While I was not reared in a home or a church that observed the Lenten season it has become a rich and profound experience for me during my adult years. I find it amusing that it wasn’t until I was led to New Thought spirituality and the Unity movement that I began to observe Lent. During the early years I always made it a point to give up something as a way of heightening my focus. My mentor and teacher Eric Butterworth always stressed that it was about a fasting from limiting and hurtful perceptions that was foundational to the practice. Yet I liked including something material just the same. In retrospect I see that it was easier to focus on giving up something tangible than it was something perceptual.
My practice of Lent has evolved dramatically throughout these almost thirty years. It has grown more and more precious and meaningful to me. I never think of giving up anything material anymore. Nor do I focus my attention on thoughts or perceptions that I want to rid me of. It is clear to me that resistance is never effective. As soon as I decide that something needs to go it grasps on and holds tight. It commands more and more attention, and fills my thought stream as a rushing river.
I have found that it is only in letting be that transformation ever occurs. Until I can create an internal context of acceptance, compassion, and love I inadvertently make of myself a war zone that only intensifies the experience of what I am fighting against. Fasting can be a helpful practice I am sure. But feasting my attention in and on a desired condition has always proven to be much more effective for me. While fasting conjures a feeling of willfulness at least for me a letting be and a gentle feasting of my attention in Source opens a feeling of willingness and receptivity. And I always get more of what I am focusing on, never less.
What I cannot be with will never let me be. The much used adage of Let Go and Let God seems a bit overactive to me. I have proven countless times in my life that my thoughts of what needs to go or what needs to stay in my consciousness have carried a rather pitiful batting average in terms of accuracy. When I can simply choose to let be there is an automatic opening that then serves as a channel for Spirit to move and have Its way. When I let be I tap into a Divine Flow that then orchestrates the Unfoldment of my highest good every time. And my faithfulness in this fool-proof process also allows me to remain at peace.
So I guess I am saying that for me Lent is all about letting be. As the word implies as I “lent be” there is a lengthening of attention in acceptance, peacefulness, and love. And that can only result in a rising up within.