Friday, February 12, 2010
Three Movements of Spirituality
In his book, Reaching Out: The Three Movement of the Spiritual Life, Henri Nouwen describes the fullness of spirituality. He views the spiritual life as having (1) an inner dimension, (2) a social dimension, (3) a transcendental dimension.
The "three movements" of the spiritual life correspond to these dimensions: (1) the movement from loneliness to solitude, (2) the movement from hostility to hospitality, (3) the movement from illusion to prayer.
I appreciate this way of looking at spirituality because it integrates it with all of life. Spirituality is not only concerned with our inner life, but with our relationships with others and with God. There is both a movement inward and a movement outward in healthy spirituality.
One way to remember this is by the acronym: SOG: Self, Others, God. This way of looking at spirituality affirms that all of life is sacred. All of our relationships are included in the spiritual life. Nouwen saw the importance of "reaching out" to all three dimensions of life. By so doing, he takes spirituality out of a too narrow inwardness and expands it to embrace the fullness of life.