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Readings from the pauses August 14th — 20th.



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From the Daily Contemplative Pauses

Thursday with Catherine


Mind Wanting More

Only a beige slat of sun

above the horizon, like a shade pulled

not quite down. Otherwise,

clouds. Sea rippled here and

there. Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun to

stir the grey porridge of clouds,

an osprey to stitch sea to sky

with its barred wings, some dramatic

music: a symphony, perhaps

a Chinese gong.

But the mind always

wants more than it has --

one more bright day of sun,

one more clear night in bed

with the moon; one more hour

to get the words right; one

more chance for the heart in hiding

to emerge from its thicket

in dried grasses -- as if this quiet day

with its tentative light weren't enough,

as if joy weren't strewn all around.

— Holly Hughes (American Zen A Gathering of Poets)


Friday with Catherine

How surely gravity's law,

strong as an ocean current,

takes hold of even the strongest thing

and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing -

each stone, blossom, child -

is held in place.

Only we, in our arrogance,

push out beyond what we belong to

for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered

to earth's intelligence

we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves

in knots of our own making

and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again

to learn from the things,

because they are in God's heart;

they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:

to fall,

patiently to trust our heaviness.

Even a bird has to do that

before he can fly.

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy



Saturday with Joy


“My base of operation must be deeper than the self that things happen to, [with my nervous system reactions of fight or flight or freeze]. How can I, as a human being, sink into the taproot of my heart in a presence that transcends my ordinary humanity, and at the same time utterly permeates it through, and through, and through, and through, and empowers me to be present to do the best I can to be a nurturing person, a protective person, a healing person, in a peace that isn’t dependent on how that might turn out specifically for me or my loved ones?”


— adapted from James Finley, Sink into the Taproot of your Heart


Sunday with Joy


"Kenosis is not the same as renunciation. Renunciation implies a subtle pushing away; kenosis is simply the willingness to let things come and go without grabbing on. For all intents and purposes it is synonymous with nonclinging or nonattachment. But unlike a more Buddhist version of this spiritual motion, kenosis has a certain warm spaciousness to it; to the degree one does not assert one's own agenda, something else has the space to be. The "letting go" of kenosis is actually closer to "letting be” than it is to any of its "non-" equivalents (nonclinging, nonattachment, nonidentification, and so forth); its flow is positive and fundamentally creative. Between the "let it be" of kenosis and the "let it be" by which biblical tradition envisions Creation itself as having come into existence, there is a profound resonance. …In this sense, then, kenosis is first and foremost a visionary tool rather than a moral one; its primary purpose is to cleanse the lens of perception. Letting go is not in order to get something better…; in and of itself it is the something better."


— Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, p 104

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