stillness

September 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 8)

Dear Friends ~ When things fall apart, may we learn to embrace the complexity of our lives, befriending our uncertainty and our own lack of control. This is the unwanted doorway to the birth of new life within us. ~ Bob Sabath

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Life is a good teacher and a good friend

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don't get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It's a very tender, non-aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.

To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior.
~ Pema Chödrön in WHEN THINGS FALL APART

I sat still for three days

I felt in need of a great pilgrimage. So I sat still for three days.
~ Kabir in LOVE POEMS FROM GOD

Degree of presence

Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.
~ Alan Watts in THE WISDOM OF INSECURITY

Entering the Kingdom

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees —
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.
~ Mary Oliver from "Entering the Kingdom" in DEVOTIONS

If the heart wanders or is distracted

If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently... And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.
~ St. Francis de Sales in INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE

The relation of contemplation to action

What is the relation of contemplation to action? Simply this. He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others.
~ Thomas Merton in THOMAS MERTON SPIRITUAL MASTER: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS

The whole world falls in

May God break my heart so deeply the whole world falls in.

~ Mother Teresa in MOTHER TERESA: QUOTABLE WISDOM

Deep awareness

When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh in TOUCHING PEACE

Proverbs and Tiny Songs

I love Jesus, who said to us:
heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my word will still remain.
What was your word, Jesus?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were
one word: Wakeup.
~ Antonio Machado from "Proverbs and Tiny Songs " in THE SOUL IS HERE FOR ITS OWN JOY
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