What rises up in me most these days after praying, surprisingly, is anger. When I asked my priest about this he told me that this is to be expected. When we get into a habit of prayer, a turning away from sin, this is all part of the process of cleaning the “nous” as it were.
This ought to be comforting I suppose. It’s not comforting. I’m not comforted.
It just makes me to quit. Actually it makes me want to quit and then call a doctor to get a prescription for something to take away the anger and the pain and the sadness. I’ve often wondered about getting on some kind of happy pills. As I consider it the number of friends and family members around me who have gone the medication route is staggering. I’ve always shunned it, not condemning it for anyone else. Condemning it for myself, certainly. I’m afraid it will alter the part of “me” I actually like.
Truth be told I’m more afraid of not “being me” than of my emotional states. At least, up until now that fear has won out. Now, if prayer is uncovering more anger, more sadness, more pain…I cannot fathom what else will ease it, or at least what will ease it quickly.
I’ve often counseled people in my life to turn to prayer as a means of alleviating stress and fear. My main gig has always been a turning toward God, that’s what we do, right? So when my priest said that this was a sign that the nous was in need of cleaning, that this is some soot coming off on my hands and that I am just now aware of it I felt even angrier. He said that as we descend into a life of prayer we make new discoveries about our selves and that those discoveries can lead to this emotion. I nearly dropped the “f” bomb on my priest. Don’t tell him I said that.
I felt defensive. I consider myself an outrageously self aware person. No, seriously. I look at the soot in my soul day in and day out. I pull no punches with my self, I’m no slouch where this is concerned. And even as I type this I think, “that’s narcissistic. you’re so full of yourself.” Egad. The size of my ego is revealed there. My head is full, my heart heavy.
So I am cleaning the “nous.” I’ve been scrubbing away at the rims all this time it seems, leaving large black streaks across the lens and not even realizing what I had missed. I know I need to stop smearing the soot around, I’d like some spiritual windex, please. I’m too impatient for elbow grease and time to do it’s work. Perhaps that is where the anger is made, in my impatience. I hate that after all the “work” I’ve done in my life on my emotional and spiritual wellness that I am still so very in need of cleaning and care. I thought I was further along than this. I truly did.