I hear the babble of the world.
I try to discern something, a word, anything, that will indicate that the world is awake. But most of it is asleep or keeping the awoken part very well hidden.
The news is heartbreaking no matter where it comes from. Violence fueled by an obtuse sense of self is on the rise, both in speech and action; while so-called political correctness actually impedes free speech, the one where humor and laughter are allowed. Remember?
Trying to be original has become so common that it is… you guessed it, no longer original.
I do look around. I do observe and I do try to avoid judgement. But at times, I wish there were less brashness and a dash more of elegance — intellectual elegance I mean, the one that opens your mind and makes you want to pursue a conversation. The one of knowledge and simple straightforwardness, not the one of vulgar (as in vulgaris) information and complicated pretension.
The world is in dire need of consciousness, of ideas and concepts beyond the confines of the known, of dreams and of those things that are only accessible to the mind. If only mankind would realize that what he can do is far far greater than what he has made and what he thinks he can do.
There are more than 125 trillion synapses in our cerebral cortex, that is more than there are stars in 1’500 milky ways. And yet, look at the world.
Thank you for reading.
Life is to be lived fully
to the contrary we would die,
— die not of death, but of an empty life.
We should make our lives a continuous stream
of grace and beauty and love.
When we cook, when we walk,
when we touch, when we laugh,
when we kiss, when we pray.
Life has no limits.
As we empty ourselves
as we let go
as we stop comparing and wanting and judging
we create space
a vast emptiness with immense potential
the potential for love.
Note: this is practical advice.
There is a profound silence in a Bach Cantata. That silence can also be heard in the paintings of Caravaggio. A flower blooms in silence.
Yes, silence, because it is from silence, that deep internal silence, that inspiration rises and where creation is fully displayed.
And yet, only once you have learned to listen, really listen, and look, really look, can you hear that silence.
The only way you can learn is if your entire being becomes silence. For that you must nourish yourself with silence, breathe it, integrate it; hence allowing your ego to wither, finally unloading the heavy burden of self-centeredness.
You will then be open to that supreme spiritual experience that is wonder —and do not be surprised if it comes to you from the most humble of places.
Note: I only mentioned Bach and Caravaggio, for the sake of brevity. It applies to any work of art in any form, but with criteria, that moves you (and not just your hips!).
« L’amour, ce n’est pas faire des choses extraordinaires, héroïques, mais de faire des choses ordinaires avec tendresse. Je rêve d’un monde d’amour où les hommes n’auront plus peur les uns des autres. Il ne faut pas avoir peur d’aimer et de dire aux gens qu’on les aime. » Jean Vanier.
Une lumière s’est éteinte. Si vous ne le connaissiez pas, je vous recommande vivement de voir qui il fût, simplement par Internet.
A light went off. If you do not know who he was, I recommend you look him up through the Internet.
Photo via CNS.
The wrong light —
loud and brash
the one of multicolored awnings and incandescent screens.
— The one where you lose yourself.
The wrong light —
uncouth and effortlessly seen
the one that sucks in the lost and the desperate.
— The one that keeps you away from yourself.
Be careful when you walk the path.
Don’t be lured by complicated glitter.
Light is a river of overflowing splendor.
It shines yet does not blind.
Its rays are strong yet embrace you with infinite tenderness.
This is the Light that shatters your deepest misgivings.
It is the one of grace and infinite mercy.
The one of simple joy.
— The very one that is within you.
I encountered Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) many years ago through one of his books, given to me by a friend as I was about to take on my first mission with the Red Cross. I was going to Ethiopia and this friend, who had been in the Red Cross in the 1970s and 1980s, simply told me “read it.”
Since, I have read many of his writings along with the stirring biographical novel “Saints and Vilains” by Denise Guardina, published in 1999.
His unfailing faith in and search for human kindness, along with his unwavering sense of good amidst the chaos and violence of the world, resonated with me.
This biography is more than a simple recounting of the events of his life, as we get to understand the complexity and the humility that imbued Bonhoeffer´s life.
Book reference: “Bonhoeffer – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas, published in 2010 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.