Lotus flowers lead harrowing journeys. Their seeds sprout in murky swamp water, thick with dirt and debris and snarls of roots. For a lotus to bloom, she must forge her way through this terrible darkness, avoid being eaten by fish and insects, and keep pressing onward, innately knowing, or at least hoping, that there is sunlight somewhere above the water’s surface, if she can only summon the strength to get there. And when she does, she emerges unscathed by her journey and blooms triumphantly.
~ Sarah Jio, All the Flowers in Paris
If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.
~ Masaru Emoto, Secret Life of Water
Election day eclipse
The most important hour is always the present; the most significant person is precisely the one who is sitting across from you right now; the most necessary work is always love.
~ Meister Eckhart
Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do. The minor choices we make are a kind of vote, making it more or less likely that free and fair elections will be held in the future. In the politics of the everyday, our words and gestures, or their absence, count very much.
~ Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
A Monday meander: Back to the gardens
I have come to understand my spirituality as an ongoing internal lyrical state of consciousness, semi-consciousness and unconsciousness in which I find meaning, comfort, refuge, inspiration, mystery and strength.
It seems more like the dreaming of my inner child’s creaturely heart than my rational mind – although they are both interwoven. It is somewhat like music. It is like nature. It offsets the influence of my worried contemporary self or the hard speedy material world that would overwhelm me if it were not for this nourishing sense of otherworldliness, and the lyrical wisdom and feeling that arises there in my spiritual self.
With spirit, one is able to have and hold many feelings, and live a felt life. The spirit supports and negotiates between our feelings, instincts and intuitions. It is good at conflict resolution. It supports our prophetic vision and our creativity. With spirit and feeling we may find a way through the darkness.
~ Michael Leunig, Spirituality, Art & Innocence
Nothing can be loved at speed, and I think we might be looking at the loss of love in the world due to the increased velocity of ordinary life; the loss of care, skill and attention enough to ensure the health and happiness of each other and the planet earth. It is a baffling problem and governments seem unable to recognize it, or do much about it at present. To put it as a bleak modern metaphor, there may be moments when we feel we are all aboard an airliner being flown into a mountainside by the unstoppable forces of an incomprehensible madness. Now seems like a good time to talk about spirituality, art and innocence.
~ Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You
None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.
A Philosophy of Walking
A meander at Pocomoke River State Park
I’m painfully aware that the experts in fields like religion and spirituality sometimes feel that bringing mysticism down so far into ordinary life is an insult to the great mystics and makes it all too light and breezy. I feel just the opposite. I believe that one day we’ll understand that we’ve lost out on religion because we made it too lofty and distant. I see it as a simple quality of everyday life, and in that simplicity lie its beauty and importance.
~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own
Brief experiences of sublime absorption, as ordinary as being struck by the brilliant blue of a cloudless sky, may contribute to your sense of being religious. The mystical moments multiply and over time you extend the borders of yourself, you are less prone to protecting yourself, and you have more empathy with the people and the world around you. If you define religion as a strong sense of the divine, your daily mysticism contributes to that sense by drawing you out of yourself into nature and then beyond.
~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own