Reachable

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019


Now is the fulfillment time, God’s Realm is within reach.
Mark 1: 15

Seeker,
How long is your life’s reach?

As a young man
I was blessed to live, for a time,
among tribal people in the Amazon rain-forest.

Once, the whole village
set off for a fishing camp
along a distant tributary.

In single file
we walked a narrow forest track
through swirling predawn mist.

Along the way women and girls
reached down with ease to pick up pods,
cracked open by monkeys and macaws.

Some of the Brazil nuts
they placed in baskets,
others they simply pushed into the soil.

All the while, high above us in each direction
tall trees converged into the distance;
a seamless canopy hung with Brazil nuts.

Suddenly it struck me;
as we walked, they were gently harvesting and planting
an endless avenue of lofty nut trees.

Later I was astounded
to discover that these trees
grow up to 150 feet tall and live for 500 years.

How far-sighted to consider,
when taking a walk, to guarantee a verdant store
of food and shelter for twenty generations to come!

So, I am left to wonder,
in the midst of my mundane tasks and travels,
what consideration I give to the latitude of life here and hereafter.

And what will remain
one hundred years hence,
of my life, loves and legacy?

I am one with the source insofar as I too act as a source by making everything I have received flow again. Raimon Panikkar

Whenever we make ourselves available,
receptive to reality unfolding,
we become reachable.

Oh to have hearts laid open,
till all the world spills in
and we feel at home with the wholeness of being.

What other purpose then for prayer,
but to dispel every illusion of separation
and delusion of division.

And rather than close eyes and ears
to the tides of these trying times,
constantly treading waters of distraction and distress,

we might surrender to the buoyancy of the swell
and be carried away by the sweep
of currents much broader and deeper.

Are we not all born to be visionaries,
made for mysticism,
shaped to receive, reflect and reverence?

God, whose love and joy are present everywhere,
cannot come to visit you unless you are not there.

Angelus Silesius

Prayerful presence then is at once a planting and a harvest
of simple, intentional invitations to life
that are always outreaching and open-ended.

Thus, looking out, over and beyond,
gazing further and deeper down,
prayer provides a corrective lens to collective nearsightedness;

extending our attention span
to bridge the chasm
of busyness and boredom,

befriending quiet
till softer sounds
become perceptible.

Such are the fruits of receptivity
to a Realm that is not quite beyond us
but over-washes us should we make ourselves reachable.

We wait in the quietness for some centering moment that will redefine, reshape and refocus our lives … Dost Thou understand what it is like to be caught between the agony of one’s own private needs and to be tempest-tossed by needs that overwhelm and stagger the mind and paralyze the heart? … For the long loneliness, the deep and searching joy and satisfaction, the boundless vision … we thank Thee. Howard Thurman

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

Life Unending

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019


Once an official asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what should I do in order to inherit life unending?’ Luke 18:18

Seeker,
How do you make time for love and space for life in the course of your days?

When the ancients became confirmed cultivators,
relinquishing their nomadic ways
to settle and sink roots,

they thrived on the miracle of soil and seeds
that give and grow through mysterious cycles of dying and birthing;
the endless transubstantiation of matter.

Our ancestors mapped this spiraling journey— mirrored in ocean currents,
seasonal rounds and meandering rivers— by the pilgrim passages
of sun, moon, stars, and the coursing migrations of herds, shoals and flocks.

Peak seasons of planting and harvesting, drought and deluge,
gave birth to rites and rituals that moor each community in the moment;
even as we all drift in the momentum.

But there is this rhythm
of how things grow that
we are privy to from
time to time.
Mark Nepo

Such primal expressions of moment and movement— still preserved and practiced by fringe-dwelling communities— seeded religious consciousness that inspired philosophical and scientific inquiry.

Yet, we continue to scour and contemplate
the inscrutable character and composition of time-space
through our pinhole of understanding.

So come the storms of winter and then
The birds in spring again
I have no fear of time
For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?
Sandy Denny

Like water trickling through
hands tightly cupped, we struggle
to grasp the fluid continuum of fleeting moments.

More than a succession of separate instances,
spliced into minutes and eons, our perception of time-space
is defined by the depth of our presence to each moment unfolding.

Once, an aged man brought a waistcoat to his tailor.
‘This belonged to my great-great grandfather,’ he boasted,
‘and for over two centuries the men of our family have worn it proudly.’
Astounded, the tailor replied, ‘But this vest looks brand new!’
To which the owner commented, ’Indeed, that’s because it’s had four new fronts and three new backs.’ ‘With so many repairs,’ the tailor mused, ‘this can hardly be the same garment.’
The owner contested, ‘Oh but through all those changes, the arm-holes have always remained the same.’

Throughout this ceaseless cycling— ever rising up and dying down,
cresting-collapsing waves of the fabric of time— if what remains of life
is the love space between and before us, then love itself is life unending.

There is LIFE longer by far than mine or yours.
There is LOVE deeper that we can all fall into.
There is an always-unfolding, ever-widening ripple of presence.

Every moment and every event of every(one’s) life on earth plants something in (their) soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of invisible and visible winged seeds, so the stream of time brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of (people). Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because (we) are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love. Thomas Merton

Since love makes space for life to flourish,
may you make time to marinate in the sacrament of this moment
and let the loving connections therein be revealed.

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

Lost and Found

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Luke 15:6

Seeker,
Who looks out for you?

We need not look far and wide
for the Source of Being, around and inside;
for Presence relentlessly seeks us out.

The surprise of salvation is that we are healed;
pursued by Mystery,
found in forgiveness,

by an ever-patient Presence who,
unperturbed by waywardness,
tenaciously tracks us down.

Whence could I flee your Spirit or escape your Presence? Psalm 139:7

For a time, we might cast ourselves
into the chasm of mass distraction;
thinking to be unreachable.

For a while, we might let our souls be held captive
by the shadow-play of plasma screens,
or gorge on sound-bite reactions to life’s tragic wonder.

But, in due time, even here,
joy can unseat us, mystery unsettle us,
pain up-end us and forgiveness find us out.

The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. Abraham Heschel

Every seeker understands
what it is to be found and found out;
sought and caught out by life.

Those on a quest
are content to be enticed into unknowing
by penetrating questions.

And the lonely soul
finally finds home
by welcoming others.

Whomsoever welcomes you welcomes me, and welcoming me, welcomes the One who sent me. Matthew 10:40

Should we allow ourselves to be found,
we might receive and radiate mercy;
becoming beacons in the densest night.

We cease pursuing a separate “Other”
when we are entangled,
caught up in the hurting-hope of a sister or brother.

All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.

Francis Thompson

New-found by forgiveness,
the hungers of the sorely afflicted
unshackle us from spiritual self-seeking.

Forgiving brings us to our knees,
not to beg but to revere,
to let ourselves be found, without trace of shame or fear.

Holiness is no longer hidden, except in plainest sight.
Joy kindles hearts
and hope hangs on every smile.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. Thomas Merton

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am