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
We cannot love God or our neighbour. We love both or neither. And what love means is rejoicing in the otherness of the other because the depth of this awareness is the depth of our communion with the other. … in the people we live with we find not objects to be cast in our own superficial likeness but, much more, we find in them our true selves, for our true selves only appear, only become realized, when we are wholly turned towards another.
In this recognition of the other person, a recognition that remakes my mind and expands my consciousness, the other person comes into being as they really are, in their real self, not as a manipulated extension of myself. People move and act out of their own integral reality and no longer as some image created by my imagination.
The essence of community … is a recognition of and deep reverence for the other.
John Main, Word into Silence
I move more slowly than I used to because I don’t want to miss anything.
I find more and more beauty and meaning in everyday, average moments that I would have missed before.
I need fewer answers because I see more.
I find more people more fascinating than ever because I’m more and more used to being surprised by the mystery that a human being is.
I’ve discovered more and more events are less about the events themselves and more about me being open to whatever it is that’s going on just below the surface
Once again this is from Rob Bell’s What We Talk about When We Talk about God.
The challenge for all of us is:
to become more and more the kind of people who are aware of the divine presence, attuned to the ruach [the spirit of God], present to the depths of each and every moment, seeing God in more and more and more people, places, and events, each and every day.
what our experiences of God do at the most primal level of consciousness is jolt us into the affirmation that whatever this is, it matters. This person, place, event, gesture, attitude, action, piece of art, parcel of land, heart, word, moment – it matters.
Thus Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God. This, indeed, is the way to live, yet as Bell rightly notes, it is a challenge for us, who so often live in the past or the future rather than in the present moment.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
From Rumi, The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing