Lightly Child, Lightly.

Let me seek then,
the gift of silence and solitude,
where everything I touch is turned into a prayer:
where the sky is my prayer,
the birds are my prayer,if
the wind in the trees is my prayer…

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photograph Gif: via Nini Poppins
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Driving I-95 S. With an empty boat.

I glance at the odometer: 80,000 miles. 8 years, 80,000 miles. 80,000.

I read somewhere, some time ago, that the average person has 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day.  Reading this sentence was like swallowing a handful of methamphetamines – my mind was galloping.  How did my mind jump from 80,000 miles on the odometer to 80,000 thoughts per day and some article I read x years ago?  Who’s job was it to count these thoughts?  How did they actually count the thoughts? How many humans’ thoughts did they count to get to this average, and over what period to time to make this statistically significant? And then, a hard turn to Me.  Am I average, below or above average, and if so, why? Do those of us who are carry more doubt have 25% more thoughts than those that are more stable?  This last one set off a burst of fireworks.

I’m exhausted chasing this thread.  Repeat: Mantra. Mantra. Mantra. Let it Go. Let it Go. Let it Go.  Or as Val in Finding Your Middle Ground suggests,  “I inhale peace. I exhale release… I inhale peace. I exhale release… I inhale peace. I exhale release.” I grow impatient with this mantra, my breathing accelerates, I cut it down.

Release. Release. Release.

I pause a second or two between each “Release” and reach for the volume button on the radio. No doubt I average over 100,000 thoughts a day. No doubt. And a small percentage of them can even be nurturing.

And It comes back.

A single thought. A thought that recurs, and recurs, crawling over the millions and millions of old thoughts, to stand on top of all thoughts. One experience, one feeling, during a single hour of Life, one thought that flashes back like tinsel. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

portrait-apple

How does an apple ripen?

It just sits in the sun.

~ Thomas Merton, From Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley


Notes:

  • Passage from James Finley:  “Merton once told me to quit trying so hard in prayer. He said, ‘How does an apple ripen? I just sits in the sun.’ A small green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe and juicy beside its small green counterparts. Like the birth of a baby or the opening of a rose, the birth of true self takes place in God’s time.”
  • Photograph: Patty Maher with Claire in Exhibit A
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

 

The Wind

I lift my head from my reading.

To watch.  To listen. To inhale.

High winds from the northwest swaying the tall pines.  The gusts rustling the branches.  The tree tops whistling.  The sweet smell of tree resin drifting over the fence from the neighbor’s pruning.  It was yesterday, Sunday afternoon.  I was lounging in the backyard. Licking my wounds from my long run.  Tucked under a comforter…seeking protection against chilling 20 mph winds.  I put Knausgaard down and start thumbing through blog posts. “Wind” synchronicity switches on.

First Thomas Merton: “No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.”

Then Cat Stevens with “The Wind“: “…listen to the wind…To the wind of my soul…Where I’ll end up well I think, Only God really knows…”


Then Carl Sandburg takes it deep and home: [Read more…]

Stalk the gaps. Spend the Afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

“Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

–Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


With thanks (again) to Crashingly Beautiful for quote via Whiskey River. Image from A Collection of Things.

Related Posts:

When no one listens, notices or sees…

 

 “A Bridge For Contemplation” by Barbara Hirst (2011)STRANGER

When no one listens
To the quiet trees
When no one notices
The sun in the pool.

Where no one feels
The first drop of rain
Or sees the last star

Or hails the first morning
Of a giant world
Where peace begins
And rages end:

One bird sits still
Watching the work of God:
One turning leaf,
Two falling blossoms,
Ten circles upon the pond.

Thomas Merton

 


Sources:

  1. “Stranger” poem above is abridged & sourced from Whiskey River.  Full poem can be found at Poetry-Chaikhana.com.
  2. Post Inspired by Canadian Art Junkie.
  3. Art: “A Bridge For Contemplation” by artist Barbara Hirst (2011).  Thank You Peter Robertson Gallery.
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