“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries.” –William James, The Will to Believe
“The great lessons from the true mystics…is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” — Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences
“If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.” –Lin-Chi, The Taoist Classics, translated by Thomas Cleary
“The lesson that life constantly enforces is ‘Look underfoot.’ You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don’t despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world.” — Naturalist John Burroughs
Contemplation is a very dangerous activity.
[Contemplation] not only brings us face to face with God. It brings us, as well, face to face with the world, face to face with the self. And then, of course, something must be done.
Nothing stays the same once we have found the God within….
We carry the world in our hearts: the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the Earth, the hunger of the starving, and the joy of every laughing child.
Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our Home…
Source: From Intimations of Immortality
God is love. And not the kind of love that is necessarily Hallmark like, but the kind that is Present when no one else is, when all else has failed, when there are more doubts than assurances. And in all things and through all things I am keen to remember (re-member) two solid truths: one, that God is Perfect Love and two, I gave my life to God. All else in my world must flow from these truths or I am lost. And if God is perfect love, and I surrendered my life to this God of Perfect Love, then I am wise to allow that divine love to flow into me and through me. I must get out of my own way, so to speak, and allow God’s all embracing, all encompassing love to BE just that in me and through me: embracing all and encompassing all.
I am here to have my mind conformed to the will of God. And God’s will is that of love, so therefore I am also here to learn of God’s love and to let God’s love teach me the divine ways of being. For me, God’s love cannot be learned in a book of paper but rather in the and through the book called Life. I have joked around that the definition of LIFE is Love In Full Expression. And so must my learning be: learning to let God’s love have full expression within me, burning off the dross of my banal ego and my leanings towards the pettiness of things. If I am to learn of God’s love, I must place myself consciously “in the way” of this love, and I am here to learn of this will of God that is love in being and action.
And finally, since I am oh so human and I need to learn to lean on God and others for my support, my growth and also how to be someone others can lean on. Love received can only be nurtured if it is love given. So I need to Love, Learn and Lean…
The Christian Church came into being at Pentecost. The gift of the Spirit on that occasion is generally called the gift of tongues, but it might equally well be called the gift of ears…
As writers, readers, human beings, we cannot speak to or understand each other unless we are first prepared to listen. Of all the gifts which the Spirit is able to bestow, the one for which we should first and most earnestly pray is humility of ear.
It is surely an exercise of faith for us to see Christ in each other. But it is through such exercise that we grow and the joy of our vocation assures us we are on the right path. Certainly, it is easier to believe that the sun warms us, and we know that buds will appear on the trees in the wasteland across the street, that life will spring out of the dull clods of that littered park across the way. There are wars and rumors of wars, poverty and plague, hunger and pain.
Still, the sap is rising, again there is the resurrection of spring, and God’s continuing promise to be with us always, with comfort and joy, if we will only ask.
We must all learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.
Source: Letter from Birmingham Jail
Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the ways God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in Your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for You are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.
The journey towards healing can feel at times like a disjointed rummaging through the crevices of our souls seeking out the darker corners in order to let in the warm sunlight of God’s love. Healing is sometimes akin to things like beauty, truth and spirituality: they are things that are ineffable yet real and rather than define them, they define us.
This rag-tag, one foot in the front of the other, one day at a time journey is the journey of a lifetime that occurs in every diminutive detail and every instance. And I cannot necessarily define my healing journey or necessarily point to specific scars as evidence. The very things I am being healed of have been accrued over a life filled with the paradoxes of poor choices and God’s ever intervening grace, with both being somewhat messy yet always real.
I am velveteen rabbit-like in my journey for you see my eyes are popping off, my fur is being rubbed off, my stuffing pulled from my fragile innards, yet I know I am loved…loved by a generous and gracious God. Oddly enough, I even know this at this precise moment when I do not ‘feel’ or sense it.
At this juncture I am peeling away the dried mud of anger and resentment that has splattered me after hitting the proverbial fan. I am not in a tender place, or feeling very forgiving, and I most certainly am not sensing God’s presence.
But none of that matters.
God is faithful even when my feelings are not. God is before me. God is beside me. God is within me. God is to my East, my West, my South and my North. God is in my ups and my downs. God is the Constant Companion on this journey towards healing and God is the Final Destination of this journey.
And like it or not, believe it or not, feel it or not I surrendered my life to God and God IS Love; not fleshly love, not feeble love, not finite love. No! God IS Love: all consuming, all powerful, all present, all knowing and ever-faithful LOVE. And regardless of what friend or foe says to me or about me, THAT truth is the motive, the power, the hunger, and the reason for this journey I am taking back Home.