The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. – Thomas Keating
As I wake to this new day,
As I yawn and rub my eyes and peer into the breaking dawn,
I begin to see the edges of things, coming clear.
And, today, there is a subtle shift in vision.
I begin to see the heart of things, as well.
Within the frame of morning,
I begin to see a shimmer of your presence.
I begin to imagine your smile upon the dawn,
Your fingers brushing the edges of the grass,
Your hope rising upon the horizon.
And it is here that I begin to know
That imagination is not mere fantasy
But the early sign of the gift of entrainment
The fruit of practice
The pattern behind the patterning.
Rote practice is not the key,
But a continual turning of the heart toward you,
The intention – not to do the work, but to be open to it –
Has begun its work in me.
And that is what dawns on me this morning.
I am so grateful.
[photo used with permission from Mike Bizeau’s beautiful blog – nature has no boss]
My true self –
The self I long to meet
The one where I fit nicely in my own skin
And equally well in my community,
As if we are suited to one another
The one where goodness is not fake
But a natural expression of a maturing soul,
And where continuing growth is the sure future
The one where I can embrace the flawed reality
That is both where I live and who I am,
And still find peace and beauty … and firm hope
The one where I dare to join the dance
That is the world’s becoming,
The very echo and response to the Holy Three.
This is the self you call me to be.
This is the self I will become.
This is the dance of life.
[photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann per cc 2.0]
[thanks to Richard Rohr’s daily meditations]
Giving thanks is part of a pervasive human activity: gift exchange. … So important is the pattern of give, receive, give back that some thinkers identify it as crucial for holding societies together. People who knit interconnections via gift exchanges create more stable communities than those whose only glue is external rules.
Ours is an age dominated by the contract not the gift. Contracts are engaged only when specific mutual benefits can be identified. Once the specified exchange is completed, the relationship ends. The gift and gratitude context, by contrast, assumes asymmetry and continuation. – Raymond Boisvert
This brief reflection changed my (thanksgiving) day. That dance of grateful joy – giving, receiving, giving back – is a reflection of the Trinity that Richard Rohr is introducing to me. An understanding of ‘god’ as a solitary, all powerful, all complete, separate being is just not big enough to express the mystery of love. It takes the dance of Trinity to help me see. It takes the dance of relationship – of giving and receiving and giving again – the very heart of the Trinity – to help me understand.
[photo by Adam Baker per cc 2.0]
The best moments any of us have as human beings are those moments when for a little while it is possible to escape the squirrel cage of being me into the landscape of being us. – Frederick Buechner
I try for a moment every morning
To pry my attention away from the urgent
And focus on the eternal.
It is not easy.
Sometimes my distractions are discomfort:
A headache or a cold.
Sometimes it is the email, screaming in my inbox.
Or that damn list.
Sometimes it is just guilt:
The friend I should have called,
The closet where I’ve hidden what I should have cleaned.
They are all squirrels.
So, I try one or more of the methods I’ve been given –
I focus on my breath or close my eyes and smile
Or practice grateful reflection.
Each of those can help.
But what really makes the difference
Is when you sneak up beside me
And remind me
You are here.
That is when my soul can finally release its grasp upon the urgent
And fall into your sweet embrace.
That is the moment
I find myself, again.
[image filtered from photo by Chance Fry per cc 2.0]
All day long a little burro labors, sometimes with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries about things that bother only burros.
And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting than physical labor.
Once in a while a kind monk comes to her stable and brings a pear, but more than that, he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds the burro is free and even seems to laugh,
because love does that.
– Meister Eckhart (David Ladinsky)
I am that burro.
You are that monk.
[image by Convivial Studio per cc 2.0]
[the passage is from Love Poems from God – compiled and translated by David Ladinsky – a book worth reading and re-reading many times.]
A robust spirituality is one that:
- Holds on to integrity; knowing that honesty is the only path to the true heart of things.
- Finds the opportunities for gratitude, even within pain and sorrow.
- Greets the world with an open and generous heart, in sheer delight at the interconnectedness of all that is.
- Uses self-awareness as the seedbed of empathy; the first hint of what it means to be a part of a world filled with the richness of emotion and held together with the power of love.
- Honors the self and others equally, recognizing each as a gift in the great exchange that is life.
Friends who demonstrate this robust spirituality – regardless of how they define belief or non-belief – keep me grounded and full of hope. They are not dependent on any particular future. Instead, they they have learned to treasure the now. Their very breath – the movement of the spirit of life within them – sustains each precious moment.
[photo by Joy per cc 2.0]
When tragedy occurs, it seems we must hurry to find someone or something to blame, removing our own guilt and complicity, our responsibility for response, by pointing outside ourselves. What else are we to do with our anger and fear, but place it at a safe distance?
Unfortunately, and all too often, othering is what created the space for tragedy, in the first place – or, at least, what placed the most vulnerable where they will take the brunt of the impact.
Can we learn to respond first with compassion? Can we learn, when we must blame, to blame the othering, and not the other? Can we learn to see – within our very selves – both the victim and the perpetrator, as scary and disgusting as that may be?
Oh, Holy One, help us to learn to love all ‘others’ as ourselves – as, indeed, they are.
[photo by Isabelle per cc 2.0]