Drowning

Surrender

My Lord, you have heard the cry of my heart, because it was You Who cried out within my heart. – Thomas Merton

“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.”  – Wilson, Bill. Alcoholics Anonymous

Recently I have noticed that I have been putting my holy books aside and entertaining myself with the trivial.  I have kept my music with me, but I have not listened to the sublime, but only the heartfelt.  I have seldom taken time for the silence of union, despite the fact that all my joy and health are in THIS.

In other words, I have been letting myself go increasingly unconscious.  I have marveled that I am feeling “okay,” and have not been willing to notice the pain that becomes physical as the deep emotional body is ignored.

In other words, I have been “okay.”

Addiction has been a major theme of my life.  Bill says it above:  “to drink is to die.”  May I just say, here, that drinking is not the issue in my life, but it doesn’t matter, for it might as well be:  I am an addict, and this mechanism of shutting oneself off from one’s true being by the use of whatever substance–or emotion–or behavior–whatever–is to die of a longing that can never be fulfilled.  I wonder if I am addicted to resentment.  I have been feeling a lot of resentment recently:  “they done me wrong!”  “Oh, it really doesn’t matter.”  But it does.

I have been pushing this resentment aside, because I am too “mature,” too “wise” to need to pay attention to the way I am letting toxic emotion eat away at the edges of my life.   Me?  Surely not:  I am past that kind of thing.

And so I again flop about on the shores of the abode of my God, gasping like a dying fish, too proud to make my way back into that Ocean and Live.

THIS WILL NOT DO.  Why should I die?  It is certainly not time.

God weeps from these depths, sobbing in sorrow for this one who chooses starvation over feasting.

Piously we produce our images of you
till they stand around you like a thousand walls.
And when our hearts would simply open,
our fervent hands hide you.

Barrows, Anita. Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.

In blind determination, I make my way back down the shoreline and into the waves.  I will not let him do this to me.

 

 

Staying Awake

When I first entered the monastery, the monks gave me a small book called “The Essential Discipline for Daily Use,” written by the Buddhist monk Doc The from Bao Son pagoda, and they told me to memorize it. It was a thin book. It couldn’t have been more than 40 pages, but it contained all the thoughts Doc The used to awaken his mind while doing any task. When he woke up in the morning, his first thought was, “Just awakened, I hope that every person will attain great awareness and see in complete clarity.” When he washed his hands, he used this thought to place himself in mindfulness: “Washing my hands, I hope that every person will have pure hands to receive reality.” The book is comprised entirely of such sentences. Their goal was to help the beginning practitioner take hold of his own consciousness.
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

The teachings are all around me, and so often, after a few years I forget and go on blundering through my life thoughtlessly, wondering why I don’t seem to know how to live in remembrance.  “Help me, help me, help me!” I nag God.  Here is a better way.

 

Today I start again:   Rising, I press my hands together over my heart and think “May all beings arise rested, to build a new and beautiful world.”

 

Walking through my house, I feel the cool boards beneath my bare feet and think “may all beings know shelter.”

 

On my back porch, rocking back and forth, I think to myself, “Feeling the fresh breeze of Spring, I wish this peace for all beings.”

 

May all know the peace of rocking back and forth slowly, in tune with the motion of the planets.”

 

Savoring my hot tea, I think “Sipping the first cup of tea today, I hope that all beings may have clean hands and a full cup.”

 

Leaning on the fence, looking over the fields, I think “may all beings know greeness.”

 

I feel little, light paws leaning on my knees.  May all beings know unconditional love.

 

I plug in my earbuds and close my eyes.  May all beings come home with me.

 

Well, you get the idea.  I don’t have a very exciting life here in my little hermitage, but if I pay attention to everything I do in the course of a day and offer my hopes to the world, then I may just get organized!

STAYING FOUND

 

Good Shepherd, You have a wild and crazy sheep in love with thorns and brambles. But please don’t get tired of looking for me! I know You won’t. For You have found me. All I have to do is stay found.

Merton, Thomas. A Book of Hours. Ave Maria Presss.

 

I seem to be on a Thomas Merton kick.  I’m sure I’ll return to Rilke before too long…with occasional side trips to Galway Kinnell, various scriptures and mystical poets, even an occasional poem of my own {blush}…  The thing is, I’m running out of words.

Litany: Thomas Merton

Teach me to go to this country beyond words and beyond names.
Teach me to pray on this side of the frontier, here where these woods are.
I need to be led by you.
I need my heart to be moved by you.
I need my soul to be made clean by your prayer. I need my will to be made strong by you.
I need the world to be saved and changed by you.
I need you for all those who suffer, who are in prison, in danger, in sorrow.
I need you for all the crazy people.
I need your healing hand to work always in my life.
I need you to make me, as you made your Son, a healer, a comforter, a savior.
I need you to name the dead.
I need you to help the dying cross their particular rivers.
I need you for myself whether I live or die.
It is necessary.
Amen.

Merton, Thomas. A Book of Hours (p. 67). Ave Maria Press – A.

We Will Bless Each Other

You will bless me, and I will bless you back. . .

You will do it perfectly,

And I will do it badly.

And yet your reception will be of such gladness

that I will continue to feel embarrassed,

yet unable to resist your heavenly deliciousness.

 

Why me?

Why this one?

Surely you should be more discerning!

But I will take what is in your hand,

Regardless of what seems to me your odd sense of judgment.

 

I steal into your chambers, and you do not refuse me.

Thank you for this loneliness.

— Amidha Porter

Memories of an Angel

 

I think some angels are sad

Because they make it their business

to hold the tears God weeps

when He fears that He has gone too far

but knows no way back.

 

That Aloneness

of having created that Vow

in Pre-eternity. . .

 

What if . . .

What if, what if, what if

Even He doesn’t know,

And She can’t contain . . .

 

Has the River Styx become too wide?

Are its banks overflowing and washing away the Innocents on either side?

Or will the Vow hold true?

Will all come right, at least until the next time?

 

Does Heaven know?

– Amidha Porter