summer

Singing Sand

On a desolate island off the west coast of Scotland, the sand "sings" when it’s touched. Walking across the beach produces a wide range of musical tones, like playing a musical instrument.

Scientists think the structure of the sand creates the sounds. The grains of sand are tiny pieces of quartz, rounded by the sea. Each grain is surrounded by a pocket of air. When the sand is touched, friction between the air and the grains produces musical tones. We may not have a chance to hear the strange music of singing sand, but we all have a chance to hear the music of rustling leaves. Happiness need not be pursued in exotic places. The joyful music of Creation surrounds us. All we need to do is listen.

~ from BETTER TO LIGHT ONE CANDLE by The Christophers

The universe is always singing

The universe is always singing,
And we must learn to listen,
So that our heart may join the universal chorus.
~ Sarah Martha Baker - 19th c.

All that is ripest and fairest in the wilderness

All that is ripest and fairest in the wilderness is preserved and transmitted to us in the strain of the wood thrush. This is the only bird whose note affects me like music, affects the flow and tenor of my thought, my fancy and imagination. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It is a medicative draught to my soul.
~ from Henry David Thoreau’s Journal

A spiritual hearth at the heart of every person

There is a spiritual hearth at the heart of every person, congregation, and diocese. The fire is ignitable precisely where we have a passion to begin again in the face of immense community and cultural brokenness. Perhaps there has never been a time in history where the need for rekindling has matched so strongly with the individual and communal desire to "begin again."

~ from AWAKENING GRASSROOTS SPIRITUALITY: A CELTIC GUIDE FOR NURTURING THE SOUL by Edwin M. Leidel

A flame unique

That which is called light in creation is, in all its forms and in every being, one and the same spirit, a flame unique.

~ Arthur Lajone

The soul thus aflame can no longer live except in the Presence

The presence of love kindles into the will a fire of sacred love. Being always with the Holy One, who is a consuming fire, reduces to ashes whatever can be in opposition to it. The soul thus aflame can no longer live except in the Presence, a presence that produces in its heart a holy ardor, a sacred eagerness, and a fierce yearning to see God loved, known, served, and loved by all creatures.

~ from PRACTICING THE PRESENCE by Br. Lawrence (17th c.)

Every common bush afire with God

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.
And only those who see take off their shoes;
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Browning: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series)
By Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

You can become all fire

Abba Paul went to see Abba Basil and said, "Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I read and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?"

Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he responded, "If you will, you can become all fire. You cannot be a monk unless you become like a consuming fire."

~ Desert Fathers (4th-6th c.)

December 2015 (Vol. XXVIII, No. 11)

Dear Friends ~ In this part of the world, frost crusts at the edges of minute leaves and blades of grass. The chill air illuminates each breath, making us mindful once again how crucial warmth is to sustaining life. Whether sitting in a rocker by the crackling fire of a homey hearth or huddling over a trash can fire under the freeway to fend off the cold bite of homelessness, we gather round fires because we crave the heat and light they generate. In this moment of history when so much of the world has become harsh and bitter cold, people cry out for a rekindling of the fires of love and compassion. We need to build heart hearths–havens of warmth and light where we can look across the sparks and flames to see the same longings in each others’ eyes.

Like a flame that leaps up from the log into the air

When you enter the stillness of the eternal now by letting go of the fictional me, you see that reality, enlightenment, or God is like a flame. It’s alive, ever moving, and ever dancing–the flame is always here. But the flame is impermanent. There is nothing about a flame that is permanent, static, or stable. If it were, it would be dead. Reality is alive, ever on the move, like a flame that leaps up from the log into the air.

~ from EMPTY DANCING by Adyashanti
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