Contemplative Sitting Network Reflection January 2024

As we begin 2024 many of us are spending more and more time scratching our heads trying to figure out what is really going on and why.  In a new book entitled Sumi-e Speaks, author Paul Schubert recounts a story about the childhood of Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.  It seems his father strongly encouraged him to notice things and to ask questions about what was happening.  His dad always responded with what he knew, yet almost always added the phrase, “but nobody knows why.”  Schubert goes on to remind us that while we may know names and labels which explain things, this doesn’t mean we understand what it really is or what’s causing it.

Contemplative practice alone or with others is a wonderful way of allowing this kind of deep spaciousness to be born in us.  The depth to which we are taken allows us, even trains us, to be able to simultaneously rest in unknowing; hold what we think we know lightly; while at the same time paradoxically strengthening our convictions about those few things which really matter.  As we face into what appears to be growing international and national peril, it behooves us to trust what is done in us during the silence.  If what all the saints and meditation teachers say is correct, the silence of contemplative practice is empowering us to be exactly who the world needs us to be at this moment.

As our Spanish sisters and brothers say, “Adalente”—and blessings in 2024.

Margaret and Nancy

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