Friday, March 03, 2017

Teachable Exhaustion

Occasionally in Iaijutsu we will work particular technique or set of techniques until we are completely exhausted, dripping in sweat and shaking.  My sensei has said that he learned this technique from the the head of our school, who does it when he trains as well.  The point is not to exhaust the students simply to exhaust them, but to exhaust them to the point that they become teachable.  A tired student is one whose barriers are broken down, who is able to be corrected and taught as they have no defenses for their bad habits and practices which need correcting.

It has struck me  that this is exactly how God sometimes acts with us as well.

The last 48 hours feel like they have been a whirlwind - packed not with anything particular but simply with a long string of busy-ness, from the time the alarm goes off at 0600 to the time I roll into bed at 2300. There never seems to be enough time to complete everything that needs doing, either at work - where the tasks seem to just keep coming in varied forms - or at home, where it feels as if I am always arriving simply to always having to leave again. Things are starting to go undone so that other things can get done (sleep, for example, still makes the top five on the list).  It surely does not feel like a sustainable enterprise.

In my heart of hearts, I know this level of activity cannot be maintained forever - life does not work like that but rather comes and goes in waves.  But this feels like a long and intense period of activity, which seems to have no end in sight until two weeks from today.  

I wonder if the principle is the same:  I am being pushed to the point of breaking and collapse not to actually make myself do it but rather to be in a position where God can speak to my heart and have me listen. When my life is slowed down and controllable, I often seem to forget my reliance upon Him.  It is only when the stack of life's tasks begin to overwhelm me that I feel the need to reach outside of myself for assistance to deal with it.

Perhaps it is only in the silence of sheer overwhelming exhaustion that, ridding ourselves of those methodologies that do not work, we are will to reach the point where we, too, will listen and can be teachable.


Rev. Paul said...

That's a good way of looking at it. God seeks broken vessels, and becoming exhausting mentally/physically/spiritually by metaphorically bashing one's head against an obstacle will get us there.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Very true Reverend. A bit of a shame we are so stubborn to have to do that.