A Man Without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut, 2005
Sounds from Yellowstone National Park
There’s a new queen joining the hive at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill and she’s sporting a fine green spot. Can you see her among her drones?
“Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts…when we realize this goal, we discover simultaneously that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all—all individuals, all creatures, all of life. . . .
A mystic is one who not only espouses these principles of the Perennial Philosophy but lives them, whose every action reflects the wisdom and selfless love that are the hallmark of one who has made this supreme discovery. Such a person has made the divine a reality in every moment of life, and that reality shines through whatever he or she may do or say—and that is the real test. . . . [A mystic is marked by] an unbroken awareness of the presence of God in all creatures. The signs are clear: unfailing compassion, fearlessness, equanimity, and the unshakable knowledge, based on direct, personal experience, that all the treasures and pleasures of this world together are worth nothing if one has not found the uncreated light at the center of the soul.”
–Adapted from Eknath Easwaran, Original Goodness (Nilgiri Press: 1989, 1996), 8-10 in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, August 15, 2019
“The prayer of the contemplative is, essentially, an attention to the omnipresence of God. God is omnipresent not as a theological doctrine, but as the great silence that is present in every moment—but from which we are usually distracted by an overactive mind that refuses to wait in a humble unknowing for a pure wisdom from above [James 3:17].”
—Richard Rohr, Richard Rohr Meditation, “Beholding,” August 13, 2019
In her weekly newsletter on August 5, 2019 Joan Chittister discusses what it means to be a prophet and quotes Mary Oliver:
The poet Mary Oliver may have written the best definition of what it means to be a prophet in contemporary spirituality. She writes, “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” (emphasis mine)
I seek to pay attention, I am constantly astonished, and with AttentiontoLife.com in all of its forms, I try to tell.
Krista Tippett: Here’s something else you wrote: “The outline of our lives, like the candle’s flame, is continuously coaxed in new directions by a variety of random events that, along with our responses to them, determine our fate.” You say that we are driven to see patterns and create patterns where the patterns aren’t there. But it seems to me that you’re also presenting our responses as mattering. There is randomness, and then you talk about that even though that is true, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized does make a difference. It does shift things.
Leonard Mlodinow: …little things make a big difference. And what they really do is they raise opportunities for you. Or they raise challenges. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you. If you’re awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad. But the important thing is how you reacted to it. (emphasis mine)