Day Six in "The Journey of the Wise Men: Twelve Days and Twelve Ways to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice" So, you're walking now. It's night, and away from the city lights you're more able to perceive the haunting beauty of the landscape around you. As you do, two things begin to happen to you.

First, with each step you take, each day and stage along the way, you sense a growing anticipation rising within you. Deep within there's a growing conviction that you've finally set out on the one journey that truly matters; you're pursuing the Ultimate, the Absolute, the Source and Goal of all life. All you were made for and destined to be lies at the end of this journey, bathed in the pure radiance of the star's bright light.

Second, you notice you've begun to enter a new and strange land you've never seen before. The familiar landmarks are gone. You've moved off the map. You're lost to all except the light of the star. Anticipation emboldens you, but the strangeness of this new land unnerves you.

If you've not known something of this eagerness and nervousness, you've not gone far enough in the spiritual journey; your praying's been too safe.  At some point, all who seek God are carried into some kind of desert experience, for the desert is the furnace of transformation. In the desert, we're stripped of all that is external. The only thing that remains is the nakedness of the heart's pure trust. This is why every spiritual "athlete," from Abraham to Mother Theresa, was pressed by the Holy Spirit into the desert.

Today, I'll acknowledge that the desert frightens me, but I must not avoid it if I'm to find what I'm looking for.

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