There’s no inner landscape in the invisible world of our souls and hearts but is full of the most melodious and nourishing and wild freedom. And everyone should go there, to the wild place, where there are no cages, where there are not tight rooms without windows and without doors. Everyone should go to the free clearance places in their own hearts
Healing depends on listening with the inner ear – stopping the incessant blather, and listening. Fear keeps us chattering – fear that wells up from the past, fear of blurting out what we really fear, fear of future repercussions. It is our very fear of the future that distorts the now that could lead to a different future if we dared to be whole in the present.
Marion Woodman, Jungian Analyst
When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits, the belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.
No drives, no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs are under control.
You are a free person.
Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.
Chuang Tzu, 4th Century BC, In the Dark Before Dawn, (trans. Thomas Merton)
There is often a harmony between ancient stories and modern psychology. Yesterday’s reading in the Catholic liturgy reminded us to “stay awake“. When the Buddha started to teach, he met some who, recognizing something special in him, asked: “Are you a god?” He simply replied: “I am awake.”
So…. staying aware of what is around us, pausing and noticing – not taking small things too seriously or getting submerged in the worries of this Monday – seems to be related to psychological health.
Goethe gives us a simple practical way :
A man should hear a little music,
read a little poetry,
and see a fine picture every day of his life,
in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
which God has implanted in the human soul.
Today is the Feast of Saint Martin, traditionally a big day of celebration in all countries around Europe and the start of a period of fasting and preparation for Christmas. It was the last day of harvest celebrations and the following days saw a period of simplification and slowing down. Less, rather than more, was seen as the way to keep our bodies and minds in harmony with natural rhythms at this time of year.
The notion of a spirituality of subtraction comes from Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1327), the medieval Dominican mystic. He said the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition.
Yet I think most Christians today are involved in great part in a spirituality of addition. The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things — in fact, everything — as objects for our personal consumption. Even religion…worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves…The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me. Religion looks good on my résumé, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list.
Richard Rohr, Radical Grace
Whoever has learned how to listen to trees
No longer wants to be a tree.
He longs to be nothing
except what he is
That is home
That is happiness