Sunday, February 24, 2013

Orphan of learning

How do you recognize  a real teacher?  I think I recognized him as one when  he made it clear that he did not come to please, entertain or impress is audience.  He did not pretend to know everything, but he pressed  to ask the right questions about dying and life, not to hide behind the "what ifs". He warned us of the pain we fight feel in the two  coming days. 

It wasn't just the pain, it was the bareness, the exposure to being  called the orphan deprived of your own village and roots. It made me remember that at times I feel an orphan of learning. I need spiritual guides and mentors. Not gurus, not ideals but teachers.  They won't do the learning for me but can show me a new light. I might question their arguement or challenge them, but I am willing to look at the world throught their eyes, even if for a moment, to see what it feels like. 

I find the stiffness in my tongue to say "my teachers". I use the word "trainers", "lecturers", "authors". As if it was a sign of weakness,  submissiveness or blidness to talk otherwise.  Call me sentimental, but that night I walked into the room to be interpreter and he was the speaker, I walked out as a student, apprentice and he  became my  teacher. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love comes

When you realize how much love there already is in your life.

When you realize that loss  isn't the end of  love.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

When traditions come home

In the last years, ever since I became  involved with Nonviolent Communication, I have been learning more  about mindfulness, being in the present and the practice of meditation. It feels very true to me, I believe it is a part of a good quality life. But there has always been this inkling that to integrate it on a deeper level I need to find a missing piece. 

I guess was trying to understand how I could relate to the spiritual source of mindfulness and meditation, which  for me echoes from the traditions of Zen and Buddhism.  As little as I know of this tradition I feel respect for it, but it is not quite my own.  Although there are  authors and teachers I can call my own: Barry Magrid, Thich Nhat Hanh and lately Leo Babauta. Then there is Antony De Mello and Thomas Merton who loved both of these worlds and weaved their teachings  out of what is best about them. But to hear Fr. Laurence Freeman, here in Warsaw, speak of meditation from the Christian perspective and guide us through an exercise, has made this more alive for me, that there is a deep link with what I know. 

The way he spoke of meditation and mindfulness was not "we Christians can also do meditation so we are not worse than anybody else". He spoke of meditation as something that has been practiced from the very beginning of Christian contemplation.  It's not a fad  or an experiment, but coming home. 

Of course the wording "Christian meditation" has its weakness. Meditation in the Christian tradition is a form of prayer, and thus it has its unique meaning, but at the same time meditation is a meditation. The core of paying attention, being here and now is simply what it is. 

Fr. Laurence Freeman speaking of paying attention- very beautiful to me, and it can be listened by anybody.