How do I see the world

What way do I behold the world?” Do we see the world through fearful eyes, where everything and every person is perceived as a threat? Do we see the world through greedy eyes, where everything can be possessed at a certain price? Do we see the world through judgmental eyes, where everything and every person is rigidly defined and limited by our prejudices and preconceptions? Do we see the world through resentful eyes, elevating our own entitlements while condemning others for theirs? Do we see the world through indifferent eyes, where our capacity for compassion is trumped by cynicism and despair? Do we see the world through inferior eyes, where everyone is perceived as superior to ourselves? Or can we remove the lens of fear, the lens of greed, the lens of prejudgment, the lens of resentment, the lens of indifference, the lens of inferiority — and then begin to see the world through eyes of love? Can we ever accept St. Augustine’s profound but simple advice: “Love and do what you will.”

John O’Donohoe, Anam Chara

Sunday Quote: Deep within

File:Sherrard Point-Larch Mountain-Oregon.jpg

Keep your feet on the top of the mountain

and sound deep to that

of God in everyone

George Fox, 1624 – 1691, founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers)

With thanks to Cilla at for the thought

photo wyldnthewoods

All there is

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Practice is just hearing, just seeing, just feeling. This is what Christians call the face of God: simply taking in this world as it manifests. We feel our body; we hear the cars and birds. That’s all there is.

Charlotte Joko Beck.

photo nottsexminer

The Basics of Practice 4: Just watch

Mindfulness is cultivated by assuming the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience. To do this requires that you become aware of the constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experience and learn to step back from it.

When we begin practicing paying attention to the activity of our own mind, it is common to discover that we are constantly generating judgments about our experience.

Jon Kabat Zinn

Remembering our own goodness

st francis san damiano
The greatest thing you can do for another is not  share your riches,
but reveal to them their own.   Benjamin Disraeli
Today is the feast of Saint Francis, from Assisi in Umbria, a peaceful and beautiful place I have visited many times over the years, and where I took this photo on Easter Sunday morning after the dawn liturgy. Francis was a man deeply in touch with the beauty and wisdom of creation, and he demonstrated a great capacity for being with his experience, and honouring every element – the moon and the stars, the earth and water – go so far as to call each one his brother or sister.  As this lovely poem recounts, he showed a fundamental respect for all creatures. We often can find this easier than respecting and honouring our own selves. But meditation is essentially this – being gently present with, without judgment, honouring our experience – dropping into what Jon Kabat Zinn calls the “Being Mode”, where we can taste our original goodness. In that place we do not have add anything in order to be complete. And “mindfulness” is related to the verb “to remember”, remembering to be present, but also remembering the space that resides beneath the clutter of thoughts and worries. Doing this gives us a break from the busy, frequently judgmental,  doing and thinking mode, which often leans towards wanting more.
The bud stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;   
as Saint Francis put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch   
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow   
began remembering all down her thick length,   
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,   
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine   
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering   
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Galway Kinnell, Saint Francis and the Sow