Version

For the Kindle version, click here: 
The Kindle version is free for members of KindleUnlimited and AmazonPrime.

For Reviews, click here: 

It’s not too early to purchase Christmas gifts. 

Peace and good sailing,
Troy Caldwell M. D. 

Storytelling Wisdom

Richard Rohr had this to say today.

"Jung goes so far as to say that transformation only happens in the presence of story, myth, and image, not mere mental concepts. A great story pulls you inside of a universal story, and it lodges in the unconscious where it is not "subject to the brutalities of your intellect or will," as Thomas Merton might say. From that hidden place you are "healed." For Christians, the map of Jesus' life is the map of Everyman and Everywoman:" 

One reason I wrote Adventures in Soulmaking was to put my spiritual direction and psychiatry stories into the context of the Great Story of the spiritual life called the Spiral Path. Learning of this path, and the wisdom of the greater Christianity tradition regarding this path, was a breakthrough for me. I even put imagery of the path on the cover (in case anyone was wondering what that spiral in the sky was.) I hope it will be meaningful to some of you.

Reading Rohr's quote today also highlights the great wisdom of the Cosmos for giving me my wonderful wife of 42 years, Gwen Caldwell, Professional Storyteller.

By the way, The subtitle of Adventures is Stories and Principles of Spiritual Formation and Depth Psychology. In case some are unfamiliar with the term, "Depth Psychology", that is most commonly applied to the psychology of Dr. Carl Jung. 


Waiting with Grace

(No, Grace is not a blue-eyed blond, but she’s pretty wonderful.)

Psychiatrists like to understand how the mind works. (Duh!!!)

One of the great things that I have discovered about minds is they have a psycho-spiritual side that is self-correcting. One of the purposes of Adventures in Soul Making: Stories and Principles of Spiritual Formation and Depth Psychology is to develop that concept of the self-correction action of our mind and give people confidence in using it. Indeed, as I have been waiting to give birth to this book, I have been self-corrected—or as Depth Psychology would put it, “Self-corrected.” (Read the book to find out why the capital “Self” is important.)

The gentlest, yet still potent, method our spiritual mind uses to correct us is our dreams.  At first dreams are just perplexing. But with some study and practice, and some spiritual direction (shameless plug!), you can learn to understand them. Take, for example, my dream this month about the long and, at times annoying trek to get Adventures corrected for print publication.

         DREAM: There was a family I volunteered to help by driving the 12 year old to someplace. He failed to bring directions, and I used profanity to confront his thoughtlessness. I returned to his home so he could get papers with directions. He didn’t come back. Instead, his mother transported him because she objected to my behavior.

I had two cars in the garage. One was a Prius that was in good shape. One was a Dodge that had brakes that didn’t quite stop, but were unreliable at very slow speeds.  

There was a third scene in the dream, but my wife said I couldn’t tell it to you. (Don’t you wish you could know?)

So I started my quiet time, went to my still point, then I opened my journal and started to analyze the dream symbols. Usually, I will make link-ups (associations) to each symbol, then try to ascertain the meaning as a whole. But like Athena springing fully formed from Zeus’ head, my spiritual intuition gave me the interpretation in one great chunk.

         Here’s what I heard.

You are a hurrier, Troy. Your brakes don’t work right at slow speeds. You become profanely frustrated with slow tasks. This leads to being tempted toward impatience instead of staying centered in God.  You fail to give the task your spiritual attunement.  This leads to imbalances. 

            “What must I do?” I asked. 

You must enter into the task from your still point and let go of frustration about time. You must chop wood mindfully. Let go of expectations about the length of time things will take. If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing mindfully.

The context of my dream was that the tasks involved in preparing my book for paper printing took more time that I thought it would—repeatedly.  I wasn’t strongly frustrated, but the dream helped me look at my personality trend to expect things to be swift and easy.  This false expectation tends to take me out of my still point and turn to frustration and ego-centrism. I’d never seen that dynamic in myself before. It was helpful to see it. God’s confrontations are kind. It was a fine-tuning that was Grace. I felt loved by the holy Presence of her embrace, even amidst the correction.

Richard Rohr makes this point in today’s devotion.

Christianity rarely emphasized the importance, the plausibility, or the power of inner spiritual experience. For Catholics, you were to believe the pope, the bishops, and the priests. For Protestants, you were to believe the Bible. But they're both the same game, I'm sorry to say. It's all about trusting something that is outside of yourself. When this is encouraged, there is little deep conviction or passion, but only hard-headed and often arrogant "belief"--which then feels like a game of pretend both to the believer and to those who observe such people. We gave people answers that were extrinsic to the soul and to anything you knew from the inside out. "Holiness" largely became a matter of intellect and will, instead of an inner trust and any inner dialogue of love. It made you think that the one with the most willpower wins, and the one who understands things the best is the beloved of God--the opposite of most Biblical heroes. It kept us gazing at our own "performance" instead of searching for the Divine in us and in all things.

Adventures in Soulmaking is a step-by-step primer in how to remedy that situation. I hope you will give it a look. The Kindle version is available now on The paper version should be out in about 2 weeks. The announcement is to come. Have those you know sign up for notifications at  You can read a couple of chapters for free on the site. Click on Adventures in Soulmaking above in the navigation heading. 

Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault in one program for 2 years. What a Deal!

Two of my favorite contemplative voices are together at the Albuquerque Center for Action in Contemplation in a 2 year program. If any of you who are longing to deepen your contemplation through the Christian tradition, you may want to consider this. Deadline is September 16.

If you do it, I'll be jealous. Or not. More likely, I'll rejoice WITH you. 

Blessed is the One who guides us in such things. 

On Waiting for God (and others)

    My book, Adventures in Soulmaking, is ready to publish...well, "almost" ready. At first I waited on the editor, then I waited for permission request responses, now I'm waiting on a forward to be completed. Says Sue Monk Kidd about such times of waiting...

     I stood at the window watching the cocoon, which hung in the winter air like an upside–down question mark. That was the moment... I understood. Really understood. Crisis, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping– they aren't voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times beckoning us.

     We all must bear the tension of waiting, like that enshrouded caterpillar hanging from its limb. How can we wait more centeredly? How can we avoid work, fret, or impatience as we endure the necessary suffering of waiting? 

Helen Luke points out, 

    There is a dark underside to culture and the human race which desires special favors from having an inside track, special knowledge, etc. But if you truly desire higher things, you must be purged of the pride which comes from the special feeling one has in seeing heavenly things. You have not become special in seeing these things. I have only taken you on the same walk of suffering upon which I take every true saint of God. Why should you be any different? You shall know your suffering at the right time. 
     Christ was special, but He emptied himself of all that specialness. Lucifer was special, but refused to empty himself as he compared himself to the other Holy Ones. Contentment with who you are and earthly circumstances is a great gift. This provides for rest in the truth without striving for some unattainable specialness that only leads to ruin.

     Much of my personal struggle to let go of such entitlement during my Purgative Way found its roots in problems with nursing during my infancy.  It was humblingly having to repeatedly view my own undevelopedness in the Shadow images of my dreams that helped grow my patience. Rowdy children, prisoners, cranky infants, wrestlings with devils and cultists--all were there in my visions of the night to challenge me.  The survival instincts and impatience die hard and rise up against the call to wait and trust.  Recognition by the world must die.  Entitlement must die.  The demands of an infant soul for more must pass away.  The sorrows of life'’s limitations must be felt.  Not enough milk!  Not enough money!  Not enough time to meet everyone’s demands!  I lose my temper at patients who imply I haven’t done enough.  They are acting out my Shadow.  Lord, help me!  Deliver me! 
     The Still Small Voice says, “"Your deliverance lies in waiting and rest, not in striving or wrath.”" 
     So my consciousness waited between the opposites.  On one side, my needy self.  On the other side, my entitled, aggressive self.  And as consciousness grew, God gave me strength to stand, and anchored my feet to the Rock.  I then became willing to go through the death to which He called me.  I no longer fear the heavens and their silence.  I trust in God and wait for the road to narrow. 
      I came to see the Cross as a bridge between my heart and mind. I see myself prostrate on the cross, embracing it.  The cross brings discernment which I am to love.   Can we learn to love waiting? I am starting to, by God's grace.

      Here's my favorite Bible passage on this matter. 

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.--Psalms 40:1-3

     I'd love it if you would wait with me. "Two are better than one," says the proverb. Add your comments to this blog post and let us wait with our minds and hearts together. Amen.