December 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 11)

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Dear Friends ~ This is the season of wonder. Wonder is the doorway to so many things, among them joy, gratitude, and wisdom. How do we open the door of wonder in our lives?

Time to apprentice again
to my earliest teachers
of wonder and mystery

Time to walk again
in the dark forest
under a night star sky

Time to walk again
through the fallen leaves
under the black shadow of tree

No longer asking
Who I am

That I am is the biggest
mystery of all

A single red leaf
One night star —
Enough to explode in me

~ Bob

The quotes in this Letter are inspired by a new website, Wisdom Waypoints, which I have been instrumental in creating. Wisdom Waypoints is the website of Cynthia Bourgeault, a modern-day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and theologian. Find more wisdom quotes on wonder and other topics here.



Contemplation is that activity which situates us in an open space from which we can observe and contribute to the course of the universe ... that activity that delights in the well-being of all beings, that maintains the world in cohesion.
~ Raimundo Panikkar in BLESSED SIMPLICITY


If you seek Wisdom in the first place, you will find that Wisdom is joyous. If you seek the joy of Wisdom in the first place, you will fall prey to illusions.
~ Valentin Tomberg in MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT


Just sit there right now
Don't do a thing
Just rest
For your separation from God
Is the hardest work in this world
Let me bring you trays of food
And something that you like to drink
You can use my soft words
As a cushion for your head
~ Hafiz from "Cushion for Your Head" in THE GIFT


I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
~ John O'Donahue from "Fluent" in CONAMARA BLUES



The wellsprings of life are bubbling up anew each moment. So when the angel is troubling the waters, it is no time to stand on the bank and recite past wonders.


States aren't real. They come and go. Only Being is real.
~ Sunyata a.k.a. Alfred Sorensen, Danish mystic


The first task, clearly, is to detach the sense of identity from the descriptions of yourself. This does not mean to find another description that would be the correct one. It means to realize there is no description of you.
~ Beatrice Bruteau in "Prayer and Identity"


The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.
~ Parker J. Palmer in A HIDDEN WHOLENESS



If you are searching, you must not stop until you find. When you find, however, you will become troubled. Your confusion will give way to wonder. In wonder you will reign over all things.
~ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 2


The person who makes all cares into one care— the care for simply staying present— will be cared for by that presence which is creative love.

~ Kabir Helminski

Flowers will never grow
In the spring.

The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.

But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.

And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.
~ Yehuda Amichai from "The Place Where We Are Right" in A TOUCH OF GRACE


Art thou in the darkness?
Mind it not, for if thou dost
it will feed thee more.
But stand still, and act not,
and wait in patience
till light arises out of darkness
and leads thee.
~ James Naylor


All those magical, predestined, and irreplaceable people and places are not really that, not really the answer. Rather, we have to stay with the hunger of the question and from its energy fill the space with our own choices, and then with the new things which will be called forth from us in the unexpected poverty and limitation in which our necessarily imperfect choices necessarily situate us.
~ Bruno Barnhart in SECOND SIMPLICITY


Faith is a continual inner effort, a continual altering of the mind, of the habitual ways of thought, of the habitual ways of taking everything, of habitual reactions.
~ Maurice Nicoll in THE NEW MAN






I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.

I have no love
except it come from Thee.

Help me please to carry
this candle against the wind.
~ Wendell Berry from "I know that I have life" in LEAVINGS

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