Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-eight

Thomas Keating. Open Mind, Open Heart. Continuum: New York, 1986.

Contemplative prayer is the world in which God can do anything. To move into that realm is the greatest adventure. It is to be open to the Infinite and hence to infinite possibilities. Our private, self-made worlds come to an end; a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-seven

Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston: Shambhala, 1984, p. 20.

When you awaken your heart in this way, you find, to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible and solid. Of course, you might find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart. If you search for awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing there except for tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal.

The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill your heart’s blood, give your heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid or that, if someone hits you, you will hit him back. However, we are not talking about that street-fighter level of fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-six

Thomas Merton, A Thomas Merton Reader. New York: Doubleday, 1974, p.240.

I know that many people are, or call themselves, “atheists” simply because they are repelled and offended by statements about God made in imaginary and metaphorical terms which they are not able to interpret and comprehend. They refuse these concepts of God, not because they despise God, but perhaps because they demand a notion of Him more perfect than they generally find: and because ordinary, figurative concepts of God could not satisfy them, they turn away and think that there are no other: or worse still, they refuse to listen to philosophy, on the ground that it is nothing but a web of meaningless words spun together for the justification of the same old hopeless falsehoods.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-five

René Daumel, quoted in Parabola, Volume 34, No. 3, Fall 2009, p. 56.

Another way of putting it would be (without knowing Chinese) to propose this new translation of the first line of the Tao Te Ching: “A way that is entirely laid out, no, it is not the way.”  I told you that I have encountered in my life a true teaching.  One of the signs of its truth, for me, is that it never proposes an entirely prescribed path.  No, at every step the entire dilemma is revisited.  For me, nothing is resolved once and for all.  And what I have always loved in you is your refusal of a prearranged path, and that’s important to me because alone one can’t sustain such a position.  We must be a number of people to help each other, to awaken each other.