Officially Springtime, and the clocks go forward this evening, but Ireland yesterday saw rain, hail and even snow in some places. Seek refuge indeed…
Cultivate your strengths, your patience, and take your refuge. Get established in your embodiment so your somatic energies know the place where it’s alright to not know, to be uncertain, to not have a clue. From there, good will arise, the good will come. This is the act of faith. The Dhamma field is a tremendous blessing that occurs when one takes that step in the dark with faith … and lingers and stays.
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant.
Let your awareness rest upon it.
How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being.
Allow nature to teach you stillness
photo hans braxmeier
Go into yourself
and see how deep the place is
from which your life flows
Rainer Maria Rilke
photo of a mountain spring on Carn Ban Mor by John Horner
Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting — whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.
Pema Chodron, Comfortable with Uncertainty
I had lunch yesterday in the coffee shop run by the Camphill Community in the lovely village of Kilcullen, County Kildare, about 25 miles south of Dublin. It was about 10 years since I was last there but I found it as inspiring and nourishing – in every sense – as before. The Camphill communities focus on creating meaningful and inclusive lives for people with intellectual disabilities and special needs, where everyone contributes at the level of their ability, and where the contribution of everyone is valued. As the Henri Nouwen quote this morning reminds us, our value resides more in what we are, even though we frequently seek it in what we do.
The apt name of the coffee shop is the Gaelic “An Tearmann” which means “Refuge” or “Sanctuary” and it raises funds that support the community living and working near Kilcullen as they work towards creating an environment for healing and development. I was struck by some words on the front of the menu, where they thanked visitors for their support in the creation of an “intentional community”. It reminded me that every moment, even lunch or a cup of coffee, can be made more intentional or conscious, and that we are challenged to reflect on the overall direction or intention of our lives, and what values our choices support.
If we become addicted to the external, our interiority will haunt us. We will become hungry with a hunger no image, person or deed can still. In order to keep our balance, we need to hold the interior and exterior, visible and invisible, known and unknown, temporal and eternal, ancient and new together. No one else can undertake this task for you. You are the one and the only threshold of an inner world. This wholesomeness is holiness. To be holy is to be natural, to befriend worlds that come to balance in you.
John O’Donohue, AnamChara
In the traditional Christian understanding, this Saturday – between Good Friday and Easter – is the day of growth and hope hidden deep in our existence, despite all evidence to the contrary. It is a day for patience and quiet reflection. And indeed, despite all the work we do, and our best efforts, much of life remains unresolved, incomplete, frustrating and un-reconciled. We do not see all the answers or why some things are as they are. That is why days which encourage us to be silent and to wait – to get used to this in-between state – are useful. They balance the desire of the mind to know everything and to be in control.
It’s important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don’t necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animal’s rhythm of rest and activity.