Hope

When you realize how perfect everything is you will
tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

Buddha

I loved coming across this quote attributed to the Buddha on Twitter today. I always smile when I see images of a laughing Buddha, rotund tum and joy-filled face. And from time to time a lovely line drawing of a laughing Jesus holding a child aloft does the rounds. I think too of the smilingly peace-filled face of the Benedictine David Steindl-Rast, and the joy that emanates from Thich Nhat Hanh. And images of my grandchildren laughing joyfully on a garden swing … and Syrian grandchildren smiling and laughing in the very heart of shattered cities.

They know something about hope that runs so deep it can and does change worlds – until more and more and more people realize …

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.