Sophie’s Choice

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Making a choice in cutting off ties in any situation is difficult when it’s a no-win situation, an unbearable option that one is forced to choose. Even thinking that it is the lesser of two evils, it can still remain … Continue reading

What is it about Mary?

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Between Time and National Geographic, these magazines are constantly in search for Mary featuring the many images of her face. It sells. I must admit I bought the Time special reissue of Life’s Classic edition not that I am searching … Continue reading

Death of a Million Cuts

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It’s Holy Saturday and I am meditating on The Way of the Cross as I see it focus on education in picture form. Suffer the little children, the parents, special needs, new immigrants, teachers, front line works, aboriginals, and much … Continue reading

Rough edges of security

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Do think that I am weird and uncouth. I give you permission. I allow you to talk and discuss about me with others even in front of me Or pull the rug underneath me Hoping that I will fall flat and … Continue reading

Words

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church-in-cuba

What is prayer?

You take words,
everyday words,
and all of a sudden they become holy.

Why?

Because there is something
that separates one word from
another and then you try to fill
the vacuum.

With what?
With whom?
With what memory?
With what aspiration?

So when words bring you closer
to the prisoner in his cell,
to the patient who is dying on his bed alone,
to the starving child,

then it’s a prayer.

words by Elie Wiesel

Bringing back fond memories

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Today marks the first day of advent. A day of excitement filed with hope and grief. But hope trumps! It’s Not This Time of Year Without… a message of hope, everlasting hope. The message is to step out of our head … Continue reading

Mother T. How I met her.

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It was a warm afternoon when I suddenly came out of my meditation hearing the voice “Mother T died.” Mother T? Who is Mother T? Where did that voice come from? Perplexed, I ended the meditation and continued the daily … Continue reading

Connection

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The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation. Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and … Continue reading

A moment of clarity

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There are days that I just want to end it all. When that does happen, it’s the little things that stop me on my tracks that brings clarity in this obscure mind that surfaces uninvited. What stopped me this time … Continue reading

Claims

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Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the … Continue reading

Unmasking the illusion

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Yes, I am a smoker. When I tell people that I smoke, some of them are gracious enough to say that I don’t look and smell like a smoker. That is the kindest thing to say to a smoker. However, there … Continue reading

Finding Time

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Joining a guided walking and sightseeing holiday in Cuba with Walker’s World is not actually a pilgrimage. However, I made sure that I consider it as one for I always consider myself a pilgrim on this earth. Visiting Churches is … Continue reading

Way of Praying

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Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have … Continue reading

Pick One

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“Knowing that my emotions are only partially in my control, I reflect on what emotions I want to have If I could choose only one, what would it be: joy? peace? loving-kindness? courage? gratitude? I pick one of these imagine … Continue reading

Sense of Wonder

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Do you know that we are just like cats that get scared easily, fearful? So be careful. All we need is love. Yesterday, I attended a conference in renewing my sense of wonder by bringing together theological, psychological and spiritual awareness … Continue reading

I want to go where nobody knows my name.

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Living off the grid means to live simply so others may simply live. Living off the grid is hard especially in the modern-day world. Living off the grid is to unplug. For more than 48 hours, we were literally unplugged … Continue reading

Grant me the Grace to desire it.

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Litany of Humility O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being loved… From the desire of being extolled … From the desire of being honored … Continue reading

This is your LIFE

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Life is simple. Me, I seek the extraordinary in the ordinary. What do you do with your Life? Source: Holstee Manifesto Nurturing Thursday Inspired by: “On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea”. Click on this link to see what others have contributed … Continue reading

Learning to be at home

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And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at … Continue reading

On any given day, give thanks.

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When it comes to gardening, I prefer to start from seeds. It reminds me of conception to birth. The seeds are the eggs and the sperms are a mixture of good potting soil mixed with mushroom manure saturated further with … Continue reading

In Praise of Mother: A Legacy of a Selfless Person

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I really do not know much about Mother. My siblings have asked her numerous times to write her story. If she can’t write maybe, she can record her memoir. They gave her a recorder. Thinking that she might do it, … Continue reading

Be Careful

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As we enter the Holy Sepulcher, there lies a slab of stone where Jesus’ dead body was laid. The Orthodox priests anoint the stone with rose scented oil, walking around it as they say their prayers and holding an incense … Continue reading

Going Home – Thoughts of In between

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My thoughts are collections of other people’s ideas. There is no need for me to rewrite the story. They are good as they are. The following writings are thoughts from ordinary people who do extraordinary work that help shape my … Continue reading

Dying to oneself.

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Walking down from Mount Olives is Palm Sunday road, a road that Jesus took riding a donkey. It’s downhill and I saw this man and his donkey. They must be exhausted doing business with pilgrims like me to experience where Jesus … Continue reading

Be One With The Tree

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  The Tree of Contemplative Practices Mirabai Bush pointed us to this illustration of contemplative practices, which shows the breadth of meditation and mindfulness within traditions. Although this list isn’t comprehensive, it does open up one’s imagination about how these … Continue reading

Teach Us To Sit Still.

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Today is Ash Wednesday and nothing is more fitting than to share with you the poem of T.S. Eliot’s long poem “Ash Wednesday” written in 1927. The last three lines of this stanza struck me personally. Ash Wednesday by T. … Continue reading

You are excused should you truly know

Photo taken at an Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC

Photo taken at an Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC

Anyone who truly knows creatures
may be excused from listening to sermons,
for every creature is full of God,
and is a book.

~ Meister Eckhart

Each and every creature is a unique word of God, with its own message, its own metaphor, its own energetic style, its own way of showing forth goodness, beauty, and participation in the Great Mystery. Each creature has its own glow and its own unique glory. To be a contemplative is to be able to see each epiphany, to enjoy it, protect it, and draw upon it for the common good.  ~ Richard Rohr

Mother’s Love

Photo taken from Fragrant Wood Gallery Window

Photo taken from Fragrant Wood Gallery Window

A reminder of how much your Mother loves you.

A son wants to bring his Mother into the forest and leave her there to fend for herself because her Mother is terminally ill and he is too tired to take care of her.

Leading her through the thick of the forest, he noticed that his Mother breaks every branch that they passed by.

Curious, he ask his Mother why is she breaking the branches?

The Mother answered her son loving: “Son, I break the branches as a guide for you to follow so that you won’t get lost on the way out.”

Translated from Filipino story:
Isang paalala kung gaano kayo kamahal ng inyong ina..
May isang anak na gustong iligaw ang kanyang INA sa gubat dahil sa sakit nitong wala nang lunas at pagod na rin siyang mag-alaga dito, Ipinasan niya ang kanyang INA hanggang makarating sa kasuluksulukan ng Gubat, ngunit napansin niya na pinuputol ng kanyang INA ang bawat sanga ng Punong madaanan nila, tinanong nang Anak kung bakit niya ginagawa ito, sagot ng INA – ”Pinuputol ko ang sanga dahil ayaw kong maligaw ka sa pag uwi mo.
 

Gateway to Silence: Ripen me into fullness

Artist: Tom Miller 2002 donated to VGH Hospital Foundation

Artist: Tom Miller 2002 donated to VGH Hospital Foundation

When James Finley was a young monk at the monastery of Gethsemane, he shared with Thomas Merton (who was his spiritual director) his frustration at his seemingly inept efforts to experience God’s presence.Merton responded:

“How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun.”

Not that we don’t need to continue to seek God, but by our own efforts alone we cannot achieve spiritual maturity. We must bring ourselves to the Light where God’s grace seasons us into juicy, sweet, flavorful ripeness.

An understanding of ripening basically teaches us the wisdom of timing, love, and patience, and allows us to be wise instead of judgmental.

Source: Richard Rohr

 Consider these:

A zealous disciple expressed a desire to teach others the Truth and asked the Master what he thought about this.
The Master said, “Wait.”
Each year the disciple would return with the same request and each time the Master would give him the same reply: “Wait.”
One day he said to the Master, “When will I be ready to teach?”
Said the Master, “When your excessive eagerness to teach has left you.”  ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

MORSEL: You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips. ~ Oliver Goldsmith

Quote and UnQuote

wind

The human soul is hungry for beauty;
we seek it everywhere,
in landscape, music, art, clothes,
furniture, gardening, companionship,
love, religion, and in ourselves.
No one would desire not to be beautiful.
When we experience the beautiful,
there is a sense of homecoming.

~John O’Donohue

via beauty & the quantum leap.

This quote came from Make Believe Boutique, a site that will make you feel good and beautiful especially the part “when the angels come.” Visit and enjoy.

Series of thoughts on living and death. We don’t have forever.

 
Basil
Give them a packet of seeds to plant and nurture.
New growth means never too late to start living.
Encourage those around who simply exist.
Show them the endless possibility of life.
Every moment is a new beginning.
You can do it.
Step by step.
Adjust along the way.
Look into people’s faces and eyes.
Simple pleasures and beauty abounds.
Hold, hug, touch, smile, visit, call… Do it NOW.
You are given this life with no plot.
Like in the movies, it has a script.
Your life has no preview.
Be active in writing your life story.
Use your imagination.
Write or rewrite.
Be surprised with unexpected scenarios.
Not knowing the exact ending.
Make it exciting.
Let it unfold.
Death is just around the corner.
You realized you have never actually lived.
Squeeze every ounce of living while you can.
Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze.
We only have one life.
Moments don’t last forever.
Disappearing too quickly.
Never to return.
“He is not here, for he has risen.”

Worth Repeating

Photo of a painting from Fragrant Wood

Photo of a painting from Fragrant Wood

A disciple confessed his bad habit of repeating gossip.
Said the Master wickedly, “Repeating it wouldn’t be so bad if you did not improve on it.”
~ Anthony de Mello, SJ

MORSEL:
To attain Knowledge, add things every day.
To attain Wisdom,remove things every day.
~ Lao Tzu

The “solution”

Distractions in prayer drive some people crazy.

I simply decided years ago that I would make my distractions part of my prayer and I refuse to get annoyed by my flighty brain.  The “solution” proposed here might work for you if distractions do disturb you.

Source: People for Others

 

The Application of Senses

Trees

Trees

Leave your house and make your way to the park.
Pause.
Notice your impressions.

What senses are engaged: sight, scent, hearing?
Do you notice movement or stillness?

Walk on and take notice of everything around you.
What do you see, hear, feel, smell?

Try to experience something you usually wouldn’t spend much time or attention. Look at individual trees and note their differences. Touch the ground, listen to the people, birds, sounds of nature.

Think of God’s great love and vitality, shining through all the gifts He places around us:
A peaceful city and country, summer weather, green space to walk in.

Finish with a prayer before making your way back.

I See Your Lord

I am so blessed my Lord I can see you
In all the lovely things, so fine and true
I see You in the beauty of the flowers and the rain
I see You between the lines of a sweet refrain.

I am so blessed my Lord I can see you
Even when I’m lonely and in pain
I see You in the beauty of the stars at night
I see You in my life, I feel alright.

I see you Lord in sorrow and in happiness
I see You in the glory of sweet success
I see You Lord every hour, everyday
I can see you Lord whenever I pray

I am so blessed my Lord I can see you
In the smile of a baby sweet and true
I can see You in the eyes of my very best friends
I see you in these bonds just like Your love never ends.

Source: Prayer as openness

Ten Thousands Buttercups

Photo: Buttercup by Alex J. White

Photo: Buttercup by Alex J. White

Through Darkness, Into the Light BY PARKER J. PALMER 

I recently talked with a friend who’s spent time in the same deep darkness that I’ve known from time to time. In the course of our conversation, she shared a beautiful poem with me — a poem she wrote about an experience that helped her come through that darkness back into the light.

As the poem itself says, this may not be for you. But I wanted to share it here, with her permission, knowing that if the poem brings light to only one other person, I’ll be glad I passed it along. I know it brought light to me.

Untitled
by Willow Harth

This poem is not meant for you
unless you too have been underground
choking on your life’s debris, and
playing peek-a-boo with death seriously

then the surprise of ten thousand buttercups
out of nowhere on every side where they’d
never been before on my daily walk
might have had the effect on you it did on me

because suddenly

I wanted to understand how these particular
flowers came to be—the whole evolutionary
history of mosses, ferns and angiosperms,
the miracle of photosynthesis and DNA, not

to mention the longings of the Milky Way
to reflect itself in the form called flowers and
in these buttercups, which seemed like a
visitation from the sun, urging me to tell you, in
case like me you had forgotten

we are the universe’s latest way of blooming.

 

There is no straight path

zig zag

Mount Sinai

There is no straight path.

You Zig your way
You Zag the other way
Zigzagging as you go along in life
Avoiding the pitfalls and perils.

The big rocks
The pebbles
The sandy wind
The blinding sun.

 You stumble along the way.

Pick up yourself
Shake the dust off your body
Wipe the blood of your hands and knees.

You cry some
You laugh some
You ignore some
You wonder what am I doing?

Even the camels
Even the mountain goats
They are smart enough to
Walk, jump, crisscross in the
Treacherous rocky mountain.

Don’t be fooled
For there is no short cuts
In the mountain of life.

No short cut.

There are tremendous reasons
To place the blame. Be it people,
Situations, yourself, or anything
Or anyone.  These are obstacles in life.

Unless you have a God

For your God
can make a straight path
For you.

Focus.

Less is More

Let Go and Let God

Let Go and Let God

The Spirituality of Subtraction

Meister Eckhart said, “The spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition.” All great spirituality is about letting go. But we have grown up with a capitalist worldview, and it has blinded our spiritual seeing. We tend to think at almost every level that more is better, even though, as E. F. Schumacher said years ago, “less is more.”

There is an alternative worldview. There is a worldview in which all of us can succeed. It isn’t a win/lose capitalist worldview where only a few win and most lose. It’s a win/win worldview—if we’re willing to let go and if we’re willing to recognize that this, right here, right now, is enough. This is all I need. But that can only be true if we move to the level of being and away from the levels of doing and acquiring.

True religion is always pointing us toward being. At that level we experience enoughness, abundance, more than enoughness. If we’ve never been introduced to that world, we will of course try to satisfy ourselves with possessions, accomplishments, important initials after our names, fancy cars, beautiful homes—none of which are bad in themselves. They’re only unable to satisfy; and that’s exactly why we need more and more of them. As the Twelve-Steppers say, “We need more and more of what does not work.” If it worked, we would not need more of it!

“Gateway to Silence: Let go and let God.”

Adapted from The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of Saint Francis
Meditation by: Richard Rohr

Small Pleasures

Once upon a time in a country far away a boy lived …
very different from all the others his name was Eftichis.

small pleasure firefly

 Everything ran smoothly in his life until one day …
… many many years ago …
… an incident made him …
… see life from a different perspective.

And then, a big secret was revealed
The solution to a riddle …
… that humans have been trying to solve …
… for centuries now.

He discovered the meaning of life

He now knows …
… that happiness is nothing more …
… than moments …
… small and invisible moments.

Small_Pleasures_smell

Like when someone covers you up at night
Dreaming …
Waking up to a sparrow’s song …
… on fresh-smelling clean sheets …
… next to someone you love …
Touching them …
… smelling them …

small pleasure coffee

Feeling the warm water dropping on your face
Your house smelling …
… of freshly-baked cake
Holding a warm cup …
… when it’s cold outside.

Small_Pleasures_wind

Cutting a lemon from your tree
Feeling the fresh winter breeze …
… brushing your face.

small pleasure light

Feeling light and empty of thoughts
In total calmness.
Under the water.

small pleasure rain

 To keep doing things you did when you were young
When everyone is running under their umbrellas …
… you are standing in the rain.

Small_Pleasures_lady bug

Walking barefoot on wet grass
Taking a balloon out for a walk
Believing in things that cannot be explained
That a ladybird is a good sign

small pleasure beach

To have no fear
Doing things that do not suit your age
Hearing the waves hit the shore
Feeling the earth under your feet
Thinking of nothing.

Small_Pleasures_knowing

 Someone whispering a secret to you.
Watching the sunset …
… even when others know …
… that you can’t see it.

small pleasure blind

 Small Pleasures (Μικρές Χαρές) by Constantin Pilavios

Transformation: Sit and Wait

Sit and Wait

Sit and Wait

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
which shall be the darkness of God.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
there is yet faith.
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
(T.S.Eliot – Four Quartets)

 

 

Source : The School of Meditation: Letter 12
Meditation is a universal spiritual wisdom. All traditions recognize the value of a contemplative practice and the need for the community that flows from it. The School of Meditation of The World Community for Christian Meditation supports this. To find out more about the World Community for Christian Meditation visit our main website www.wccm.org.

In The Quiet

Quiet of our beingIt is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased with everything we have done. In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity. We must withdraw ourselves, to some extent, from the effects that are beyond our control and be content with the good will and the work that are the quiet expression of our inner life. We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting any immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition….

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.

~ Thomas Merton

The in between is About Now.

My life is full of in between times. What I do with the in between times is the most important aspect of my life, for without it, life is meaningless.  The in between is ABOUT NOW.

between

In between reminds me of a good friend that I questioned ” what do you do in between”? That is load full of questions that has so many meanings and can be answered in many ways.  Surely, there is so much I can do in between.  It is mostly waiting  filled with wonders:

  • waiting in line
  • waiting for the next meal
  • waiting for the next vacation
  • waiting for the next pay check
  • waiting for the sun, moon, rain, snow
  • waiting for faith, hope, charity, health, joy
  • waiting for answers to my prayers, signs and miracles

The list is long.  While I wait, so much have happened or not happened, in between.

I just realized that my life is full of miracles from the day of my conception, birth, growing, adding years to my age until the time of my departure on earth is all in between times.  During this time, I experienced plenty and filled with gratitude.

As I defined myself:
Servant of the Lord, first and foremost. Lover of all sentient beings. Maurice and Lucy are my cats. I plant my own garden to decorate my soul, nurtures and keeps me grounded. Hummingbird  connects me to an awesome wonders and makes me feel at home. I am a pilgrim on this earth.

So I created this space to share with you my “In Between Times.” It is a continuous series of:

  • from one moment to the next,
  • from one thought to the next,
  • from one action to the next.

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. ~ St. Augustine of Hippo.”

“Often people demand a great deal from themselves and their lives and are despondent when reality does not measure up. Milton has long been understood as having offered consolation for this affliction, reminding us that we do not always have a say in the role that we play in the world and that sometimes we must learn to see the service we are giving when we are doing nothing but waiting.”

Transparency

elephant

“We had better share our bewilderments. By hiding them from each other we should not hide them from ourselves.”
― C.S. Lewis,

Artist Pascal Chesneau won the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation 2014 Wildlife Artist of the Year award for his stunning Transparence Elephant sculpture.

Three ways I interpret this art work:

  • An elephant in the room
  • The vanishing animal
  • Endangered species

It’s no big surprise that he won the award not just his artistic ability and it’s an excellent conversational piece with so many meanings.

What does this mean to you?
What emotions arises from you?
What are you hiding?

Update: National Geographic News June 16, 2014 ~ Elephant Satao: Monumental Lost

Father and Son

Father and Son

“A little boy who had been to Sunday School told his father that he learned that God the Father and Son were equal.

The father said: “That is ridiculous. I am your father; you are my son. I existed a long time before you.”

“No,” said the boy, “you did not begin to be a father until I began to be a son.”

~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Happy Father’s Day To One and All.  Blessings.

Product of Enlightenment

walk away
“What kind of a person does Enlightenment produce?”

Said the Master:

“To be public-spirited and belong to no party,
to move without being bound to any given course,
to take things as they come,
have no remorse for the past,
no anxiety for the future,
to move when pushed,
to come when dragged,
to be like a mighty gale,
like a feather in the wind,
like weeds floating on a river,
like a mill stone meekly grinding,
to love all creation equally
as heaven and earth are equal to all
—such is the product of Enlightenment.”

 

On hearing these words, one of the younger disciples cried, “This sort of teaching is not for the living but for the dead,” and walked away, never to return.  ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ

MORSEL: All Spiritual being is in man. A wise old proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell,” that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so is there no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays “The Over-Soul”

Memorabilia: Just Listen

This is a photo of a  quote taped on a friend’s favorite spot, her desk.

We read it so many times, make up meanings and meanings change depending in our moods.  For most time we make fun out of it.

Just listen

An ant goes round and round without
rest
Like all beings in the six realms of
existence,
Born here and dying there without
release,
Now becoming a hungry ghost, then
an animal.
If you are searching for freedom from
this suffering
You must hear the sound of one hand.

These are still resonant words.
Take a break from the clamorous rat
race of modern life.

Just listen.

She was searching for freedom from suffering is the focal point of this quote.  Freedom means death.  And we both just listened for it to come.  And it did come for her and I did not hear it coming.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?  Well, it’s actually a sign for the deaf.  You raise your hand or hands and start shaking them up in the air.  This is how the deaf clap their hands. No sound.

Writing to Save the Day

ReadingWriting can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be “redeemed” by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become life saving for us and sometimes for others too.


– Henri J. M. Nouwen 

The Big Message of an Egg

This is no ordinary breakfast.

As you can see
how sorrowful the rest of the eggs are.

Sunny side up or
Over easy.

Sustenance
Food for the soul.

Cheer up!

The big message:
that there is something essential
that you only know by dying
to who you think you are!

You really don’t know
what life is
until you know
what death is.

” Death and life are two sides of one coin, and you cannot have one without the other.”  Transformative Dying

Image source: Julia Quinn

Temptation

Assisi overlooking Porzuincula, Italy

Assisi overlooking Porzuincula

Every day the sun rises.  The light and the warmth of the sun give life to everyone and every living thing.  Not just the sun.  There’s the water, air and earth, they, too,  give freely.  They simply offer to us all that is good to sustain our well-being. There is no exception, no discrimination, and no judgement.

I am using these four elements as an analogy to how I can understand a scripture verse and apply it on my daily life.

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

I suppose I have to look at this more on a personal level.

First, I am not perfect therefore who am I to judge?  Second, maybe it would help me to put myself in the other person’s shoe.  How would I feel if I am the one being judge?  And finally, I think judging is a sign of weakness on my part.  And to put it in a facetious way, I can only imagine how ugly-looking I am should I have a “log” in my eye.

This verse reminded me about another verse “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”  Again, I can imagine that there will be a lot of blind and toothless people running around the world.

Seriously, I need to hold back or bite my tongue no matter how tempting it is to be righteous.  This verse does not say anything about goodness or love but I believe this is the heart of it all.  It isn`t  easy to be as generous as the sun, water, air and earth but who says being a follower of Jesus would be easy?

Question: What good shall I do and did today

Three thing I will change on this schedule:

  1. Wake up at 6 am
  2. Change “shall I do” to “I will do”
  3. Sleep at 11 pm


Find the good on a given situation.  Sounds like Pollyanna?  Not really, it’s easier to become pessimistic than being optimistic.  No should or could or would.  These are pitfalls in everyday life.  Do or do not.  The daily examination, I agree with this wholeheartedly.  It reminds me of the quote “unexamined life is not worth living.”

benfranklindaily

Photo credit by: Nick Bilton

A Leap of Faith

Dec 22, 2013, Sunday.  Today, we will light up the fourth candle and it represents Love.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
With Love, Prayers and Blessings to you and yours.  Pax Tecum ~ Seeker.

Look! A Shooting Star

Look at everything and everyone around you and imagine how a creating and loving God would see what you see. Love the good; do what you can to change what needs to be changed.
— from Advent with St. Francis

Another day at the dental office and another 3.5 hours listening to Christmas music is highly not on the top of the list of having fun.  My mouth is still sore from the other day and here I go again feeling kind of masochist and the dentist a sadist.  I decided to turned off my mind, recited a mantra and went into the clouds of unknowing.  The next thing I knew, soft hands were caressing my face and waking me up gently every time my mouth gradually closes.  I really rather be sleeping and pretend that I am somewhere in outer space.

‘Humming a song with the dentist’s fingers, feeling the pain of the drill, feeling my mouth with plaster, feeling me softly with pain’, a song in my head that is not conducive to relieving the agony.  So I changed the mental song to ‘Catch a falling star and put in my pocket save it for a rainy day’. Perry Como`s song sounded much better.

Eventually, the session is over only to return next year to finish the job. Left the clinic and went to a floral shop to divert my attention.  Just looking, admiring  and savouring the scented flowers with no intention of buying until I saw a plant that has the most beautiful white flower.  It was a very unusual plant, a species of hydrangea called Shooting Star.  With no hesitation, I bought it,  took it home and gave the plant to the next door neighbour for no reason at all.  But of course, the neighbour always wants a reason and asks why.  Before I can give her a chance to ask why, I said: “Here, Merry Christmas.”

Shooting Star

The first thing the neighbour exclaimed was “Shooting Star! I dreamt of Shooting Star last night!”  Was she ever excited and gave me a bear hug, a kiss on my forehead and never-ending gratitude.  Our stars must be aligned is all I can think of to dismiss the coincidence.  What I really think is that her angels must have whispered in my ears, the soft still voice that made me buy the plant and gave it to her.

Ain’t life grand?  It takes very little to make one happy in turn made me feel joyful.

Break the cord and fly like a bird.

fly like a bird

When you feel as if you are in a deep darkness because of doubt, fear, illness, or depression, rather than try to desperately climb out perhaps it would be better to “walk in the dark.”  Often when we try too hard we only get more discouraged and if we go with the flow while we try, we slowly feel better.

We can be attached to our pursuit of happiness and health to the point of forgetting we are human.  We can expect ourselves, our doctors, therapists, spiritual directors, and priests to completely heal us, as if they were god.  Pursuing health and happiness are good but need to be kept in balance.  If we pine for them too much, we ignore the fact that only God can fully heal us and bring us lasting happiness.  

When you feel overwhelmed by life’s difficulties St. John of the Cross advises:

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

“In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”

“The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it will not arrive at the liberty of divine union.  For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.”

 

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Start with yes

You Must Start With Yes ~ Richard Rohr’s meditation

By teaching “Do not judge”, the great teachers are saying that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything if you start with “no.” You have to start with a “yes” of basic acceptance, which means not too quickly labeling, analyzing, or categorizing things as in or out, good or bad, up or down. You have to leave the field open, a fie…ld in which God and grace can move. Ego leads with “no” whereas soul leads with “yes.”

poppies on the field

The ego seems to strengthen itself by constriction, by being against things; and it feels loss or fear when it opens up. “No” always comes easier than “yes,” and a deep, conscious “yes” is the work of freedom and grace. So the soul lives by expansion instead of constriction. Spiritual teachers want you to live by positive action, an open field, and studied understanding, and not by resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness, and so they always say something like “Do not judge,” as judging is merely a control mechanism.

Words and thoughts are invariably dualistic, but pure experience is always non-dualistic. You cannot really experience reality with the judgmental mind, because you are dividing the moment before you give yourself to it. The judgmental mind prevents you from being present to the full moment by trying to “divide and conquer.” Instead, you end up dividing yourself and being conquered.

Source:  Richard Rohr’s meditation adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics

Each Day is a Blessing ~ Minute Meditations

We are called to love God and one another. That is our primary vocation.
Morning Glory

Morning Glory

The reason we rise in the morning and the purpose of our life on earth is to learn how to receive God’s love and then share it. God’s gift of life to you each morning is a sign that He has a mission for you that day.
 
 
— from Tweet Inspiration

Close your eyes and walk in the dark

St. John

Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
you fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.

~~ Spiritual Canticle of St. John the Cross ~ Stanza 1

St. John the Cross was born in 1542 as John (Juan de Yepes Alvarez) in a small community near Avila, Spain.  He joined the Carmelite Order in 1563 and took the name Juan de Sato Matia (John of St. Mathias). In 1577, the unreformed Carmelites imprisoned him in Toledo, Spain.

In a dark, cold and desolate six by 10 feet prison cell, he wrote his famous poem: Spiritual Canticle.

In 1578 after nine months of imprisonment, he escaped taking with him his poetry.  He stayed in a convent to get better, read his poetry and shared his experience of God’s love to the sisters.

He is similar to Rumi, a poet and a mystic.  He also wrote the Dark Night of the Soul and Ascent of Mount Carmel.  He is one of the leading poets in Spanish literature.

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