Friday, January 20, 2023

On Monastic Prayer, continued + 1,000 Hours

You know those alarm clocks that allow you to "wake up" to the sounds of nature. I had one as a kid, and I remember choosing the "Babbling Brook" setting.

Well, this morning we had our very own all-natural alarm clock as water began dripping from the roof into chapel during morning praise! It certainly woke us up!

What was even better were the lines from Psalm 32 we chanted, punctuated by the drip, drip, drip:
So let the faithful pray to you
in their time of need.
Even flood waters will never reach them.

Oh, all is one! (And ironic!)


Speaking of nature, I am just about done with a new book by religion historian Karen Armstrong, Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World

She reminds us what so many others have reminded us: we humans are the ground we walk on. Let us be a bit more reverent; let us recognize our place in the cosmos. (See: Benedictine humility)

Here are two of my favorite quotes from the book.

Human beings have the freedom to make a voluntary act of islam (the "surrender" of ego) and to consciously shape their lives so that they reflect the source of being.

We can practice a simple exercise that will remind us of the kenosis [self-emptying] that is central to a fulfilled human life. This is not a prayer. It is simply a short, sharp reminder of the essential frailty of our humanity that enables us to see ourselves realistically and, hopefully, improve. Every day, first thing in the morning and at night, for just a few moments we should consider three things: how little we know; how frequently we fail in kindness to other beings; and how limited are our desires and yearnings, which so often begin and end in our self.


Speaking of nature (again), J suggested that we take on a challenge: spend 1,000 hours outside over the course of the year. Doing simple math, i.e. 1,000/365, we have to spend an average of just under 2.75 hours outside each day to achieve this goal. We are banking on summer days and maybe a camping trip (or two) to help us along. 

I am still not so sure it will really be achievable for me, but it's certainly something worth striving for. Plus, the comprehensive spreadsheet I made to log our hours is delightful for my organized and goal-oriented self!

Here are some photos I have captured over the first 2% of the journey! (980 hours to go!)

Let us walk in the holy presence.

I love the contrast of the fog and these trees.

And I love when the horizon is indistinguishable.

Overall, it hasn't been too snowy of a winter here.

Pax in Terra: A Meditation from Pema Chödrön

" One of the astronauts who went to the moon later described his experience looking back at Earth from that perspective. Earth looked s...