Thomas's Blog

Spiritual Ruts

Posted By Thomas Murphy on August 01, 2014

To look at him, one would not guess he was a philosopher.Dressed in light blue cover-all, his name Dwayne embroidered over his left pocket shirt pocket, standing next to our non-working air conditioning unit, philosopher might not come to mind. And I do know I should never assume, or stereotype, or judge people. But, try as I might, I sometimes do. So when he began waxing philosophical about Freon, I was unprepared. “You see,” he said pointing to the build up of ice. “The very substance that makes it work can also shut it down.” He paused, then said “a lot of things in life are like that: democracy, relationships, and faith. The very thing that gives it purpose can also pull them apart.” I suppose this is also true about life. Just breathing itself leads to the gradual cellular demise associated with aging. I was thinking about Dwayne’s observation when I began pondering my spiritual practices. I was in a rut. For years part of my prayer life has involved sitting in silence and slowly repeating a phrase in my head. Up until a few months ago, this seemed to help me really feel connected to God. However, recently this approach suddenly dried up. My mind resisting the quiet with list after list of things I need to do, people I need to see, goals I need to set. In Dwayne’s observation, what had so sustained me eventually lead to its own eventual dysfunction. It’s amazing to me where inspiration arises. The key to finding my way out of this spiritual cul-de-sac came unexpectedly from an infomercial, touting the latest fad in exercise: “cross-fit.” In this infomercial, a very serious man in a white medical coat discussed how cross-fit took advantage of something called ‘muscle confusion.’ This condition apparently makes your body work overtime to build muscle. I realized in my spiritual life I had kept doing the same practice so long that I was unable to experience any new growth. Hence, I have embarked on a practice called informally ‘prayer confusion.’ I have sought out new practices designed to pull my spiritual life into an uproar. I have spent a lot of time looking through the thousands of resources offered on the portal by the Center for Spiritual Resources ( I have discovered many different ways of expanding my prayer life into practices that enrich my spiritual life and work. I offer this up as an invitation to utilize this amazing resource that is literally clicks away and applaud the hard work of Robbin Whittington to connect people to the resources that matter. My experience with Dwayne really reminded me that in a culture that so leans heavily on routine, a little variety is not only necessary but life giving. With so many resources within reach, I wanted to highlight this ministry with the hope that it can make an equally important impact.​