It’s 2017 and the whole world feels like a wilderness where our souls find no practical, moral or spiritual nourishment. What if we see this as a fasting that prepares us for the deed of transforming the future? Would this be a new Lent? Has the Holy Spirit taken us to this strange and lonely place?
When we enter and dwell in the wilderness of our soul we find the untamed instincts, obsessions and compulsions of our inner lives. There we feel our unfed hungers and unquenched thirsts. We face the ever more seductive temptations of egotism and meet the wild beasts living in our undisciplined and immature natures.
How many of us are standing on our personal mountain tops of prejudice and opinion? How many want the world to be according to how we see it? Does the devil then own our soul so that instead of moral interest we express hatred and supremacy? Should we look into our own soul first before condemning the perspectives of others?
What are the addictive stones in our lives that never turn to bread for our souls? How many promises and wishes for being different or better do we make only to have them fall like sand through our fingers? Do we stay in jobs or relationships thinking if we just keep kneading it or bake it a little longer, it will turn to moist, chewy bread…a meaningful job, a joyful relationship?
How many books and courses have we bought that promised to fulfill our fantasies of happiness if we will just leap from the pinnacles they take us to and yet they fail to deliver a lasting spiritual uplift? Do we still feel we must prove who we are by living lives of no pain? no gravity?
Lent is not a preparation for Easter! The forty days and the three temptations occur immediately following the Baptism, three years before Holy Week!
This recognition changes the purpose of Lent.
The New Lent is about preparation for achieving and manifesting that which only you can do. If you fail to vanquish the temptations, will you ever fulfill your destiny? Will you ever bring your truth, beauty and goodness to the world?
For me, Lent is about learning to say “No” to what tempts me.
Most of us aren’t very successful saying ” No” when we are weak with our bottomless addictions, our powerful fantasies and our rigid prejudices. And each of us, if we look at ourselves with objective compassion, can admit to many of these temptations.
With even a minimal mastery of “no!” we find greater freedom, integrity, fulfillment and growth. Each year the practice of Inner Lent can evolve our command of our own impulses, habits, and anxieties and develop a greater confidence in our ability to liberate our consciousness, our feelings and our deeds.
Inner Lent leads to deeply essential self-knowledge and self-mastery. During Inner Lent we learn to have a healthier, more responsible, more active, and more spiritual relationship to “NO!”
Inner Lent explores the three temptations in their modern soul reality: the temptations that live in our soul as the addictions for turning stones to bread, the fantasies of leaping off pinnacles and the prejudices formed at the mountain tops. We look at how to understand these temptations, face and vanquish the inner tempters, and center ourselves in the embodiment of our destiny.
What addictions can you overcome and say no to?
What fantasies can you ground with real action?
What prejudices can you evolve into openness?
Study your addictions, fantasies and prejudices in all areas of your life: health, diet, work, love, parenting, spiritual practice, emotional well-being. Like Inner Christmas, Inner Lent will give you the wonder, the wisdom, the wit and the will to shape a valued and valuable life.
THE IMAGINE SELF ACADEMY
There are two Inner Lent courses in the Imagine Self Academy:
A Strange and Lonely Place — a 45 minute audio and 7 powerful writing prompts offer you a deep imagination of the inner purpose of 40 days in the wilderness. Learn more.
Your Inner Temptations — 4 audio lessons, 2 bonus lessons, valuable materials and many prompts for journaling. This course includes A Strange and Lonely Place and an audio on each of the three temptations providing new understanding. The two bonus lessons offer audios that look at the ministering of angels and the 3 ways to vanquish temptation. All content is downloadable. Learn more.
Inner Lent, like all the Imagine Self Holy Imaginations, is not about sin and redemption or being a good Christian. It is about the great commandment, “Oh, Human Soul, Know Thyself!” This is a commandment for all human souls, beyond religious beliefs. I find the central festivals of the Christian Calendar quite universal in their ability to guide us to this task of imagining self as an earthly and divine being and the great mystery of becoming fully human.
Although the Holy Imagination courses are designed to be taken in the order of the Christian Festivals, they may be taken in any order and at any time of the year. The order and timing is about your very own inner year!