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Archive for the ‘spiritual healing’ Category

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With a rich and diverse history dating back to around 800 AD, the practice of saying the rosary (or a  place where roses grow) blossomed rapidly.

Over the centuries, many forms  emerged. It was St. Dominic who first referred to the practice of reciting  three bouquets of  fifty prayers each (prayers tracing back to the lay Medieval practice of prayer after  monastic chanting of each of the 150 Psalms of David).

The symbolism is deeply rooted in Western consciousness.

As most species of roses have five petals each, it came to represent the five wounds of Christ and became quickly associated with the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven. The rose is the national flower of England and the U.S. state flowers of New York, Georgia, North Dakota, and Iowa. It is the recognized flower of Valentine’s Day and is often associated with love. It’s fragrance too has come to connote transcendent self offering, humility, grace and peace.

A walk in a rose garden with a set of rosary beads in hand is a wonderful way to invite all of one’s senses to open to the sacred mysteries.

It is the very essence of simplicity: walk slowly through the garden, slow down your breathing. Stop on each bead and breath peace. Bathe in the silence. No need to use a lot of words or any in fact.

Simple, easy, open and thankful.

© The Harried Mystic, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Clutter around us almost always correlates with clutter inside of us.

Attachments become virtual amulets that give us comfort and the illusion of a predictable and routine tomorrow. These are the personal accoutrements signifying values, concerns, expectations and identity.

Therefore, simply reflecting on the things to which we cling is wonderful mindfulness practice. It helps reveal things in heart and mind that weigh us down and knowing that gives us a chance to cut them loose and become spiritually lighter.

© The Harried Mystic, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

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So said St. Francis: a  koan of christendom that invites meditation.

Francis saw fraternity and sorority everywhere.

Creatures ( living and nonliving) are brothers and sisters in the Order of Creation. Adjusting the statement slightly we may pose the challenge this way: ‘Who we are looking for is who is looking.’  Yet, our ordinary conscious experience is of separation, difference and individual expression.

What experience inspires this insight on the part of Francis?

His vision was penetrating and went beneath the surface of form and function, speciation and diversity. The entire Cosmos was personal. In the eyes of wolves, he caught a glimpse of ein sof, the unknowable One. In Sun and Moon, he saw the illumined face of love.

All the exquisite forms and variety formed a choir chanting in unison of the passionate Heart tuning the music of the spheres. Going well beyond expectation and learning, labeling and categorizing, Francis discerned essences.

Doing so requires letting go of  our clinging to unique and divided identity.

It means examining oneself and seeing the degree to which we imprison the mind and soul in ideas about self and other.

We each weave clever and elaborate fictions designed around a history of experiences and language, strokes and slaps delivered by the environment through which we travel. We embody the mandate to separate and judge and build a system of dichotomies – good & bad, beautiful and not, right and left, right and wrong, valuable and not, worthy and unworthy, intelligent and not, ad infinitum.

As Francis knew intuitively, contemporary research is likewise showing how wrong we have been about assumptions of the comparative  intelligence of nonhuman beings.

One case in point is the wisdom of crows: their capacity to use tools and problem solve equal to the capacity of young children. Elsewhere, there was a recent study of the dance of bees and how they compete in their dancing to democratically choose the best next site at which to build a hive. Once decided, after feverish “debate through dance,” they all lift as one body and move together to the new site. All of this is further impetus for our grappling with what Francis saw empirically without the lenses of science as support.

How, then, do we cultivate the sense of the grander truth that lies within appearances and divergences?

It begins by practicing the “via negativa”, systematically dwelling in the tensions forged by our false dichotomies and dissolving them.

The challenge is to annihilate  limiting paradigms by rising up to a third position neutrally suspended above them. Each time we do so, we open our aperture wider and see a bit more clearly what is really there. We lift the veil that our thinking manufactures and throws over the real like a heavy cloak that obscures it.

This is a Western expression of jñāna yoga or “knowledge of the absolute”: discerning the difference between the real and the unreal.

One example: we pose the dichotomy of sentient – non-sentient. We see rocks as non-sentient, trees as sentient yet less so than birds and mammals. We create taxonomies of like and unlike that, while convenient for study, fuel our perception of difference as primary.

Using thought differently, we can confront our convenient divisions and resolve them in a higher sense of unity.

How?

One meditative stream of thought: Dispensing with sentience as the frame altogether, rocks and trees, insects, birds, mammals and human beings are Presence, amalgams of earth, air, fire and water. All were hewn from the same stuff.

I celebrate the variety and I see their unity. We are all sons and daughters of the Sun/Son. We are energy enlivened with purpose, ordained by first cause and evolving along lines laid down before the first micro-second of the universe. We are Light, mineral, Mind, Heart, and a vastness emerges among us.

We can learn much by incorporating this Christic jñāna yoga into our contemplative round.

What/ who we are looking for is already and always is with us.

interior intimo meo et superior summo meo” (“higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self”) (St. Augustine, Confessions III, 6, 11)

© The Harried Mystic, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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life’s breath, the wind of heaven, cleanses the dusty surface of my soul,

timeless Presence making everything new.

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my loving tether to now and then, to here and infinite,

I reach so wide that time and distance have no measure.

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I hear the pulse of the longing Heart of space,

and tune to the beat that fills my lungs with silence.

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no fear, no self, no desperate need to prove or get,

all is well in the deep, and music to my joyful ears.

© The Harried Mystic, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Interbeing

As it is for so many, July 4th in the U.S. is our day for time with immediate family and close friends, to share food and tell stories, swim in the pool, light up a bonfire and toast marshmallows and watch the sky for all the fireworks that others work so hard to collect and display.

The day seems long and the light remains with us until quite late. Time slows and our being together seems simply perfect. We recall those who are no longer with us and our memories of when they were and we share amazement at how quickly our children have grown.

Such days as this are so much more about our interdependence and need for each other than about our individual lives and accomplishments. So, this year, I am struck by the paradoxical idea that while we celebrate our Independence day as a Nation, we live in a world of ever more delicate and critical interdependence. It is a complex network of connectivity that translates down to a very personal level.

It is truly in the evolution of human community that we will realize our best destiny.

It is in embracing our profound, if subtle, ties to each other that will reveal our deeper and richer meaning.

This year, I celebrate our interdependence and give thanks for days set aside to appreciate that and to feel it more keenly than when I rush through the customary and obligatory daily round of chores, challenges, and problem-centered chatter.

© The Harried Mystic, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Live anywhere for more than a few years and it sets in. It becomes harder and harder to find new things to do. Habit cycles get established including favorite restaurants, television programs, visits to parks, museums, gardens, theaters, etc. whatever the pace, many complain of simply being bored. They thirst for newness, fresh stimulation, the change of pace. Life has become less of an adventure and more of a rolling set of ritual actions, investments and activities. What is the answer to this gnawing sense of an inner hollow.

We need not look far. We are made nervous by silence and rush through many things to avoid it. It is the silence itself that holds the clues. By just sitting, as the Zen practitioners refer to it, by attending to the present moment, we ironically catch sight of the powerful driving addictions. In catching them and pausing, we place distance between those acts of self-medication and our soul. A daily diet of complete quiet is an ultimate medicine. We recover our own depths. The challenge is finding the quiet places. These are being crowded out in a world that mistakes constant movement
for the good life. Slow down to really speed up. This is the paradox of meaning in the 21st century.

May our sanctuaries of stillness restore and revive our spirits and awaken true knowledge of ourselves and things as thy really are.

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The universe began in unimaginable darkness. Then, light pierced the darkness and out of nothing emerged everything, kinetic and potential.

We are reflective creatures of the Light. The Resurrected Light of the World in Christ ( alpha and omega) is the matrix of all matter. Love and true compassion are the surest signs and expressions of that first resurrected light.

Let it shine brightly and consume all darkness as we are Knights of the Dayspring.

+ Happy Easter and blessings to you and yours.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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