our capacity for radiance & despair


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My soul came apart like an empty jar.

It fell overwhelmingly, down the stairs.

Dropped from the hands of a careless maid.

It fell.

Smashed into more pieces

than there was china in the jar.

…..Fernando Pessoa

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying, ‘You are accepted. You are accepted by that which is greater than you and the name of which you do not know.’ Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted. If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance……Paul Tillich

to relinquish our need to know dispels ignorance…we let go of judging and measuring and find healing and compassion….this is the divine paradox….insofar as we value faith, we give in to the transformative power of radical okness….

One reason why Christian tradition has always steered me away from preoccupation with reincarnation has not so much to do with doctrine as with spiritual practice. The finality of death is meant to challenge us to decision, the decision to be fully present here now, and so begin eternal life. For eternity rightly understood is not the perpetuation of time, on and on, but rather the overcoming of time by the now that does not pass away. But we are always looking for opportunities to postpone the decision. So if you say: “Oh, after this I will have another life and another life,” you might never live, but keep dragging along half dead because you never face death. Don Juan says to Carlos Castaneda, “That is why you are so moody and not fully alive, because you forget you are to die; you live as if you were going to live forever.” What remembrance of death is meant to do, as I understand it, is to help us make the decision. Don Juan stresses death as the adviser. Death makes us warriors.…..Brother David Steindl-Rast

4 thoughts on “our capacity for radiance & despair

  1. If I lay dying and think I have done the best I can, and I need a little more time, then as Gibran says – another woman will bear me – I could go to that resting place of no time with a contentment in my heart, not a doubt for having half lived … And the rest would be sweeter still …

    • living life as in a sleepy dream is of rich value….a direct calling to contentment……being with and dissolving…..a spiritual quest of full-on awareness….best when we are least aware……sometimes this is a paradox of full iniquity….may you witness all the colors of the spectrum g.f.s….

  2. There are have been moments when I was shocked to find I could stand, I could sleep, I could speak. In those, I realized my strength (my weakness) through my own acceptance. In those, grace found me and nothing (everything) was changed. Beautiful, blue. ~ B

    • such purity in awareness…..a suchness born of soul discernment…..knowing, simply knowing your inter-beingness……staying awake is not easy, but your words bring us back again and again…..with gratitude Bobbie….

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