Tag Archives: spirituality

tasting that which is*

tomato

the first tomato                                                                                     © erin dunigan 2013

When I pause to think about it, it was tomatoes that did it to me, really.

That first bite of a vine-ripened-fresh-from-the-plant-right-outside-the-front-door-onto-the-plate-tomato – it hooked me, caught me, captured me and coaxed me into becoming a gardener myself.

“You mean this is what a tomato really tastes like?!” I remember saying out loud, to no one in particular. “I never knew.”

The thing is, I had become acclimatized, slowly, over time, to that round red fruit that is sold in the grocery store under the label ‘tomato.’ The fact that this round red fruit did not always taste like much had somehow ceased to be of importance to me, so gradual was the fall from flavor.

Until I tasted the real thing – and that changed everything. I had to learn to grow such beauty myself.

Which, of course, is what spirituality is all about – tasting that which is, which is more, which is, we say, of God – and thereafter not being satisfied with anything else.

It is a conversion – but one that is coaxed from us, and then cultivated within us – and one whose whole reason for being is to bear much fruit.

Taste and see – for it is good. Very good.

 

*This piece was written originally for the September issue of  Life and Work, the magazine of the Church of Scotland, to address the question, “What are the spiritual benefits of growing your own fruit and veg?”

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photo: franciscans peace

“Up to now, we have been more driven by outer authority (“it is a sin if you don’t” or “the church says…”) than drawn in by the calm and loving inner authority (the in-dwelling Holy Spirit) of prayer, practice, and inner experience… For all practical purposes, this change of identity is the major – almost seismic – shift in motivation and consciousness itself that mature religion rightly calls conversion. It is the very heart of all religious transformation (“changing forms”). Without it, religion is mostly a mere belonging system or a mere belief system, but it does not radically change your consciousness or motivation.

Christianity is much more about living and doing than thinking.”

-Richard Rohr, the Immortal Diamond

franciscans

franciscans peace
© erin dunigan 2013

photo: cross polinate

“Indeed, those who see the spiritual life as a life of restrictions and demands, of only yes or no, of life bounded by limits and denial, fail entirely to understand that the spirituality of the liturgical year is a spirituality made out of the shards and triumphs of life. It is a spirituality for the living and the joyful, the insightful and the wise, as well as for the suffering and the sinful. It makes of us the spiritual poets who see the beauty of life.”

-Sister Joan Chittister

hummingbirdcross

hummingbird cross
© erin dunigan 2013

 

photo: stone shadows (and leaky faith)

“Many people, especially spiritual leaders, try hard not to show any leaks. They talk as if every word they say is dependable and complete. Airtight. And they want you to accept every letter of every word and repeat it after them. Yet the sure sign of spiritual insight is a leaky source…

What we’re looking for is not a system of belief but the leaking out of beliefs — an emptying of self that the New Testament calls kenosis.

I began my spiritual journey knowing everything with certainty. In a Catholic school I was taught the catechism, questions and answers that were simple and pat. As time went on, and as I read spiritual masters from history and around the world, my belief began to leak. At first I was worried. I shouldn’t be leaky. But the hole in my vessel only grew larger. More of my understanding and belief trickled out. My certainty became weaker. For the first time, I developed a capacity for wonder.”         -Thomas Moore

 

kernel

photo: mountain temple

“Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space…maybe the only one.”

-Richard Rohr

mountaintemple

mountain temple
© erin dunigan 2012

iona

This image is from Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. Iona was the center of Irish Monasticism for over four hundred years and is now the home of the Iona Community, which describes itself as a “dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.” I love that description.

This image was created within the chapel building and is one of my favorites. I wound up using it as my ‘ordination image’ which was printed on bookmarks with the order of service.

iona window, Iona, Scotland
© 2003 erin dunigan