Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meditative Moment with Brother David Steindl-Rast

MEDITATIVE MOMENTS with Brother David Steindl-Rast from Milos Savic on Vimeo.

Deep stillness is a spaciousness within, an openness to what is. In silent meditation, one enters into the present moment which is the only transcendent moment, Kairos, the moment of all possibility; a moment in time and transcendent of time, in which all that is may come together as one in a vast expansive consciousness.

“Our own interiority, including our reflective self-awareness, is just as much part of the natural world as plants, mountains, and oceans. In human beings the self transforming universe has now become luminously conscious of itself. This interior vein of consciousness running throughout cosmic history, and within the dramatic depths of life, allows us to realize the Spirit of God as essence of Life. Our inner knowing, this intuition leads us to realization of the risen Christ, consciousness of the cosmos, gathering all matter and mind into his Eucharistic body.” 1

May there be a moment of stillness in your busyness today, so that you may mindfully enter into the process of living breathing Life, and realize the precious beauty of your being and of all those with whom you share the Eucharistic Body of Christ.

May you dwell in Love’s spaciousness, Peggy

1Adapted from John Haught on the theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Making Sense of Evolution, Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life, Georgetown University.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Being and Doing...Spilling Love

God is a noun – Love is a verb – God is love is a verb. God is love is me is a noun. I am a noun. I am a verb. I am love. I give love. The difference between Buddha and Bodisattva, between God and Jesus, is being and action. But both are one and the same. Martha and Mary. The Potter and the clay. The water and the vessel. Love, like water is contained in vessels. When vessels take action, love spills over….God fills our vessels; we are made in Gods image. Water is still water when it resides in the pot. Cracked pots, I have heard us called and so it is. Our imperfections spill our love to the world on God’s behalf, for that is how God lives and moves and has God’s being. Spilling thoughts for a Tuesday.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Blessed Are You, Mystical Matter!

One of the most powerful mystical readings on the Spiritual nature of Matter (other than Genesis) is found in the Hymn of the Universe, by Jesuit philosopher and scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955)

Teilhard De Chardin was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of both Piltdown Man and Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of Noosphere. Some of his ideas came into conflict with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and several of his books were censured. (Wikipedia)

For Teilhard de Chardin, matter is divine. It is the clay from which God shapes creation over great spans of time.  Matter is the support for God’s Revelation and Christ’s Incarnation. Incarnation symbolizes the human face of God. Evolution is Spirit-in-process, working to awaken to itself. Humanity holds a special place in Teilhard's cosmology, because we represent the axis of evolution itself.

This fits perfectly with a physical science idea of Potential Energy (process) or Source, Energy or Spirit, and Matter or Incarnate Spirit. These living energy states are Trinitarian and they constitute an integrative understanding of both the divine and physical nature of reality.

Teilhard De Chardin’s extended reflection on the nature of spirit and matter which he based on the story of Elijah, beginning with 2 Kings 2:9-13:

9And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 13He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

Teilhard De Chardin continues the story… from HYMN TO MATTER (Hymn of the Universe)

The Man fell to his knees in the chariot of fire which carried him.
And he said this:
"Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would eat.

'Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us.

‘Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.

‘Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God.

‘Blessed be you, impenetrable matter: you who, interposed between our minds and the world of essences, cause us to languish with the desire to pierce through the seamless veil of phenomena.

‘Blessed be you, mortal matter: you who one day will undergo the process of dissolution within us and will thereby take us forcibly into the very heart of that which exists.

‘Without you, without your onslaughts, without your uprootings of us, we should remain all our lives inert, stagnant, puerile, ignorant both of ourselves and of God. You who batter us and then dress our wounds, you who resist us and yield to us, you who wreck and build, you who shackle and liberate, the sap of our souls, the hand of God, the flesh of Christ: it is you, matter, that I bless.

‘I bless you, matter, and you I acclaim: not as the pontiffs of science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, disfigured — a mass of brute forces and base appetites — but as you reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature.

‘You I acclaim as the inexhaustible potentiality for existence and transformation wherein the predestined substance germinates and grows.

‘I acclaim you as the universal power which brings together and unites, through which the multitudinous monads are bound together and in which they all converge on the way of the spirit.

‘I acclaim you as the melodious fountain of water whence spring the souls of men and as the limpid crystal whereof is fashioned the new Jerusalem.

‘I acclaim you as the divine milieu, charged with creative power, as the ocean stirred by the Spirit, as the clay moulded and infused with life by the incarnate Word.

‘Sometimes, thinking they are responding to your irresistible appeal, men will hurl themselves for love of you into the exterior abyss of selfish pleasure-seeking: they are deceived by a reflection or by an echo.

‘This I now understand.

‘If we are ever to reach you, matter, we must, having first established contact with the totality of all that lives and moves here below, come little by little to feel that the individual shapes of all we have laid hold on are melting away in our hands, until finally we are at grips with the single essence of all subsistencies and all unions.

‘If we are ever to possess you, having taken you rapturously in our arms, we must then go on to sublimate you through sorrow.

‘Your realm comprises those serene heights where saints think to avoid you — but where your flesh is so transparent and so agile as to be no longer distinguishable from spirit.

‘Raise me up then, matter, to those heights, through struggle and separation and death; raise me up until, at long last, it becomes possible for me in perfect chastity to embrace the universe.’

Down below on the desert sands, now tranquil again, someone was weeping and calling out: ‘My Father, my Father! What wild wind can this be that has borne him away?’

And on the ground there lay a cloak.

Entire text here:

Gen 2:19, 6. Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. Then the LORD God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, …27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Human is derived from the word humus or soil. Adam, from the masculine form of the word adamah meaning ground or earth and related to the words adom (red), We are, as all of the living, breathing cosmosphere, material life forms created from organic matter in harmony with this beautiful blue organism we call “Earth.” We are human before any other label we may call ourselves. We are humans, stewards of life, co-creators with Source, Imago Dei. May the blessing, and the responsibility, of this identity keep you in the mighty and fragile flow of Grace! Peggy

Comment: Every one of Teilhard De Chardin's blessings and praises of Matter is a discussion of the "realities" that living incarnate produces. This phrase has always struck my own heart: "If we are ever to possess you, having taken you rapturously in our arms, we must then go on to sublimate you through sorrow."

I would love to hear your comments!
Artwork: Elijah's Mantle recording artists, album cover Psalms from Invocations 1998

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who You Really Are

Could there be more
to this life we call "mine"
than a journey through space
or a story line? -
More to life than the body can sense
than the mind can conclude
from experience

Does who we are begin with breath,
depend on form or end with death? -
Strip away these roles, these names
and tell me what remains
And who you really are,
who you really are

We measure success
by the things we accrue
or the bonds that we form,
or the deeds we do
But these too shall pass,
as hard as we try
to hold on to form; form will die

But inherent in this dance of form
Is the chance to see what's yet unborn
And the choice to throw this chance away
And be caught up in the play
of who we think we are,
who we think we are

This is your lifetime; it could end at anytime.
Where is your attention?
Where is your prayer?
Where is your song?
In a fortunate life,
comes a call to be free
From the cycle of bondage and misidentity,
to wake from the dream
and finally realize
the truth of one's being
before the body dies

So before the final scene is past,
see the screen on which it's cast.
See what's seeing this me and you.
And then you will see who...t
who you really are, who you really are
Who you really are, who we really are

~ Kirtara

I write alot about Who You Really Are here. I dont do it intentionally at all, but the message is obviously a powerful one within me. This awareness is foundational. I believe that if we simply accepted that we are at least equal parts Spirit and flesh we would have a much greater understanding of ourselves and our realtionships. If our hearts are truly set on peace, then realizing our spiritual identity is critical. When you know you are Loving Spirit, the "rules" are built in to the identity. You dont have to think "I should love this" or "I should love that." You simply love because it  is WHO YOU ARE. The New Covenant comes from a more enlightened mind than the covenant with Moses. The covenant with Moses was based on extrinsic rules and conformity. The covenant with Jesus is based on intrinsic LOVE. Let the Spirit breath this new life into you and awaken you to yourself. You are God's beloved. In the image of God, you are Love itself. 

Let the light of your Love Self shine before all! Peggy

Kirtana - singer/songwriter whose music has been described as new age vocal, devotional, "satsang,".

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross (1542-1591). Music by Loreena McKennitt.

Saint John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. (Wikipedia)

"Dark Night of the Soul," like much of John's poetry, is based on "Song of Songs" from the Biblical Old Testament, and also on much of the romantic poetry and lyrics of Spanish popular balladry of that time, i.e., 16th century. The "secret stair" has less to do with a staircase in a monastery, and more to do with the popular theme of lovers meeting for a late night romantic tryst. In order for this to be possible, the young maiden of the song or poem would have to sneak out of the house, by the "secret stair." John uses this as a metaphor for the soul in prayer who, by means of contemplation, steals away from the world unnoticed, to meet in loving relationship with God. The dark night refers to the soul's search for God, beyond the confines of the human definitions we have put upon God."

~Fr. Emiel Abalahin

Certainly this explanation is congruent with the mystical notion of God and soul as lovers seeking union, This is the ultimate goal of the Christian spiritual path: purgation - illumination - union, and is often framed in the context of contemplative prayer as recollection between lovers - the Beloved and the Beloved.

Dark Night of the Soul
Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come

Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

In all of your Dark Nights, may you rest assured that God is with you. Find comfort in his arms and know you are dearly loved. And the mornings mist will become light....Peggy