Reaching the ‘mental and spiritual nature of ourselves’ is what spiritual practices are designed to do. This potent awareness penetrates far below the ego’s restless turmoil to the sacred core of our being. St. Augustine described how he turned attention inward ‘and beheld with the eye of my soul….the Light Unchangeable.’ At first this recognition of the sacred within ourselves and in the world breaks through only in tantalizing glimpses, stirred perhaps by the beauty of a sunset, the touch of a lover, or the serenity of prayer. At such moments the mundane world is transfigured. To recognize the sacred is not so much to see new things as it is to see things in a new way. The sacred is not separate or different from all things, but rather hidden within all things. This new way of seeing is an innate gift that needs to be cultivated…..Roger Walsh
the gift of sanctuary lies deep in our hearts and in every human encounter…..this choice to find the sacred is alive and palpable in the deep winter….in our explorations of how and why and when we will change and grow….in how we will move ever so slightly away from doing to being…..in the perception of a fine and beauteous life lived fully…..
Let us be still an instant, and forget
all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had,
and every preconception that we hold
of what things mean and what their purpose is.
Let us remember not our own ideas
of what the world is for.
We do not know…
Simply do this:
be still, and lay aside all thoughts
of what you are and what God is;
all concepts you have learned about the world;
all images you hold about yourself…
Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught,
nor one belief you ever learned before from anything.
Forget this world, forget this course,
and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.
….Christian text, anonymous
The spirituality of everyday life requires a livable, inspiring philosophy and daily attention. In all traditions, spiritual practice zeroes in on a particular method for transforming life according to one’s spiritual vision. A similar inscrutability surrounds prayer. It takes many forms, and any attempt to limit its range of expression kills it. Prayer is full of mysteries, and yet it too, requires craft and thoughtfulness. Religious traditions teach an important lesson: the more mysterious the insights and the deeper the prayer, the more we need technique, method, and a studied practice. It doesn’t do to improvise our spirituality or to keep it feathery and amorphous….Thomas Moore