Evolving in the Desert

Evolving in the Desert May 24, 2022

 

Photo by Tomáš Malík from Pexels

Many people imagine that those of us in the desert are either participating in some kind of large group think or just wondering aimlessly through the desert without any kind of direction.

It’s way more nuanced than that. Each of us that is evolving in the desert are truly on our own individual journeys, but there’s certainly a way that people deconstruct and then begin to evolve towards their true or more authentic selves.

I thought I would take a few minutes to explain what it looks like, even though in reality it’s mostly electronic and done mostly over the internet, it reminds me of the desert mothers and fathers of more ancient Christianity.

Early on in deconstruction, it can be frightening because there are no established creeds or doctrinal statements to ingest. Most people here could recommend books that helped them navigate this part of the journey.

In the desert, you might observe people meditating or sitting in silence, mainly hoping that they hear something that provides direction.

At some point, most of us realized what Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” Guess what? When most of us finally went inside, we discovered it to be true. We found our inner, true self. With it, came an inner knowing that guides us forward.

After spending some time alone, we have deep conversations with other fellow sojourners. Many times this takes the form of a podcast, maybe not professionally done, but authentic. For many of us, this is the first time in our lives we’ve experienced true community.

In the desert, teachers wander by occasionally sharing what they’ve learned on their journey. We don’t always agree, but most times their insight is challenging, and it gives us different things to consider. Because we are not defending a set of pre-established beliefs, we are able to find truth in many different “camps.”

Eventually, during the meaningful discussion, someone from established religion wanders out in the desert and decides to try and save us. They’re usually characterized by a condescending and demeaning nature. Although this is disappointing, it strengthens our resolve to keep pursuing a better way!

Because we are not protecting a doctrine or an organization, we are able to have deep conversations, which can lead to true healing. Because we are not spending most of our time preserving the organization, there’s time for processing the past trauma we experienced in family and religion. We realize we have left the bypassing nature of most religions.

The naysayers would like to imagine that we have all slid down a slippery slope and become terrible people without their guidance. But, most of the desert travelers are spending most of their time growing, learning and maturing. They may speak boldly about the systems they left, but most of their energy is spent being better humans.

As the poets, prophets and teachers discover truth, they record it using the methods of our time and share it as they journey around. This obviously opens them up to criticism, but they consider it to be worth it in the long run.

There is no hierarchy in the desert. Organized religion cannot understand this, but it works as long as all of us continue on the journey. Ironically, we often arrive at the same place, even if it’sometimes only for a moment in our journey. We find this to be encouraging!

If you find yourself in the desert, look us up. It’s a little scary the first couple of days, but I think you will find what you’re looking for.

Be where you are, be who you are,

Karl Forehand


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