Rania

Rania is not a name I will forget in a hurry. A friend’s tweet this morning pointed me in the direction of The Guardian.

Yesterday I wrote about ‘healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.’ That touching can and must include any and all means of communication that might open human hearts too quick to judge the intentions of millions of this world’s displaced people.

Made with immense courage, dignity and good humour by a twenty-year old young woman, necessarily fleeing the war zone she still calls ‘home’, may this film open hearts and minds; may a deeper compassion be shaped in the hearts and lives of humankind the world over.

Wall-construction needs to involve the rebuilding of shattered homes. All talk of ‘refugees’ needs to be set in the context, the possibility even, of how it might be for any of us were tables to be turned. Could I pack my life and loves into a small rucksack and head off, smiling and gutsy, to I know not where?

Rania. Ayman. Christopher Columbus. Let me not forget their names!

Following the wrong god home

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star

William Stafford
from A Ritual to Read to Each Other
The Way It Is – New & Selected Poems, page 75

The English parliamentarian Jo Cox has been posthumously described in many quarters as a star. Amongst the attributes that made her a light in many lives, and in many parts of the world, her compassion shines like a lighthouse warning of treacherous passage.

Compassion – “a suffering with”, in whomsoever it is found, provides all humankind with a wake-up call.

In a world grown used to assessment by way of soundbites in lieu of personal encounter we’re perhaps too ready, too often, and too quickly, to judge another about whom we really know nothing at all.

We ought not to disregard the wise counsel of lighthouses, nor that of the well-informed and the bravely compassionate – lest “a pattern that others made may prevail in the world”.

No need to make a god of the extra-contextual judgment I might too hurriedly make about you, or your country of origin, or your passions, needs, loves, intentions, hopes, heart, dreams or aspirations. Better that I make the effort, always and everywhere, to “know the kind of person you are” – ever-ready to bless your own kindness in seeking really to “know the kind of person I am”.

Lifetime’s journey

Mindfulness is a lifetime’s journey
along a path that ultimately leads
nowhere, only to who you are. The
Way of Awareness is always here,
always accessible to you, in each
moment. After all is said and done,
perhaps its essence can only be
captured in poetry, and in the silence
of your own mind and body at peace.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Full Catastrophe Living

Where does prayer and meditation get you to? – I was asked a while ago. And I think Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of several books on Mindfulness (an introductory one of which is here) hits the nail on the head. Nowhere.

There isn’t ultimately a destination beyond the “within”, the inner life, the Oneness in whom all things are united and from whom all things come: the silent inward space of the soul, where poets and prophets of old encouraged us to spend time, in which Jesus invites us to “consider” – (the lilies of the field, or life’s provision, or our living and breathing, “blessed” – happy – now and forever, “in God”); or the contemplative encounter with silence, with life’s breath, and with the depths of compassion, gentleness and love within all of us, about which the Buddha and others among the world’s great teachers have spoken.

And in the “space” that our silent contemplation / meditation / prayer affords we come, over a lifetime, to understand more and more of who we are – and thereby of where (and / or in whom) we are.