I want to expand on this notion of whether or not the spiritual journey is a safe one. Full disclosure here: I am a counter phobic 6 on the enneagram, and safety is something I crave and push against in the same moment! I will stay loyal to the cause, but I will question it the whole way down. So my lens on this topic may be wildly different from yours!
When I think about staying safe in the context of our spiritual lives, I imagine us in pretty church dresses, mumbling words we have always mumbled without much investigation, holding onto “the way it has always been done.” If we accept the narrative handed down to us by our culture, our families, our various churches, we will continue to uphold a patriarchal, white dominated, salvific faith where we remain separate from what is sacred, always reaching and grasping for what is “out there” versus what is right here. If we remain safe, there is no transformation, no integration, no creativity. If we remain safe we either stay huddled up in the dark cave with no way out or standing on the departure platform of this wild, often exciting and mysterious, sometimes scary ride. Remember Luke Skywalker’s adventure? Can you imagine how the galaxy would have turned out if he had just said, “Nah. I think I’ll just stay put on my home planet Tatooine, thanks. Just gonna stay here and harvest moisture with my droids...” There would have been no adventure, no Jedi, no hero’s journey. It would’ve been a single, B-, back shelf story rather than an entire franchise of intergalactic awesomeness.
I think we need to be willing to feel a little unsafe in order to fulfill our spiritual “destiny.” Whatever God is, she is wild and beautiful and diverse. Chaordic is a word I like (chaos + order), but not necessarily safe in the way I have defined it. If we only ever stick to the known, we will not grow.
I’m reading The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, also called Ain’t I A Woman? She talked about how she had to get out from under who she thought she had to be - which was a “good slave” so she wouldn’t get beaten or turned out by her masters - to become who she really was - a freedom fighter. She changed her name from Isabella to Sojourner. A sojourner is one who stays temporarily - but she added Truth to her name. She journeyed toward truth, her own story embedded in the larger Truth. She took a risk in the era of slavery and white terror to free herself, her child, and others. By no stretch of the imagination was her path “safe,” but along the way she was blanketed by a nagging suspicion of Love at the heart of the Universe.
Our journey may not look like Luke’s or Sojourner’s. For some of us, it may look exactly like harvesting moisture on a desert planet with two suns. The real point is are you willing to take some amount of risk to see what wants to be expressed through you? The journey may not be entirely “safe,” and you may be shaken up or turned upside down at times, but I believe we will be held by a universe that bends toward communion and expresses itself in sacred mystery... through all of us. The Buddha said the path to nirvana is transforming suffering. In The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck starts out by saying, “Life is hard.” Jesus referred to the way to the kingdom as being “harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle.” None of these promise a safe, predictable path, but a bit of a wild ride. I’ll save you a spot in line!