Learning to Be

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For the last two years I have been on a contemplative spiritual journey. It has been a journey of recovering the truth that I am a human being, not simply a human doer. As a minister, it’s been a journey of learning to be with God, first, in order to do for God. As a husband and father, it’s been a journey of learning to be present to my family at all times.

Now, as a task oriented, to-do list completer, J on the Myers-Briggs, and Achiever on StrengthsFinder type of person, I like to get stuff done. Yet, in my rush to complete a task I have often ignored people who ultimately matter more than tasks. Sure, I’ve checked something off of my list, but I have neglected the people around me. I’ve been present to my list, but not present with the people I love dearly.

I’ve also seen how easy it so to get lost in our devices, such as our phones, tablets, or laptops, which results in ignoring the people around us. It’s interesting to note that our technological devices were created to connect us and be present with people who are not physically near. Ironically, though, these devices often hinder us from being present with people physically near. The device created to break down certain barriers actually creates more barriers.

So, I have been learning how to be with God and be with people. I have been trying to log off, shut down, turn off notifications, and leave my phone in the other room. I am working to be present with people around me rather than rush to get a task completed. Through it all, I have been learning how to be.

There is a great psalm found in the ancient scriptures. Written from the voice of the Divine, Psalm 46:10 simply states, “Be still and know that I am God.” Some meditate on this short psalm by reading it slowly as written below:

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.

It is in our being and our stillness that we can know the Divine. Learning to be still, learning to be, has been a beautiful life-changing quest. And, I invite you to learn to live as you were created to be; a human being, not a human doer. Be with. Be still. Be.

Nathan Albert