In the stillness and silence of Easter Saturday the green blade is rising, the moments that approach the resurrection are increasingly charged until God emerges in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth.
It seems that silence and stillness lead to charged moments at other times as well. Christina Feldman who teaches mindfulness says that people ‘practising Buddhist mindfulness are seeing liberation in bite-size pieces.’ (quoted in ‘Mindfulness in Schools’ a dissertation by Richard Burnett, p. 23).
Terence Handley MacMath in her article in the Church Times recently writes about her experience of attending a secular mindfulness-based stress-reduction course (MBSR), and says ‘for many it became a revelation of what I would call a spiritual way of life.’ (Church Times, 22nd March 2013, p. 17)
I heard someone else say recently that meditation had led to deeper insights about reality.
In silence and stillness different insights emerge as we practice attention and awareness. Human attention and awareness are gifts from God. Meister Eckhart says this about gifts, ‘God never gives, nor did He ever give a gift, merely that man might have it and be content with it. No, all gifts which He ever gave in heaven or on earth, He gave with one sole purpose – to make one single gift: Himself.’ (quoted in The Silent Cry, Dorothee Soelle, p. 21) As Dorothee Soelle points out all gifts that are given point back to the Giver (p.21).
The gifts of attention and awareness point back to their Giver. This particular time, that stretches from Good Friday to Easter Sunday is a time to pay particular attention. It is the time that can stretch our awareness infinitely.
Ted Hughes The Thought-Fox click on link to read poem
From Protection into Perception reflections on a mindful poem The Thought-Fox
When I first read Ted Hughes’ ‘The Thought -Fox’ and heard him read it, it seemed a mindful poem. He had slowed down through awareness the entrance of a thought into the mind.
A thought which is potent and powerful, mysterious and yet observable and in that process not tameable, but gone again – as mysteriously as it arrived. Its wholeness put into words by the poet.
It is a thought that carries feeling and smell, a primitive smell. The poem conveys the otherness of thoughts that we think of as ‘ours’ or as ‘me’. They may be part of us but they are not us, although they can tell us something about us.
We often protect ourselves from our thoughts, through deliberate defences of unawareness. And yet in the end we need to face them.
What fascinates me about Ted Hughes is the clear awareness and attention he has developed as a poet. After reading The Thought-Fox I read Terry Gifford’s book ‘Ted Hughes’. In it he quotes from Al Alvarez who says of the poem, that in it Hughes ‘hardly thinks at all.’ He puts my sense of it being a mindful poem into the right words. It is written in the ‘now.’
Gifford, T. (2009). Ted Hughes (Routledge: London, New York), p. 102, quoting Alvarez from Observer 27.3. 1966).
A cat forms the right-hand margin of the initial Luke page of the Lindisfarne Gospels. It’s head faces the bottom line of text, apparently attentive towards the mass of inattentive birds on the other side of the page – of which it has already swallowed eight.
A little picture showing the importance of being attentive, and the perils of being inattentive; the importance of being mindful and the dangers of living mindlessly.