Oh my soul, you come and you go, through the paths of time and space. In useless play, you’ll not find the way, so set yourself free and go. Sing such a song with all your life, You will never have to sing again. Love such a One, with all your heart, You will never need to love again. Walk such a path, with all your faith, You will never have to wander again. Pray such a prayer, with all your heart, You will never have to pray again. Give yourself to such a Guru, You will never have to seek again. Die such a death, at the feet of God, You will never have to die again. Breathe my Love, breathe my Love, breathe in your quiet center.
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In a New Yorker cartoon appears two Zen monks, robbed and with shaved head, one old, one young. Sitting cross-legged, side-by-side on the floor. The younger one has a perplexed look. The older monk, turning toward him, speaks, “Nothing happens. This is it.”
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I never, anymore, share with others the way of my spiritual practice apart from others. What I do now is an outgrowth of what I did many years, and what I was taught when I hit my "spiritual bottom," when the path I had been taught hit a dead-end, and I was falling apart bodily and mentally. What I do now, if "do" is accurate, is not even how I taught others over a decade in meditation workshops, classes, and retreats. This is similar to the late Thomas Merton, the most prolific writer on Christian spirituality and meditative Prayer in the 20th Century: he writes much of Contemplative Prayer, but never gives a way to do it and never shares any one practice of Prayer he engaged on a daily basis.
The song for today and the cartoon story embed some thoughts on my daily spiritual practice. The song speaks of never having to again. There is an engagement in spiritual practice which is simply the enjoyment of the practice. That is, when you give your being to some spiritual path and practice that has no sense of it being something you need to do or ought to do, you simply do it as a celebration of Life, of yourself, as even treating your being - body, mind, ... - with Kindness - like a Gift to yourself, and that being a gift to the world.
Then, the song lyrics speak of breathing in your quiet center. Spiritual practice is that simple: devotion to technique dissolves in the love of the Beloved of the Heart. And, to say, "Breathe, my Love" feels, at times, like the Totally Other and, often, like my own Love, here and now. In this Quietness is not the absence of noise or image, simply all things, in a sense, are seen to arise from Silence, or, we could say, revolve around the Quietness. The Center is Silence.
We speak of doing, yet, this does not fit, and not-doing does not fit. As sounds arises from Silence, doing arises from non-doing. So, the cartoon depicts this. "Nothing happens. This is it!" is impossible to share. To transcend that would mean, like saying, something is happening but there is nothing happening. I mean, truly, a lot goes on in the quiet Prayerfulness, there can be a lot of action. Paradoxes are spoken about Prayer, and we are inconsistent in communicating about it, simply because the knowing of something beyond doing and not-doing does not fit where we are in the evolution of Grace. Few persons have reached a stable knowing of this, though everyone has moments of this - they simply do not recognize it, not yet.
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So, these are some thoughts that might help you sense your own Journey in Grace and Prayer. There is really no way to Pray, there are many ways that lead to the Silence, to the enjoyment of not-doing even if doing is going on. But, there is only one Silence. At some point, you sense the Center transforming what you do, how you do, and dissolving any attachment to any reason for doing. Yet, doing goes on, in and by Grace, for Love.
*T(H)ere, Ralph, Flickr
*Lotus of the Heart is a Work of Arem Nahariim-Samadhi ~ someone in love with Life and inviting others to that same ecstasy of Love ~ and, by the way, herein is nothing he claims as his own.