Thursday, April 21, 2011

in that the world is monstrous

In that the world is monstrous. In that the world can lead a man to nothing but despair, and a despair so complete, so resolute, that nothing can open the door of this prison, which is hopelessness, A. peers through the bars of his cell and finds only one thought that brings him any consolation: the image of his son. And not just his son, but any son, any daughter, any child of any woman or man.

In that the world is monstrous. In that it seems to offer no hope of a future, A. looks at his son and realizes that he must not allow himself to despair. There is this responsibility for a young life, and in that he has brought this life into being, he must not despair. Minute by minute, hour by hour, as he remains in the presence of his son, attending to his needs, giving himself up to this young life, which is a continual injunction to remain in the present, he feels his despair evaporate. And even though he continues to despair, he does not allow himself to despair.

The thought of a child's suffering, therefore, is monstrous to him. It is even more monstrous than the monstrosity of the world itself. For it robs the world of its one consolation, and in that a world can be imagined without consolation, it is monstrous.

He can go no farther than this.

The invention of solitude - Paul Auster, Collected Prose

Monday, April 18, 2011

true overcoming

You dread the depths; it should horrify you, since the way of what is to come leads through it.
You must endure the temptation of fear and doubt, and at the same time acknowledge to the bone that your fear is justified and your doubt is reasonable. How otherwise could it be a true temptation and a true overcoming?

Carl Jung, The Red Book

Sunday, April 17, 2011

call of solitude

Have you not had monasteries?
Have not countless thousands gone into the desert?
You should carry the monastery in yourself.
The desert is within you.
The desert calls you and draws you back,
and if you were fettered to the world of this time with iron,
the call of the desert would break all chains.
Truly, I prepare you for solitude.

Carl Jung, The Red Book

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

fifty days of solitude

In a letter sent to me from Hereford, England, the writer D. M. Thomas explained why he had left his academic appointment at American University in Washington, D.C., so precipitously:
"It was a dreadful thing to do - my flight - but I had a sense of peril, as a person and as a writer (the same thing).... I knew that if I spent three months being 'the successful author of The White Hotel' I would quite likely become that and that only. I have to be the unsuccessful writer of the blank page before me."

Taken from Fifty days of solitude by Doris Grumbach

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

and so it is with awakening

The Abbess once said,

"If a person is always surrounded by music, she may never imagine there is an alternative. But if, after many years, she comes to a place where there is no music, she may be surprised, may be even shocked, by the relief of not hearing any sound.

If her experience of silence makes a strong enough impression, then when she returns to the world of music, she will not only hear the music but also the silence which is always here with the music.

With awakening, you will know a peace which is always here."

Taken from Monastery Within - Gil Fronsdal


In the emptiness
is fullness.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Gil Fronsdal - a monastery within

A new book by Gil Fronsdal.

Inspired by his years of Buddhist monastic life, Gil Fronsdal has written these warm-hearted stories as part of the tradition of teaching through storytelling. These are tales of transformation and spiritual growth. They delight and challenge as they express different facets of the Buddhist path to liberation in familiar, yet fresh and engaging, ways. These stories can be reread often, each time supporting new reflections on the spiritual life and the possibility of each person awakening to the kindness, clarity and insight available to all of us. A Monastery Within points to how each person can build an inner home for the awakened life.

Taken from Insight Meditation Center