Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

Contemplation’s timeless echo


10649728_762622947167332_7985358488271189707_nThe young tree of my life was planted in a culture constrained by many limiting beliefs.

It believes there is not enough for everyone, that having is being, and that age is an ending.

It believes that it owns space, and place, and most often feels owned by time.

Friends from cultures close to the natural world remind me that, truly, it’s the reverse. Burg-Mauer-Wertheim

Whatever we may think, we are one with space, “owned by it,” as it were. But in the matter of time, the invention of our minds, we are free to take ownership, and choose.

In reflecting about space, and how to direct one’s time, artist Mark Tobey said:

“The dimension that counts for the creative person is the space he creates within himself. This inner space is closer to the infinite than the other, and it is the privilege of the balanced mind… and the search for an equilibrium is essential—to be as aware of inner space as he is of outer space.”

And where is that balance to be found? In what longs for us to hear it, and to become the ear with which it is heard, as the wise visionary knew: 11224461_916383441781595_1541377696389172599_n

“Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of His. But we are words that are meant to respond to Him, to answer to Him, to echo Him, and even in some way to contain Him and signify Him. Contemplation is this echo. We ourselves become His echo and His answer. It is as if in creating us God asked a question and in awakening us to contemplation He answered the question, so that the contemplative is at the same time, question and answer.”

~ Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation




3 thoughts on “Contemplation’s timeless echo

  1. One of the best!

  2. “To be as aware of inner space as of outer space” — that Mark Tobey insight is priceless. Thanks for a thought-provocative essay, Phyllis.

  3. FABULOUS! I too grew up in that culture (I hated the 50s, I didn’t know why at the time) but as my time on this earth becomes limited, I find myself looking at things in less of a linear fashion which is good.

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