Sunday Quote: Stillness

St Finbarr’s Oratory, Gougane Barra, Co. Cork.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

We can make our minds so like still water

that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images,

and so live for a moment with a clearer,

perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.

W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight

Silent watcher

Only one thing is harassing you: your own idea of achieving things as quickly as possible.

But meditation is not to be achieved; it is already there.

It has only to be discovered.

And discovery needs only one thing: a silent watcher.

Osho, Watch and Wait

Getting some perspective

The problem is not necessarily working hard, the problem is working so hard and long without rest that we begin to imagine that we’re the ones making everything happen. We begin to feel a growing, gnawing sense of responsibility and grandiosity about how important our work is and how we can’t stop because everything is on our shoulders. We forget that forces much larger than we are, in fact, do most of the work. 

Wayne Muller, A Time of Sacred Rest

Seeking awe in the ordinary

A dreary rainy day here in Ireland, after weeks of sunshine. The temptation is to keep ones head down, moving quickly from place to place. However,  positive emotions are linked to paying attention and appreciating whatever is around us –  grey or bright – noticing the small details in every moment.

God and the sacred, the enchanted and the luminous, are not “over there” somewhere. They are all right here, where we are.  May we get back to the ordinary, the breath by breath, and the living in each moment fully. Inhabiting each moment and seeking the wonder therein. The refusal to let life descend down to a cycle of the mundane, the insistence of seeking awe in the ordinary  –  this is the beginning of spiritual life.

This is the wisdom of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, among so many others, who said “Indifference to the sublime wonder of living is the root of sin”

Sin, for Heschel, is ultimately not about eating this or not eating that, praying in this temple or that temple, but a losing of that sublime wonder of being truly alive. That is the ultimate sin, the only sin. Yes, there are religious commandments to observe. But the goal of religion remains to cultivate that sense of wonder, awe, and radical amazement.

Omid Safi, The Spirituality of the Ordinary Is Luminous

Either holding on or pushing away

Building on the ideas in yesterday’s post…

The way we know things depends on the mind,  nothing more.

Most of us have moments of deep contentment when we don’t feel a need to alter, express, run from, or invest some special meaning in our experience in any way.  Deep contentment shows us that, at least momentarily, our habit of cherishing and protecting ourselves from what we call “other” has subsided. In moments like these we have stopped objectifying things. We can let things be. And when the mind rests at ease in this way, it accommodates everything, like space.

Elizabeth MattisNamgyelThe Power of an Open Question