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Archive for the ‘zen’ Category

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Gentle immensities:  bark-worn, branch- torn,  grey-green friars,
tell me in whispers to what one aspires.

No fear, nor pretense, without want or bold opinion,
the maple giants speak of Knowing and Dominion.

” But humble moments –  fleeting filaments of time and space,
we reach for the Sun, our eternal face.

The All runs in our veins as we move unmoved, through storms, and cuts, falls and cold,
Knowing that the end is but the beginning, and the new rests on the old.”

Wisdom rises in simple Presence that calls on me to know,
that only Angels see tomorrows and which way the winds will blow.

© 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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Quieting my head, unleashes my heart:

Silence.

© 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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Will I make it into heaven? Will St. Peter smile on my admission to paradise? Is there a heaven?

This is all history wrapped in metaphor and has a certain poetic aesthetic. Problem is that for many it is the stuff of immutable belief.

It also is thinking that views human life as operating in an enormous “Skinner Box” with God playing the role of dispenser of the reinforcers ( akin to yummy Purina pellets for hungry souls administered so long as we behave). Quaint but very much built around an adult – child model of our relationship with the Sacred.

Authentic spiritual practice, on the other hand, expects nothing. We show compassion because we are not separate. We need each other. We worship because we sense the Presence all around us. We invest in spiritual disciplines so as to be more truly who we are beyond illusions, delusions and allusions.

To expect nothing is to simply be children of the Loving-Living God seeking intimacy with the Heart of the Universe: to act in the moment without agenda.

The simple practice before and after action: check in with driving motives. Ask: What am I expecting? As the story of the Dalai Lama goes, on receiving a gift-wrapped box containing nothing: ” Thank you. It’s what I always wanted! ”

Luke 6: 32-36

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

© 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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In a few days here in the Northeast, we have transitioned from grey tone days to brilliant sun and a small foretaste of Spring. It is fitting that this occurs in our physical space at the halfway point in Lent: a time of penitent waiting and of making ready for the celebration of the Resurrection.

Throughout all of nature, there is a profound and persistent contrapuntal harmony. With the predominance of dark matter in the known universe, the brilliance of the Suns we can see are framed in darkness to enhance their radiance. Like any fine painting, the frame is terribly important.

In the paintings of the Masters of Flanders, the play of light and shadow is central to the artists’ fascination. So too in our seasonal shifts, we are caught up in the dance of undulations: a perpetual journeying from form to form, mood to mood, dark to light. Crucifixion – Resurrection, grey skies- sky-blues, down, bored and lonely-elated, captivated and engaged with life and others.

This is the eternal rondo of life, the poetry of opposites that defines the essential fabric of the Real. This counterpoint, the stuff of waves, is present around and within. The contrasts and transitions enliven us and invite us to be open and be opened.

We are called to ride the waves with open hearts and abiding trust that the Christos speaks in these transitions. The soul is fed and attuned to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Let us rejoice in waiting for the next great contrast and the call to greater attention and deep appreciation.

© 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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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 Sun was in full expression for most of Easter Sunday here in the Northeast U.S.: a special treat after so many days of heavy fog and rain. The weather on Holy Saturday was bleak, a day full of shadows. The Sun was out one moment and gone the next, rain came and then lifted and then very dense fog rolled in toward evening. The cadence, the rhythm of all this was so synchronistically well-calibrated to the spiritual import of the transformations of which the Trideum is emblematic. Holy Saturday is a time of expectant waiting and still one of regrets and dark moods.

Sunday was a day of tiny miracles as the Sun shone down and our bed of day lilies and tulips opened up, as if on cue, for the first time this season: a grand opening that moved me to snap a few quick photographs to mark the moment.

At one point in the afternoon, it was downright hot. I opened my front door and just left it open, and sat facing out for just moments of quiet contemplation on the bright Light, emerging colors, fragrances and the promises of long ago planted bulbs fulfilled. The birds were out in force and their choir seemed especially sonorous and full. It was a perfect, if fleeting and fragile moment of synchronized living, and then the need to travel intruded, with all the necessary flurry of things to take along on the journey to make the obligatory visits for the holiday.

Now, at the end of Easter Monday I reflect back on yesterday and find myself drawn to the memory of those precious few moments at the doorway blessed with an ever so brief taste of heaven presented for any and all who took but a moment to put aside all other agenda to bathe in it.

It’s the littlest things that contain so very often the true “magic” and sacrament, the real Presence of the Spirit, embodying the most authentic Call to Discipleship.

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