Civilized people feel a loneliness and even an extreme melancholia in the jungle of the mind that may make stillness a terrifying experience, but we can pass through this barrier if we will learn to understand it. Then we would discover, as the Indians did long ago, that to stand in solitude on a mountain top at sunrise or sunset, or by a waterfall in some hidden canyon of ethereal beauty, and to absorb this majesty with utter peace and awe, in which the soul merges with creation, and self is forgotten, is to become one with a joy and happiness so tremendous that no mere earthly pleasure can compare.
The experience of solitude is necessary because only in solitude and silence is the living God revealed as the binding source of all that is. The veil is lifted, and we begin to see the wonderful possibilities of life together that surround and inhabit us. This means that, at our worst and darkest moments, we can affirm that we are God's handiwork, that God's image has marked us forever, that the most real thing about us is the Spirit who dwells in every human heart. We may be fundamentally and utterly nothing, we may be creatures marked for death, but we are peculiar beings whose very emptiness has been designed to be inhabited by nothing less than the living God. And it is in the living God that we meet one another. The life of prayer revolves around two poles: solitude and community. God is encountered in both places.
When I was in Italy, Mme. Montessori told me that besides all the activities she gives to children, she encourages them to keep silence; and after a little time, they like it so much that they prefer silence to their activity. And it interested me to see a little girl of about six years of age, when the time of silence came, went and closed the windows and door, and put away all the things that she was playing with. Then she came and sat in her little chair and closed her eyes, and she did not open them for about three or four minutes. It seemed she preferred those five minutes of silence to all the playing of the whole day.
O infinite God, you are the first and last experience of my life. Yes, really you yourself, not just a concept of you, not just the name that we ourselves have given you! You have descended upon me in water and the Spirit ... And then there was no question of my contriving or excogitating anything about you. Then my reason with its extravagant cleverness was still silent. Then, without asking me, you made yourself my poor heart's destiny. You have seized me; I have not "grasped" you. You have transformed my being right down to its very last roots and made me a sharer in your own being and life. You have given me yourself, not just a distant, fuzzy report of yourself in human words. And that is why I can never forget you, because you have become the very center of my being. Your word and your wisdom is in me, not because I comprehend you with my understanding, but because I have been recognized by you as your friend. O, grow in me, enlighten me, shine forth ever stronger in me, eternal light. May you alone enlighten me, you alone speak to me. May all that I know apart from you be nothing more than a chance traveling companion on the journey toward you.
Cultivating awareness is an essential discipline for being in the moment. As awareness deepens we become more receptive; we gradually discover the life process and move from the quantified aspects of things to their qualities. We perceive ourselves less as observers and more as integral parts of the process. Awareness leads to the sure knowledge that we are creatures among creatures and that the earth is always aware of our presence. Awareness cannot be realized without solitude and silence. Solitude enables us to become aware of the boundaries of the self, to experience aloneness as a prelude to the experience of at-one-ness. To be silent is to let go of that fear which drowns out every kind of awareness. Silence leads us into mystery. Silence means stilling self-reflexive chatter and adopting an attitude of listening. Listen to the silence of the earth -- it is deafening. Listening to the silence of earth brings us into communion with every separate being -- a blade of grass moving in the breeze, an ant walking across a leaf, the eagle hovering high overhead, water flowing slowly from a hidden spring. One becomes an ear so that all might become music.
I reach out my hand to God that He may carry me along as a feather is borne weightlessly by the wind...
Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment.
EARTH teach me stillness
As the grasses are stilled with light.
EARTH teach me suffering
As old stones suffer with memory.
EARTH teach me humility
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
EARTH teach me caring
As the mother who secures her young.
EARTH teach me courage
As the tree which stands all alone.
EARTH teach me limitation
As the ant who crawls on the ground.
EARTH teach me freedom
As the eagle who soars in the sky.
EARTH teach me resignation
As the leaves which die in the fall.
EARTH teach me regeneration
As the seed which rises in spring.
EARTH teach me to forget myself
As melted snow forgets its life.
EARTH teach me to remember kindness
As dry fields weep with rain.
A long and loving look at the universe we inhabit can actually change us. We can become different persons.
Prayer with nature is a passionate listening to the beating heart of the world. It is appreciation. And it is always praise.
Let us plant dates, even though those who plant them will never eat them ... We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.
O heart within my heart,
in you I place my trust.
Let me not feel unworthy;
let not fear rule over me.
Yes! let all who open their hearts
savor You and bless the earth!
Spirit that hears each one of us,
Hears all that is --
Listens, listens, hear us out --
Inspire us now!
Our own pulse beats in every stranger's throat,
And also there within the flowered ground beneath our feet,
And -- teach us to listen! --
We can hear it in water, in wood, and even in stone.
We are earth of this earth, and we are bone of its bone.
This is a prayer I sing, for we have forgotten this,
The earth is perishing.
Today when I receive communion, I am reminded of our dark roots within the earth. I know my energy flows in two directions: the Spirit lifts me up, yet my bond with all creation pulls me down into the depths of life. This moment of tension -- when we are suspended between the heavens and natural world -- is the heart of every liturgy.
Outer silence, the deep true silence of nature and prayer, calls forth the silence hidden within one's inner being. For to be other than silent in the stillness of the forest or the chapel seems inappropriate and irreverent. In silence, the rare times I attain true inner silence, I recognize my inner self, and I am also aware of God's presence in me as well as a loving, merciful gaze upon me. It is in the mutual gazing upon the infinite and the infinite upon me that I find peace. Oh, why then, silence, are you so hard to attain when you bring so much joy? Why do I so often avoid you? Because the silence is where God is to be found? You have such gifts to give. While our inner being is often noisy, filled with less than productive chattering of the mind, you are always waiting for us to accept you presence in us. To be still, to be silent brings its own gifts. The reward is in the stillness, in the silence, in the sitting.
Prayer gives the silence, which is the very clear song that is simple, full of devotion, full of itself, in nature, in everyone. The notes of the silence lift every bird and are perfect for every heart, one note at a time.
... there is music even in the beauty,
and the silent note which Cupid strikes,
far sweeter than the sound of an instrument.
For there is music wherever there is a
harmony, order, or proportion: and thus far,
we may maintain the music of the spheres.
I experienced in myself a curious phenomenon: I was listening with the heart. And if I just listened, through the heart, just listened, and no thinking was involved in it, then the heart sang with the violins, it was the trumpet call, it was the woodwinds, and I was the music.
Music ingathers all, yet takes one only
into its secret when the chimes begin.
When that great rain of sound comes down,
the lonely of spirit is elect and enters in.
One evening shines with bells; alone, apart we listen, awed,
to the antiphonal pealing of our hearts.
Music by right is for the solitaries
whom a long silence trains to the profound.
The bells are ours; we come at the first airy
rumor to drench our deserts with their sound.
Yet anyone who listens may become
hermit or anchorite under the shower
when the great chimes -- tree shakes its leaves of light.
but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.
Since I am coming to that holy room,
Where, with your quire of Saints
for evermore, I shall be made you
Music; As I come, I tune the
instrument here at the door.
And what I must do then, think
There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.
Silence is the highest form of music ... Music of the infinity, referred to as the music of the spheres, is often heard in deep solitude or reflected in natural sounds -- the wind, the ocean, the melody of birds. The single note of a temple gong is far more powerful than an orchestra of one hundred instruments. The clear sound it produces reverberates deep within our mind and body, conveying a sense of infinite peace and bringing us close to the melodious silence of infinity.
If only I listened to my own rhythm, and tried to live in accordance with it. Much of what I do is mere imitation, springs from a sense of duty or from pre-conceived notions of how people should behave. The only certainties about what is right and wrong are those which spring from sources deep inside oneself. And I say it humbly and gratefully and I mean every word of it right now, though I know I shall again grow rebellious and irritable. 'Oh God, I thank you for the sense of fulfillment I sometimes have, that fulfillment is after all nothing but being filled with you. I promise yet to strive my whole life long for beauty and harmony and also humility and true love, whispers of which I hear inside me during my best moments.'
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
We have a destination: the heart of God. Though we have come a long way from our true home, we can still return if we give ear to our spiritual instincts, our inner heritage as a spiritual being. To do this, we must listen for the heavenly music, the Voice of God, which is constant, changeless, and unerring. Have you ever gazed in awe as a flock of migrating geese cuts through the sky? Did you look up with a strange longing welling up in you, a lonely restlessness which you cannot name? If so, you have felt the call to Soul ... you have heard the Voice of God."
Let us then, labour for an inward stillness,
An inward stillness and an inward healing;
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks in us, and we wait
In singleness of heart, that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do his will, and do that only.
Do not move
in order to touch me,
for I am stillness itself.
Do not be drawn
in many directions
in order to take hold of me;
I am unity itself.
Stop the movement,
and you will surely reach me,
who long ago reached you.
A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
Loss of interest in judging self and in judging other people.
Loss of interest in conflict, and in interpreting actions of others.
Loss of ability to worry. Frequent episodes of appreciation.
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.
Increasing susceptibility to love ~ and the urge to expand it.
Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
If you have the above symptoms, your condition of peace may be so far advanced as to not be treatable.
The act of love plunges us into God, who is given in silence. Anything else would run the risk of detracting from the gift. "Silence is the speech of God", according to St. John of the Cross. This act of love frees us from ourselves. In this love, God is revealed in a silence that strips us and makes us experience that "blessed are the poor". Silence preserves us from illusion and gives us security ... The grace of contemplation places the soul in a kind of immobility and silence, which we cannot do of ourselves. God does all this by way of love, which involves a death of the mind and a resurrection of the heart.
All persons are both artist and mystic because all are called to be in touch with the true self, the deep experience that is theirs, and to utter images from that silent space.
No escape from paradox: Wisdom manifests itself, and is yet hidden. The more it hides, the more it is manifest; and the more it is manifest, the more it is hidden. For God is known when apprehended as unknown, and is heard when we realize that we do not know the sounds of God's voice. The words uttered are words of full silence, and they are bait to draw us into silence. The truths manifested are full of hiddenness, and their function is to hide us, with themselves, in God from whom they proceed. If we hide the precepts of wisdom in our heart -- precepts of humility, meekness, charity, renunciation, faith, prayer -- they themselves will hide us in God. For the values which they give to us, are completely hidden from our eyes. They bring us to the source of a life that is unknown to the natural wisdom of the world, and yet from this source of nature itself proceeds, is nourished, and is sustained.
O Great Spirit, whose breath gives light to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze: We need Your strength and wisdom. Cause us to walk in beauty. Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset. Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us. Help us to learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes, so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen.
As we become sensitive to our soul's experience, we find the smallest moments, the slightest breezes, can move so much inside us in the stillness. Life's brief encounters with intimacy have more importance. With the subtle qualities we find in our inner life, the silence leads us. The pure presence always begins inside. From our soul's quiet recesses we are taken to caverns and gardens and skies above mansions of silence. Our interior life is full of the ways of the soul. Our dreams, feelings, intuition, and thoughts are just the beginnings of the vast language of our soul in the silence. In our meditations and prayers we hear the small whispers, the perfect presence speak to us, seeking our awareness and appreciation. To value our inner life is to open the doors for the galaxies of stars in the silence to be discovered. These stars turn out to be not so far away but right next to our soul and in the midst of the hearts of those around us.
To become divine is to become attuned to the whole of creation.
I weave a silence on my lips
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations
Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm
Still me O Lord, keep me from harm
Let all tumult within me cease
Enfold me Lord in your peace.
In the waiting hour of twilight, my grandfather taught me about silence. We fished in a small rowboat on the lake until after the moon rose glistening in the water. He explained the rules of fishing, "Bait your own hook, sit still, and don't talk or you will disturb the fish." Each trip was the same. We left behind the cottage and, as we detached ourselves farther and farther from shore a new peace came to us. One time his voice entered the silence saying, "If you listen really hard, God will tell you stories." I listened, and he was right. My mind envisioned new and exciting "somedays" and I came close to tears in the face of the starry night's beauty.
Prayer doesn't place us in the presence of God; rather it is a time when we are especially attentive to the presence of God which is there all the time ... The voice of God is a still, small voice on the breath of a gentle breeze, but because so much of our life is spent in the noisy haste of activity, we fail to recognize the most profoundly beautiful experience in all of creation -- the presence of God that permeates everything. We need to be still, silent and listen ...
The pure sound
of the bell
summons us into
the present moment.
The timeless ring of
truth is expressed in
many different voices,
each one magnifying
The clarity of its song
resonates within us
and calls us away
from those things
which often distract us --
that which was,
that which might be --
to that which is.
The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God knowing that that goodness can reach right down to our lowest depths of need.
Real knowledge comes from the unitive experience of God; the world's great saints and mystics have been given the key to that knowledge, and it is in turn their burden as well as their privilege to impart it to others. Once we 'set our minds on God's realm and God's justice before everything else, all the rest will come to us as well.' (Matthew 6:33) We begin to grasp the truth, that contemplative prayer -- that deep, inner loving look at God in silence -- is the way of the path, not acquisitive knowledge. And as we proceed, such amazing understanding of the fabric of the universe will be declared to us that we will scarcely be able to contain ourselves for joy that the creation is as it is. Once we are ready, God does not withhold anything from our grasp. And the measure of our readiness to receive real knowledge is our capacity to flow out in love to our neighbor.
Be bent, and you will remain straight.
Be vacant, and you will remain full.
Be worn, and you will remain new.
The stilling of the intellect in the presence of the Divine leads to "the abstract God", "the God of awareness", or "the God of unknowing", which are all words to express the inexpressible. This silence of the mind is the supreme adoration before God; and the finding of Divine Love in the constant personal awareness of the world created around us and within us is the anonymous prayer which in the secret liturgy of the universe unites us to the source of all being with every breath we take and every word we utter in our daily surrender to life.
I find that a life of little whispered words of adoration, of praise, of prayer, of worship can be breathed all through the day. One can have a very busy day, outwardly speaking, and yet be steadily in the holy Presence ... It is a life unspeakable and full of glory, an inner world of splendor within which we may live.
The Heart of Understanding gives us solid ground for making peace with ourselves, for transcending the fear of birth and death, the duality of this and that. In the light of emptiness, everything is everything else, we inter-are, everyone is responsible for everything that happens in life. When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world. With the smile that you produce in yourself, with the conscious breathing you establish within yourself, you begin to work for peace in the world. To smile is not to smile only for yourself; the world will change because of your smile. When you sit in the silence, if you enjoy even one moment of sitting, if you establish serenity and happiness inside yourself, you provide the world with a solid base of peace. If you do not give yourself peace, how can you share it with others? If you do not begin your peace work with yourself, where will you go to begin it? To sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them, these are the basis of peace work, love and unity.
I plant the Tree of the Great peace. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. If anyone of any nation shall show a desire to obey the laws of the Great Peace, they shall trace the roots to their source, and they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves. When more people come, the branches of the tree simply grow longer. An eagle lives at the top of the tree and warns the people whenever the peace is threatened.
The Beloved's home is our hearts, as we discover in the Silence.
Bless the Beloved, O you angels,
You faith-filled ones who hear the Word, following the Voice of Love!
Bless the Beloved, all you people,
Those who abandon themselves into Love's hands!
Bless the Beloved, bless all of Creation!
Bless the Beloved, O my soul!
Dear Companion of my day, You are the Holy Mystery I surrender to when I close my eyes. I give You myself, my flaws, the mistakes, the petty self-congratulations. I give You my dear ones: my fondest hopes for them, my worries, and my dark thoughts regarding them. Take my well-constructed separation from me. Hold me in Your truth.
This day is already past. I surrender it. When I think about tomorrow, I surrender it too. Keep me this night. With You and in You I can trust not knowing anything. I can trust incompleteness as a way. Dark with the darkness, silent with the silence, help me dare to be that empty one -- futureless, desireless -- who breathes Your name even in sleep.
Sweet song of silence, forever singing in my heart!
Words cannot express, the tongue cannot tell;
Only the heart knows the songs which were never sung,
The music which was never written.
I have heard that great harmony and feast that great presence,
I have listened to the Silence; and in the deep
Places of life, I have stood naked and
Receptive to Your songs and they have entered my soul.
I am lost in the mighty depths of Your inner calm and peace.
I walk in stillness. Where my rest is set
Is Heaven. And the silence of the stars
Sings in a soundless circle. For the song
Of Heaven is past hearing, and ascends
Beyond the tiny range the ear can catch.
And soars into a spaceless magnitude
Where sound and silence meet in unity,
Holy am I, who bring your Name
With me and who abide in You, although
I seem to walk alone. Look carefully,
And you may glimpse the One who stands
Beside me. And I lean on You in sure
Unswerving confidence. It was not thus
Before, for I was bitterly afraid
To take the Help of Heaven for my own.
Yet Heaven never failed, and only I
Stayed comfortless, while all of Heaven's gifts
Poured out before me. Now the arms of love
Are all I have all my treasure is.
Now I have ceased to question. Now I come
From chaos to the stillness of my home.
Teilhard de Chardin practiced the art of self-forgetfulness; the self being forgotten in a sympathetic union with all people and with every man and woman individually. The deep roots of his simultaneous love of God and the world is seen most clearly in THE DIVINE MILIEU:
Throughout my whole life, during every moment I have lived, the world has gradually been taking on light and fire for me, until it has come to envelop me in one mass of luminosity, glowing from within ... The purple flush of matter fading imperceptibly into the gold of spirit, to be lost finally in the incandescence of a personal universe ... This is what I have learned from my contact with the earth -- the diaphany of the divine at the heart of a glowing universe, the divine radiating from the depths of matter aflame ... To overcome every obstacle, to unite our beings without loss of individual personality, there is a single force which nothing can replace and nothing destroy, a force which urges us forwards and draws us upwards: this is the force of love.
In the silence of the cloister garden a human being is more than human, taking on the subtle wings of light. Nature is more than nature, flowing with the essence of life. People and plants take on the quality of illumination, as they really are. Inside the sweet harmony of the cloister garden live all beings, those who have lived before and all beings unborn. Inside the holy stillness is the collective being: the wisdom, joy and love freed and saved from the hearts of all. And all this is just a small part of the immense being of God in the cloister garden. Every prayer, every meditation that participates in the cloister garden participates in all such gardens through history and the desire for a life that is wholly sacred and blessed. Each morning in the cloister garden is a new day begun in the bright light of the silence. And each evening among the still flowers is to end another day in the arms of silence.
One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is rapt attention to one another's existence.
There is a channel between voice and presence,
A way where information flows.
In disciplined silence, the channel opens;
With wandering talk, it closes.
I have reached the inner vision
And through your Spirit in me
I have heard your wondrous secret.
Through your mystic insight
You have caused a spring of knowledge
To well up within me,
A fountain of power
Pouring forth living waters,
A flood of love
And of all-embracing wisdom
Like the splendor of eternal Light.
Prayer is based on attention to the presence of the sacred in life, and to the thoughts that express our longing for relationship with that presence. And the disciplines of inner guidance are based on attention to the wisdom of the "Still, small voice within." Attention may seem at first like a very ordinary thing. But it is the cornerstone of the spiritual life. In fact, we could say that paying attention is the essence of true spirituality. When we pay attention, whatever we are doing is transformed and becomes a part of our spiritual path.
Who are You, sweet Light, who inundate me and enlighten me and enlighten the night of my heart? You guide me just like a mother's hand; but if You leave me, I cannot advance a single step. You are space that surrounds my being and in which it is concealed. If you abandon me, I fall into the abyss of nothingness, from where You called me into being. You are nearer to me than myself, more intimate than my inmost being. And yet, no one touches You or understands You and You break the bonds of every name: Holy Spirit - Eternal Love!
Listen, if you can stand to.
Union with the Friend means not being who you've been,
Being instead silence: A place: A view
Where language is inside seeing.
“Would you teach me silence?" I asked.
"Ah!" He seemed to be pleased. "Is it the Great Silence you want?"
"Yes, the Great Silence."
"Well, where do you think it's to be found?" he asked.
"Deep within me, I suppose. If only I could go deep within, I'm sure I'd escape the noise at last. But it's hard. Will you help me?" I knew he would. I could feel his concern, and his spirit was so silent.
"Well, I've been there," he answered. "I spent years going in. I did taste the silence there. But one day, Jesus came -- maybe it was my imagination -- and said to me simply, 'Come, follow me.' I went out, and I've never gone back."
I was stunned. "But the silence ..."
"I've found the Great Silence, and I've come to see that the noise was all inside.
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently -- and even if you do nothing during the whole of your prayer but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you brought it back, your time would be very well employed.
Sometimes little forgotten souls may need to pour out their hearts from sheer empty loneliness. Blessed is the one who is called to listen to their tales with an understanding heart, for love and light. Often just the call to sit quietly and listen may be the power of bestowing the most divine benediction of all. The gift of listening with an understanding heart is a divine gift to be developed by all. For, it is the listening heart that is prepared for the full outpouring of the gift of light. It is the listening heart alone that can hear the voice of God.
... we overlook so many joys, so many hidden treasures, when we hurry from place to place, person to person, experience to experience, with little attention anywhere. All that matters passes before us now, at this moment. It has been said the greatest gift we can give one another is rapt attention; additionally, living life fully attentive to the breezes, the colors, the sorrows and joys as well, is the most prayerful response any of us can make in this life.
May I become hollow like the reed, so You may play your melody through me.
For I long to be attuned to the great Song of the Cosmos,
to know the song of inner praise!
O, that I might hear the divine melody within my soul
and give birth to a dancing star!
Carl Hammerschlag relates a healing interaction he had with a very ill old Pueblo priest and clan chief, whom he was treating in the hospital:
Suddenly, there was this beautiful smile, and he asked me, "Where did you learn to heal?"
Although I assumed my academic credentials would mean little to the old man, I responded almost by rote, rattling off my medical education, internship and certification.
Again the beatific smile and another question: "Do you know how to dance?"
... I answered that, sure, I liked to dance; and I shuffled a little at his bedside. Santiago chuckled, got out of bed, and short of breath, began to show me his dance.
"You must be able to dance if you are to heal people," he said.
"And will you teach me your steps?" I asked, indulging the aging priest.
Santiago nodded. "Yes, I can teach you my steps, but you will have to hear your own music.”
Your Light alone -- like mists o'er mountains driven,
Or music by the night-wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Or moonlight on a midnight stream,
Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.
The former musician, Hazrat Inayat Khan gave up the practise of music "to tune souls instead of instruments, to harmonize people instead of notes ... Music, the word we use in our everyday language, is nothing less than the picture of our Beloved ... It is because music is the picture of our Beloved that we love music."
I sing of hemlocks whispering mysteries,
Of meadows green with promise,
Of lakes with secrets,
Of mountain peaks in touch with eternity,
Of solitude filled with murmurings we can never quite hear,
Of presences that hover just beyond the edge of perception,
Of meanings etched in snow, transcribed with wings;
I sing the truth
Of hidden things.
It is not difficult to understand why music often touches us so deeply. Music is the key to the power within -- a bridge of sorts -- and there is an infinite variety of music suitable to individual tastes and preferences to lead in this inward search. Composers are often aware of the power of the music that comes from within them and have from time to time spoken of it ... Brahms, being deeply aware of the source of his creative gift, stated that his creative power was released in the moment of his realization of his oneness with the Creator.
Can you hear the music?
Can you hear the sound
Of the life that floats by on the wind
Or comes up through the ground?
Its strange enchanting rhythm
Will bring your soul release.
You will hear it and then suddenly
All you've ever known is peace.
Oh, listen to the symphony;
Every note is a new world.
Listen to the music of your destiny
As it unfolds.
God takes such delight in the human person that Divinity sings this song to our soul:
O lovely rose on the thorn!
O hovering bee on the honey!
O pure dove in your being!
O glorious sun in your setting!
O full moon in your course!
From you, I your God will never turn away.
What do I have to be thankful for?
I asked myself today.
So I decided to count my joys
As I wandered along my way;
The warmth of a home, the love of friend,
The beautiful sound of the rain;
The still of the night, the touch of a child,
A day that is free from pain.
The light of the sun, the cool of a breeze,
The sound of a waterfall;
But the love of God and the peace it brings
Is the greatest blessing of all!
and Sustainer of Life,
we the living praise You;
our hearts and our flesh
sing for joy
as we join with all creation
in a canticle of Thanksgiving
for the blessings
of the universe,
the habitat of all that lives.
Forgive our wanton
and wasteful use
of those good and precious resources
entrusted to our care.
Send forth Your Spirit,
renew the earth
as You renew its caretakers,
and all of creation
Come, Creator Spirit!
Come, Soul of the Universe!
Come, Source of all that Lives!
Come, live in us! Amen!
Day after day, O God of my life, shall I stand before You face to face? With folded hands, O God of all worlds, shall I stand before You face to face? Under your great sky in solitude and silence, with humble heart shall I stand before You face to face? In this laborious world of yours, tumultuous with toil and struggle, among hurrying crowds, shall I stand before You face to face? And when my work shall be done in this world, O God of All, alone and speechless shall I stand before You face to face?
Expressing gratitude for those who have gone before us is important for a sense of connection and continuity, yet it is from those who walk beside us that we can gain the strength and courage to remain true to one purpose. And what many today are discovering as they "dig a new-way path" is not a teacher or guru or guide, but a "resonator", a friend or companion so true to their own reality that they inspire others to be faithful to theirs. Somehow the resonator calls us to our true selves, reminding us and reflecting to us our deepest possibility, asking the difficult questions and encouraging us to take action.
I am part of a network of events that have occurred in the lives of many people, some of whom are unknown to me. I know that their deaths must have contributed to my life, and that without them I would not be who I am. To be aware of this is to carry their love within my heart, and to live in a spirit of gratitude.
Be filled with the Spirit of the Beatitudes: joy, simplicity, mercy. Joy begins within. Perfect joy lies in the utter simplicity of peaceful love. In order to shine out, such joy requires no less than your whole being. Perfect joy is self-giving. Whoever knows it seeks neither gratitude nor kindness. It is sheer wonder renewed by the sight of the generosity of the Giver of all gifts -- material and spiritual. It is thankfulness. It is thanksgiving. Simplicity lies in the free joy of those who keep their heart and mind fixed on Divine Light and Love. Those who live in mercy are neither oversensitive nor constantly disappointed. They give themselves simply, forgetting themselves -- joyfully with all their heart; freely, not looking for anything in return.
O come, let us sing to the Most High, Creator of the Cosmos;
let us make a joyful song to the beloved!
Let us come to the Radiant One with thanksgiving,
with gratitude let us offer our psalms of praise!
For the Beloved is Infinite, the Breathing life of all.
The law of "thanksgiving" and gratitude is the divine law of multiplication. It is the law of bringing-forth, of creation, of increase. As the heavenly song of the universe pours into our beings in its complete fullness, we come to realize the purpose and the power of such infinite harmony. It is a song of love and devotion, of praise and exaltation, of gratitude and thanks that can clothe one in complete glory. It is the celestial symphony of the universe. It is the "new song" that is not learned in words, but which is felt and released from the very center of the soul. It is divine, perfected love, developed from within by gratitude.
Those who live with integrity are like
a garden in full bloom,
whose blossoms beautify the earth.
They are planted in the dwelling place
their produce nourishes those
who pass by.
All through their lives they produce
overflowing as a cornucopia of
the finest fruits,
Magnifying the Loving and Gracious Creator,
living as sons and daughters
of the Most High.
Although there are rocks and tree roots,
Rippling along, just rippling along,
The water runs.
give us hearts to understand;
never to take from creation's beauty
more than we give, never to destroy wantonly
for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny to give our hands for the
building of earth's beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand that to
destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us
to beauty; that to callously pollute
her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her, she will care for us!
I watch a hawk soar through the morning sky and something falls into place within me. It is as if I travel through a wood long unvisited and recognize familiar trees grown taller with the passing time. I come upon a thought, an act, a place with the vague sense of having thought that, done that, been there before. Or I come to a fork in the road and I know by some unexplainable sense which is right for me. I walk and uncover or discover anew what I have always known. Living intimately with nature opens doors in my spirit; the mystery becomes known, darkness becomes light.
It is in deep silence that we enter into contact with the Indwelling Presence, with the radiance, the energy, the illumination and the fullness of Resurrection. In silence we discover our hunger and taste for the Word of God. our silence before the mystery of our own creation enables us to experience something of God drawing us ever closer. Silence in awe of God's creating love creates in us an ever deepening capacity for the word of God. The silence becomes a Presence.
Grounded in water and earth, we, like trees are connected to our mother. With roots deep in the earth, we are called to rest in her shelter where we don't have to say or do anything, just BE. Here we can know the nurturance and comfort of a God who surrounds un in warmth and wisdom in this sheltering womb, a constant Presence in our darkness and our light.
If our ordinary, self-centered viewpoint is dominant, rocks and tree roots are undesirable. But if we change our point of view, then the very fact that there are rocks and tree roots makes the valley stream more beautiful and the sight of waves breaking upon them beyond description. When we perceive joy, anger, happiness and sorrow as enriching our lives, just as rocks and tree roots and water spray embellish nature, then we are able to accept whatever happens and live like flowing water, without clinging to anything.
Though we travel the world over
To find the beautiful
We must carry it with us
Or we will find it not.
The world is not a machine, but an exquisite sanctuary. You need to be one with the world. You need to feel that you are not an accident in this world. You need to feel that the world is not an accident either. You need to celebrate your own uniqueness in a world that is sacred. The sacredness of the world, your dignity and your sovereignty, are assured by the assumption that the world is a sanctuary. To act in a world as if it were a sanctuary is to make it reverential and sacred; and is to make yourself elevated and meaningful. What the universe becomes depends on you. Treat it like it becomes a divine place. Treat it indifferently and ruthlessly and it becomes an indifferent and ruthless place. Treat it with love and care and it becomes a loving and caring place.
Behold, my friends, the spring has come!
The earth has received the embraces of the sun,
And we shall soon see the results of that love!
Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life.
It is through this mysterious power that we, too,
have our being.
And we, therefore, yield to our neighbors,
even our animal neighbors,
The same right as ourselves to inhabit this land.