Sunday, October 21, 2007


It has been said that to be full of things is to be empty of God. Whereas, to be empty of things is to be full of God. (Meister Eckhart) What does that mean to you? And how on this earth can we ever feel like we have successfully emptied ourselves of things in order to receive God's love? It seems like a mighty big task, perhaps too monumental.

Things...... the cluttery knickknacks that we allow to accumulate in our brains? The lists of "to do's," "must haves," "gotta finish," "must resolve?" It includes the feelings of avoidance, fear, guilt and shame which paint our spirits with opaqueness. And don't forget the negativity aroused by our doubting self-talk.

Layers and layers of phyllo clothing........

We are messes aren't we? We are all packrats at heart.........stuffing ourselves with "things" to a point where are minds are satiated......perhaps overflowing........clogging our arteries, and armouring our hearts. Too much of a good thing? Too much of a bad thing?

Too much. It blocks the light.

Too much and we are burdened beyond recognition.

Too much and we may even have to pass up a small little wafer, for fear of exploding.
(with visions of Monty Python as I write this sentence!)

No wonder we have a tough time finding the way to stillness. Our "things" are chugging and churning and pulsating through our veins blocking spiritual oxygen found in the light.

And now we find ourselves ensconsed in the season of reflective thought. It is also the season which is the most pardoxical, for autumn is a feast for the senses where bounty and empty intermingle. It is the season where we fill up with both beauty and more serious contemplations.....soulful reflections..........some of which stop us from moving forward, some of which continue to block the light despite our efforts.

Our "things" drag the energy right out of our efforts.

But, maybe thats the key to reaching empty. Maybe that's what needs to happen before the spiritual kindling will catch a spark......a ray. Maybe when we expend our energies, when we don't have the strength for even the churning and chugging to take place, when our defences have been spent, that we finally begin to feel like there is some space amongst the clutter.

When I think about it now, this can take a long, long time. We are physically and mentally strong! We have the capacity to put up a good fight protecting our things! Fear and determination coupled with our ability to deny, avoid and push it down and down in order to ADD more things into the wonder it takes a long time to be accept that emptiness is where we meet God. It's a lot of work pushing all of our things uphill, but we seem to choose this route more readily than the other........leaving it all at the bottom of the hill and walking up free of burdens. Why is that???

So where to start? I think autumn gives us this answer too. It is found in the clarity of the wind, in the profusion of the colour. It is found in the rattling dead leaves tripping down the street. It is found in the early nights and the startling sunrises. It is found in the migration of the flocks of birds, in the busyness of the squirrels. It is found in the bounty and maturity of nature and of ourselves.

Autumn is the season of gratitude. This paradoxical season allows us to see that all prayer begins with thank you. And from there, we learn that the things don't matter, because what we are thankful for helps us make sense of our past. It softens our spirit and soothes the churning. From our acknowledgement of gratitude, we begin to fill and feel a connection with God.

We just need to sit quietly and say the words out loud.....if only in a whisper.

And so I begin..............thank you....

"If the only prayer you say in your life is "thank you," that would suffice." Meister Eckhart.


Marja said...

You got a tear in my eye. This message is so profound and true. Only what makes me smile that spring starts here but it is still true. Have a great day. Thank you

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Ah, the old Meister Eckhart......father O'Donohue is quite the fan....trudging through his selected writings over coffee this minute....

he says....'just as before we spoke of emptiness and bareness, saying of the soul that the more she is pure, naked and poor, the fewer creatures she possess and the emptier of all things she is which are not God, then the more purely she grasps God, and does so in him, becoming one with God and gazing upon him as he gazes upon her....'

ah, tis noursihment indeed

Awareness said...

Marja...thank you for the feedback. I enjoyed writing it to. The very thought that our way of decluttering, of dealing with our personal burdens is to start with "thank you" seemed very doable to me, and consequently motivational.

I have been told that New Zealand has a similar terrain and feel to it as Canada, though in a more condensed way. I have always wanted to visit NZ, and perhaps one day I shall. Happy spring!!

Paul....nourishment, yes. It is the stripping away of the layers which allows for a more resonating connection. Difficult to do.....we like to keep our contrary clothes hide the nicks and scars from the game of life.....O'Donahue's poetry, of beauty in nakedness is both spiritual and sensual. I like it. thoughts on this post was germinated by your comments on your lasted post on time......thank you.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I was thinking a similar thing yesterday - listening to meditative music and telling my brain to PLEASE turn off so that I could have some space to bring in something new.

What a timely post for me to read.

"thank you"

Open Grove Claudia said...

This is a lovely post.

I've met so many people, when faced with the abyss of emptiness, they blanch in terror and look away. I wonder if there's something paradoxical about human beings that in order to achieve spiritual freedom we must have the space to receive it and yet we are horrified of the space itself.

Awareness said...

Anon.....maybe Sunday's are all about clearing one's head...or at least trying. My unorthodox approach to seeking religion through my writing etc or whatever I seem to be doing....I figure one day it will become clearer.....I find that if I test the waters this way instead of attending a more formal service, I can understand it one step at a time.

Claudia...welcome! I think one of our collectively biggest fears is the fear of the unknown. What is more daunting that a black hole that may contain truth and our deepest darkest secrets>.... eek! I know a lot of people who avoid being alone and being still AT ALL costs, and I feel sorry for them. Though there have been times in my life when I am surrounded by my own scary shadows of doubt and pain, and instead of staying there to face the fear etc, I will do ANYthing to avoid it.
Sometimes it just takes time.....sometimes it never happens......but I do believe if we take the opportunities we are given and the ones we seek out purposefully.......if we can simply start with a prayer of thanks, perhaps it is the first step in recognzing our own brokenness, our own scars.....which in turn JUSt MAY lead to a place of personal forgiveness.

Gotta declutter first though. Yard sale anyone?