Seeds of Freedom

14 Sep

I share with you today this brief excerpt from a reading I often contemplate fr om the late Thomas Merton, an American Trappist monk, spiritual writer, and activist:

. . . all these things are sent to me from His will.

If the seeds would take root in my liberty,
and if His will would grow from my freedom,
I would become the love that He is,
and my harvest would be His glory and my own joy.

And I would grow together with thousands and millions of other freedoms
into the gold of one huge field praising God,
loaded with increase, loaded with wheat.

— Thomas Merton,

from his book “New Seeds of Contemplation”

If you or I are to experience and enjoy authentic freedom, we must continually strive to foster a sacramental vision of the world: one that recognizes the fundamentally sacred character of the ordinary. For the Divine (i.e., God) is the source and ground of, and is manifested in and through, each and everything we experience. We are never alone. No matter what our circumstances might lead us to think or feel at the moment, God is never far for us.

Frankly, for quite some time I have undergone a number of potentially devastating personal challenges. While naturally I have my up and down moments, I nevertheless I continue to face life with optimism, carrying a deep peace within. Through prayer, meditation, and mindful living, I continue to cultivate a heart that is soft, that is open to this moment in time (which is all I have anyway, right?). My goal is to live my life with a radical openness to the NOW, which I know is pregnant with the “seeds” of the Spirit and of my own liberty. This is a freedom that I will lose if I run away from or ignore the problems I face, or even the pain.

Rather, I strive to greet this (and every) moment without giving into the temptation to judging it as good or bad; for I place my trust in God’s providential, loving care.  I approach this moment with an awareness of gratitude, looking for the often hidden treasures that it might bring. In short, my own gift to this moment (for I can’t be passive) is a listening heart, for I believe in the the fundamental interconnectedness of everything that is, for it is all held together, individually and collectively, in God. Everything this precious moment is the play of the Divine Symphony, inexorably working together toward the fulfillment of God’s will.

Yes, God continues to speak! Right now, where past, present and future are all held together as one! So I ask myself: What is God saying to me right now through the concrete realities of my life?

What is God saying to you?

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3 Responses to “Seeds of Freedom”

  1. Basic Joe September 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Tom,
    I find your mention of a “listening heart” to be auspicious in that I have been slowly writing a song since last week that feels almost like something sent to me that I must let take form as it needs, rather than being of my own creation. To make progress with this song I learned that must quiet my mind and listen with my heart, a practice which entered the lyric as part of the second verse:

    Closed eyes can see inside if you
    Listen with your heart
    Feel time embrace your soul
    As truest visions start

    • TexasTom46 September 20, 2010 at 7:00 am #

      Hi Joe:

      Thanks for the beautiful comment! Somehow I thought that I had replied to you earlier, so I am sorry for the delay….

      As usual, the snippet of the lyrics of the new song you are working on is full of introspective wisdom. I am anxious to have you share it with us. You are certainly welcome to post them here, if you wish.

      Do happen to have any specific practices you could share with us here that you find help you to “quiet my mind and listen with my heart”?

      In any case, I find the little bit you shared to embody helpful wisdom. So often people think that they somehow have to enter a space or reality OUTSIDE OF TIME in order to attain that quiet peace to which you speak. But I believe that the deep peace we all yearn for is to be found by encountering reality as it is, not running from it. If you think of it, authentic art (doesn’t matter if it is painting, pottery, composing music, dance, or what have you) all bring you to FOCUS as a way of SEEING and ENCOUNTERING REALITY as it is, rather than fleeing it. Likewise, I believe that this is true of any of the more overtly “spiritual practices” one might think of, be it some form of meditation, prayer, sacred reading, or what have you.

      Hope that makes sense. But if we get this simple truth, we will find ourselves well on the way to peace IN THE MIDST of our daily life if we live with an openness to life. And of course, taking brief moments of quiet meditation, even CLOSING OUR EYES for that brief time, can serve to help us re-enter everyday life with an renewed vision. But Joe, you put all this so very much more succinctly and memorably in the brief quote from your new song you shared:

      “Closed eyes can see inside if you
      Listen with your heart
      Feel time embrace your soul
      As truest visions start”

      THANKS!

      Tom

      • Basic Joe September 20, 2010 at 11:12 am #

        Thanks, Tom. Apprreciation makes it all worthwhile.

        The only practice that I use to listen with my heart is to drop into a light trance state- kind of what most might consider a meditative state.

        It is a practice I use for centering, and all I need to do is picture it in my mind and exhale- it’s pretty close to a sigh. But I have been doing light and some deeper states for about 15-20 years now. I learned long ago how easy it is to slip into and out of a light trance state at will.

        Almost everyone does so whether they know it or not. Once a person knows how to recognize it, they can learn to ease into it whenever they like.

        Joe

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