Monthly Archives: May 2013

Afoot with Monkey Mind

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths…Proverbs 3:5

Last week, I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. As we caught up, I shared my desire to finish up some writing projects and get my work out. One thing led to another and soon, quite casually, she mentioned an idea that I would never have thought of. And, soon that feeling was palpable. You may know the one. Synchronicity was at play and it felt as if the Beloved was afoot.  Even the message in my fortune cookie proclaimed, Your dearest wish will come true!

The next morning I went out onto my screen porch to do my practice and, suddenly, realized what I had not done. I had not come home from lunch the day before to immediately create a 40-day mantra practice to manifest this blessed new idea. No, instead, this morning, I found myself chanting parts of the beautiful hymn Lead Me Lord: Your plans for me are perfect. Lead me Lord, I will follow. Lead me Lord, I will go. You have called me. I will answer. Lead me Lord, I will go. And, my heart swelled wide.  That sweet kind of swelling that just happens when some place, deep, unexpectedly cracks open.

Now, just today, I thought about the monkey mind our Buddhist teacher talked of on Sunday and how very easy it is to attach to what we are wanting next. When our mind is in this state, we are not content to simply rest in the present moment as it is. Instead, we are off dreaming, chasing some imagined future. And, being asleep, sadly, we miss the true blessings right before us and within us – simple, yet eternal, as the rise and fall of our chest as we are breathed into life each moment.

Yet how tempting it is, with such excitement, to follow the monkey mind and lean on our own understanding. After all, it can feel so right! But, this morning, I remembered something beyond right or wrong. I remembered Grace…those moments that have found me, sometimes twirling me around in playful surprise, other times cradling me in my fear, but always emptying me, to satiate me, with that which passes all understanding. And how, in those moments, without effort, even my monkey mind rests.

Will I follow up on my dearest wish? You bet! Will I create a practice? Of course! It’s my job, after all, to follow the Love put in my heart. But, to where? Not my call. And, to what end? Don’t know. I just know my dear monkey mind can only imagine itself.

But, Grace does Know. So I put my trust there…

And, suddenly, I find myself on some field of wonder far beyond my dearest wish or imagination…afoot with my monkey mind…smiling.

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A Bowl and a Prayer

It happened when I was shaping a ball of clay into a prayer bowl. Rev. Pamela Nowell, potter and artist extraordinaire, came to the seminary classes to teach us how to make these sacred bowls. And, we were blessed.

As I began to work with my ball of clay, I first noticed my mind wanting a full accounting of just how I was doing with this new experience. Thank you, mind, for sharing. Now, kindly go sit. A short time passed and then a subtle shift. I found myself, softly, watching the bowl take form, coming alive, in response to my probing fingers and turning palms. More time passed and, then, at some point, time, like me, stood still. I began to sense a kind of silent whispering as the bowl now seemed to be guiding me, letting me know with each stroke exactly what it needed to bring itself to life. No, more than that, to become the purest expression of what it already knew itself to be.

Soon, in a moment I couldn’t predict, the bowl was done. Complete. I tenderly placed it in the box along side the others. Standing back, I noticed it didn’t look particularly special in relation to the other bowls nor did it appear any more, or less, perfect. Instead, it felt to me, simply, supremely content…to just be.

And, my heart bowed.

Later I thought how each of us is like those bowls. If the bowls can know what they may be, why can’t we? After all, just like me with the ball of clay, we too have a Potter. And, perhaps, just perhaps, our Beloved Potter, who created us and planted within us the seed, that yearning impulse of what we may be, is holding us waiting patiently for us to move, ever so slightly toward that very impulse, to then respond, shaping us toward the full expression of our destiny, what we already know ourselves to be.

And, perhaps in those moments, all creation bows in joy.

Praying as One.


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Shoe Department – Third Shelf Up

Yesterday my toes breathed. First time this year. Oh, but as if that weren’t quite enough for my giggling heart, they got to do so in those sandals. Yes, the very ones I had reluctantly tossed, finally, into the garbage the end of last summer after several years of rubber cushioned, bouncy, devoted service to my every step. So sad was I, I thought some sort of sacred ritual might be in order. Ahhh, but God is good! Last week, looking on the shelves in the same store where I had first discovered my coveted sandals, feeling a bit distraught as not imagining any new pair ever measuring up, there they were! Those sandals, new and perky and just sitting there like some in-plain-sight treasure waiting discovery. Do they have my size? Yes! And, off to the checkout I went, clutching my treasured find, just barely able to contain my oozing good fortune. Yes! I had discovered the most blessed of treasures hidden right there in plain sight – shoe department – third shelf up!

So, you can imagine, it was almost more than I could bear to, then, have my toes breathe, first time, in those sandals. A celebration was in order! So, with my daughter and grandson in tow, we headed for the back roads, rolled down the windows, turned up the music and, of course, gleefully clutched our first yummy ice cream cone, melting and dripping in sticky delight.

Mr. Einstein you were absolutely right when you said there are only two ways to live our lives – one as if nothing were a miracle and the other as if everything is a miracle. And, yes, it’s certainly true that I have been humbled by miracles beyond my understanding. But, yesterday, I discovered, again, all the miracle I needed to know.

Toes breathe.

And hidden treasures abound – shoe department, third shelf up.


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