Natural World

Rocking Chair

By | Asking the Question, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Natural World, Poetry, Spirituality, War, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

I am one who likes sit and dream
Or hold a child while I read to her.
I have supposed only a mother might invent a rocking chair,
To meet the need to lull a child to sleep
In an easy gentle way.
Who made this chair?
It was long ago, that I know.
Did he work long hours in a factory
with mullioned windows and dim light?
Did he take time to rock a child to sleep at night?
This chair has been with me many years.
I was the lucky one to find it
On the third floor of a Salvation Army store.
The leather seat, then torn and dusty,
is now repaired with autumn-colored plaid
To match the golden oak.
I have read my children many books in this chair
Rocked them to sleep in my arms.
That has made my life and theirs
Something worth living.

Remind Me to Remember

By | Asking the Question, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Saying the Unsayable, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

My life is full of worries, turmoil and strife. Just yesterday when I was trying to put up a new TV antenna, I had to interrupt the work to the hardware store. I left my ladder up and the wind blew it down and damaged some shingles on the garage roof; so I have been fretting about that, even though the damage is very minor. Still it will take some precious time to replace or patch the shingle(s), and now the roof is not perfect anymore, just like a car that gets its first scratch. Trying to live with perfection in a very imperfect and finite world is a great problem for me, and it causes me no little amount of frustration. I get frustrated with the way things are, with others, and most of all with myself.

Yet in the midst of it all, I try to remember my true connection to the divine indwelling within me. And indeed I must return to that reality over and over in the prayer of touching this presence. In those moments I am reminded of why I exist, the purpose of my life, which is to awaken to my divine nature and the divine nature of everything. How easily I forget.

I have been reading once again Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation. I am now on the chapter entitled The Gift of Understanding. My last time through I wrote this in the margins on p. 228. “…To accept the life of the Giver, without needing to or trying to possess it. There is no self to hold onto this gift; only the silent communication of receiving the life of the Giver and mirroring that life of love back.” I am grasping at understanding here, and that is fine. My reason is touched by faith, and my faith is strengthened each time I remind myself to see with awakened eyes and heart.

Right now, as I write this, I am sitting at the dining room table and looking out the window at the dawning of this new day. And, Oh my God, what a gift it is! I live by the generosity of God infinitely being given to me in and as my life and the life of everything around me. There is at this moment the squirrel high in the branches of the bare trees across the road. There are a few red clouds off on the horizon lit up by the rising sun. There is so much beauty everywhere I look, and it is all constantly poured out as the infinity of God infinitely sharing Being in and as the very being of everything. And still I need to keep reminding myself of this.

I will get drawn into the worries and cares of this day, but will I stop and remember whose I am and who I am? Can I enter through the narrow gate in my heart into the spacious rooms of a Love always present, even in my absence. That narrow gate is the gate of heaven. I am a temple of the divine presence; everything is likewise such a temple.

Lectio, Mark 14:22

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Nonviolence, Saying the Unsayable, Social Justice, Spirituality | No Comments

“While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take, this is my body” Mark 14:22

As a Christian, I believe that this bread truly became the body of Christ Jesus, and that the bread of the Eucharist is the true body of Christ Jesus. But there are far more bold implications for this sacrament. After all, when we receive the Eucharist, we receive it with the words, “The Body of Christ.” And we say our “Amen” to that reality.

The body of Christ is the whole cosmos, and Christ infinitely fills each and every part of the cosmos in the same way that Christ infinitely fills the bread we receive. To the Christian, this is not merely a symbol but a reality. Every atom in the cosmos is filled infinitely with the infinity of the Christ. Every atom is holographic in nature, containing within itself the infinity of the whole while also being a part of the whole. The Sufis chant, “How could I ever be less by dying. I am the ocean and the ocean is me.”

It is nice to think that there is little relation between the bread of the Eucharist and the cosmos as Eucharist–both being the real presence of Christ. That way, we can go out from our worship and rape the creation and still come back and pay reverance to the Body of Christ in the bread. The split goes right through our heart and through the heart of creation.

While Moving Along

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | One Comment

As I move along in time and space
Sometimes I get stuck
Or maybe I’m just lingering
before circling back
To pick up something missed
Or undo something done,
if that were ever possible.
Or to try again and this time embrace
Or let go more gracefully.
To own something stuffed away back then
And to carry forward, no shoulds or oughts
or have tos this time.

To look more closely
at what was once forbidden
To skip some beats
While humming old tunes
To laugh out loud at the absurd
when before told to be silent.

I keep picking up my old tracks
Taking longer strides
Or shorter ones, depending on something
different now. A little
out of sync,
while smiling at the first time passer.

This returning, never quite the same,
spiraling higher, dipping deeper–
I’m casting myself
and flying over a stream
before lighting once again on the moving water,
wondering at being devoured,
Yet, knowing I am tethered to a line
of infinite length and unbreakable.

We Are What We Seek

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Nonviolence, Poetry, Social Justice, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

Why do we stand outside the temple
wondering what prayers will open the gates?
We have only to say, “Please, open.”
And what is inside will be revealed.

No need to travel to Rome,
Or visit a hundred churches.
The key is in our pocket.
We are what we seek.

Does the divine spend the day
looking around for divinity?
Why would we spend the day any differently?
God sees God everywhere.
Time to look in the mirror
and see God.

Border Crossings

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Social Justice, Spirituality | No Comments

As you go about your work
Look around you.
Here, the trees are flames.
The sky filled with the sound of geese.
Stirrings of autumn.
All this beauty.

But you can stop anywhere,

One day you might find yourself
asking, What happened?
Who touched me?

And taking a step in any direction,
Find the divine running toward you,
Already having crossed the border
A hundred times without your knowing.

When we awaken,
we will see;
Not knowing,
we just go on our way.

New Day

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

Do you know what is happening right now?
Oh, it is too much really for words.
In the west, the full moon, setting,
still peeks through the trees
of the forest.
I thought my Love was going away to rest.

But in the east, the golden
light of dawn is rising over the mountains
and my Love is running to me.
The shine in His eyes is the color of peaches.
We are going to spend the day together.
And He is planning another hundred ways to love me.

No One Told Us

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Social Justice, Spirituality | No Comments

We are millionaires whose bank accounts
have been done in by our own inflation,
out on the street, our life confiscated
by the imperial status quo.

We learned early that rocks were inert
and no harm done in kicking them around.
We sat in obedient rows.
Graduated proficient in math but not in wisdom.

No one told us the universe was made for joy
We never just shoved the desks aside and danced
That would have been too much, the wall flowers
already relegated to remaining alone.

There are those who like things this way,
who benefit from our monotony
They are crocodiles who consume the human
Bring us down to crawling on our bellies

They fear the artists among us
those who see qualities and connection,
who sense that atoms are in relationship
from one end of space to the other.

Sacred Geography

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

We are not trodding out along some horizontal
plain, searching for an abandoned house
to die in, alone. Ladders are everywhere
angels ascending and descending
A sacred geography, the cross
with a heart at the center.

Why do we keep searching
for the one more beautiful
than all the others, to be desired
above the rest,
the One whose name is Beauty?

If not, we might as well see the road
but not the sky, crawl on our bellies
and not walk upright
watch the light go its separate way
at the end of the day
and we to our fitful sleep.

Find this One,
Let this One find you,
And even the darkness will
be luminous.

Oh Dear small self

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Mysticism, Natural World, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

Oh dear small self,
My kicking and screaming child,
I am jumping into the ocean
A world where illusion dissolves.
When I emerge
the mist on the mirror
will be toweled away.

I will do this a hundred times
Embracing each illusion.
This too I am grateful for.

You are like a retiring teacher
And I, watching you walk
across the stage,
clap away the shame.
I take off my hat to you,
the “poor mes.”
I shed my shoes,
the “if onlys.”
I lay my hairshirt of blame
in your suitcase.

I hear the voice
of the Beloved in the waves
on the beach, calling from
a spacious place within.