Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Being and Doing - Spirit Rising!

Burning Bush @
  What I Have Left Behind, by Mary Oliver

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Being and Doing. It is the Mary and Martha story. It is the way of life. We are. And we do. Contemplation (being) and action (doing). Being is about our relationship with God, who we are in God and with God. Being can refer to both substance and stillness and is cultivated through presence in prayer. Being is inner work. Jesus went to pray often, to nourish his identity in God, to enable his connection to the Father so as to charge and balance his ability to minister in the physical world. It was necessary, it IS necessary to be still and know. It fuels the heart for action.

Doing is our relationship with others. Doing is the great commission. It is the love and compassion of our source distributed to the world by our doing, by our action, by our relationships with others. Doing is outer work. It is the Spirit of Being moving the world of form.

Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, contemplative and social activist, spoke of contemplation and action as a spring. "Contemplation without action is like the spring without the streams flowing out of it, stagnant and useless. Likewise, the streams of our actions, when not resulting from contemplation, cannot serve God's purpose for us."

We need to live as though being determines our doing, rather than as though doing determines our being. Robert Mulholland, Invitation to a Journey 

May the Spirit of God "ignite" your being and charge your doing in this most blessed day!

© Peggy Beatty 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Once upon a time, in a not-so-faraway land, there was a kingdom of acorns, nestled at the foot of a grand old oak tree. Since the citizens of this kingdom were modern, fully Westernized acorns, they went about their business with purposeful energy; and since they were midlife, babyboomer acorns, they engaged in a lot of self-help courses. There were seminars called "Getting All You Can out of Your Shell." There were woundedness and recovery groups for acorns who had been bruised in their original fall from the tree. There were spas for oiling and polishing those shells and various acornopathic therapies to enhance longevity and well-being.

One day in the midst of this kingdom there suddenly appeared a knotty little stranger, apparently dropped "out of the blue" by a passing bird. He was capless and dirty, making an immediate negative impression on his fellow acorns. And crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, "We...are...that!"

Delusional thinking, obviously, the other acorns concluded, but one of them continued to engage him in conversation: "So tell us, how would we become that tree?" "Well," said he, pointing downward, "it has something to do with going into the ground...and cracking open the shell." "Insane," they responded. "Totally morbid! Why, then we wouldn't be acorns anymore!"

Originally devised by Maurice Nicoll in the 1950s, Jacob Needleman popularized this metaphor in Lost Christianity and named it "acornology." I am reprinting the story from Cynthia Bourgeault's The Wisdom Way of Knowing


Monday, April 25, 2011


A garden inside me, unknown, secret,
neglected for years,
the layers of its soil deep and thick.

Trees in the corners with branching arms
and the tangled briars like broken nets.
Sunrise through the misted orchard,
morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs.

I have woken from the sleep of ages
and I am not sure
if I am really seeing, or dreaming,
or simply astonished
walking towards sunrise
to have stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.

David Whyte

Photo: Garden of Eden, Mulu National Park Malaysia

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding Jesus and saying, " Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied, " Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun's light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:39-45

What does the symbol of the cross mean to you? Humility? Love? Sacrifice? Grace? Fulfllment of prophesy? Suffering...Paradise? Where is this Paradise (capital P) that Jesus refers to? What is does the passing from light to darkness mean? When is it that the veil (curtain) was torn before this? Does the torn veil (curtain) reveal to us something we had not seen before? Does the cross itself symbolize something eternal? Chronos, or physical time, is the cross beam and Kairos, or eternal time, is the vertical. Kairos literally means "the moment of opportunity." What is at the intersection of these two? Who is at this intersection? A man? God? Something eternal....the moment...this moment...NOW.

© Peggy Beatty 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Returning to One

Transformation is more about unlearning than learning, which is why religious traditions call it "conversion" or "repentance." It is about maturing the soul in a way that reveals and prioritizes "we" within the "me." There is nothing to join, only something to recognize, suffer and enjoy as participant. Richard Rohr (and me=:)

Life is a journey to oneness. You are born into form (incarnated) and at an early age you begin to understand yourself as separate from all else: other people, the planet, the cosmos, your source; like a droplet of water would feel apart from the sea, and upon seeing other droplets, think that it was discrete and separate. But in the end, the droplet would realize that it is part of the vast ocean or it would be taken into the embrace of the atmosphere and become part of the vast sky. And don't the sky and ocean share precipitation and evaporation in an eternal coming and going from one to the other and the other to the one? While a droplet you are unique and beautiful. Your form reflects the light of the cosmos, your essence is that which sustains life, every other can see their own beautiful reflection in you and you in them. But there is something else, a feeling that your home is not in droplet form, but in union with something bigger - something more eternal. Something inside of you bulges and wobbles and, while contained in a neat droplet "package," your inner essence seeks to break through the very surface structure that maintains your droplet form. You must give up your beautiful unique dropletness to return to this place. You must shed the exterior forces that hold your true substance as droplet and see yourself as beautifully integrated rather than separate. The ocean calls to you. The sky embraces you. Ultimately, you will surrender yourself to the place from which you came. You will join the life force that brings forth an eternal supply of droplets and you can do this with awareness of it or wait until it takes you unaware...

© Peggy Beatty 2011