The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein.
the other day i was riding the tram (or trolly. whatever it is really called in english), and this man was obviously sitting across the aisle & facing me. i noticed him immediately when the doors open and i walked onboard. it’s not everyday you see a man such as he in the western world. a buddhist monk. a sense of calm washed over me. peace. he sat there silently, not even really looking around, but just absorbed in the presence of his moment. he was so present, so aware, and yet, not frantically looking around at everyone & everything that was happening (people-watching, or judging, as i would call it). i wondered what we was thinking. i wondered if he was praying. but, then, i realized it didn’t matter. i could see that all of his life was a prayer. of course he was praying. there was not a moment that passed that he was not praying. not with words exactly, but with his very being, with every breath. and he was radiating light and peace.
and i thought to myself, i want to radiate light with my being. i want to simply be, and for people to feel a sense of calm by just being around me.
since i saw this holy man a few days ago, i’ve continued to think about him. almost constantly. and i remembered the theme that we had at the camp i worked at in july. one of the things we wanted to focus on, as we spent time together in the archipelago, was being true to ourselves, living life with integrity, living what we believe.
it’s so easy to say a bunch of things and then do a bunch of different things. but, what i seek is a life that is whole, complete. what i want to be, and who i want to surround myself with, are people who say one thing and then act in the exact same way. the questions that i am asking myself today are, “am i spreading light? do i stand for what i believe? do i act on my beliefs? am i faithful to my journey towards holiness/perfection/light/wholeness?”
many people seem to be intimidated by the word “holy” or “perfection”. but i am not talking about being someone who is perfect, has everything figured out, pleases everyone all the time, never makes mistakes. no, not at all. what i am talking about when i talk about holiness, is someone who is whole. someone who is true to their journey in life. someone who, in the middle of all of their flaws and screw-ups, still keeps walking. someone who seeks to be whole and to spread light; for when we are whole, when we are on a journey towards inner peace, then the light & love of God simply shines forth from their lives.
like the holy man on the tram.
i am a true believer of focusing on our inner lives… being quiet, practicing mindfulness, meditation, prayer, or whatever you call it. time set aside for you & God. time to connect, and listen, and just be. and when we practice silence & solitude, and practice the being truly present in the present moment, then our lives automatically burst forth with fruit. when we connect with the divine, the divine spirit in us becomes visible.
being holy is not to be feared. no one has asked us to be perfect. being holy, however, does have everything to do with being faithful. faithful to our journey, faithful to ourselves, faithful to each other, faithful to the call to a life of simplicity, love, & peace.
there have been times in my life where i have wondered if i should have been a female monk (i prefer that term over “nun” for some reason). but there are problems with that. well, firstly i’m not catholic. and secondly, it just doesn’t feel right. while i have these contemplative tendencies, i am way too into society to live in a monastery full time (though a visit once a year to a monastery could be amazing). but, no. after years of searching my soul, and discovering who i am created to be, i am certain that i am meant to spend my life with one foot in the middle of contemplative spirituality and one foot in the middle of our global society. what that looks like depends on where i am and how i can be used at that specific time in life. but, always, it is my calling to put a secular spin on spirituality, and a spiritual pin on all things secular… thus, creating an understanding of the wholeness of life. spirituality, love, peace, hope, & grace permeate every minute of life.
the challenge is to be aware. to be present. to be faithful.
like the holy man.
wishing you a sense of wholeness & peace.
If that isn’t a call to the ministry of a deacon, then I don’t know what is…. Great post, Liz!
Years back when I was in high school a friend came to me and said. “You know I can’t stand all those missionary people and am quite fed up with Christians trying to convert me. But you have something that other people don’t have and I want it too” it was one of the biggest compliments I ever got. And I’m more than happy to pass it on to you my dear friend. You are a holy woman, spreading light and hope to so many of us just by being who you are! love
Monks fascinate me for some reason because of their way of life. It’s so peaceful…and somehow their beliefs appeal to me because of it.
I think as we journey into spiritual awareness…the closer we are to coming full circle, the harder the challenges become…because if you truly want to experience that ‘oneness’ you have to unlearn and differentiate your humanistic traits and attitudes and breathe, live in the reality that you are a spirit having human experiences; that you are sent here to share your being with others in this journey of life.
Part of this journey is to walk the walk and talk the talk…- ‘do i stand for what i believe? do i act on my beliefs?’ If we know who we truly are, we will not adjust our beliefs in accordance to those around us for fear of being judged or persecuted.
As for this : am i faithful to my journey towards holiness/perfection/light/wholeness?
I can answer you and say that you are.
I believe there is a reason why I met you…I am on the path of spiritual enlightenment but I have struggled so much with religion vs spirituality because I cannot ‘worship’ a church in which its members would have been burn in hell for being who I am.
I have come to terms that I am ‘spiritual’ because the spirit has existed since time immemorial, whereas religion is the interpretation of man.
Man does not define our spirituality. We seek this truth for ourselves. We define it for ourselves.
And I am happy to have you as my friend because through you, I see that my beliefs were never ‘wrong’ – they are just gravely different from those of my family’s.