Advent Day 17: Awakening To Your Heart …

From the very beginning to the very end, pointing to our own hearts to discover what is true isn’t just a matter of honesty but also of compassion and respect for what we see.

Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it’s important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe. When we discover the Buddha that we are, we realize that everything and everyone is Buddha. We discover that everything is awake, and everyone is awake. Everything is equally precious and whole and good, and everyone is equally precious and whole and good. When we regard thoughts and emotions with humor and openness, that’s how we perceive the universe. We’re not just talking about our individual liberation, but how to help the community we live in, how to help our families, our country, and the whole continent, not to mention the world and the galaxy and as far as we want to go. Continue reading “Advent Day 17: Awakening To Your Heart …”

Blessing in the Chaos …

To be in the world is to be distant from the homeland of wholeness. We are confined by limitation and difficulty. When we bless, we are enabled somehow to go beyond our present frontiers and reach into the source. A blessing awakens future wholeness. We use the word foreshadow for the imperfect representation of something that is yet to come. We could say that a blessing “forebrightens” the way. When a blessing is invoked, a window opens in eternal time …

Our longing for the eternal kindles our imagination to bless. Regardless of how we configure the eternal, the human heart continues to dream of a state of wholeness, a place where everything comes together, where loss will be made good, where blindness will transform into vision, where damage will be made whole, where the clenched question will open in the house of surprise, where the travails of a life’s journey will enjoy a homecoming. To invoke a blessing is to call some of that wholeness upon a person now … Continue reading “Blessing in the Chaos …”

Desert Day 16: Solitude of Heart …

The word solitude can be misleading. It suggests being alone by yourself in an isolated place. When we think about solitaries, our mind easily evokes images of monks or hermits who live in remote places secluded from the noise of the busy world. In fact, the words solitude and solitary are derived from the Latin word solus, which means alone, and during the ages many men and women who wanted to live a spiritual life withdrew to remote places—deserts, mountains or deep forests—to live the life of a recluse. Continue reading “Desert Day 16: Solitude of Heart …”

Desert Day 15: Stop Worrying …

So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? 
— Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus does not respond to our worry-filled way of living by saying that we should not be so busy with worldly affairs. He does not try to pull us away from the many events, activities, and people that make up our lives. He does not tell us that what we do is unimportant, valueless, or useless. Nor does he suggest that we should withdraw from our involvements and live quiet, restful lives removed from the struggles of the world. Continue reading “Desert Day 15: Stop Worrying …”

Desert Day 14: The Labyrinth, A Metaphor For Our Journey …

The most important starting point in any definition of the classical labyrinth is a description of its physical construction. It is a single circuitous pathway, leading uninterrupted to a central position.
— Jim Buchanan from Labyrinths for the Spirit

There is one way in and one way out. There is a beginning and an end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is not only in the center, but the whole labyrinth is in him. We are not alone. Although at times it seems like I am journeying away from the center, I am actually well on the way towards it.  In fact, it is very true that as far as direction goes, I am often walking away from the center – away from the very place I am trying to get to – wondering how I will ever get there by doing that!  But experience has taught me – on the labyrinth and in life – that as long as I keep going, one step at a time, I can trust I will get there eventually.  It isn’t only about finding God in the center; it is about recognizing that the whole labyrinth – our whole journey – is held by God, in love.  Continue reading “Desert Day 14: The Labyrinth, A Metaphor For Our Journey …”

The True Self …

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
E. E. Cummings

The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.
Sue Monk Kidd

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.
— Thomas Merton from A Search for Solitude

Continue reading “The True Self …”