GREETINGS and warm wishes, friends! May blessings be with you in this new year! May you be opened to all that is germinating within you ...

Eliminate something superfluous from your life.
Break a habit.
Do something that makes you feel insecure.
Carry out an action with complete attention and
intensity as if it were your last.

~ Piero Ferrucci
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There comes a Time when, on one hand a vague Awakening stirs the soul, the consciousness of a Higher Law ... and the sufferings we endure from the contradictions of life, compel us to renounce the social order and to adapt the New. And this time has now arrived.

~ Leo Tolstoy
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Awareness, like grace itself, is always freely being offered -- but it is a living and sensitive thing. It does not take kindly to being ignored or abused. If one does not pay attention to the presence of the holy in the very midst of daily life, it simply withdraws (or, more accurately, we discover that we have withdrawn ourselves from it!); and it may be a long and weary time before we find again that particular facet of Truth which would have been such a great help to the very next stage of our journeys.

~ from ENCOUNTERS AT BETHLEHEM by Jean Jones Andersen
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How shall the mighty river
reach the tiny seed?
See it rise silently
to the sun's yearning,
sail from a winter's cloud
flake after silent flake
piling up layer upon layer
until the thaw of spring
to meet the seedling's need.

Make tender, my heart:
release through gentleness
Thine own tremendous power
hid in the snowflake's art.

~ "Transmutation" by Antoinette Adam
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A deep way of learning to pray is to try to live in the presence of God. We try in a relaxed way to become aware of the Divine Presence during our waking hours. We need the grace of quiet concentration and perseverance to develop this disposition. Gradually, awareness of God's presence becomes an underlying theme of our life, an undercurrent of our stream of consciousness that never leaves us totally. This silent orientation is more spiritual and less bound to images than other kinds of prayer... We try in inner quiet to grow in living faith in the conviction that Divine Love is alive and at work deep within us.

~ from COMMITMENT by Susan Muto and Adrian van Kaam
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Existential prayer is one form of mystical contemplation. It is the prayer of just being. It has few words; and perhaps it has no images at all. In this prayer I just AM -- like the flower of the field or the birds of the air; and by just being I give glory to God.

~ from BEING IN LOVE by William Johnston
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Blessed One, for tomorrow and its needs, I do pray,
But keep me, guide me, love me, please, just for today.

~ Margaret Holmes
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A simple mind is not mysterious. In a simple mind, awareness just is. It's open, transparent. There's nothing complicated about it. For most of us, most of the time, however, it is largely unavailable. But the more we have contact with a simple mind, the more we sense that everything is ourselves, and the more we feel responsible for everything. When we sense our connectedness, we have to act differently... When we can sit and meditate with a simple mind, not being caught by our own thoughts, something slowly dawns, and a door that has been shut begins to open... We see that the present is absolute and that, in a sense, the whole universe begins right now, in each second. And the healing of life is in that second of simple awareness.

~ from NOTHING SPECIAL by Charlotte Joko Beck
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"Contemplating is receiving." (St. John of the Cross) What we receive in prayer is the Spirit, who makes all creation new, moment by moment. It is the Spirit who rebirths us within the caves of our hearts. The case is a metaphor for this silent withdrawal, this going away to be alone, to listen, to gestate the Spirit, to rebirth ourselves. The reborn self is the child of wisdom born in solitude.

~ Meinrad Craighead
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Always be true to the deepest and purest aspirations of your soul. Be true to your own deepest self, the real "you", the inner self that is one with God. You may not always be aware of this inmost self. But there are times when, obscurely, at least, you KNOW what is best in you, and you can tell what road God wants you to travel. It does not have to be anything spectacular or unusual. It may simply be what is right in front of you. But it must be a way that enables you to be true to yourself, quietly, peacefully, patiently.

~ Thomas Merton in a letter to Sr. Elizabeth Ann
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My soul has grown deep like rivers.

~ Langston Hughes
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There is a Receptive form of spirituality present to a degree in everyone... Here is a spirituality of listening, of waiting, where we say to our souls, "Be still," or "Rest awhile," or -- like the wise old woman --

"Sometimes ah sets and thinks, but sometimes ah jes sets."

Receptive spirituality has large moments of just "setting".

~ from DANCE OF THE SPIRIT by Maria Harris
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"I told everyone to be quiet and listen.One of my friends said, 'I don't hear anything.'I said, 'Exactly'."
~ Unknown
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