HALT in the Name of Love


In some of my communities, this is an acronym: Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.

It can be used as a barometer….if I am in any, or God forbid, all, of these states, best to stop and pay attention. And then, take a corresponding action:

Eat. Pray. Connect. Rest.

Postpone other actions. Don’t try to solve problems. Nurture myself, instead.

From my own experience, the “H” also stands for Hurry.

When I am in a hurry, I am any, or sometimes all, of the following:

  • Single-minded
  • Impatient
  • Unkind

I have an exaggerated sense of my own importance, as evinced by such thoughts as

  • “Don’t they know I am late?”
  • “Why can’t he drive faster?”
  • “How could she be so clueless?”

In all, they point to a wonderful turn of phrase that I silently invoke in these moments:

“Don’t you know who I think I am?”

Of course, this degree of self-centeredness is preposterous. It is out of balance with the way of the world, because it attempts to put me at its center. It bespeaks an ego in need of defending.

And, so, it wreaks havoc. In my moments of self-centered concern, I ignore others. In fact, I treat them as “others”…somehow unconnected to my life, to THE life. Which then allows me to mistreat them, in thought, word or deed. This, in turn, only makes me unhappier. As the sages have said before me, kindling resentments is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

And, as the sages have also said, there is a solution: a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition.

Which is why service is the counter-balance to self-centeredness.

Which is why non-attachment is so useful.

Which is perhaps why Jesus said, “if you lose your life, you will find it.”

And, my own addition, an apocryphal complement to the Beatitudes:

“Woe unto you, tail-gaters, for the airbag you inflate will be your own”.

And, I really don’t want that to happen. So, I back off, slow down, breathe. I imagine the folks in front of me are my long-dead, dearly-loved grandparents. And, I am reconnected to life.

And right-sized.

And a bit calmer.


About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many things...in my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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