Desert Day 41: Be Still, My Restless Soul …

Something stirred from deep within. I felt it knocking, begging to be acknowledged and released. I could not put a name to it, but something felt awakened after a long period of dormancy. In truth, this gnawing sensation had been building for more than a year, but on the levee that day, I grappled with this powerful presence at work in me. I had no words for the hunger that was asking me for more. All I could do was attempt to be still and acknowledge its existence. Continue reading “Desert Day 41: Be Still, My Restless Soul …”

Desert Day 25: Desert Wisdom, What God Has Blessed …

Water, water, water … There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.
— Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Everywhere is Desert

The Desert Fathers believed that the wilderness had been created as supremely valuable in the eyes of God precisely because it had no value to men. The wasteland was the land that could never be wasted by men because it offered them nothing. There was nothing to attract them. There was nothing to exploit. The desert was the region in which the Chosen People had wandered for forty years, cared for by God alone. They could have reached the Promised Land in a few months if they had travelled directly to it. God’s plan was that they should learn to love Him in the wilderness and that they should always look back upon the time in the desert as the idyllic time of their life with Him alone. Continue reading “Desert Day 25: Desert Wisdom, What God Has Blessed …”

Desert Day 21: At Home In The Silence …

Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord. — Zech 2:13

Where shall the Word be found,
where will the word resound?
Not here.
There is not enough silence.
— T. S. Elliott from Collected Poems (Ash Wednesday)

 

To enter the unspeakable requires a quiet courage that points to what is often out of reach, though it is never far from us. Not unspeakable because it is awful, but because it lives beneath words. Not touching that silence and what lives there isolates us from the web of Spirit that connects everything. Then we lapse into what feels like a broken world of nothing. But entering that silence, the unspeakable shows itself as the thread of light that holds the web of life together. Feeling these threads, I am reanimated in a world where each small part contains everything. Continue reading “Desert Day 21: At Home In The Silence …”

Desert Day 10: Desert Listening …

Their words and names echo through the centuries and fall on our ears with the haunting, foreign ring of oriental temple bells: Abba Anthony, Amma Syncletica, Abba Marcarius, Abba Poemen. Yet these fathers and mothers of the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria are our own Christian spiritual forebears. Continue reading “Desert Day 10: Desert Listening …”

Celtic Benediction: Morning Prayer …

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life,
it is often no louder than the beating of your heart,
and it is very easy to miss it.
Boris Pasternak (in a letter to Olga Ivinskaya)

For the morning light
and its irresistible dawning,
for your untameable utterances of life
in boundless stretches of space
and the strength of the waves of the sea
I give thanks, O God.
Release in me the power of your Spirit
that my soul may be free
and my spirit strong.
Release in me the freedom of your Spirit
that I may be bridled by nothing but love
that I may be bridled only by love. Continue reading “Celtic Benediction: Morning Prayer …”

A Day of Rest …

Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.
— Mark Buchanan from The Holy Wild

Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life. Continue reading “A Day of Rest …”

Earth Day Meditation …

God I sit in the stillness
of this moment,
and surrender to the whisper
of your love.
In this place of quiet,
time is stilled,
and place gives fertile ground,
for seeds to sprout. Continue reading “Earth Day Meditation …”

The Edge of Center …

All tempest has,
Like a navel,
A hole in it’s middle,
Through which
A gull can fly,
In silence.
– Fourteen-Century Japanese, Anonymous

Continue reading “The Edge of Center …”

Seeing the World Anew …

… When we rush from thing to thing, never pausing, never allowing space, we see only what we expect to find. We see to grasp at the information we need. We see the stereotypes embedded in our minds. We miss the opportunity to see beyond what we want. We walk by a thousand ordinary revelations every day in our busyness and preoccupation.

We move through our lives, often at such speed, that our perception of time becomes contorted. We begin to believe that life is about rushing as fast as we can, about getting as much done as possible. We are essentially skating across life’s surface, exhausted and disoriented. Continue reading “Seeing the World Anew …”