Tag: mind

Made for Transcendence

Made for Transcendence

.

Made for transcendence

And endless horizons

.

We stared

Through a glass darkened

.

By absence

Of light

.

Now lift

Your gaze

.

See better

Deeper still

.

Let your mind catch

The glorified vision just right.

.

Journey for Truth

Journey for Truth

.

It is a journey

For Truth

.

The soul sailing

On the winds of thought

.

Blowing through

The mind

.

In faith we depart

From the harbour

.

Praying

For the right conditions

.

To satisfy the spirit

Make us both honest and kind.

.

Spiritual Reflection: The Stairway to Heaven

You may or may not know this beautiful painting by William Blake

jacob-s-ladder.jpg!Large

…or this older icon…

ladderofdivineascenticon

The both take up a very ancient idea that goes back thousands of years: “he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” is another version (Jacob’s dream, from The Book of Genesis).

My interest in this rekindled when I re-read this:

“the material universe is a ladder by which we may ascend to God”.

St. Bonaventure goes on to describe three ways we can seek God – remarkable in their clarity and accessibility:

  1. “First…we must pass through vestiges which are corporeal and temporal and outside us” (he means “nature”!)
  2. “Next we must enter our mind, ,which is the image of God, an image which is everlasting, and spiritual and within us”
  3. “Finally we must go beyond to what is eternal, most spiritual and beyond us.”

I find that so amazing:

  1. Find God through appreciating the beauty, awesomeness, otherness, power, peacefulness (and more) of nature
  2. Find God through understanding the power of the human mind to think beyond time, to reason, to understand, to empathise (and more)
  3. Find God through what transcends this world: heaven and eternity

I hope you also find this image of the ladder, and St. Bonaventure’s “three ways” inspiring.

Do all three ring true with you, or perhaps one especially?

I wrote this poem, inspired by St. Bonaventure’s ideas:

The three

Ways of seeing

Firstly the world about us

our senses perceive

Secondly the soul within

which only the spirit knows

Thirdly the mind

venturing beyond itself

Into new worlds

unseen and unknown.

outsidewithinbeyond JTG2

Spiritual Reflection: What is Prayer?

Spiritual Reflection: What is Prayer?

What is prayer?

“Prayer is the simplest thing out”

Sister Wendy Beckett

That’s what Sister Wendy Beckett says in her profound book Sister Wendy on Prayer.

“Because of God’s goodness, it cannot be something that is difficult…Accept that God is good and that your relationship with Him is prayer, and you must conclude that prayer is an act of the utmost simplicity.”

For Sister Wendy, prayer is God-centred:

“Prayer…concerns nobody except God – always longing to give Himself to us in love – and my own decision.  And that too is God’s…”

Many people thing about prayer as something we do.  Perhaps something we do for others – praying for others.

Sister Wendy’s view is something more divine-focused, even, at times, an overwhelming experience:

“If you want God to take possession of you, then you are praying. That is all prayer is.”

And it challenges us in the deepest parts of our own selves:

“What do I really want when I pray? … What you really want, ‘with all your heart and soul and mind and strength’?”

Inspirers: St. Bonaventure

You may or may not know this beautiful painting by William Blake:

jacob-s-ladder.jpg!Large

…or this older icon…

ladderofdivineascenticon

They both take up a very ancient idea that goes back over thousands of years.

He saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it

Jacob’s dream, from The Book of Genesis

St. Bonaventure seized my interest with his own account of life as an upward journey in one of my favourite books – Journey of the Mind to God – in which he refer to

the material universe is a ladder by which we may ascend to God”.

St. Bonaventure goes on to describe three ways we can seek God – remarkable in their clarity and accessibility.

1. “First…we must pass through vestiges which are corporeal and temporal and outside us” (he means “nature”!)

2. “Next we must enter our mind, which is the image of God, an image which is everlasting, and spiritual and within us”

3. “Finally we must go beyond to what is eternal, most spiritual and beyond us.”

I find that so amazing:

  1. Find God through appreciating the beauty, awesomeness, otherness, power, peacefulness (and more) of nature
  2. Find God through understanding the power of the human mind to think beyond time, to reason, to understand, to empathise (and more)
  3. Find God through what transcends this world: heaven and eternity

Do all three ring true with you, or one especially, or none at all?

What follows is one of a number of poems I have written, inspired by St. Bonaventure:

.

The three

Ways of seeing

.

Firstly the world about us

our senses perceive

.

Secondly the soul within

which only the spirit knows

.

Thirdly the mind

venturing beyond itself

.

Into new worlds

unseen and unknown.

outsidewithinbeyond JTG2