Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


3 Comments

Pathway to the hearing ear

IMG_5698

Photo: D. Kirkup Designs

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

~ Hans Hofmann

If I practice silence, even for small moments each day, what might I hear that is otherwise drowned out by my voice, or my thoughts? How can this allow what I express to move beyond the mind’s running commentary? How might it help me to imbibe, investigate, and reflect, and draw me into deeper, richer soils in which to plant seeds of viable ideas?

Lama Willa Miller, spiritual director of New Hampshire’s Wonderwell Mountain Refuge retreat center, describes how retreat, and silence, are gifts available to us each day — if we receive them. “Taking such a sacred pause allows us to draw away from the busyness of everyday life …. “That’s where we can check in with ourselves about what we’re doing and where we’re going, and why; where we can ask the kinds of questions needed for living a meaningful life.”

This, it seems, is where we have the most needful and life-sustaining conversation of all. “Once you find that quiet,” she says, “you also discover that it gives you space, and with that comes peace, and clarity.”

In an address given at the Westminster Friends’ Meeting House in London in January of 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “Bahá’u’lláh says there is a sign from God in every phenomenon. The sign of the intellect is contemplation, and the sign of contemplation is silence; because it is impossible for man to do two things at the same time – he cannot both speak and meditate.

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit, the spirit answers, the light breaks forth, and reality is revealed …

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.”

This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God.”


4 Comments

Resting in the way of winter

IMG_4765

Photos: D. Kirkup Designs / http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkirkupdesigns

Though winter’s not always a season we welcome, it has valuable things to teach about cycles and life. Its revelations can be as subtle and indistinct as the image of this little squirrel through the glass, even though its outer manifestations can be startling and powerful.

In her Divining the Muse newsletter, writer Paula Chaffee Scardamalia suggests that “The Snow Queen” of winter offers us “an awareness of time and impermanence, of struggle and endurance, of ingenuity and insight.” We can benefit, she notes, by appreciating the invitation that winter sends us “to enter the stillness and silence of creative potential”. IMG_4768

Author Linda Leonard writes, “A major obstacle to creativity is wanting to be in the peak season of growth and generation at all times … but if we see the soul’s journey as cyclical, like the seasons … then we can accept the reality that periods of despair or fallowness are like winter – resting time that offers us a period of creative hibernation, purification, and regeneration that prepares us for the births of spring.”

Writer Penney Peirce has shared an interesting perspective on inner cycles in her book, The Intuitive Way, where she describes a three-part process in which we first become centered in our own being, which then enables us to be inspired by forces greater than ourselves toward taking action and doing, which eventually leads us to achieving or having.IMG_4816

Once that tri-part process reaches its final stage in the cycle, we notice a lessening or fading of our energy, which she calls the signal and reminder that it’s time to do what our very cells know they must do: return to that centering in our being again. That’s when it’s time to rest, recharge, and be restored again to a state of being that’s ready for the next cycle of doing. That’s when it’s time to rest, and receive. 

Cells do not restore their own energy after they’ve expended themselves in their task. They are restored by something beyond themselves. Cells seem to know innately the wisdom of returning to their fullest being through the “re-sourcing” of what it is that truly sustains them.

Doesn’t it seem, outwardly and inwardly, that this is what winter is inviting us to? To discover that, as Rumi said, “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”