Thursday, April 3, 2014

An April Fool Reflection : The Contented Fisherman

The Story of the Contented Fisherman:
The rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find the Southern fisherman lying lazily beside his boat, smoking a pipe.
"Why aren't you out fishing?" said the industrialist.
"Because I have caught enough fish for the day," said the fisherman.
"Why don't you catch more?"
"What would I do with it?"
"You can earn more money" was the reply. "With that you can have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats... maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be a rich man like me."
"What would I do then?"
"Then you can really enjoy life."
"What do you think I'm doing right now?"

-       Anthony DeMello SJ

Passing through the door leading into the next season the pilgrim sailor wondered about the progress, if any, that he may have made along his journey. He realized how he easily got lost . One can get lost along the way especially when he is distracted by state of his attachments to things and people and worrying about the pieces he can’t control.

“What have I learned?”, he reflected .

He thought about those aspects of his existence that he truly loved…his girls, his friends, the mentors, the people and places and experiences that filled him with joy. He thought of all of nature  - especially the majesty of dawns and sunsets and birds singing freely and the sea. Then he recalled the poems (…yes, the poems) and the books and music that comforted, inspired and continue to fill him up.

He is glad that he no longer fights the battle to fill his silos.  Sometimes he tries too hard to be authentic. Sometimes he realizes that being human is imperfection. Sometimes he is attentive to bringing a little smile to those in pain or those who are alone. Sometimes he just finds himself lost in being mindful of the present, the divinity of all things, and the wonder-filling grace. Sometimes he is aware of the fact that he just needs to let it all go and just be.

April is national Poetry Month

“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
-       Dead Poets Society

“The Gate of Heaven is everywhere”
-       Thomas Merton

"True spirituality is not a search for perfection or control or the door to the next world; it is a search for divine union now. The great discovery is always that what we are searching for has already been given! I did not find it; it found me. “
-       Richard Rohr, The Naked Now

The Buddha's Last Instruction

"Make of yourself a light "
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal - a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire-
clearly I'm not needed
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

                                -       Mary Oliver

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes

- Stanley Kunitz

                                   April 15, 2013 Boston Strong …Remember!
     - and keep all those who were killed or injured and their family and friends in your prayers.
                                             (click link if not viewed on smart phone)



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