April 16, 2005

The Painter's Brush

I have been contemplating this Thomas Kelly quote this week. Kelly is speaking about that place, deep within us, that he calls an amazing sanctuary of the soul. I been considering how is it that we arrive at this place, which is with us all along, already home unto itself? I recognize that for me, longing or desire has not led me to this sanctuary; for indeed, there is nowhere to go. In fact, it seems the more I want to see into this experience Kelly so eloquently describes, the further I am from it. I am left with unresolved frustration how can this be so close, yet so far from me right now? How can I find this light within me?

Kelly uses the word yielding, which signals the way. It is the yielding, the acquiescing of ego, of self, of personality, of desire that allows me to enter this dynamic center. In my experience, this only happens, or happens most readily, in the syntax of simple silence. Breath by breath in silence, I feel myself relax, open, my heart soften, my thinking mind eventually stops its fluttering. It is as though I fall into a new place within me; here there is the feeling of warmth and love, a kind of radiating life stirring within. The feeling is bliss, albeit a very quiet, peaceful bliss, in these moments.

When I feel this closeness to that within me that is pure, primordial, I want to savor it, to nurture the flame of this fire, so to speak. But how? All too quickly this light dims with one impulsive stroke of an everyday annoyance, my tender flame seems to extinguish, and I lose my peaceful bliss, I lose my way from that amazing sanctuary of my soul.

Recently, I have begun to try something new, something that helps me carry graceful presence forward from meditative silence into the activity of my day. I imagine my transition from meditation to work to be soft, flowing, moving slowly and gently from one activity into another. I have this image of a painter's brush; dipping the brush into rich color the painter then feathers the brush from solid color to streaks of color to wispy recollections of color. Feathering out my prayerful awareness, flowing, one moment of conscious awareness merges into another. When I realize that I have lost touch with sacred presence, I quiet myself... Dip my brush... Slow down... breathe... notice... yield...


Akilesh said...

Your innocent words reminded me, "When thine eye is single, then will thy body be full of light."

The direct experience of the truth alters us in profound ways. Inevitably it fades but the understanding that went along with the experience stays with us, changing our perspective of life forever more. Those pure experiences soften and ripen us, preparing the ground for even deeper realizations, deeper insights, deeper truths. No need to cling to those past moments of blessedness, they are only thoughts now. Let them go. Without the burden of mind-identified thought, that which your heart needs to remember, it will remember. If you are willing to keep opening in the herenow, there are skies upon skies...

Monkey said...

This was beautiful written, I love the metaphor of the painter's brush. It's perfect, and it spoke to me in a time when my faith is far from its greatest height.

Thank you for this post. :)