Monday, March 5, 2007


"Our inner life is not something to be sought up in the skies, but within ourselves; not in the abstract, but in little daily happenings and acts. God is at work there, within us, with us, correcting, polishing; until- and in order that- everything in us, our faculties and their acts, are under the sway of this inner principle. We should try to reduce everything in us to this inner principle."

~ Augustin Guillerand, Le Silence Carthusien

To leave discouragement and hopelessness behind, it is vital that I innately know to still my soul. Learning a new habit, a colleague tells me, can take at least several weeks. For the time being my version of "spiritual discipline" seems to be interrupting my thoughts with creative variations of tersely stifling the old routines of reaching backwards to fetch what I'd concertedly tossed in the dustbin. So this is no lofty exercise, but a ground-level aspiration for the enduring essentials: the desire to develop qualities that encourage others and build my spirit.

Quieting my insides is now indispensable, and perhaps while trying to dis-identify with thoughts of both past and future that obscure the present, inadvertent morsels of silence manifest throughout these days. Again, it is a means, rather than an end; in recollective tranquillity my resolve to move forward can reinforce the new strength. To reach for that which is ahead, and embrace the moments as they are given to me, is to refuse societal pitfalls that can alienate me from others' presence, and from those substantial things in life that getting out of my own way permit me to recognize. Yesterday, while driving on the highway en route to giving a music recital, it occurred to me that we are kept back when we don't look beyond our thoughts of ourselves. The winter-into-spring sky looked so vast, as a prepared canvas that was itself the completed art.

Surely, no process so personally integral can be finite. Perhaps, indeed, transition has neither a beginning nor an end. And truly, none less than Isaiah could observe that, "it is the living, the living that can give praise." The grave cannot celebrate, and the darkest pits of corruption are not sources of hope and promise. Our grieving figure poetically turns from the bitterness he disowns, and immediately recovers with music, with song! From such turning-points, if anything, we can proceed with careful steps- not fearfully- but mindfully aware of something new. Fragile, yet with incalculable fortitude. And from the stillness a vision to see the ordinary in extraordinary ways.

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