Quick thought exercise. Who is it you think of in your own life that you associate with the word wisdom? Someone who doesn’t get caught up in games of status and recognition. Someone who is able to skillfully navigate emotionally charged interactions. Someone at once grounded, aware, insightful, honest, and humble, possessed of a quiet inner strength with no need to call undue attention to itself.
One of the challenges of the contemplative life is understanding the relationship between the contemplative dimension of life – the cultivation of an interior silence that radically changes how we perceive the world and the self-in-the-world – and the bare facts of the practical lives we find ourselves in.
Philosophers call it the phenomenal world.
More poetically, Eastern traditions have called it the ten thousand things.
One of the most well-known and celebrated mystics from the Christian tradition is teacher and preacher Eckhart von Hochheim or Meister Eckhart. He had a wide and varied career, taught some controversial principles, and became touchstone for interreligious dialogue in the 20th century, especially given some of his Neoplatonist teachings.
For some reason, I’ve always been interested in sources of inspiration and creativity – the guy behind the guy in a sense. So if someone is an influential musician, say, I want to know who had influenced them. In college I dug into some of the inspirations for artists like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles, going back into the catalogue of early 20th century masters like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, and so on. I wanted to hear that originating source.
Book Review: The St. Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book by Jon Sweeney
There’s a little book on St. Francis I’ve been dipping into lately. No, I don’t mean the Little Flowers of Saint Francis, but good guess!
I mean Jon Sweeney’s delightful The St. Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book that I’ve kept on my desk for the past couple weeks just to sample from like a candy box when I’m in between tasks or waiting for a response or some such.