When my spirituality is diminishing and going into dormancy like the perennial grasses. What do I do? I become brittle, easy to break, and I am no longer filled with anything nutritious for myself or others. When my spirituality gets to this point I often ask myself and God. Why? But as one of my favorite writers Loren Eiseley points out in his book “The Firmament of Time.” The question of “Why?” doesn’t do us much good. Perhaps asking “How?” would be better. Though Eiseley is writing about humanity’s eagerness to learn about the creation of the world, and why it was created, he still gets to the heart of spiritual dormancy. Eiseley writes, “We are not satisfied with the appearances of the phenomenal world around us. We wish to peirce beneath to ask the question, “Why does the universe exist?” We learned a great deal about secondary causes, how of things. The why, however, eludes us, and as long as this is the case, we will have a yearning for the marvelous, the explosive event in history. Indeed, so restless is man’s intellect that were he to penetrate to the secret of the universe tomorrow, the likelihood is that he would grow bored on the day after.”
What does this quote have to do with spirituality? I am sure we have all found ourselves asking these type of questions, “Why don’t I have more faith?” “Why can’t I have more faith?” “Why did I lose my faith?” “Why is my spirituality limited?” Loren Eiseley is saying that even if we were to find the answer to all these questions, we would become bored with the answers the next day. This is because one must understand the how first. And quite frankly, I am not sure if the what really matters most of the time. This is what I take from Loren Eiseley’s thoughts. Ask these type of questions and see what happens. “How do I get more faith?” “How did I lose my spirituality?” “How did I lose my faith?” Pursuing the how takes time, pursuing the how takes patience, pursuing the how is hard, but pursuing the how is how we will regain spirituality.
How do we apply this concept of asking how? Loren Eiseley has an insight for that as well. Eiseley explains that in science, theories, truths, and ideas constantly change. This is because as science becomes more advanced older theories become obsolete being replaced with newer updated theories. In other words, a scientist can’t get too comfortable with one theory, because it might be a failed theory within a few short years. How does this apply to spirituality? If we find ourselves in a state of spiritual dormancy, we should examine what we have been doing to nurture our spirituality. Maybe those things are no longer working. Maybe, we will have to change our theories on how to nurture our spirituality and experiment with something different. Our lives are constantly changing. Do we really think our faith and spirituality are not going to change as well? Let us be more like the scientist when it comes to spirituality and faith. Let our theories of how to nurture them evolve. Test new ways of breaking out of the winter of dormancy and enter into the spring growth of spirituality and faith.