Lately, when people ask me what I’m doing, the most honest reply (manifest in my daily writing, prayer, meditation, contemplation & conversations) would be to say I am following my thread. It’s a reference to this small, spectacular poem by William Stafford that is taped to my bathroom mirror. Whatever our “thread” is- a question, an invitation, an awareness of what matters most- it always takes us home to ourselves, to our belonging in this world, to the Infinite Love that holds & keeps us. These days, I become aware that I can hold & follow my thread in a variety of places- washing dishes or buying groceries; in solitude or with others; in the city or the forest. Mostly, I admit, the key for me to following my thread is to slow down. Rushing makes me lose awareness of the thread I hold. As the work week begins, let’s consider together: How do I hold the thread that guides me?
……Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
ever feel lost? no bread crumbs to show the way home? how do we reconnect to the heart? to find the warmth when the cold sets in? where can we find the honesty to begin again and again…..
How can we understand what lies beyond awakening? When Socrates was in prison awaiting his execution, he heard a fellow prisoner singing a complex lyric by the poet Stesichorus. He begged the man to teach him the poem. “But for what reason?” questioned the other. Socrates answered, “So I can die knowing one thing more.” Spiritual life is the same. It involves a maturing of understanding, a continual unfolding, whoever we are. This is “postenlightenment” wisdom. Christian contemplative maps describe the higher spiritual paths as a process of growing humility and purification. St. John of the Cross teaches us that after certain initial experiences of grace there will come long painful periods in which we lose our sense of connection with the Divine, and that such dark nights are necessary stages of the sacred journey. A great reward awaits those who honer the soul’s dark nights: St. John sings of an unutterable sweetness, the swoon of grace which flows into a soul that has deeply surrendered to this “splendid darkness.” In this long journey, it is humble perseverance that matters. St. John says, “The love of the heart is the candle flame that carries us through the road of darkness.”….Jack Kornfield
If there be anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love…..Juilan Of Norwich