The soul’s Copernican revolution

solar_system_large revised2 ‘Contemplation is the soul’s Copernican revolution. Copernicus did not invent a heliocentric universe. He simply discovered what had always been the case. The sun never did revolve around the earth. The revolution was the integrating glimpse of the truth of things that marked a change in how we see the world. To realise that we do not search for God the way we search for fame, fortune, and fulfilment – or for anything else that we are convinced we lack – is the “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:45-46), the realisation that the “Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk 17:21). Continue reading “The soul’s Copernican revolution”

Why I practice meditation in the Christian tradition

Christian Meditation photo

The value and relevance of the Christian meditation tradition derive both from what it shares with the other great meditation traditions and what distinguishes it among them. Continue reading “Why I practice meditation in the Christian tradition”

Do more…

Closeup of hands working on pottery wheel

Do more than belong: participate.

Do more than care: help.

Do more than believe: practice.

Do more than be fair: be kind.

Do more than forgive: forget.

Do more than dream: work.

William Arthur Ward

 

I was quite taken with this list when a friend showed it to me yesterday. The statement about believing and practicing is singularly powerful for me. Does one stand out for you?

Me and my shadow

Chasing shadows

When I catch a glimpse of my shadow I see my own opacity; I’m reminded that the light doesn’t pass right through me.

I’d like it to. I’d love to be so transparent that I don’t get in the way of the light, of love, of truth, of peace.

I’ve had moments, glorious nanoseconds, when I’m sure the light had so saturated and infused me that there was nothing but light. Nanoseconds. But mostly it’s just me, and my shadow.

And if the fleeting years between boy and man have taught me anything it’s that making friends with my shadow yields a happier life than pretending it’s not there.

Christopher Malcolm Knauf

Image – Izaiah chasing his shadow, by Kirsty Soo, 2014, used with permission.

Do thus and be good, or know this and be God?

Mosaic-of-Jesus-Christ-in-001[1]

Joseph Campbell’s lifelong study of the myths and stories of cultures all over the globe yielded some rich insights into what he believed was a universal quest for transcendence. He spoke of transcendence as the experience of the divine, or of ‘God’, within us and saw contemplation on the great heroic archetypes in our ancient stories as a powerful mode of access to the transcendent. In his seminal early work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Campbell recognises two approaches we can take to the stories of our archetypal heroes and uses Jesus as an example. Continue reading “Do thus and be good, or know this and be God?”

Glimpses of now in the west of Ireland

Beauty does not always cloak itself in grandeur; it can be even more striking when glimpsed through the veil of the everyday. Life’s incandescence glimmers in every ordinary moment if we’d but see it.

This short film was taken on morning walks over two weeks in June and July, 2014 in the beautiful west of Ireland, near the village of Shrule on the border of Galway and Mayo. The Irish might not agree, but the misty and cloudy days seen here were to me possibly even more beautiful than the cloudless skies we saw day after day this summer. No accounting for taste I suppose. Grace and peace to you.

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Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987)

“The first step to the knowledge of the highest divine symbol of the wonder and mystery of life is in the recognition of the monstrous nature of life and its glory in that character: the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Continue reading “On Life As It Is”

Embracing paradox and living to tell the tale

BOOK REVIEW:  Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes In God: How To Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace.  Frank Schaeffer, 2014
 

Frank Schaeffer Cover

I completely understand the puzzlement that comes over people when I declare myself a believer and an atheist. It’s not something that comes up all the time of course but occasionally there’s no avoiding it and you just have to come clean. Once it went like this: “I was a Christian, then I became an atheist.” It was sad for some people to hear. But at least it was neat and they knew where I stood. Now it’s: “I still don’t believe in the God the atheists don’t believe in, but I pray every day.” And that’s just messy. Explain it and it gets messier.

People aren’t good with messy. While I’m obscenely comfortable in this paradoxical pigeon-hole I’ve carved out for myself, I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that on questions like this people prefer ‘either-or’ to ‘both-and’, and so it’s felt like something of a solitary little niche. That said, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled on the totally messy title of Frank Schaeffer’s latest book, Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God. Continue reading “Embracing paradox and living to tell the tale”