|Horses, keeping their distance from me|
Thomas Merton wrote of this world as having a "current" which wants to carry people along in its direction. Spiritually, Merton knew, this was dangerous, false, and a loss of freedom. To be carried along by this world's current is to be rendered spiritually ineffective. It is to be part of the mindless herd, the faceless crowd. Merton wrote:
"I am always being diverted into a way that is not my way and is not going where I am called to go. And only if I go where I must go can I be of any use to “the world.” I can serve the world best by keeping my distance and my freedom." (Merton, A Year with Thomas Merton, (Kindle Locations 2750-2751)
I keep my distance from the world when I "retreat" to those lonely places where it's just my Lord and I. It is in those places where God uncovers and I discover my true self, who I am and what I am to become.
From this place of powerful retreat I then "advance" into the world without acquiescing to its channeling. I am in the world but keep my spiritual distance from it. This is the freedom of every authentic Jesus-follower who flows with the currents of the Spirit.