Today I’m going to make two analogies to illuminate spiritual reality.
The orbits of the planets in our solar system vary in length based upon their proximity to the sun. Mercury, the closest planet rotates at ~107,000 mph or 3 Earth months, while Neptune, our farthest planet at ~12,000 mph or 165 Earth years.
Proximity has everything to do with orbit. Proximity also has everything to do with the growth of our soul.
I don’t believe anyone’s orbit is so far away that it is beyond God’s gravitational pull, but we all differ in proximity based on our orbit. Some people move in and out of sacred space so rarely that they question it’s power or veracity. The sun’s light is dim from such distance. Others are too close and scorch their humanity in a dualistic split.
None of us share the same orbit. My work is to nudge all orbiters to the optimal distance for life to flourish. Fundies have to move back to really live while skeptics must move closer.
Like our planets, our spiritual orbits can, and like them, the change can be slow. With each correct shift in proximity, comes a corresponding flourishing to our life. Despite what religion teaches, there is no single framework to find proximity. Spirituality is not about finding THE orbit, but humbly finding OUR orbit. Only then can we discover the Source of gravity we all surround. Certainty means we are still far off.
To access your spiritual orbit, start with anything you love, and go deeper with it. It may be a person, a pet, a sport, hobby, or place. At some point, if you go deep enough, you will cross over from the object to the subject. This is the point where love motivates, not fear or duty. Here the ride supersedes the means of riding.
If you understand what I’m saying then you grasp proximity. Metaphor is all we have here, because proximity is ultimately unsayable. If this seems too nebulous or nonspecific, then you are either too close or too far, suffering may be all that can reorient your orbit.
Everything is connected in a cosmic sense to the Christ gravity (Colossians 1:17). This is far bigger and predates the narrow portrait given by modern Christianity. The Christ connects and completes all religions (1 Corinthians 10:4), transcends all of human history and is not limited to one expression. Anytime, any person, anywhere, has proximity to sacred space, it is the Christ gravity at work (John 14:6). Everyone experiences it, no exceptions, but we call it different things.
Don’t check out because I used the word Christ. This is a fresh perspective, not the fear based religion of behavior modification. The Christ is as wide as the universe AND as narrow as Jesus. Compassion, not judgement, meets our resisting, arguing, defending, and rationalizing.
Our orbit strangely resists the Christ gravity. Pride speeds our orbit and creates tension with proximity. Dying to self (conscientiousness) alters our orbit. Humility slows us and gravity takes over.
Now my second analogy. When an insect molts, it sheds its outer skin because the inner bug has outgrown it.
Prior to molting the bug won’t eat. Sometimes they just hang there near death. The outside can only constrict for so long. While it does, it produces a tremendous discomfort and pressure on the inner being.
I speak to people in various levels of suck. Counselors, coaches, pastors and friends try their best to extricate us from the suck. Wisdom doesn’t do this, it drives us into the suck. Wisdom pressurizes our inner being. If we can imagine the world slightly better than it presently is, then we are ready to molt.
We must shed our outer skin so our inner being can expand. The suck is the antecedent to molting. Let’s not expend our energy to stay in our small, constricted external self. Go deeper and grow from the inside out. Yes it will get tight, but soon we’ll break free into an expanded new self.
This freedom is the function of the gospel. The force of liberation is seen everywhere in human history and is the Christ force, but under countless names (Luke 4:16-21). Liberated captives, those who have overcome obstacles, and those who have eyes to see are a unique community that inspires us. Molting makes great people.
So whether in the macro like an orbit or a micro like a molting, there is a benevolent force that urges each one of us into deeper place. We may call it by different names, or access it by different means, but we know it as that still small voice within us that knows what is right.
The sum of all spirituality is to know this voice and to follow it. May we all humbly do so.