the deep ache of veiled memory

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We are in a sense,

the place-worlds we imagine.

….Keith Basso

we conjure a collective memory that slumbers and then cajoles us deeper in a remembering as ancient as the heartbeat…..this is home, a contemplative work of the soul….may we seek the restless spirit of this mystery…..

The Seven Streams

Come down drenched, at the end of May,
with the cold rain so far into your bones
that nothing will warm you
except your own walking,
and let the sun come out at the day’s end
by Slievenaglusha with the rainbows doubling
over Mulloch Mor and see your clothes
steaming in the bright air. Be a provenance
of something gathered, a summation of
previous intuitions, let your vulnerabilities
walking on the cracked, sliding limestone,
be this time, not a weakness, but a faculty
for understanding what’s about
to happen. Stand above the Seven Streams,
letting the deep down current surface
around you, then branch and branch
as they do, back into the mountain,
and as if you were able for that flow,
say the few necessary words
and walk on, broader and cleansed
for having imagined.

….David Whyte

the darker mysteries

A week before his death in December 1968, the Cistercian monk and writer Thomas Merton stood, barefoot and alone, gazing up at the great Buddhas at Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. This is how he described the experience, “Looking at these figures, I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious- all problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters it clear. The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya- everything is emptiness and everything is  compassion. I don’t know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running through one aesthetic illumination. Surely, with Mahabalipuram and Polonnaruwa my Asian pilgrimage has come clear and purified itself. I mean, I know and have seen what I was obscurely looking for. I don’t know what else remains.” In the time leading up to his journey to Asia, Merton had begun to waken to a longing to ‘become a stranger.’ This was for him part of a yearning to experience and express more fully his own solidarity with all those marginalized and homeless beings for whom a sense of place and belonging had long remained a distant dream. At the same time, this longing expressed a desire that had been growing within him during his entire monastic life- to enter more deeply into a place of unknowing and dispossession where he could perhaps begin to behold God beyond language, beyond concepts, in darkness. Yet, during the years preceding this journey to Asia, Merton had begun to find, especially in the contemplative practice in his hermitage at the monastery of Gethsemani in Kentucky, a deeper sense of belonging and rootedness than he had ever known in his life. In a paradox well known to his monastic forebears, he had begun to reckon with the recognition that relinquishment of all security, all knowledge, all claim to belonging was utterly bound up with what it meant to find his way home…….Douglas Christie

2 thoughts on “the deep ache of veiled memory

  1. As distinctive as the lines around my eyes, crossing my palms, are these things I carry forward. They are my truth, my inheritance, my greatest treasure. These sorrows are made so much sweeter by the memory of bliss. I am content in my broken-hearted joy! ❤ May the whispers keep you warm. ~ Love ever, Bobbie

    • this stunning sense of belonging is our touchstone….the bliss of messy and real knowing…..I feel deep into Merton’s sense of being rocked by all ideas of connection……courage and wonder a powerful space…….love to you this deep dark night Bobbie….

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