In the rhythm of the Christian Tradition, Holy Saturday was a day of waiting, of bare church decoration, of things pared down and distractions minimized.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought. T. S. Eliot
Wise intention and skillful service need to be nourished by periods of quiet and prayer. Every great tradition includes some from of the Sabbath. In the West we inherited the blessing of the Christian and Jewish Sabbath. Muslims have Friday as their holy day, and likewise Hindus and Buddhists renew their vows of simplicity on full moon, new moon, and quarter moon days. When I was young, Massachusetts had Sabbath “Blue Laws” requiring all forms of business to stop on Sundays. But now, one generation later, we have twenty-four-hour supermarkets and twenty-four-hour banking, seven days a week; our consumer society has claimed the right to operate without constraint. This is a recipe for burnout.
Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the heart grows wise on the Spiritual Path
Heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.
Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go.
David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
Freud thought that each person possessed a fixed stock of affection. So if you love someone else you love yourself less. Freud’s wrong. Love doesn’t run out. It’s the miracle of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. The more we love another person, the more we love ourselves, and everything else, and the world.
Anna Kamienska, A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook
Praying for peace entails believing that peace begins with you, and aligning yourself with peacefulness.
Peace is understood in the Christian tradition as “tranquillitas ordinis”, the quietness of order, the calm that comes with harmony.
And order is arranging things so that each gives to the other its proper place.
Even God must do this.
In the Jewish tradition it is said that, in order to create the world, God had to step back.
David Steindal Rast
Once out of our particular bondage, self-made or otherwise, the long pilgrimage of spiritual work demands a commitment to wander into a life of authenticity and truth. Once awake, the journey of our promise is always near and challenging. At the same time, the journey of our bondage is still near and disheartening. This is our crooked path to enlightenment: two steps forward, one step back; two days of being heartened, one day of being disheartened. This is the dynamic of being alive. This is what we work with and for.
Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given
When you take the time to draw on your listening-imagination, you will begin to hear this gentle voice at the heart of your life. It is deeper and surer than all the other voices of disappointment, unease, self-criticism and bleakness. All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life. Your life is no longer consumed by hunger for the next event, experience or achievement. You learn to come down from the treadmill and walk on the earth. You no longer squander yourself on things and situations that deplete your essence. You know now that your true source is not outside you. Your soul is your true source and a new energy and passion awakens in you.
John O’Donoghue, Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace