Music heard so deeply,
it is not heard at all:
You ARE the music
while the music lasts.
"We are knee-deep in a river, searching for water," writes Kabir Helminski, a contemporary Wisdom teacher in the Sufi lineage, using a vivid image to capture the irony of our contemporary plight. The sacred road maps of wholeness still exist in the cosmos. There is a vision large enough to contain not only our minds but also our hearts and souls; an understanding of our place in the divine cosmology large enough to order and unify our lives and our planet. These truths are not esoteric or occult in the usual sense of the terms; they are not hidden from sight. In the Christian West they are strewn literally throughout the entire sacred tradition: in the Bible, the liturgy, the hymnody and chants, the iconography. But to read the clues, it is first necessary to bring the heart and mind and body into balance, to awaken. The One can be known—not in a flash of mystical vision but the clarity of unitive seeing.
Conscious labor and intentional suffering are not so much separate practices as twin pillars of what amounts to essentially a single spiritual obligation.
Conscious labor is basically any intentional effort that moves against the grain of entropy, i.e., against that pervasive tendency of human consciousness to slip into autopilot. It means summoning the power of conscious attention (in our era perhaps more widely known as 'mindfulness') to swim upstream against that pervasive lunar undertow drawing us toward stale, repetitive, mechanical patterns, the siren call of World 96.
In the contemplative journey, as we swim down into those deeper waters toward the wellsprings of hope...the hidden spring of mercy deep within us is released in that touch and flows out from the center...In plumbing deeply the hidden rootedness of the whole where all things are held together in the Mercy, we are released from the grip of personal fear and set free to minister with skillful means and true compassion to a world desperately in need of reconnection.
The greatest reassurance--and I admit, frankly, surprise--came for me in our times of spiritual practice and in a Sunday morning Eucharist which palpably exploded with the presence of the risen Christ...While the courses of action that emerge from each one of us may differ, what was eminently clear to each of us was that this protective field of tenderness and responsive concern to our planetary anguish is alive and well, and that we can and MUST turn to it...daily, hourly, with our very best. In the best of Wisdom fashion, our hope shifted away from outcome and back to source.
It is becoming more and more clear to me that silence isn’t an emptiness. It isn’t so much an IT as a THOU. Let’s see if we can deepen our own life of prayer by moving beyond thinking that silence is an emptiness, a backdrop or a condition, into thinking and actually experiencing silence as a mode of relationship with the infinitely present Beloved.