Weekly Readings 27/1/2013

An excerpt from John Main OSB, “Healthiness of Spirit” in FULLY ALIVE, MEDITATIO Talk Series 2011-D, Oct-Dec (London: WCCM, 2011), pp. 9-10.

A big problem that all of us have to face is deciding what is really important in our lives and what is trivial, to learn to differentiate between what is passing away and what is enduring.

 The English medieval writer John of Salisbury wrote:

It’s not possible for one who, with her whole heart, seeks after truth, to cultivate what is merely empty.

That is the challenge that each of us has to face: not to cultivate what is empty because with our whole heart we week after truth, after love.

Meditation is so important for each one of us because we live in a society that is in real danger of losing its sanity. A human spirit that is healthy demands expansion. All of us need room to breathe, to expand, to fill our lives with truth, with love. And if we are healthy, we know that we must cross all the frontiers to what is beyond.

The spirit that is a healthy spirit is the spirit of an explorer: we are not terrified by the beyond, we are not too tired to seek what is ahead. The spirit that is really healthy knows that there is no future for us unless we set out into wholeheartedly.

Meditation is simply a way of coming to that basic healthiness of spirit, a state wherein our spirit has room to breathe, where it is not assailed and weighed down by trivia or what is merely material; a state wherein, because we are open to ultimate truth and to ultimate love, we are summoned beyond all mere trivia. We are summoned to live life not out of the shallows but to live our lives at the source.

The ultimate frontier we are all called upon to cross is the frontier of our own identity, the frontier, in other words, of our own limitation. To be one with all, to be one with the All. To practice in the depths of our own being what Jesus summons us to: the person who would find his life must lose it.

The discipline of the mantra and the discipline of the daily return to prayer is simply that commitment to turning aside from everything that is passing away and to living our life out of the source of all being. That is why we must leave behind all images, all thoughts, all ideas and imaginations; and we must be silent, as profoundly silent as we can, in the presence of the author of life, the author of love. 

After meditation: an excerpt from Christopher Hedges, “Acts of Love” on Truthdig.com, posted 2.19.12

The isolated human individual can never be fully human. And for those cut off from others, for those alienated from the world around them, the false covenants of race, nationalism, the glorious cause, class and gender, compete, with great seduction, against the covenant of love. These sham covenants—and we see them dangled before us daily—are based on exclusion and hatred rather than universality. These sham covenants do not call us to humility and compassion, to an acknowledgement of our own imperfections, but to a form of self-exaltation disguised as love. Those most able to defy these sham covenants are those who are grounded in love. . . .

Carla Cooper - cmcooper@gvtc.com