We human beings can feel guilty enough about ourselves and the things we have done without the need for the church to amplify the effect on our shame and guilt. I think feelings of guilt can be hauntingly present all the time and are not easily dismissed by the act of confession of sins and absolution in the context of Sunday worship. Where are the systems that can help people process their feelings of shame and guilt and relieve the pain they feel? One is the process of long term psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and the other is the charism of spiritual direction, also long term.
I have recently been writing about my contemplative practice and what happens in the twenty-five minutes or so of silent awareness each morning that is for me an encounter with presence of God. My presence is very embodied, emotionally and physically aware. Given all the claims Christianity makes about God, the potential for deep, creative change should be even more present in Christian life and prayer. But this experience people seem to find elusive. Why? Why isn’t the church very good at knowing from experience the presence of God? Why is it not very good at acknowledging our bodies as integral to spiritual life?
Last weekend I attended the Heart of Silence conference organised by the Association of Core Process Psychotherapists at Regent’s University in the heart of Regent’s Park. The website said the conference was not just for psychotherapists but for anyone wanting to explore and experience the value of Silence. “Through Silence we are able to deeply listen to ourselves, one another and our Planet and from this place we can act.”