3. Experiencing Deeper Resonance
Finding my resonance (third reading)
During your third reading, you are encouraged to do the same as with your second reading of the story of the healing of the blind man—to gently fold the wings of your ordinary, everyday awareness. Invite the Holy Spirit to draw you deeper into your spiritual awareness. What are you noticing about your inner resonance with this story? What stirs within you? This again invites your prayerful attentiveness.
For this exercise it would be most helpful to have a hard copy of the transcript.
- Place a sheet of paper alongside of the transcript.
- As you read through it very slowly, note down your resonance (What stirs within you as you come to a particular part—this is not unlike noting what stirred within you as you engaged with the gospel story of the healing of the blind man).
- As you do that, highlight (with a coloured marker) the words or phrases in the transcript to which you have been especially drawn.
|S: . . . You know Amy, even now as I think back on those times, I’m really, really scared that the fire has gone out. (Sandra began to sob). . .||
I noticed some of my own sadness emerging. I wonder if I’m as on fire as I used to be. I reckon the tears could come, right at this point if I was to stop and ponder more on this!
When you have finished this task (and it will take some time), go back over the words and phrases you have highlighted in the transcript. Having found you own resonance with Sandra’s story and experience, see if you can now select out six to eight of the phrases you have highlighted (using your second marker) then copy them (or a brief word summary) into the left hand column of the following table that you could set up in your journal.
Opposite each of these take a key word or brief phrase from your resonance sheet.
Selected key words and phrases from transcript
Selected key words and phrases from my resonance
Eg. I’m really, really scared that the fire has gone out.
The emerging theme
You now have two lists now in front of you. You have reduced, what for you, are the key elements of this whole encounter. The reflective task is now to spend time prayerfully reflecting on the content, emotive underlay, and the revelations of your lists. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this prayerful reflection.
To do this you might try a slight change of modality—from sitting, writing, reflecting to walking and prayerfully reflecting. Jesus often changes modality, for example, using available materials (bucket, well), metaphors (springs of living water) and parable, and so on (see Chapter 6, “Enlivening the senses, Waking the Heart,” of Reflected Love). Changes of “modality” occurred for Sandra when:
she “became an active observer of her inner state,” (looking inwards—transcendent observer);
she glimpsed an image of Jesus (she moved into her active and believing imagination);
she witnessed a little girl emerging from the shadows (re-experiencing life events again through active and believing imagination); and,
- both she and the little girl had conversations with Jesus (deeper level of spiritual awareness—of divine awareness).
So it is important for us to look for changes of modality, including in our reflections, even if they are as simple as moving from sitting to walking.
As you walk with your lists, notice the theme that begins to emerge for you—your theme! Then allow it to reduce to one word, metaphor or image, and return to your desk and simply note it down in your journal.
Where is the Spirit guiding you? Allow the theme you have noted above to “amplify”: a word might open out into a paragraph; a metaphor might find itself the subject of a poem; an image might extend itself into a drawing!
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