July-August 2018 (Vol. XXXI, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ In our quiet little forested niche amid a uniformly gray sky, it has been raining for enough days to wonder how Noah might have felt waiting for dry land. So much of what happens in the world bespeaks sorrow and loss- parents and children wrenched apart, floods and volcano eruptions, fathers and sons taking their own lives in despair. Yet into this mire, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama have dared to offer THE BOOK OF JOY. This is no "self-help 10 steps to happiness" manual. Between South African apartheid and Tibetan exile, these two have honed their wisdom in a crucible of painful reality. It is wisdom well worth pondering, rooted in deep compassion and liberally sprinkled with humility and friendship. If we are made for joy, how do we live it?

We can cope with whatever life has to throw at us

Joy establishes us so securely in itself, and in the remembrance of its presence, that we can cope with whatever life has to throw at us.
~ from MEDITATIONS ON JOY by Wendy Beckett

Joy is a piercing desire

Joy is a piercing desire, a mystical longing both painful and sweet: a kind of homesick-ness for a home we scarcely remember.
~ Deborah Smith Douglas, in Weavings, XV:4

A joyful awareness

The true source of joy is love—love of God, love of beauty, love of wisdom, love of another human being, it does not matter which. It is all one love: a joyful awareness of dissolving boundaries of our ordinary narrow self, of being one with reality beyond, of being made whole.
~ from The Door to Joy by Irma Lalecki in "Heron Dance"

The most visible joy

The most visible joy
can only reveal itself to us
when we've transformed it, within.
~ Rilke

The effort must be light-hearted

The holy life is concerned with the journey, not the goal..In truth it is the spiritual journey that brings great joy because it is a path of the heart . Discipline is needed; we need to put forth effort. The effort must be light-hearted. We can't be attached to our mistakes or any particular way of doing or being...We bring a sense of equanimity to all life's challenges; we learn to laugh at ourselves, to not take ourselves so seriously, and to get back up when we stumble. This brings us joy. Joy makes life whole and holy.
~ from OPEN MIND by Diane Mariechild

Joy is my name

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!
~ Wm Blake

The deep power of joy

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and by the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
~ William Wordsworth

This is the true joy of life

This is the true joy of life: being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one...I am of the opinion that my life belongs to others, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for them whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live...Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
~ George Bernard Shaw

To perceive God's joy

Why is it always easier to anticipate God's wrath than to perceive God's joy? Ever expecting to be shot, we're invariably dumbfounded by a grace we can't conceive...God plays rough before breaking into laughter.
~ Belden Lane

Authentic joy

Authentic joy is not a euphoric state or a feeling of being high. Rather, it is a state of appreciation that allows us to participate fully in our lives.
~ Pema Chodron

We are meant to live in joy

"We are meant to live in joy," the Archbishop explained. "This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin."
~ from THE BOOK OF JOY, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
By Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams

Transformed into the heart of joy

Solitude is the human condition, the universal vocation to be human. It is the willingness, with Love indwelling, to go to the heart of pain to find new life and share it with the world even though you may be separated from it physically. From this commitment to be focused through the narrow gate of solitude, self-emptying love is outpoured, and the heart of the community, the heart of pain, is transformed into the heart of joy.
~ Maggie Rose

The source of joy

In life's trials, little by little we realize that the source of joy does not lie in extraordinary abilities or great expertise, but rather in the humble giving of ourselves in order to understand others with kind-heartedness. Joy is always there lying in waiting for us when simplicity is united to kind-heartedness in our daily lives.
~ Brother Roger of Taizé

You shall go out with joy

You shall go out with joy
and be led forth with peace.
~ Isaiah 55:12

A sudden and miraculous grace

Joy is a sudden and miraculous grace beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

In the World

I support you;
You support me.
I am in the world to offer you peace;
You are in the world to bring me joy.

~ from "CALL ME BY MY TRUE NAMES" by Thich Nhat Hanh

June 2018 (Vol. XXXI, No. 6)

Dear Friends ~ Since people have such diverse personalities and ways of engaging, it is good that there are likewise many paths to contemplation, many doorways into silence. Two practices that may be nurturing to some are watercolor painting and visio divina. Watercolor painting may seem at first glance like an art project for the grandchildren or a medium only for the fine arts. However, painting as a mindfulness practice can stop the mind from racing, help focus attention on the present moment, and allow one to listen— it can become an exploration for the soul. Watercolors do not yield easily to control—rather they invite play and observation. One can perceive the hue and texture of the colors, but it is the water that gives them movement, light and life; a bit like seeing ourselves as the paint and the Spirit as water. When you allow the dynamic interaction between paint and water to flow without constraint, shapes and images can emerge in unexpected and illuminating ways.

We must open our mind's eye much wider

To meditate is often to move through a land without paths. In the room where the philosopher is meditating there is less light, so you have to open your eyes wider. The same is true inside ourselves—There is less that is obvious or reassuring, so we must open our mind's eye much wider... Mindfulness ...means stopping to make contact with the ever-shifting experience that we are having at the time, and to observe the nature of our relationship to that experience, the nature of our presence at that moment.

~ from LOOKING AT MINDFULNESS: 25 PAINTINGS TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU LIVE by Christophe Andre

Faith in our creativity

The recovery of faith in our creativity and in the artist within each of us and the artists among all of us is no small thing. It has to do with the rekindling of the spark of hope and vision, of adventure and blessing, that a tired civilization needs... If it is true, as Paul says, that "we are God's work of art," then everything we have said about art as meditation applies to the delight, wonder, admiration, surprise that God takes at our birth and continual unfolding.
~ Matthew Fox in ORIGINAL BLESSING

Finding a new soul

The new work of art does not consist of making a living or producing an objet d'art or in self-therapy, but in finding a new soul. The new era of spiritual creativity...and soul-making.
~ from THE WISDOM OF THE HEART by Henry Miller
The Wisdom of the Heart
By Henry Miller

When your Creative Self calls, go with it

In embracing creativity as a spiritual practice, we commend ourselves into the Creator's hands, knowing that our goal is to disappear. And when we do, we become one with all creation. The divine spirit dances us, it plays its music through us. We become the instrument through which the divine flows like a river. When your Creative Self calls, go with it. It is God speaking. Listen to your Creative Conscience, the voice of the divine guiding you each day. It resides in your heart: your true temple.
~ Lucia Capacchione in THE SOUL OF CREATIVITY, ed. by Tona P. Myers
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