Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Day 2

Rev. Howard Thurman begins his second day of devotions this way: “There is very great virtue in the cultivation of silence, and strength to be found in using it as a door to God.” (18)

I remember my cancer days when I was living alone, trying to fight in and through the imposed silence of illness and recent divorce.  I remember the endless days of prolonged silence, prayers and tears.  I remember focusing on pink healthy tissue and talking my body into warrior mode. I remember thinking God was disciplining me for some infraction in my past – some direction I had or hadn’t taken, some choice I had made that went against God’s divine will for me. I remember, and still experience at times, a depression so pervasive that not only my spirit but also my body ached.

And, during those cancer days, I’ve come see that I cultivated a silence that sanctioned an opening to the Presence of the Holy One.  I was sent messengers who cradled my broken spirit, e.g., Rev. Alois Ososo, a pastor from Kenya who was in the country for a few months and in my care for a few weeks. My most-honored-best-friend, Pat, who was my ever present island of refuge. And, I developed new and strong friendships that would not have come to pass, had I not traveled that debilitating road and truly needed others.

A man, a musician and mystic, whom I met right after finishing my protocol treatments, has engendered my mystic soul through his pilgrimage retreats.  Each August I found myself in a wooded retreat center practicing a monastic rhythm with Stefan, aka Macushla, and a wide variety of other retreat participants. These retreats included long periods of silence and featured original chant music with a profound alchemy of Celtic joviality and spiritual transcendence.  I learned to sit through the painful renderings, mine and others’, that comes from being still in the presence of God, and particularly while sitting quietly in community.

I miss those days.  I miss how we usher one another to God’s door and then step aside to allow each other our own entrance.

Draw Me Nearer                             

Deep…

          O My Heart’s Desire

                    Dip me deep beneath the surface

Lower…

          Let me glide effortlessly to you in the center of life                        

                    in the depth of senses                                    

                                in the nook of what can be possible

Nearer…

           Draw me into the cubby that fits my shape

                    that serves my work

                                that protects my heart

                                              that prospers my contentment  

water-flowers

Meditation of the Heart (Thurman) Day 1

We’re to create an island of peace within one’s own soul where we can approach the Presence of God “with no pretense, no dishonesty, no adulteration… to bring for view the purposes and dreams to which one’s life is tied.” (Howard Thurman, 17).

So, I found an image of an island and a sound file of the oldest chant we know from the Celtic tradition, The Song Of Amhairghin, as recorded on the CD “Arise My Love” by Macushla, Stefan Andre Waligur   (http://youtu.be/cbUjokfb2tc)  I’m including a poem I wrote.

I Feel Your Presence With Me

O Mystical Creator, you formed me in the ancient days of love and harmony

I faintly remember, in the lining of my soul, the tranquility that hovered there.

In the days of now, the days of rising and not remembering yesterday’s sin,

The days of ignoring and denying my loose tongue and hurtful thoughts,   

You know exactly where I am when I sit and when I stand.

You know when I move forward for justice and when I stall with indifference.

Your surround me with my better self just beyond my own vision; but I feel it- that better self.

It is your presence with me that I see and hear making its way through today’s noise.

Where can I go from your presence since you formed me and have been with me since ancient days?

If I could run as a leopard, I couldn’t flee from your spirit.

If I could shift and swing as a monkey I couldn’t out maneuver your grace.

If I slid into a pit of deep despair as dark as any otter’s den, even there you would reach in.

I hear your voice, just beyond my hearing. I see my better self, just beyond my own vision.

Even when I try to run and hide I know you as “home”.

Thank you for calling me your own.

(Meandering on Psalm 139- Fa)