‘What are you looking for?
This question links to the first stage of love and can act as a way of opening up our emotional relationship with God.
The answer may be that we don’t know but are looking for something instead of nothing. Perhaps we are still looking for something that will fulfil us – our vocation, our close relationships, perhaps at a deeper level we are looking for a more real part of ourselves. Perhaps we are looking for something that is hidden deep in our spiritual unconscious. Perhaps we are looking for something that is already within us … something that is always very close to each one of us, ‘nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet’.
What does it really mean to be in such a relationship with God? One answer is to be in a state of conscious connection with him. This involves a giving out and a taking in. It is as essential and natural as breathing. One of the basic techniques in meditation is to watch and count the breath as a way of focusing our attention, but how do we consciously connect with God and how can we begin to be aware of God in our lives?
Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century French monk, describes a similar process to watching the breath, when he suggests almost that we can watch God. He found a way, and advocated it to others, of fixing ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with him without mystery or artificiality. This, he teaches, initially needs perseverance, but all that is needed is our realisation that God is intimately present within us, and so we can turn at every moment to him in ‘unbroken communion’.
The question invites us to be open to all possibilities. In other words, we are in a place of becoming, for going beyond ourselves, and so we carry the potential for change and moving closer to God. The way that we reflect on our answer to this question, ‘What are you looking for?’ will be influenced by our particular attraction towards the intellectual, the emotional, and the moral. It is at this point that the grace of God helps us in our search. In this way as we move forward on the four steps of love God acts as a transformational process who through continuous action within us alters our very being – mind, heart and soul.
‘Each of us is at the centre of infinite and marvellous combinations’
So writes Leon Bloy who says that if God gave it to us to see the infinite and marvellous combinations – in other words the patterns and paths God makes in our lives, ‘we would enter Paradise in a swoon of pain and delight’.