Tag Archives: Mysticism

Man Cave: Of sanctuaries and retreats

(A Room Decoration and Demarcation)

It’s been said that the adult male human regularly needs some “down time” after a work day (a.k.a. Cave Time) to rejuvenate, find refreshment, recharge, gain clarity, and so on.

BUT-I doubt–a LOT–that “cave time” is truly a need reserved for the masculine of the species.

As many men will attest, females also enjoy and feel the need to retreat, and find refreshment. For some women it looks like taking a walk alone, reading a book while soaking in a bubble bath, or even not being alone–such as, sharing emotions with a trusted friend or ally.

Whatever this time looks like, it is a demarcated boundary of sanctuary, and vitally important to good mental health, and a balanced life–notwithstanding the spiritual benefits.

My husband doesn’t feel he needs a “den” or a man gym set up in the basement to get his man cave time in. He most enjoys a vigorous bike ride through the beautiful countryside on his road bike. I most like a variety of sanctuaries and refreshing conduits–both with others and without.

It’s not a weakness or a shame to realize you need space, and find your own space routinely (be it physical space, quite down time, mental respite, or beneficial time of social interaction). It is part of how we [all] live out our humanity fully, and how we are better able to best rejoin to loved ones, and others in our work or social lives in the most healthy way. If you don’t alreadly, encourage your loved ones to carve out demarcated time for this human need, as well as maintain your own. Seriously. Put in on the calendar or in your planner. It’s really that important. Be systematic so you stick with it, and keep your appointments with yourself. You will be surprised how much everyone will benefit.

Do you get the “cave time” you feel you need?

What does cave time look, or sound like for you?

Any body know Scripture that encourages ‘cave time’?

I look forward to your responses. Thanks.

Awake in my dreams: Lucid dreaming

I have to do a post about this, esp since it’s fresh in my mind. This morning I have really vibrant lucid dreams. That is, I woke up within the dream, and could control the things I did/decided, and I could consciously control some of the dream’s outcome.

I used to have insomnia as a tween (pre-teen, ages 9-12) and teen. Now, I have trained my mind to fall asleep in usually under 2 minutes. (Much to the astonishment of my spouse, and friends who happen to see it take place.) I usually remember 3-7 dreams per night. I dont’ bother with a dream journal much, because I don’t have several hours to take it all down when I wake up.

If I can’t fall asleep in 5 minutes or less, I tend to be awake for a while. So, I’ve developed some skills to fall asleep. The one I use the most, and the most effectively is counted down from 100. I concentrate on the numbers (number shape and order themselves), and allow my breathing to grow slow and deep. Often I beginning dreaming immediately as I drift off into unconsciousness.

A person can develop this sort of (lucid) dreaming as a skill, much like training yourself to remember dreams. Here are some tips to start remembering your dreams. I also got some quire handy tips on how to wake up a bit better within my dreams from Tim Ferris, who has researched it a bit.

For me personally, I’ve always had a vivid imagination, been highly creative, and highly stimulated visually. Actually, I had always thought everyone had the chance to dream this way. Since I was a little girl I’ve had fantastic lucid dreams, and I would pick *flying* when I would wake in my dreams. This just seemed like the most fun and exhilarating choice, and crashing didn’t happen too often either. (It’s more like bouncing usually.)

Can you wake up during your dreams?

Interesting- Quick facts about lucid dreams here.

For anyone interested in sharing lucid dreams, discussions, or learning more, I started a facebook group page. At Facebook, search my name (Lisa Colon DeLay) and “lucid dream learning group”.

The WHY questions…

It’s quite possible that my parents inadvertently trained my brain to be more philosophical then it might have been ordinarily.

I remember countless times after doing something naughty or foolish, my parents would ask me a daunting question “Why, did you do that?”

I’m not sure what kind of answers they were expecting. I would wonder why they would ask that.

Those answers were far beyond what my child brain could tackle.

Inwardly I would think, “HUH? Well, that’s a good question, I guess. I probably should have asked why to myself before I did it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. How should I know why I did it? Do they know why? If so, why don’t they just tell me? Will there be some kind of quiz later, or something? If they do know why, why did they looked so puzzled? And basically pissed off. Am I supposed to figure it out for them? …..ugh. But, now that I’m thinking of it, I do wonder why.”

I would usually answer, “I don’t know.” Deep inside I would wish and hope the scrutiny would not last too long. (It probably would lead to a “spanking” a.k.a. whoop the daylights out of me.) But, I also thought, if I did know, wouldn’t truthful answers incriminate me? What could I really come up with in all honesty, “because I wanted to,”?

Mainly through the sheer number of inquiries, I developed the feeling that the answer to “why” had importance. I started on a path toward “hack philosopher”…

“Why would people wish to put meat into ball shapes?”

“Why would chewing gum before supper truly ruin supper itself?”

“Why was, ‘because I said so’ considered an acceptable reason for adults to give me, but never good at all for me to reply to them?”

When troubles or suffering would come, I would instinctively ask “why”?

Maybe learning a lot of things would give me these sought for questions. I tried that a bit. (I still love roving around libraries on a quest of discovery.) After a good deal of learning, one day it came to me:

“Almost all the really crucial questions that ask ‘why’ have quite unsatisfactory answers.”

Or, the answers get debated widely, and are rarely agreed on. Or, the “answers” have the kind of complexities that don’t make one feel better about things. At all.

All this preparatory ‘why’ work…for what? Zip. More or less.

Instead of those sorts of questions, I moved on. “What does asking why tell us about us, and why we should want to know in the first place?” That seems like a much bigger question, with the kind of answer that will make a difference.

We want things to make sense. We want purpose and something to believe in that won’t let us down. We want to count on something. Will a concrete answer provide this? It seems most concrete answers only produce more questions. Of course, I was only satiated with pat answers for a short time.  (I do believe I was also trained to understand that challenging  answers was either a lack of faith, or a flaw in character.)

It’s been a new path for me to have a certain serenity that understanding may begin when the intricacies that the why questions remain in creative tension with discovery and mystery.

And so “why mystery?”

For me, it’s about knowing things in terms of relationship, not facts. The facts can be manipulated, massaged, or up for grabs. But, true trust, based on an ongoing and lavish love, surmounts what facts never satisfy.

God is why.

Leave a comment…

Learning to Swim

photo by stephen jones (steve p2008 -Flickr)

I couldn’t swim until I was 11 years old, and even then, it was a pretty panicky endeavor.

Today I taught both of my kids (ages 7.5 and 10) how to swim in about 3 hours.

Both were super afraid of being in the deep section when we started. Because they trusted me; it worked. I gave them pushes to the side, and skill tips, and once the fear was nearly gone, they could do it.

Much has to do with trusting that one is fairly buoyant in the water. Thrashing is not helpful, tense muscles tend to sink. For my son, who was quite scared, I told swim, “swim gently.” Something clicked. He saw/experienced that when taking his time, he could maneuver and stay afloat. The terror of sinking like a rock eased away. He probably jumped in the deep end to swim about 150 times after that.

For my daughter, distracting her with techniques, like a flutter kick and slicing arms through the water, distracted her from her over-thinking. The paralyzing fright of trying something new and “dangerous” settled out, and made way for real progress. I would hold her under her belly, to qualm her fears, and then I’d take her into deeper water so she wouldn’t stunt her learning by cutting it short: standing up each time she wasn’t sure of things, or when she felt scared–which, at the start, was about every 4 seconds. Once she saw how far she could go, by obeying my instructions, she realized she was ALREADY swimming. Then the fear (well, more the 50% of it) subsided. She got far more comfortable in the water.

It’s like that in life too, isn’t it. Much of what we think is beyond us, or too scary is part of how we’ve let our fears and false notions get in the way. We all must learn to float and not fight as God teaches us how to manage deeper water. Otherwise we are trapped in the kiddie pool.

How old were you when you learned to swim? Or do you have Aquaphobia a.k.a fear of water?

In what ways, to you, is the art and skill of swimming related to growth, or your own personal journey?

Any other thoughts?

P.S.

I’m looking for a pop up camper… keep your eyes peeled.

(Change the channel or take a walk?) “The Show About Me” (part 2)


One of the most common responses people have when they get fed up with the re-runs of living their own small show is that they try to flip to a different channel. That is, they somehow realize a kind of radical change in life is necessary, so they try to re-make themselves.

Perhaps they start a new relationship, change careers, adopt a baby, buy a vehicle or expensive toy, go back to school, get plastic surgery, switch churches, move away, or in some way try to live out a better story. You’ve probably tried it, I know I have.

Maybe a person gets into religion, or he gets away from it. Maybe they start to need anti-depressants or anti-anxeity medication. Some abuse substances or live more dangerously. Something just seems wrong–and one tries to fix it.

Plenty of the time, these efforts do bring some distraction and change, and therefore a certain kind of freedom or renewal is felt (at least for a bit); but down deep, nothing important has changed at all. After a little while, the person still feels frustrated or undone. (Or something else unpleasant.) The channel may have changed, but what is lived out is just a Spin-off of “The Show About Me”. Sadly, very few fully realize that their perceptive, and how they live out reality, is fairly the same even after a massive change. The same troubles will assail them, in some way. However, the baggage gets heavier.

Our Creator is the true center of the Show (not us). The Supreme Being is irresistibly calling out, wooing us, and our thirst deepens.

It’s a fact that when a person is too dehydrated they may actually stop craving what they truly need-water/hydration and replenishment of nutrients. They may feel tired, ill, hungry, or numb, instead of thirsty. In an ironic twist, the person doesn’t desire what will make them healthy again. It’s a perilous situation. Without help, people die this way.

This kind of confusion happens spiritually too. Often, in fact. A common (household) term often used for what turns out to be a spiritual problem like this is most often called a “midlife crisis” or sometimes an “identity crisis.” It’s common for people to get a point where they need to “find themselves,” or re-define themselves, sometimes multiple times throughout one’s life. This “want to” to change is healthy, though many times misread. An identity shift like this may happen once or several times in one’s life where a person tries hard to better one’s circumstances, and find relief.

If you haven’t enter a stage like this yourself, I’m sure you can think of someone who has. For instance, in the last 18 months seven marriages at our church have spun out of control or failed. I believe a misunderstanding of this spiritual opportunity is a big reason why.

What must happen to be truly free, and on a full path to growth? Something more like a walk has to happen rather than a small show we create. A walk with God and changing one’s perspective to surrender to God and “his” Big Show (the authentic one “Reality”) is a path few take, or attempt for all that long. It just isn’t a simple or smooth road. It is a mysterious, sometimes troubling one, where the answers are rarely simple or pat. This is the path of faith (believing in what you can’t see, but still know is quite real). Sometimes changing the channel, multiple times, seems like the only sensible thing to do. The negative part is that we only get more of the same when we do that. It’s still our story we want to control, and our story stays small and frustrating.

As many who have done the enormous personal work to recover from drugs or alcohol can attest, one usually has to hit “rock bottom,” (or be fully ready), before surrender to a new, and bigger Show occurs (a life centered in God’s Reality). It all starts by doing something very rare and counter-intuitive. It’s something we all fear: Losing control and Humbly yielding to the Higher Power, and admitting that without grace, and true dependence on God and others, a better way cannot be possible. Perhaps the scripture comes to mind, …”if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it. But if you lose your life (yourself) for my sake, you will find it…”

In contrast, we wish to be self-made.… yet, only a small show about “me” is self-made. Transformation, growth, and sturdy happiness (joy) comes instead through the bravery of surrender to the greater Reality, and taking the more treacherous but rewarding path that comes with this decision.

In part III installment on this topic, I’ll mention some things that happen once this pivotal choice is made. A person’s attitude and outlook change; and how one orders one’s life undergoes critical and unavoidable development with radical shifts in thinking, acting, and relating to others–for the better! We’re talking here about spiritual formation.

I’ll describe that a bit more, soon, in part III. Check back in the next few days and see.

This is a lot to chew on, especially if this is a new concept, and you’ve never encountered these ideas before. Some people call it “being born again”…. and in a real sense, a new life starts for the person who is ready: A whole new life begins.

…to be continued…

Reflections questions:

Have I been living my own small story?

Have I longed for a richer life, but have really only being encountering re-runs or spin offs of a short-changed Show?

What is stopping me from walking a new life?

What are your responses, insights, or thoughts on this topic?

Mystically Wired: A book review

A book to change the way you see God and communicate with him.

Thomas Nelson Publishing, through their poorly-named, BookSneeze I review for BookSneeze initiative, sent me Ken Wilson’s book Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer.

This book promised to hit the sweet-spot of my spiritual interests, and I was not disappointed. Wilson was spot on starting out in his book that our first priority in seeking God and utilizing prayer is to pray for the desire to pray. This often overlooked first-things-first way allows us to receive from God a thirst for him (which comes via God, not us). This step invigorates our longing to communicate and be more aware of God.

Wilson gives a thoughtful and careful look at prayer, and our inherent basic need for interaction with God as Spirit shows us that we actually all pray for peace–peace of mind.

A “mystic” sense of God is not a pickled and preserved static view of a far-off Being, but an ongoing dew-kissed refreshment to our souls that adds richness to our spiritual life, our growth, meaning in life, discovery, and general renewal. It is realizing that God is great, mysterious, unfathomable, available, and quite nearby. It’s the beginning of a deep and nourishing relationship.

This way of apprehending God is a critical aspect of a walk with God. It is also a seminal part of Christian history, faith, and ongoing transformation toward holiness.

As a person who’s spent hundreds of hours studying prayer on the graduate level, and enriching my own walk with God through a rich prayer life, I can truly say, “Well done, Mr Wilson.”

Here’s the product page description from the publisher.

To read samples, find out more, or purchase it, you’ll find it here at Amazon.

Meditation to Contemplation – Kataphatic to Apophatic Prayer

Prayer Exercise

(a.k.a The 3 x in 7 days invitational)

First, a bit about Meditation-

Meditation: In prayer-

The half-way house between thinking and contemplating.

(Worship) Meditation is Recollection (a re-gathering):

No more and no less than the subjection of the attention to the control of the will. –Evelyn Underhill

Read her book “Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People” –free here:

Book Cover: "Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People," 1914

From Meditation one may move to a stage of Contemplation.

The two contemplative purifications at work:

The purification of sense, and the purification of will.

For millennia, fire has symbolized the Spirit of God.

If your prayer time has lost some of its richness, please enjoy this prayer exercise:

Meditation Prayer Exercise (7-20 min)

(Please note: It may take several, or many times of disciplined meditation, (as a spiritual practice), to move into a more contemplative prayer experience or mindset. I challenge you to have the courage to keep at it.)


1. Read through this exercise the whole way. (You will likely need to refer back to it during your meditation time, as well.)

2. Light a candle to represent the Spirit of  God.

2. Slowly Read and Reflect on a portion of Scripture, or the following poem:


All our knowledge, sense, and sight,
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded.
Til Thy Spirit brake our night,
With the beams of truth unclouded.

Beginning this time of prayer and worship:

First, surrender to the influence of the Object of your meditation, [in this case, through the vehicle/aid of the poem words, visual aid (candle), plus symbolism (flame = Spirit)]. Surrender to The Divine exhibition of unexpected meaning, beauty, and power. Pray on these things.

Focal Point:

Not if, but when, your thoughts wander, or your attention wanes, bring your internal, (and external) gaze back to the flame of the candle before you. The chatter of your mind will be ceaseless at first. Refocus. Recall what the flame symbolizes, and the goodness of God, (Trinity-Creator, Savior, Spirit). Center, again, your awareness on the Object of your worship (God), in thanksgiving and grace.

As you continue to meditate: See your self distinctly from the Other, and, in time, transition to observing your connectedness; Move from a “multiplicity to a unity”.

Once you have been vested in the experience of meditation for a time:

You may notice how your efforts of trying to focus and worship God, may adjust to a resting or receiving from God, in silence of the mind, and spirit. In this case, there is no effort on your part, but a loving dispensing, from God, into your heart and mind.

Enter and enjoy this time as though receiving an inpouring of God’s love, healing, and grace.

This contemplative stage of prayer cannot be forced, and for some, it is a difficult experience to come by. If you never approach this stage during your exercise, the discipline of prayer and meditation, done routinely, can aid in the apprehension of this mysterious reversal called contemplation. This is the stage where praying/thinking, moves to determined focus, which may transform into surrendered contemplation–which is a nourishing and awing spiritual communion with God.

Thank you for reading.

Please share your thoughts.


(If you tried this exercise, now or in the future, please mention that here, as well.)

Thank you.