Lent Daily Reflections 2013

Friday of Lent Week 5

Recently an unmanned research vehicle plunged to the deepest level of the ocean, seven miles down I think. To the scientists’ surprise they found abundant life there feeding on the detritus that had sunk down from higher levels of the ocean.

The emotional and neural patterns which determine our behaviour and responses to events run very deep too. We can be aware of a process of change starting when we undertake a spiritual practice deep enough to address these patterns of our mind and lifestyle. But real change happens slowly. 

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Thursday of Lent Week 5

Life comes in many shapes and sizes and from unexpected directions. It is irrepressible. The denial of life, however, is rampant too. The denial often begins with fear because life presages change and so it demands that we adapt. If this demand scares us too much we attempt to diminish the potential of the new life and to limit its energy so that we can better control it. Before long all we have done is succeed in stifling it. And then we complain because life seems to have got boring or feels unfulfilled.

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Wednesday of Lent Week 5

Sophistication is a dangerous quality and often very deceptive. What looks sophisticated – refined, subtle, intelligent, worldly - can actually be remarkably stupid and naïve.

The word suggests wisdom (sofia).  But when it was applied to the sophist school of philosophy it was associated with making money out of teaching wisdom and with complicating and adulterating the purity of truth.

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Tuesday of Lent Week 5

Ken Wilber once wrote a very moving account of caring for his newly wed wife through her last illness. As those who know his other writings will appreciate, he is a born intellectual with a huge appetite for acquiring and integrating knowledge and understanding. His books get longer and longer. But as it became clear that his wife’s cancer was terminal he abandoned all his other activities and interests to concentrate on caring for and being with her. 

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Monday of Lent Week 5

In a time of crisis people look around for someone who seems to know what is happening and what should be done. This often leads to disaster. A country is falling apart and people see someone who is supremely confident and full of noble sentiments. In fact his confidence comes from opportunism. He knows that this is his moment to seize power and he has a sure intuition about how to do so. He is not concerned so much with leading people to a better place as just to take charge. Probably this assuages a deep anxiety and insecurity in himself that is only bearable when he can dominate and control.

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Fifth Sunday of Lent Week

As all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.. Then Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then be bent down and wrote on the ground again… (Jn 8:1-11)

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Saturday of Lent Week 4

Habemus papam. Lent is given a new dimension. May Francis be blessed.

Not so long ago it would have taken days or weeks to spread the news of a new Pope. Today we are all there in the Square as the news breaks. First impressions are made globally and instantly. He seems to have the gift of making an impression without trying to, which is called humility. Within minutes he has been googled by millions and predictions and evaluations are piling up from experts.

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Friday of Lent Week 4

The anguish of loss today can become the joy of deliverance tomorrow. We don’t really understand the nature of the attachment that caused the pain when separation or loss came until the operation is over and the trauma subsides.
 Either we breathe a sigh of relief as we realise we have been delivered – from an addiction or a compulsive delusion, for example. Or we see that what we have lost has become a genuine death experience that drags us into a vortex of surrendering to something vaster than we can control. 

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Thursday of Lent Week 4

Soon Lent will be transitioning into one of the greatest and deepest of all reflections on the nature and meaning of suffering. Let us hope we are ready for it this year.

 There are many forms of suffering, as there many manifestations of love.  Maybe in the great cosmic secret they are exactly proportionate.

When the mind is confused, doubt-stricken, divided and agitated we experience a particular kind of suffering. It may not appear – yet – on the surface of our lives and in our interactions with others.

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Wednesday of Lent Week 4

When the blackbird  flew out of sight
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles

(Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird)

There are many ways of looking at anything. In Wallace Stevens’ poem the verse above is the ninth way he had found of looking at a blackbird.

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