I am writing from Cape May Point, where we are spending a few days with my daughter and her family. She has six children (ages 1-14) so as you can imagine there are few quiet moments — but many precious ones. Being with my grandchildren, moving through each moment with them, open to the new and surprising, while also holding the practical needs for meals, baths and rest has become a living prayer, and is close to what Mark Nepo describes in his “Book of Awakening” — “The mystery is that taking the risk to be so immersed in our moment of living in itself joins us with everything larger than us. And what is compassion but entering the stream of another without losing yourself.”
I’d like to share some excerpts from Nepo’s reflection from October 1st:
Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned. ~Paul Tillich
How do we live fully? How do we live in such a way that the wonder of feeling outfuels the pain of breaking.
…Faith seems crucial; the ability to inhabit the breadth and depth of our compassion, to know, even in the dark center of our pain, that somewhere out of view there is joy and wonder; that even when we tumble we are part of a current larger than our own design.
…In actuality, the infinite coherence of all things and events continues like a great bottomless stream, and we like fish have but one choice: to find and ride the flow. That stream is God… and the strength that lifts us when our tiny wills merge with that stream of being is the sacred luminosity we experience as grace.
Once in the stream, the life of preparation ends, the life of defense ends, the measuring of individual traits ends. Fear somehow gives way to Trust. Control somehow evaporates into Surrender. The fish and stream are for the moment one. The sacred moment and God are always the same. There is nothing else to live for — even the declaration changes, for it is no longer a living for, but a living out. Always the inner out and once out and kept open, the Whole flows in.
So faith is no more than the willingness and bravery to enter and ride the stream. The mystery is that taking the risk to be so immersed in our moment of living in itself joins us with everything larger than us. And what is compassion but entering the stream of another without losing yourself.
A suggested prayer practice:
- Visit a stream, if you can, and drop leaf after leaf in its flow.
- Watch each leaf be carried downstream. Note its dips and turns.
- Note how effortless it is for each leaf to be carried along.
- Note how the leaves have no sense of where they are going.
- Close your eyes, listen to the water, and meditate on how your life is such a leaf in the stream of God’s time.
- Feel the days like water around you. Enjoy the ride!
(If you can’t visit a stream, you might take some time to sit and quietly watch leaves gently falling from tree branches, carried by currents in the air.)
May we have faith and courage to enter the stream of the ordinary days of our lives, with an awareness that we also join with something much larger and infinite — something sacred and luminous!
peace and grace to you this day~