Spots of time

In the midst of the struggle to care for my soul, I read Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Prelude,’ in which he writes about ‘spots of time’ that nourish and repair the soul. I believe he was referring to brief, concentrated moments- little epiphanies- that inflame us with a sense of the holy. I began to search for spots of time here and there in my day. I found them by stopping. Just stopping. Some of my favorite words that Jesus spoke are, “Come away by yourself to a lonely place and rest a while.” I began to “come away” to a nook somewhere in the house or the yard where I would spend five minutes or less sitting still and receding into the quiet core of myself. Caring for my soul turned out to be simply that – spots of time in which to be.  

Sue Monk Kidd, Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings

Settle

When the uncertainty of the current situation leads us to feel uprooted and we find our minds pulled in all directions by the latest news:

Settle the self on the self

and let your life force blossom

Blanche Hartman, Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Teachings from the Heart

Start the day

Dawn is coming…… I step quietly from my bed, alive to the silences around me. This is the quiet time, the time of innocence and soft thoughts, the childhood of the day. Now is the moment when I must pause and lift my heart – now, before the day fragments and my consciousness shatters into a thousand pieces. For this is the moment when the senses are most alive, when a thought, a touch, a piece of music can shape the spirit and color of the day. But if I am not careful – if I rise, frantic, from my bed, full of small concerns – the mystical flow of the imagination at rest will be broken, the past and the future will rush in to claim my mind, and I will be swept up into life’s petty details and myriad obligations. Gone will be the openness that comes only to the waking heart, and with it, the chance to focus the spirit and consecrate the day.

Kent Neburn, Small Grace: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday life

A new month, a clear mind

Our news these days has a continual fearful, –  or as we see this week – an angry or resentful tone. We have to work to ensure that it does not become the dominant energy of this day or this new month.

The water of the mind, how clear it is!
Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
ten thousand images crowd it.
Attach to them, and they become real.
Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.
How painful to see a person trapped in the ten-fold delusions.

Ryokan, Sōtō Zen Buddhist monk,  1758 – 1831