Monday, February 28, 2011

Contemplating Ascetiscism

This guy who used to work with me once told me that I was an ascetic. Fortunately, since I'm the only member of my immediate family of origin who did NOT attend seminary, I knew he wasn't calling me a bad name. I have had a tendency to give things up (sugar, meat, caffeine...) but - in all honesty - it's not always because I'm pursuing higher spirituality. It's typically because I tend to see my actions in black and white terms. I'm good or bad. Pure or stained.

If I eat too much sugar, then the best solution (in my mind) is to go cold turkey. Actually, that's the EASIEST solution once you get over the initial hump. It's much more difficult to practice a life of true moderation than it is to live your life in either extreme.

I'm contemplating asceticism today because Lent is right around the corner and I've yet to hear a distinct calling for this year's observation (perhaps because I haven't been listening very closely). I've tried it all - I've given up almost anything you can imagine and I've also tried waking up early to meditate or read the Bible every morning. True to form, I'm generally more successful at the "giving up" than I am at creating new (good) habits.

Do any of you observe Lent or any other ascetic spiritual tradition, such as Ramadan? If so - what did you do and how did it work for you? (Remember...I allow anonymous posting so you can be honest!) This year I'm drawn more towards the commitment of a daily meditation, but I really want to hear about your experience before I decide.

1 comment:

Megan Willome said...

This year's Lent (my first to observe in three years) will be adding in a daily time of meditation. I've done it sporadically, but feel a call to do it daily. The one-year anniversary slammed me--shingles, again.