“That is what a wounded stag would do, hiding in the forest until his injuries heal.” (on meditation, Happiness by Buddhist Monk Matthieu Ricard)
I am a purveyor of books, a drunkard of words if you will. I spent some time in spiritual isolation these last couple of months, and that’s not a bad thing. Time away gives you peace and most importantly perspective. If we do not lay claim to the silence, who will do it for us?
I hear a lot of chatter about girl scouts and field trips and world hunger and soccer. There is of course politics and terrorists and all of the horrible natural disasters that invade our television sets day in and day out. The world is loud, and so are we.
Facebook and twitter seem so mundane. Repetitions of inspirational quotes and cute dogs and your kids. Lots of smiling people behind doors. We are so busy that we have no time for time.
After coming out of my time away from writing, I gained a new love and perspective for all human beings, wherever they were, whoever they were. My wonderful roommate at work, (who may or may not be an agnostic), gave me the gift of a book he thought I’d like. It was such a kind gesture. He picked it out for me, after I am sure sitting on our many talks about life, my conversion, religion and the truth. The book entitled “Happiness” by Buddhist Monk Matthieu Ricard was a far cry from Pope Benedict or How to be a Badass, but fit in wonderfully with my eclectic taste and my perpetual journey. I tucked it away for a later date, a time when I would be open to the message it might bring.
I love how God can use anything to talk to us, if we let him. How important the state of just being for Him is. When I first started walking with Jesus, I would have outright not accepted this book, or may have tossed it aside. But when you see everything through the lens of truth, a whole new world can open up for you.
I was not judgmental and my spirit was open. I took tiny gems away from it, like lessons about time and the concept of flow, the skill of cultivating happiness and having a simple mind as opposed to being simple-minded. It brought me back to the small things, the granules of sand and the art of just being with Jesus. Maybe I don’t meditate in the same way this Buddhist monk does, but we have a commonality, a common goal- to increase our time of silence so that we may hear.
In mass today Father talked about the wise men. In between the shhs and sit downs and evil eyes I was giving my children, one line stayed with me, so much so I had to wade through wipes and pens and snot-filled children to write it down.
“The wise men did not come empty-handed.”
Everything else was a Charlie Brown blur since I was sitting with my two six-year olds and five-year old, trying to ensure someone’s feet did not get broken underneath the kneeler. But that thought lingered and stuck with me. There was more to it. It was gold.
It spoke of action and preparation. It spoke of being ready. I found myself imagining my hands when I came to Jesus, giving Him my silence, giving Him all of me. That place, that space was so quiet. The calm words of the Buddhist monk helped, helped guide me right back to Jesus.
I could hear the Lord’s soft voice in the background, Did you enjoy your stay?
Yes, yes I did, very much so, but I missed you Lord.
I can see His smile- It is bright and wide like the morning sun. He was sitting patiently, waiting for me to finish reading. He was waiting for me to come back home.
It is an amazing thought to know I can take a walk anywhere and He will wait for me. That even in the words of a Buddhist monk, I felt and saw Him. That what the author calls meditation, I call prayer.
I appreciated my relationship with the Lord so much more when the book ended. I wasn’t lost or trying to find any answers. I was appreciating my neighbors and loving them, finding commonality. But knowing where it was I was coming home to.