Monday, December 20, 2010

Engaging What We Cannot Know

We have been evolving for millions of years. We still experience the world somewhat like the reptiles and mammals we used to be. As human creatures we've been singing for about 400,000 years but talking for perhaps only 100,000. It's understandable if trying to make sense of life mainly with words leaves much of life miscomprehended. --MH

The progression from the unacceptable to the unintelligible (unknowable) has real implications for the way in which we approach both spirituality and psychotherapy. To paraphrase Adam Phillips, we can know the unacceptable, but we can only feel the unintelligible. And we cannot claim the sense of vitality that we crave unless we learn how to feel that which we cannot know, a capacity that both meditation and psychotherapy are capable of encouraging. --Mark Epstein

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present* help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city;* it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.*

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 ‘Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.’
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.*

Monday, December 6, 2010

Premature Closure

Lectio for December 6

"A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions." Proverbs 18.2

Delusion is the mind's tendency to seek premature closure about something. It is the quality of mind that imposes a definition on things and then mistakes the definition for the actual experience. –Mark Epstein, Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart

Go on with this nothing, moved only by your love of God. And let nothing interfere with this therefore but persevere in this nothingness, consciously desiring that you may always choose to possess God through love, whom no one can possess through knowledge. For myself I prefer to be lost in this nowhere, wrestling with this blind nothingness, than to be like some great lord traveling everywhere and enjoying the world as if he owned it. –The Cloud of Unknowing

Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this. –Dogberry, Much Ado About Nothing