~~~The Lake of Beauty~~~
Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world,
and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.
All that you have within you, all that your heart desires,
all that your Nature so specially fits you for – that or the
counterpart of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you.
It will surely come to you.
Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time
will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands will make no difference.
Therefore do not begin that game at all.
Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind
in this direction and in that,
lest you become like a spring lost and
dissipated in the desert.
But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them still, so still;
And let them become clear, so clear – so limpid, so mirror-like;
at last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in
and the antelope shall descend to drink and to gaze at her reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,
and Love himself shall come and bend over and catch his own likeness in you.
From the liturgy for midday Prayer, New Zealand Prayer Book
Eyelids clenched tight
“You are not here if I don’t look”
The itch to peek
To ascertain if there is need
Hope monsters flee
Replaced by gentle sun
Blessed by all warm love around me
Comes round. Think hard.
Take measure of my life
What has been done or left undone?
Charity matters most
Above all choices one can choose
When most challenged
Scrubs away at the dross
Which entombs the beauty within
(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2010/photo (c)cjarc/Grace Cathedral
Within silence we can find stillness. I am not still. My mood is agitated, often fearful. I know that I need to find a way, the way, to live into a consciousness of the compassionate heart. I have spent many years putting the needs of my family before my own. But we are called during the season of Lent to self-examination. All I see is lack: lack of compassion, lack of patience, lack of speaking kindly when I most need to do so.
Recently I participated in a silent retreat with my DOK sisters. I thought deeply about these things. My journal was busy. Mostly I sat in half-lotus for up to an hour at a time, and focused at the tisra til, the spot between the eyes where there is no thought, only darkness.
I followed a yogic spiritual practice for many years which taught me how to sit in that darkness and stillness. After a time, flashes of light, not unlike the colored lights which decorate a Christmas tree, appear. As one goes even deeper, the sounds of flute-like instruments are heard. This practice is referred to as “dying while living.” It brings one into a closer presence of God, at least that is my experience.
When I get that deeply into meditation, I have no conscious thought. I listen. I absorb the presence of the Holy Spirit. No expectations of clarity or direct answers. But always a certain realization results. That day, it was the compassionate heart.
I am blessed to be surrounded by these extraordinary women. They shore me up. They do not gossip or otherwise share what is spoken amongst the membership. That pastoral seal is foremost.
I came away from the retreat with more questions than answers. More work to do for my Lenten journey.
“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord…”