Friday, November 28, 2008

Matters of the heart


After all the technical matters of the Work are set aside; after we have remembered ourselves until the encyclopedia is filled, observed ourselves until we are, so to speak, blue in the face, perhaps we begin to see that the gathering of data alone does not suffice.

Like many others, a great deal of my work begins with the need to overcome fear. I need to learn to just become still and quiet, to accept life, to go within myself to the innermost recesses, the most sacred and intimate places that I am able to be in relationship with, and to be there, sustaining, nurturing, and nourishing myself with an attention that is aimed at feeding my essence, not my personality.

Too often, I find myself engaged in conflict and argument with those outside of me. Every time I do this, I see that it does not serve myself well, any more than it serves God. It's that kind of activity that begins innocently enough, but ends the way things are now playing themselves out in Mumbai.

Most of us, of course, won't end up being terrorists; not terrorists, anyway, who go out and kill other innocent people. But we engage in a kind of self--terrorism, where we become fanatics attached to a set of ideas about ourselves or the world, worship them, try to impose them on our family or our job or our life, and end up -- for the most part unintentionally -- destroying parts of ourselves and others with anger and retribution.

How much better it is to sit in the morning after a cup of tea, in the darkness, and gather the attention to feed the organism. To sense each of the separate parts, to see how they have a wish to be more in relationship. To understand that each of them has a capacity of its own to help nourish the whole. A capacity that might fulfill itself if I were willing to allow it room.

Then to carry that understanding out into the day, where I can remember, for a moment, to approach those around me with more sensitivity, beginning with a sense of the connection between my mind and my body. A moment that I can hold present to remind myself that I don't have the compassion that I wish I did for dealing with others. A moment that I can hold present to remind myself that more presence is needed.

That can only happen when one creates a small reservoir of stillness, conserves it, contains it, and spends it wisely when it is most needed.

May our hearts be open, and our prayers be heard.

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