A couple of days ago, I was sitting at a Panera café reading when something interesting occurred.
The alarm of the car on the other side of the glass from me started wildly going off.
Well, that’s not so interesting. Annoying, maybe, because the book was good, but hardly interesting.
It was the behavior I observed in every other person in the restaurant that was interesting.
Absolute. Utter. Indifference.
No one paid any mind to this alarm. Not when it got louder. Not when all the lights flashed. Not when the sound changed to a new tune.
Most surprising was that the owner, apparently, was equally indifferent. Maybe waiting for the battery to die.
Or maybe s/he had just grown numb to the sound of the alarm.
The reaction to this car alarm is similar to our own reactions to our spiritual life.
We are wired with alarms when things are not right spiritually. When our connection with God is strained. When we are serving our false self, attempting to cover our own shame and creating our own sense of self.
We feel the strain of the false self as anxiety. (see Our Response to Anxiety)
Often we treat these alarms as if they were the problem and try to hide them or ignore they are going off.
Like the people at the Panera I was sitting in, we become adept at functioning though the alarm.
Alarms are a sign of a problem. Something is going on to activate the alarm.
Wisdom is not to blame the alarm for going off, but to press into the root of the problem. It is difficult and takes humility…and requires we are dissatisfied with serving the false self.
What are some of the alarms in your life that let you know your spiritual life is not right?