A Wave on the Surface

Remember that any prayer you might say consciously is but a wave on the surface of the great prayer being prayed deeply in you by the source of love every moment of your life. Remembering the mystery of God’s presence with us, which is at once immanent, transcendent, and all-pervasive, it is obvious that we cannot be attending to the true presence of God if we are focusing solely on a word, phrase or image. At the very best, these are only symbolic reflections and expressions of God’s presence and our desire. In moments of sheer grace, the symbols become icons: windows that give us a glimpse into the all-pervading presence of God’s love. But always they are the means, not the end.

This Longing

Like billowing clouds, like the incessant gurgle of the brook, the longing of the soul can never be stilled. It is this longing with which holy persons seek their work from God.

Looking for Snakes

Because it is good
to be afraid—
but not too afraid—
I walk carefully

up the slabby hill,
through laces of bracken,
through the thick, wild roses,
waiting for my heart

to fly up
out of the leaves
chilled
and singing,

and it does.
They’re there—
two of them,
in sleepy loops—

and they rise
in a spit of energy,
like dark stalks,
among the wild, pink roses,

their mouths
narrow and stubborn,
their red eyes
staring.

Do you shiver
at the mere mention
of their glossy,
shoulderless bodies?

I would like to bring you here.
I would like you to remember
the black flowers of their faces
as well as their quick slithering—

I would like you to remember
the pretty fire that dabs out of their mouths
as well as the plunge back into the shadows,
and the heart’s thudding song.

Suffering With Others

Compassion is to know the pain and suffering of others. Not to know about the suffering and pain of others, but in some way to actually know that pain—to enter it, hear it, taste it, let it in. We talk about getting in touch with our feelings, and that is central to our freedom. The complementary step is to get in touch with the feelings of others. This necessitates getting into their frame of reference, their way of perceiving. Others’ way of seeing might seem wrong or distorted, yet it still is their experience of life…. In part, knowing that someone understands and feels our pain is the relief we need, even if nothing more can be done.

Seized by the Power of a Great Affection is available here.

Cleansing Our Perception

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is—Infinite. But the doors of perception are hung with the cobwebs of thought: prejudice, cowardice, sloth. Eternity is with us, inviting our contemplation perpetually, but we are too frightened, lazy and suspicious to respond: too arrogant to still our thought, and let divine sensation have its way. It needs industry and good will if we would make that transition: for the process involves a veritable spring-cleaning of the soul, a turning-out and rearrangement of our mental furniture, a wide opening of closed windows, that the notes of the wild birds beyond our garden may come to us fully charged with wonder and freshness, and drown with their music the noise within.