Your presence is dancing me
late into evening
releasing You breathe in me
lessons in lessening
enlivening so soulfully
salt dreamings and weathering
till sleep sliding othernesss
untethers me from all of us.
carbon dark night
swathe silvering kisses
with Transcendent light
deep hush Your reflections
of cloud free Sunshine
with diamonds Divine.
Intuit Moon, our compassionate sister
implant in us soon the deep ways of your Teacher
let husks turn resplendent and purity grow
while dusk forms new mornings as you soothe our soul.
distress held less tight
unfurl like raw seedlings
in dappled moon Light
may bathing in Beauty
soften our clay
so tendril gyrations
spring forth Your new day.
The Oxfam Bookshop on Park Street
has offered me the chance to buy The Nag Hammadi scriptures.
£8:95 and the complete 1945 discoveries are at my finger-tips, and now happily are upon my desktop too.
First expedition in the unknown; The Secret Book of James:
on Being filled and lacking (3,38-4,22)
‘So you should lack when you can fill yourselves and be filled when you lack, that you may be able to fill yourselves more. Be filled with Spirit, but lack in reason, for reason is of the soul. It is soul.’
To the ears of my heart this guides and glides me further into meditating and ultimately living contemplatively.
unpicking the two sentences, I follow:
Morning and evening are times when I can intentionally wait to be filled with Spirit.
These 20 minute bookends to my day are my precious times of Centering Prayer. Times when I initially pause and ask, hope and wait to to be emptied (lacked?) of body, mind, sight, sense and feeling.
20 minutes nearing to nothingness. A process of gently feathering my incessant thinking upon the breath of God. Time, yes much time to let go of thoughts and to nestle, nestle and nestle again within wideness and depth beyond this skin.
To become Another’s vessel.
20 minutes, twice a day where I AM resonates somewhere deep and unseen and well and well and well beyond this surface practice of sitting upon a cushion, of waiting and welcoming and repeatedly letting go of all earthly reasoning, of breathing, opening to release these-every-day-ego-driven-collections-and-confections-of-this -and-that-and-the-other.
In other words, to hope beyond words and to become no thing at all.
And after the bell sounds, after the 2 further minutes of peaceful momentary pause, I come back to the waves and vibrations of this bodily living.
The peaceful evening pause often helps me glide into a sleepfulness where my lack is unconsciously met and processed, sometimes without trace, sometimes within the sweat and ruffled bed-sheets.
The peaceful morning pause however can become consciously dismantled and plunged into active lacking in minutes, seconds even.
And yet even within the greatest shift into earthly lack, into this worrisome world of soulful endeavour, even when face down in ego and mud,
A sense, an internal shift towards openness, towards a potential filling with Spirit, has indeed been growing day on day.
Now, when buffeted by my so-say-sufferings, when daily bemused and angered and hurt by the daze of human botherings tiresomely gathering around this blood, flesh and bone, I can sometimes pause.
Pause and somehow re-taste elements these 20 minutes, twice daily. And in this glimpse, I can meet the lack in us with a silence and a smile that greets suffering with an overspilling, unnameable, abundancy that is well and truly beyond the very fabric of me.
Next blog: Know Yourselves (12,17-13,25)
If I leave
with my heart singed in fear
I step out on a road of hatred and isolation
I seep into rivers of painful recollection
deeply flowing from my neighbours eyes.
I recoil from your sideways glance
build walls to damn your half seen smile
preferring to congeal to the cut of cynicism
(as if butter wouldn’t melt
upon this cold steak knife I call life)
I break out to escape from all that is other
rip skin from skin to bleed this heart deeply within
a barren disconnecting groan despite
Light dustings of Love.
When I feed on bloodshed and despair
I ooze in unfairness and choke upon
golden feathers that drift gloriously unseen
until sodden they fall into visions
that clog in my indigestible in-
And so, it seems again to me to be, so
hard to consume new limits to
unstitch my well known know how, to choose to
grow fresh green fruit in verdant gardens
to soothe in kindness when soft skin lacerates upon
time starved rocks. How to be
bolder as older I wish to choose to rock more gently this caged
and fleshy brain, swathe me in silence and wait-full-ness,
so I may gleefully greet these ever changing screams
with smiling forgiveness for
ever and ever and once and for all
to release these urgent calls to push, push, push this
river of shit that surges in my own forgetfulness.
How to keep hold of all the goodness that you foretold
the Wisdom that wades in this wonderful wetness
repleting refreshment with Words of encouragement
to this thing that I call soul.
who gives me the wings like the dove when I would fly away and be at rest?’ (Meister Eckhart, Discourse on Eternal Birth)
‘I shall lead my friend into the wilderness and shall speak to her heart. I will return her vineyards and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.’ (Hosea 2 14 & 15)
Breathe deep I do, this dove grey breeze
ingest the wail and warp and weave
of city sirens and seagull cries
and hurt filled sweat in salt sore eyes.
And pray I do, that You may quell this thirsting woe
this cling to things I think I know
this bursting urge that grips the reins
that tourniquets Your blood in veins
fat furred and hard from my control
of withering heart, and yet and yet
this distanced soul cannot forget
to Breathe out and inwardly once again
trust Love to light the twisted turns through
joy and rage and hope and pain.
‘When we set our intention on love and humility, then, by the power of mercy and grace, we are cleansed and made whole.’ (Julian of Norwich, Showings, chapter 40)
While walking to work, I paused at College Green to look at the Skateboarders tree. A magnificent beast with its back to Bristol Cathedral and its front festooned with laced and hanging discarded sneakers. And I as I absorbed the full weight of my mortgaged life, I stooped to write it all:
Debtors bow to last season’s unfashionable fayre,
For hanging in the Nike air are reddened soles
Pre-laced and flung with ease to congregate upon,
The bared bones of isolated city trees.
Parasitical plimsoll lines bunch and slump
And blanch for fun at passers-by
Who just like me, flinch a glimpse to workshy dreams
Of unstrung night time barefoot wanderings.
This, so say, ground down young man’s wilful pledge was thrown
From tarmacked crack to privileged home
‘Be hold, Be bold, Let go,’ it said
And free your moulded feet from standardised pavement edge.
Make room, commune anew with wholesome heart and head
To see me and you flying free in a compassionate city scape instead.
Yes yes, to see we two gently cloak this current cold
With warming swathes of loosening rules as brother to brother,
We hang and sway inside each other’s dampening shoes.
To sensate a sharing pulse within fragile skin
To co-exist and string out in spaciousness and time
And in time to peacefully upon,
Fine threads so thin to shine out copious kindnesses
To both young and old to ward off this oft said
City centre cold, and boldly blow breath by breath
Bright Light from above and from below.
To make clean air from fresh leaves.
We too can deeply care for the collective plight
Of our delicately denuded dangling