As you well know it has been a year of the pandemic and of cocooning in the darkness of the womb. Are we ready to emerge? To be birthed?
Although the pandemic isn’t over, people are ‘over’ the pandemic and there is a sense of urgency to return to ‘normal’ in the air. Life is beginning to open up back up and it will continue to be a bumpy road. This is when the real work of healing begins and it is important to emerge consciously. To not slip into a previous autopilot.
As we continue to be present to what is and what is to come, let’s continue to bring some intentional awareness to our process. I know that everyone has had a unique experience of this last year and that it has been full of slowing down for some or speeding up for others. Regardless of what it has been for you, there is already an onslaught of opportunities emerging that weren’t there before. Pause for a moment and ponder these questions.
What do you need to hold onto that you learned this year in your ‘cell,’ as the Dessert Abbas and Ammas call it?
What fell away this past year that you need to not pick back up as you re-enter the world?
What have you cultivated in yourself this year through this time of daily meditation, other established rhythms, and ways of being you may have developed that can be a direct or indirect offering to those around you?
A few re-minders as we move forward: keep your heart open to the suffering and grief. . . allow yourself to experience tiny and substantial joys. . . continue to cultivate resilience and coherence in your nervous system. . . by your presence offer that resilience and coherence to others as a co-regulator. . . stay awake to the longstanding divisions around worldview, domination, and othering through the various ‘isms’ that remain. . . keep showering the cosmos with your prayer.
We offer anchoring and tethering.
We offer surrendering and trusting.
We offer connecting and inter-abiding.
We offer freeing and widening.
We offer the invincibility of our hearts.
Here the readings from the ‘collective contemplative pauses’ this week:
“There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.”
—Thomas Merton, Hagia Sophia
“I’m letting go now, Beloved One, of all my narrow categories, my rigid way of looking at others. Make me loose with compassion, willing to float, willing to drown in Your delicious sea of Love.”
“Chaos itself is a life force, a time of creative regeneration. It is a descent into the darkness of unknowing and also the prima materia for alchemical change. Only from this primal formless- ness is real change possible, a change that is not conditioned by past structures or ideologies. Chaos images the beauty of what is unpredictable. That is why it is so important not to try to define the future at this time. We have to allow chaos to transform our world, to bring its own quality of wonder into our lives. As in Nietzsche’s famous saying, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“Once, I lived on the tarred, lonely highways of truth―slugging towards the looming horizons―the promised dwelling places for those who did not waver. The whole world was about being either right or wrong. I was either lost or found. That was many years ago though. Today, when I meet people, I recognize how utterly beyond right and wrong they are―how their lives are symphonies beyond orchestration, how their mistakes and failings are actually cosmic explorations on a scale grander and of a texture softer than our most dedicated rule-books could possibly account for. You see, something happened on my way―and I lost my coordinates, my map, my directives. Now the whole journey is the destination―and each point, each barren point, just as noble as the final dot. Every splotch of ink is become to me a fresco of wisdom, a beehive of honey, a lovely place―and every aching voice a heavenly choir. The world is no longer desolate and empty and exclusive; she is now a wispy spirit, whose fingers flirt through the wind―a million roads where only one once lay. And I need not be certain about the road travelled―since I arrived the self-same moment I set out.”
— Bayo Akomolafe
“I am able to approach the Buddhas barefoot and undisturbed, my feet in the wet grass, wet sand. Then the silence of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and yet subtle. Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace not of emotional resignation but of Madhyamika, of sunyata, that has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything—without refutation—without establishing some other argument. … I was knocked over with a rush of relief and thankfulness at the obvious clarity of the figures, the mental bodies composed into the rock shape and landscape, figure, rock and tree. ..
Looking at these figures I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious…. The thing about all this is that there is no puzzle, no problem, and really no “mystery”. All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya----everything is emptiness and everything is compassion...
I don’t know what else remains but I have now seen and have pierced through the surface and have got beyond the shadow and disguise... It says everything, it needs nothing.”
— Thomas Merton
“Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is...Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.”
— Pope Francis
"You are the Fire of Love! Since you created us we share in the Fire of Love!
Scorn not the ebb and flow, the seasons of your life.
Tame not the passion of the Inner Fire!
Let not the vicissitudes of worldly ways and values dissipate gifts that you alone are given to share.
Unite your voice, your heart’s song, with the Universal Symphony of Love!
Blessed are those souls who awaken, who know the boundless joy of co-birthing in concert with the Divine Conductor! Silent be . . . and see."
— Nan Merrill