Christmas Day is a celebratory time of giving and receiving and being in Spirit. It is also a good time for being in silence.
Here is a nice description of giving and receiving and being in Spirit from novelist, journalist, and humorist Owen Arnold, who was born in Texas in 1900. He lived 80 years and somewhere in that time he penned these meaningful words about Christmas:
“Christmas Gift Suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
The Elongation of Syncopation…and Silence
Below are some printed words which I hope will assist your yearly practice of Owen Arnold’s Christmas Gift Suggestions list.
Crestone and Beyond heartily recommends the writings of Franciscan priest and author Richard Rohr. He consistently manages to cut through the usual encumbrances imposed by religious dictums and other spiritual lines of persuasion.
Here are some fresh concepts for your consideration.
Rohr is writing about silence, that mysterious force which envelopes all things…
”Finding God in the Depths of Silence” was posted in his daily email writings on Monday, December 22, 2014. Here is the short contemplation, in its entirety…
“Silence precedes, undergirds, and grounds everything. Unless we learn how to live there, go there, and abide in this different phenomenon, everything—words, events, relationships, identities—becomes rather superficial, without depth or context. We are left to search for meaning in a life of events and situations which need to increasingly contain ever higher stimulation, more excitement, and more color, to add vital signs to our inherently bored and boring existence. This need for stimulation is the character of America and most Western countries. We are in danger of becoming just a shell with less and less inside, and less contact with the depth and reality of things—where all the lasting vitality is found. This is what Jesus calls “a spring inside us—welling up unto eternal life” (John 4:14). God is always found at the depths of things, even the depths of our sin and brokenness. And in the depths, it is always silent.
As a culture, it seems we are deeply afraid of silence, as I said yesterday. The running from silence is undoubtedly running from God, from our soul, from our selves, from the truth, and from freedom. One of the beginnings of freedom is to stop thinking and “just look” (contemplata in Latin), or just be. That’s when God can meet you exactly where you are, in this embodied spirit that you are. Give yourself permission to get out of your head, to let go of your sacred explanations and theological certitudes that too often make personal listening, waiting, seeking, and praying a non need! My single biggest disappointment in serving as a priest for 44 years is the lack of spiritual curiosity among the vast majority of Catholics (I can only pick on them!) They too often settle for glib answers that make silent awe and pregnant questioning unnecessary—which is the very birth of the authentic religious spirit.
In silence and solitude, we can finally get our selves (our feelings, our needs, our compulsions, our reactions) out of the way and return to “the face we had before we were born,” as the Zen masters put it. Who am I before I was a priest or a teacher or a male or an American or whatever I am? And before that? And before that? That free and deeply desirous position of nothingness, nakedness, and emptiness is where God can most powerfully meet us and teach us. My two favorite saints, Francis of Assisi and Thérèse of Lisieux, both made this their certain and constant starting place—which is why they are so believable.”
Crestone and Beyond
Words are created out of silence, by all of us, seemingly to punctuate the silence with descriptive noises which reveal our addictive entanglement with dualism and polarized thinking. We use words to lend some sort of meaning to the depth of our dualism and polarized consciousness. Stated differently, all words imply judgment. Our ego construct depends upon words. When we stop thinking and speaking words, our ego subsides.
The Christmas Gift Suggestions list above is a rendering of words designed to soften your Heart space and open you to sacrifice.
The word sacrifice comes from the Latin sacrum facere which means “to make sacred or holy.”
When we can let go of our multilayered word judgments about ourselves and others, then sacrifice of our many held ego constructs becomes easier, the Heart softens, the silence which supports all things becomes more apparent, and our own Divinity actually has a chance to hold sway.
Between every genetic codon, between every breath, between every pulse, between every thought, between every written or spoken word, between every note of a symphonic score there is a space…a gap.
Without the gap, or pause, between all of these expressive notes, everything would be run together and would be a cacophonous and meaningless noise.
On the other hand, as this gap space widens and elongates, mysteries begin to unfold from inside of the emerging silence.
Here’s to hoping that you can elongate your syncopations…
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond
Peace and Every Good