Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why do I avoid this blogging?

There a whole bunch of reasons for this: deep seated unworthiness; I'll make a fool of myself; there'll be hate email. You know the drill -- especially when it comes to this kind of writing.The list goes on.

But there are other considerations as well. My theological vision has changed drastically in the last six or so months. I arise early greet the dawn daily and am a student of meditation. I write and compose mandala drawing every morning and have done so for years. The lifelong resources that companioned me no longer seem to bear the deep meaning they once had. Like the Sufi mystic Lalla, I've had to pull back from too much reading and spend time focused inwardly. I'm into a new future -- an emergent paradigm as the religious writers put it.

The other part of my reluctance is the mechanical side of being computer literate. I just don't get a lot of this. I've been without help since my college student Peter graduated last May. He was a patient business major who worked in the university's IT department. After a semester without assistance, I've hired a bright religion major this time who claims interest in the subject and a capacity to work with these machines.

So I'm going to press on and hopefully, not lose my nerve. I, like many of you, choose the life of Silence as a spiritual necessity. It is an intentional thing, i.e, deliberately placing myself "in tension" between past and future within the presence of the heart. It's a huge shift internally from the life of the intellect into the sacred place of coherence. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

I don't care about religious politics on either side. Like those hearty souls who opened this path for me (us)in the desert, I'm on the side of an articulate unknowing. I'm exhausted at taking sides as though I actually know what the future holds. At our peril, we ignore the divine imagination's richness in favor of weak abstractions that satisfy the intellect but starve the soul. I must surrender. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Written on Christmas Eve, 1513

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much,
very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can
come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within
our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering,
cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you
will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there.
The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too,
be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,
but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and
forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni ~


  1. Great to have you back, just as you are. Love is unconditional. We accept each other, as we know in our hearts God accepts us, as we are, in all our failings and triumphs. All He asks, I imagine, is that we come to greet Him at the Door. There is something to be said for simply Being Present, not perfect (for no human being is perfect)but Present, to God, ourselves, and each other.

  2. If we're not moved to write anything, there's no point in forcing it as nothing of any worth will come through.... but if you're assailed by doubts, try to forget this is for public consumption and just treat it as a private diary.
    A Happy New Year to you!

  3. I too am deeply inspired by - Lalla Ded- the awesome Sufi poet and mystic.
    Also, thank you for posting that beautiful letter.