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The Inner History of a Day

John O’Donohue wrote many of his poems as blessings and prayers to living. He included a deeply spiritual aspect in his writing reminding us to be mindful and attentive in living our lives.

Each day has a history that we cannot know in advance and only recall incompletely. Life becomes a mystery except when we are living each moment in its completeness. It is here, on the sacred ground of the present, that the past and future continuously mingle becoming one. It is here the eucharist of the ordinary happens and we join together living in community.

The word present reminds that each moment, each day, we should not take the gift for granted and lightly. Living it fully, responsibly, and richly is the gift we return.

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

Part Two X: The Machine Endangers All We Have Made

Rilke suggested we live the questions now and someday we might live our way into the answers. This poem raises the question about what he meant by the Machine. He capitalized it suggesting it has been given a privileged place in the world.

Does the Machine eat away at our humanness and humanity? Mindfulness allows us to be present, living in the moment, and possibly living our way to answers. Perhaps, this gives us our humanness and humanity even when we do not have the words to express the mystery involved.

The Machine endangers all we have made.

We allow it to rule instead of obey.

To build a house, cut the stone sharp and fast:
the carver’s hand takes too long to feel its way.

The Machine never hesitates, or we might escape
and its factories subside into silence.
It thinks it’s alive and does everything better.
With equal resolve it creates and destroys.

But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that — when you feel it — brings you to your knees.

There are yet words that come near the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.

Christmas Light

May Sarton provided a simple message for this time of year. When we take a moment and share a few moments of quiet, there is sometimes a feeling of being reborn. It is in the quiet and simple moments we feel love’s presence.

As I prepared to post, I read the poem again. It took May Sarton almost a whole year to feel love’s presence. Regardless of our beliefs, each day is a special celebration and feeling love’s presence. Each day offers silent spaces for meditation and prayer bringing us closer to each other.

Take care and enjoy each day as if it were a special and wonder filled holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!

And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love’s presence near.

Love distant, love detached
And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.

Old Habits

Old Habits.

The picture at Kenne’s post drew me in with questions about old habits. What are the person’s old habits? Is he someone’s old habit?

We wear habits in a way. There is a corporal nature to them including ways we conduct ourselves, think about ourselves and the world. This corporeal nature, habitus, is connected to the word habitat. We inhabit habits and they inhabit us.

When we look in the mirror and see ourselves, perhaps we see the habits in a taken-for-granted way. They just are part of us. Or, do we have someone who is our mirror? Someone who helps us see who we are in clearer way with their honesty and candor?

In Buddhism, others can serve as mirrors. Sometimes, it is in their silence we find ourselves become clearer. Certainly, there is still a graininess to the image and a smokey filter but mirrors help dissipate the graininess and smokiness. The external ordering becomes a patient, compassionate internal ordering.

Sheltering the Heart

Sheltering the Heart.

The link is a wonderful reminder about the role mindfulness plays in life.

Mindfulness shelters the heart in the now. What a wonderful way of understanding this word and practice. When I live in the now, I ask nothing more than being here and being present. The next moment comes just as the river’s current flows. They just do.

 

Kiss the Earth

Kiss the Earth.

I will let you read the lovely poem by Thich Nhat Hanh which is at the link.

When we step gently, it is like kissing the earth with our feet and thanking it for supporting it.

When we live in each moment in peace, the peace radiates out from us.

When we touch each other with kindness, the world is a better space.

Behind the Thunder

Mark Nepo is well-known for spiritual prose, but he writes very good poetry.

In this wonderful poem, he reminds me I am looking in the wrong place for the teacher. The teaching is in what is in the environment at a given time and in a given context. Am I willing and able to open up to what is taught? Do I sit in silence and listen to the world as it speaks in me?

I must not be swept away by the environment and my emotions. When I am mindful and present, I am aware of both gifts and dangers. I watch for what is behind the thunder internally and externally.

I keep looking for one more teacher,
only to find that fish learn from water
and birds learn from sky.

If you want to learn about the sea,
it helps to be at sea.
If you want to learn about compassion,
it helps to be in love.
If you want to learn about healing,
it helps to know of suffering.

The strong live in the storm
without worshiping the storm.

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