Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Matter of Perspective

“If peace comes from seeing the whole,
then misery stems from a loss of perspective.

We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.

Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day—the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?

It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.

When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.

In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”
Mark Nepo (Book of Awakening)


on this day
O Sacred One

remind me that the world is not my cervical spine
(soon to be taken apart and reassembled)

the world is not my knee, puffed and angry

the world is not the politician blinded by hate, fear
and yes, let us not forget greed and a lust for power

the world is not the “christian” “ministers” who spout hated and exclusion

the world is not all of the fears and resentment that race
through the corridors of my mind

this world is not a wife irritated by all my lesser qualities
(no, I don’t know where those receipts are)

the world IS those things
all of them

but it is also the gentle head butt
of Tess the cat
a text of encouragement from a co-worker
a word of thanks from a client
the beauty of falling snow

it is also  Rory and Mara
world’s cutest grandchildren
(its true, just ask me)

It is a wife of patience
and amazing children (and their spouses)
friends who first met me under the jungle gyms at kindergarten
and friends who first came my way via the craziness of FaceBook

do not let me be reduced to misery by
a smallness of perspective

let me be
“reduced to joy”

by the wonder
of life

PS:  Reduced to Joy is the title of a lovely
and powerful book of poems from Mark Nepo which came out last year

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