Spirituality

Mystery vs certainty

Spirituality and fundamentalism are at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. Spirituality seeks a sensitive, contemplative relationship with the sacred and is able to sustain levels of uncertainty in its quest because respect for mystery is paramount. Fundamentalism seeks certainty, fixed answers and absolutism, as a fearful response to the complexity of the world and to our vulnerability as creatures in a mysterious universe.

David Tacey, ‘Rising Waters of the Spirit’

Spirituality

Life, food, air

BreadIt’s the really hungry who can smell fresh bread a mile away. For those who know their need, God is immediate – not an idea, not a theory, but life, food, air for the stifled spirit and the beaten, despised, exploited body.

Rowan Williams, as quoted by Sara Miles, Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

Spirituality

The liberation of saying ‘No’

It may be that vice, depravity, and crime are nearly always, or perhaps even always, in their essence, attempts to eat beauty, to eat what we should only look at.

Thus Simone Weil in Waiting for God. Quoting Weil in an interview with The Other Journal, Barbara Brown Taylor comments:

To learn to look at things instead of devouring them is to discover how quickly the feeling of deprivation can turn to liberation instead. Every time I say no – to more stuff, more speed, more activity, more food – this great big space opens up in my life. … If the church is meant to embody an alternative way of life, then what better witness could there be than a community that decided to live on less in order to live more richly? That sounds like the kind of truth that could make people free.

Spirituality

Myriad petty little unsexy ways

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. … The alternative is unconsciousness …

David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

Spirituality

You get to decide what you worship

You get to decide what you worship …. Because here’s something else that’s true. In the day-to-day trenches of … life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

Poetry · Spirituality

The sky got crowded and complained

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!

Someone should start wildly Laughing –
Now!

From ‘Someone Should Start Laughing’

Last night,
So many tears took flight because of Joy
That the sky got crowded and complained
When I discovered God hiding again in my heart
And I could not cease to celebrate.

From ‘Dance, Dervish Dance’

Both poems are from Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy. Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky