Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Soulation Exercise

In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, consolation is "every increase of faith, hope and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly and to the salvation of one's soul, by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord." Desolation is "that state of interior disturbance which is caused by the devil: 'darkness of soul; turmoil of spirit; urgings to what is low and earthly; restlessness rising from many disturbances and temptations, which lead to want of faith, want of hope, want of love."

Sat in the sun trying to identify the moments of consolation and desolation in my week. Individual instances were hard to picture: the ebb & flow seems almost constant.

We don't remember breathing, the intake and expulsion of breath unless we gasp for air and fear we may not get it.

Yogic breathing and singing both teach you to expel breath fully. You discover that if you do this, the air immediately flows in to fill the void. You may have to pay attention to get all that you can, or train to get all you can consistently, but when your body is empty it takes in air.

So it is with consolation and desolation. Consolation is the ensouled body filling with the Spirit and her fruits. Desolation is the expulsion of the Spirit and the experience of that emptiness.

In normal breathing, desolation and consolation ebb and flow according to their natures. We take notice only when we find ourselves gasping for air, or so full we float.

Our spiritual practice, then, is to expand our lungs, and to expel fully with the certain knowledge that we will breathe in when we are finally empty.

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