If one lives his/her life in the world rather than in the cloister it is apparent that there is a daily struggle to somehow integrate the sacred with the profane. I expect that there is something of this that’s unavoidable even in the cloister. We are faced with ourselves, firmly planted on this planet, amidst all the things of life that just happen. The messiness of many things in our lives tends to push any thought of You aside. The “messier” our lives the harder it seems to find anything about them that is sacred.
To integrate an inner spiritual life into the profanities of poverty, serious health problems, divorce or separation, substance abuse, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, joblessness, alienation and feelings of powerlessness seems futile. Even during short, isolated bouts with any of these, it seems most difficult to integrate the sacred with the profane. If one willed it to be so - that is, if one desired to integrate You with all the profanities of his/her life, how would one go about it?
Within the grasp of any or all of the profanities mentioned above, it is very difficult – and maybe that’s why it seems not many make the effort.
To view the detachment from material advantages or even material subsistence as a situation that can actually improve our ability to draw closer to You is difficult because we tend to be concerned with our immediate need for survival in some form. We do not naturally connect it with a need for You. Yet, if we could only get ourselves to reflect on our poverty, we might begin to see it as a spiritual advantage. In the throes of serious or even hopeless health problems, it is terribly difficult not to think of our plight. Yet in sickness, powerlessness, or alienation, it is our own self-image as healthy, powerful and connected that suffers. Your relationship with us does not change. You are there as always. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, You are there. It is we who are not.
Within the profanities of our anger, anxieties and fears You are there and we grow in Your love in correlation to our ability and desire to reach out and touch You at these times – to overcome the great power of “self” – to look for You. That is how the sacred can be integrated with the profane.