A new week

Once we have learned to discern the real, disguised nature of both good and evil, we recognize that everything is broken and fallen, weak and poor, while still being the dwelling place of God — you and me, your country, your children, your churches, even your marriage. That is not a put-down, but finally a freedom to love imperfect things! In this, you may have been given the greatest recipe for happiness for the rest of your life. You cannot wait for things to be totally perfect to fall in love with them or you will never love anything. Now, instead, you can love everything. 


Richard Rohr, The Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

Wonderful and wise

Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the
tumbled pine needles she toiled.
And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.
And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength
is she not wonderful and wise?
And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything
until I came to myself.

Mary Oliver, Reckless Poem (extract) 

The Ordinary

A lot of the narrative around the New Year suggests that it must be different and special….

We tend to overlook the ordinary. We are usually only aware of our breath when it’s abnormal, like if we have asthma or when we’ve been running hard. But [with mindfulness] we take our ordinary breath as the meditation object. We don’t try to make the breath long or short, or control it in any way, but to simply stay with the normal inhalation and exhalation. The breath is not something that we create or imagine; it is a natural process of our bodies that continues as long as life lasts, whether we concentrate on it or not. So it is an object that is always present; we can turn to it at any time. We don’t have to have any qualifications to watch our breath. We do not even need to be particularly intelligent — all we have to do is to be content with, and aware of, one inhalation and exhalation. Wisdom does not come from studying great theories and philosophies, but from observing the ordinary.

Ajahn Sumedho, Now is the Knowing