Saturday, May 28, 2011

Too many words

Sometimes when I try to reach God, my words get in the way. They become road blocks in my life rather than pathways to the sacred

They become obstacles rather than blessings.

All those words that I gather up so carefully and rearrange with such devotion suddenly seem a bit empty. The meaning falls out of them and I am inclined to mark through them with a red pen and sit down at the table of silence.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Listening Tree

We have a listening tree on our monastery grounds. I discovered it in March when the spring leaves were returning and I've been holding regular visitations with it since then. If you look closely at the tree you will see an ear. This tree has an ear; actually it has a lot of ears. The ears of course are actually scars (places where it has been pruned to keep it alive) and that in itself has provided much reflection for me. Perhaps the same ordeal happens in our own lives and out of the places where we have been scarred we learn to listen. Maybe we are all Listening Trees. Rooted in the things that really matter! Maybe we need to learn to pay attention to our scars which may really be ears so that we can discover our deep listening qualities.

Recently I listened to someone read a poem by Rumi. Although I can't recall the exact words the poet was saying that he would like to sell his tongue and buy more ears. Me too!

I think I met a human Listening Tree the other day--well, not in person but I attended a panel discussion: The pathways to non-violence in Fayetteville AR. On the panel were the Dalai Lama, Sister Helen Prejean and Vincent Harding. The moderator asked how (after violent incidents such as when the children were killed by a bombing in Birmingham, AL in the 60's) one learns not to surrender to hate. Vincent answered with words I would like to tatoo on my arm (if I was into tatooing) He said something like this: You are so full of your dream there is no room for hate. You are full of 'the possibility of what could be.' That is what takes over your life.

When that happens to us we become LISTENING TREES. We even learn to listen to love in the people who hate....the love they can't see, perhaps because they haven't learned to listen to their scars.

Have a good day out there wherever you are! Become Listening Trees. Be so full of your dream of a non-violent world that there is no room for hate.