Friday, July 11, 2008

Radical Presence

A colleague of mine recently attended a silent retreat led by author and director of the Shalem Institute, Tilden Edwards. My friend shared his experience with me, and though I didn't attend the retreat, I have benefited tremendously through my friend's experience.

During the retreat, Edwards talked about a way of living with radical presence. This expression put words to a deep yearning in my own heart. Tilden described "radical presence" as being present to God in order to be led by the Spirit of God. He said that radical presence IS the sole grounding of spiritual leadership. And it's radical because so few people live from that place of fullness and awareness!

I know about radical presence. It's the most sublime, energizing, and contented way to live. The communion I experience with God and the sensitivity I have to His Spirit make life an adventure! I feel full and alive; responsive and real. It's the only way to live from my true self and out of my calling.

But living consistently from that place is another story. For the past couple weeks, I have conducted an experiment. I've been intent to live with greater awareness to God's presence within me. Though my success has been spotty at times, I can tell you it is the way I want to live.

As I interacted with people, prepared a meal, or took a walk, I found myself moving into this place of being present to God and His Spirit's leading. When I drifted, I noticed an increase in anxiety, a feeling of being fragmented and flustered. Then the thought would return; radical presence--being presence to God to be led by His Spirit.

How about you? What do you know about radical presence? How do you practice it? I welcome your thoughts and insights as we learn together. I sense that there no more important work we have before us than to learn to abide in this place.