Monday, October 10, 2011

From ‘Strength in the Storm. Creating Calm in difficult times’ by Eknath Easwaran

I Weave a Silence

I weave a silence onto my lips.
I weave a silence onto my mind.
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions.
I close my eyes to attractions.
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord; keep me from harm.
Let all tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

- A Gaelic prayer

Even if you do nothing in prayer but bring your mind back whenever it wanders, one Catholic mystic says, your time is very well spent.

The Mirror of this World

Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light
of a thousand suns
Cleave the heart of a rain-drop,
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at a grain of sand,
The seed of a thousand beings can be seen
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water
is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barley-corn
lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed
an entire universe can be found.
In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds
gladly makes his home there.

- Mahmud Shabestari

…….. inspired words such as these, from Saint Augustine:
Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with all our busy thoughts about earth, sea and air;
if the very world should stop, and the mind cease thinking about itself, go beyond itself, and be quite still;
if all the fantasies that appear in dreams and imagination should cease, and there be no speech, no sign:
And imagine if that moment were to go on and on, leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy:
Would this not be what is bidden in scripture,
Enter into the joy of thy Lord?

I once went with a friend to see what we thought was a harmless comedy. It turned out to be savage and violent, with attempts at humor that I found degrading. When we leave the theater after an experience like this, I think most of us feel a little worse inside. Shows like this are at the expense of the mind …… In most of us …… incessant exposure to violence in the media doesn’t build up until we erupt in mayhem. Instead, there is a gradual shift in character. Over time, we find we have developed a more belligerent attitude, aggressive language, abusive behavior, increasingly frequent urges to strike back at someone ………we should remind ourselves every time we go out for entertainment or switch on the TV, “This experience is going to become part of me. Will I be the better for it? Will it leave me calmer, or will it agitate me? Will it make me more compassionate, or will it stir up anger or leave me depressed?”

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