Tag: vision

Made for Transcendence

Made for Transcendence

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Made for transcendence

And endless horizons

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We stared

Through a glass darkened

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By absence

Of light

.

Now lift

Your gaze

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See better

Deeper still

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Let your mind

Catch

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The glorified vision

Just right.

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Were these my vision?

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I was born in a void

No words reached me

From another world.

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I was born in a void

And all that I knew

Were wind, rain, the voices

Of heaven’s descending

To the bitter earth.

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I was born in a void

And I knew of no talking

In my silent world.

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I was born in a void

And I could not remember

Where I had come from

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I stared around strangely

At the invisible agents

I could not discover

And wondered within

If these were my vision.

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Light of Life (24th) – Pain in Perspective

It’s easy to lose perspective in life sometimes.

I wrote this short verse a while ago about gaining vision in life:

Vision extends

Over mountains and plains

Perceiving the way

Through the sunshine and rain.

We all need a kind of “vision” to see us through life – a perspective, a relatively stable stance towards various things we face, a way of looking.

Richard Rohr’s book The Naked Now – Learning to See as the Mystics See – explores this brilliantly. There’s a wonderful chapter entitled ‘Three Ways to View the Sunset’. You can (1) just see the nice sunset; you can (2) appreciate it in a slightly deeper way by going from there in thought to an appreciation of the workings of the universe that give us sunsets; or you can (3) appreciate a mystery and feel a universal connection. These different ways of seeing help us to understand that how we see is actually more important than what we see.

And so with the issue of personal pain, personal issues, personal challenges. We all have them and face them. They are difficult and they hurt. And my next rule of life goes like this:

Whatever difficulties, challenges or pain I feel or face, they are no worse than those felt and faced by millions of others past, present and future. So learn from pain.

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That helps me to have some kind of perspective.

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Adapted from a previous sequence entitled “Exploring a Rule of Life”

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Moved to the Mountains

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I was moved to the mountains

by an impulse of the skies

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Pursuing silence

I was pierced

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By the miracle of the seraph

in cross-winged form

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And the vision led me

to follow new paths

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That wound their ways

around the slopes of contemplation

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To the blessed summit

of exaltation.

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Inspired by ‘Journey of the Mind to God’ by St. Bonaventure

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movedmountains JOM

Exploring a Rule of Life (18) – Pain in Perspective

It’s easy to lose perspective in life. I wrote this short verse a while ago:

Vision extends

Over mountains and plains

Perceiving the way

Through the sunshine and rain.

We all need a kind of “vision” to see us through life – a perspective, a relatively stable stance towards various things we face, a way of looking.

Richard Rohr’s book The Naked Now – Learning to See as the Mystics See – explores this brilliantly. There’s a wonderful chapter entitled ‘Three Ways to View the Sunset’. You can (1) just see the nice sunset; you can (2) appreciate it in a slightly deeper way by going from there in thought to an appreciation of the workings of the universe that give us sunsets; or you can (3) appreciate a mystery and feel a universal connection. These different ways of seeing help us to understand that how we see is actually more important than what we see.

And so with the issue of personal pain, personal issues, personal challenges. We all have them and face them. They are difficult and they hurt. And my next rule of life goes like this:

Whatever difficulties, challenges or pain I feel or face, they are no worse than those felt and faced by millions of others past, present and future

.

That helps me to have some kind of perspective.

.

A Year of Inspirers (9) : The Power of Mysticism and Julian of Norwich – 8th May

On 8th May 1373 a young woman had a series of visions.  These led to one of the most extraordinary books ever written – Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich.

Sometimes an ancient tradition can reinvigorate modern life.  Many people have found this with contemplative prayer and Christian mysticism in general.  The experience of Julian of Norwich is still a powerful call to us today.

For me, it was a discovery of the depths of inner life possible through prayer; then a discovery of the power of silence and stillness, in contrast to a contemporary world that is hectic, instant and brash; and then, beyond both of these, the calling of love – God’s love.

“…With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…”

T.S. Eliot wrote these lines (from ‘Little Gidding’, in Four Quartets), and the first of these lines is a quotation from the mediaeval woman we know as Julian.

She seems to have known, deeply and profoundly, that she was loved by God, and that her life’s purpose, though physically limited to a small “cell” attached to a church, had universal and eternal dimensions.

Her beautiful lines comparing the universe to a hazelnut are well-known and powerful:

“And in this he showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand….

In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? It is that God is the creator and protector and the lover.”

And her reassuring words are so timely in a world full of fear: 

“And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are infolded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one…”

This is T.S.Eliot again, from the same poem, again quoting from Julian. 

No-one really knows what Eliot meant by the last three lines (the first line is from Julian) but he is hinting at the power of the Holy Spirit as described at Pentecost (the fire); also at the idea of a crown  – God’s valuing of each human soul; and also at the idea of a rose – the beauty, tenderness and fragility of human life.

I came to the mystics through the poetry of T.S.Eliot and then through my own personal discovery of Christian faith.  There are many great Christian mystic writers from the centuries of Christian tradition, and Julian of Norwich is one amazing example.

I hope that you also may discover some of the glorious revelations they offer in your own spiritual way.

hazelnut Julian