Thursday, August 2, 2007

The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices - beyond routine choice - become manifest. It should create a new experience of time, not as stopgap, stillness, but as "temps vierge" - not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentialities and hopes - and its own presence to itself. One's own time. but not dominated by one's own ego and its demands. Hence open to others - compassionate time, rooted in the sense of common illusion and in criticism of it.
The Asian Journals of Thomas Merton, Chapter 7
With what did God bless the seventh day? With light. When the sun set on the night of the Sabbath, that light continued to function... But when the sun sank at the termination of the Sabbath, darkness began to set in. Adam was terrified, thinking, Surely the darkness shall envelop me (Psalm 139:11)...What did God do for him? God made Adam find two flints that he struck against each other; light came forth and Adam uttered a blessing over it.
Genesis Rabbah 11:2
Those lacking knowledge identify the mind with the soul; but as you grow in knowledge, you discern that the soul is distinct from the mind. Thus you isolate the soul from the mind. The mind is constantly buffeted by desires and other disturbances; this is because the mind is part of the body. By isolating the soul from the mind, the soul is liberated from the body. Thus the soul is free from all disturbance; it is no longer tied to the law of cause and effect. and this freedom is perfect knowledge.
Patanjali 4:34
As you find God, you lose your individual identity. with the loss of individual identity your soul is made pure. In this state of purity you lose your personal attributes. As you lose your personal attributes, you become wholly present to God. By being wholly present to God, you are wholly lost to the self. When God first overwhelms you by manifesting himself, you are bewildered - as if drunk. But as you lose the self, you have the clarity of sobriety. You see all things as they are, and you know their place and qualities.
Junayd: Tawhid 1
When reflecting upon transcendental intelligence, you should also consider carefully the various kinds of teacher. There are priests who perform rituals and ceremonies, and deliver eloquent sermons. There are philosophers who assume the reality of the world. And then there are enlightened people. They teach that there is nothing beyond the mind itself; there is no difference between being and non-being; and there is no external world as the object of perception. They teach the solitude of reality.
Lankavatara Sutra: 6
Lord God, how can you be both compassionate and above passion? If you are above passion, you cannot share people's suffering; but if you cannot share suffering, you cannot be compassionate - since compassion consists in feeling miserable at the misery of others. The answer must be that you are compassionate in terms of our experience, and not compassionate in terms of your own being. When you look upon us in our misery, we experience the effect of compassion, but you do not experience the feeling. You demonstrate compassion when you heal the sick and pardon the sinner; but you do not feel their suffering within yourself.
St. Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion: 8
Everything has a shape, a colour, a sound, a texture, and a fragrance. These are the outward appearances that separate one thing from another. Yet everything arises from that which has no shape, colour, sound, texture, or fragrance. If you understand this, and understand it fully, nothing can harm you or impede you. You live within limits that have no beginning and end; you breathe the original breath, and act without effort. In short, you are perfect.
Chuang Tzu, The Book of Chaung Tzu: 19
Let me be a seal upon your heart,
Like the seal upon your hand.
For love is fierce as death,
Passion is mighty as Sheol;
Its darts are darts of fire,
A blazing flame.
Vast floods cannot quench love,
Nor rivers drown it.
If a man offered all his wealth for love,
He would be laughed to scorn.
Song of Songs 8:6-7