I think it’s time for Salon.com to get a new advice columnist. The question from "Weary Traveler" ends like this:
Anyway, I have this belief that if I could somehow find a
spiritual center, then all my struggles would be so much more easily managed. I
was raised Catholic, but while I love the ritual of it, the patriarchy grates
on me, and the pope’s not too fond of gays. Hinduism, Buddhism, plain old
meditation, they all interest me, but nothing strikes me as the thing I need.
So my question is this: How do you find that centered, spiritual, warm, safe
place that makes the rest of this crazy world seem tolerable?
This is part of the response:
It is good to be reminded of the existence of this place. After reading your
letter I had to go and try to find it again. Just the thought of there being a
centered, spiritual, warm, safe place is enough to cause one to seek it again.
But I couldn’t really find it just off the bat like that. I looked around and
realized that I don’t seem to have access to it right now. That may be because
I am distracted with a houseguest, or that my attention is centered on an
upcoming trip. All I can do in the moment is remember that there is indeed such
a place, or such an experience, and I, like you, have occasionally had access
As to techniques for departure and arrival: I’m not sure that if you saw the
spiritual practice you need, it would strike you as the spiritual practice you need.
You might have to find what you need by simply continuing to do the dumb stuff
you’re already doing, but trusting it more, or doing it more. You might have to
find it by not looking for what you want, by using stealth and indirection,
alert to paradox and uncertainty. Or you may find it through nothing more than
stubborn persistence — a persistence which on the outside looks like faith
though it doesn’t feel like faith.
I’m afraid this prose may sound like ersatz mumbo jumbo, as though I were
trying to impersonate a spiritual master out of the movies.
First of all you don’t start your spiritual quest by looking for comfort. Secondly, you don’t go about your quest using "stealth and misdirection." You follow the evidence and get to the truth. That’s the bottom line
A better guide for this lost soul would be C.S. Lewis. From Mere Christianity:
Comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will get neither comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with, and in the end, despair.