Called to a different way of knowing and being, we begin to read as if for the first time. We do not read for information, but to know ourselves and be changed. We want to know where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going. We want to know what it is to know and whether and how we can change. We seek testimonies of those who have done so. We seek evidence that we can make our own. We-read phi­losophy; psychology, history, mythology. We read the great texts of the world’s esoteric and wisdom traditions. But such untutored reading, no matter how passionate and committed, is not sufficient. We must learn to read differently. We must learn to think differently; to be differently. There is no mystery about this. We are given the world we think. For the world to change, our thinking must become different, selfless, endlessly responsive, ethical. We must learn not to consume a text, but to allow it to call us. We must learn to listen, to receive and respond. Meaning becomes a gift that we allow to live within us and return to the giver with our whole being.

 

We are called to a new interiority, a new solitude; and a new kind of community. We discover that books and written words are only signs, as the body is the sign of the soul. We learn to read meditatively, to rise from the letter to the spirit. Perhaps we learn to do so from Guigo the Carthusian who laid down the steps of sacred reading, or from some other teacher, or perhaps the texts themselves teach us. We read the words before us slowly, reflectively, sentence by sentence, to understand exactly what is meant. As if called by name, we read with a heart filled with empathy and love, straining to hear what is really being said and demanded of us. With each reading, the meaning sinks deeper into our body, as we discover level upon level of meaning and apply it to our lives. We ponder, associate, seeking insight wherever we can find it. We rest in awe at the richness we have been given. Entering a meditative state, we sit with our attention completely focused, as if the speaker under­stood us perfectly and the words were calling us and only us directly. Then, we stop thinking, surrendered to the invisible author with open heart. Finally, we let go of everything and, enveloped in a vast body of silence and inner peace, rest in emptiness, in pure, listening receptivity. A greater universe of consciousness, worlds within worlds, opens before us, filled with beings and their relationships, constituting a lineage and community in which we are called to participate.

 

-Christopher Bamford  (editor in chief of Anthroposophic Press)

 

Consider the difference

in our actions and God’s actions.

 

We often ask, “Why did you do that?” or “Why did I act like that?”

We do act, and yet everything we do is God’s creative action.

 

 

We look back and analyze the events of our lives, but there is another way

of seeing, a backward-and-forward-at-once vision, that is not rationally understandable.

Only God can understand it.

Satan made the excuse, You caused me to fall, whereas Adam said to God, We did this to ourselves. After this repentance, God asked Adam, Since all is within my foreknowledge, why didn’t you defend yourself with that reason?

Adam answered, I was afraid, and I wanted to be reverent.

Whoever acts with respect will get respect.

Whoever brings sweetness will be served almond cake. Good women are drawn to be with good men.

Honor your friend. Or treat him rudely, and see what happens!

Love, tell an incident now

that will clarify this mystery

of how we act freely, and are yet

compelled. One hand shakes with palsy. Another shakes because you slapped it away.

Both tremblings come from God, but you feel guilty for the one, and what about the other?

These are intellectual questions.

The spirit approaches the matter

differently. Omar once had a friend, a scientist, Bu’l-Hakam, who was flawless at solving

empirical problems, but he could not follow Omar into the area of illumination and wonder.

Now I return to the text, “And He is with you, wherever you are,” but when have I ever left it!

Ignorance is Gods prison. Knowing is God’s palace.

We sleep in God’s unconsciousness. We wake in God’s open hand.

We weep God’s rain.

We laugh God’s lightning.

Fighting and peacefulness both take place within God.

Who are we then

in this complicated world-tangle, that is really just the single, straight line down at the beginning of ALLAH?

Nothing.

We are

 emptiness.

 

When you are with everyone but me,

you’re with no one. When you are with no one but me,

you’re with everyone.

Instead of being so bound up with everyone, be everyone.

When you become that many, you’re nothing. Empty.

 

–Rumi (Emptiness)

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