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Friday, December 27 2013

Christmas Awe

       According to quantum physicist, Niels Bohr, the opposite of a small truth is a falsehood, while the opposite of a great truth is another truth.  Great truths are paradoxical in nature.

       For me, Christmas is a great truth.  Human birth signals a movement from oneness in the womb toward a lifelong path of individuation – celebrating and discovering uniqueness and individuality.  The birth of Jesus adds a new dimension to the path.  His birth and his teaching orient us toward oneness – the unity of human and divine.  Christ-consciousness reminds us that we are one with each other, one with God, one with all that is.  The path of individuation is only the first part of a spiritual journey that eventually returns us, deepened by the journey, to original oneness.

       Christmas immerses us in mystery – the awesome, paradoxical truth that each of us is simultaneously one with everything and distinct from everything.  We are all one, and each one of a kind.

       In one version of the Christmas story, there was no room in the inn for the birth of Jesus.   Christmas invites us to make room in our “inns” for the birth of Christ-consciousness.  It beckons us toward spaciousness.

       Let’s open our hearts to mystery and immensity this season.  Let’s make room for Christmas awe.

Posted by: AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, December 16 2013

Relaxed Readiness

       Advent, in the tradition where I was raised, is a time of preparation, anticipation, getting ready.  As I consider it now, a question arises:  How do we prepare for Grace? 

        If we’re not attentive, not ready for the unpredictable arrival of grace, we may miss its quiet approach.  If we’re tight or if we tighten, we may block its arrival or choke the fullness of its presence.

       There’s a balance, here, and a fluidity:  attending and softening, receiving and letting go, keeping eyes open and heart open, staying observant and transparent to the flow of life.

       This balanced state is what Richard Moss calls “relaxed readiness”.  It is a natural state that most of us need to re-learn.  And thus we practice.  Moment by moment, we are aware and we breathe.  Moment by moment, we see and we soften.

       We prepare for Grace.

Posted by: AT 03:13 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, December 08 2013

Meditation Mercy

       Some years back, I shared a podium with a delightful Benedictine nun.  We were presenting on meditation and spiritual practice.  I remember being organized with my notes, as I talked about various approaches to centering.  In contrast, my co-presenter spoke off the cuff about what a treat it is to give ourselves quiet time and what fun it is to take regular breaks from the cares of the day.

       There was light-heartedness in her message – a playful spirit, an invitation to be at ease, to be merciful and gentle with ourselves – very different, in tone, from the somber spirituality that focuses on discipline and hard work.

       A few weeks ago, my friend Nicky sent around a quote, which echoes this merciful approach to spiritual practice.  It’s from a workshop she attended with Australian meditation teacher, Bob Sharples.  I pass it on for your enjoyment.

       "Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself: rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot."

Bob Sharples

       It’s our nature to deepen.  When we listen and soften to our true nature, we grow quite nicely – even without “the subtle aggression of self-improvement” and “the endless guilt of not doing enough”.

       

Posted by: AT 09:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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