Contemplative Sitting Reflection for November 2022

Returning from retreat, Zen Roshi and author Joan Sutherland writes: “My last stop on my way home was to pick up the dog who lived with me.  As the dog bounded down the path toward me, I saw her not as my dog, the creature who made me the woman with the dog, but as the particular being she was, all unto herself.  The ‘how-this-relates-to-me filters,’ which I hadn’t even realized were operating with her, were replaced by wonder and awe at her very being and my heart almost burst with a new kind of love for her. “

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner and as so many of us are breathing a sigh of relief after the elections, temporary though it may be, we would do well to dwell in the richness of the above experience.  It is after all one of the lessons that is imprinted upon us as a result of contemplative practice, namely, it is not all about the “how this relates to me filter.” We are part of something larger, more glorious and more mysterious than we could imagine.  Thomas Berry said it this way: “The primary spiritual journey is not that of the individual soul to God but rather that of the Universe as it moves toward greater and greater expression. “Daily practice, moreover, leads us also to embrace the reality that our individual journeys are integral to this larger journey, as indeed each arises from within it.  We are far from insignificant.  Indeed the psalmist tells us “We are fearfully, wonderfully made.” 

Sutherland tells us: There is mystery at the center of things, which means holding it without explaining it.  [This] asks us to feel the world’s yearning and its incompleteness, to know that it is an awesome and devastating work in progress and we are part of it. May we know this more and more deeply as we continue to sit alone and with others.

Blessings for Thanksgiving,

Margaret and Nancy

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