Sunday 11-17-13 Mystics

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~ Thomas Merton. 

Happy Sunday!

I watched a film this week on Netflix called “With One Voice.”  It is a documentary film of interviewing mystics from all religions on earth.  The movie establishes early on the beliefs and mystical experiences of these sages to establish that they are all describing the same message and understanding.  I believe the film left out few, if any, of the faiths of humanity; there were mystics of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Zen, Shamanism, Hinduism, Sufism, native American, African Shamanism, and Quakers.  I heard from all of the messages that once we get above the doctrines of religion and form a relationship with God that all Truth is the same.
It was said that these times that we live in now, with communications technology, allows for mystics of the world to communicate with one another and have respect for the religious path that each has taken to reach awareness.  “All paths lead to God” is a well known sentiment that was evidenced by the interviews in this film.  Technology also gives the opportunity for these holy people to leave their monasteries and share their awareness with us children of their faith.  This movie gave a great message of hope to me that, as these teachers can respect one another, the future members of these faiths can also know respect for one another, and perhaps humanity can move away from War due to perceived differences.
Following the movie I was inspired to understand more about mystics so I researched a few of the mystics who appeared in the film and found reference in a few places to the mystic Thomas Merton, a trappist monk, who I have heard the name of many times before.  Seems I am being led so I think it is time to know more about him.
I first read his bio on Wikipedia and in it he sounded quite an ordinary person of the 20th century who followed his calling into the monasteries.  I was left from the reading with no sense of why he is called a mystic and key spiritual personality of the 20th century.  Realizing his writings will be more telling of his beliefs, I went onto Amazon and read reviews of his work and ordered one of his books entitled “Thoughts in Solitude”.  I look forward to reading this book to better understand what the mystic life is about as I recognize that what I hear said by mystics, like those in the film, touches my heart and resonates in my mind.
For this writing I decided to look up some quotes by Thomas Merton and found myself moved by many of them as they spoke of feelings I have been having lately.  The quote at the top of this page echoes my writing of last Sunday about being a Mom and letting my child grow up to be who he is meant to be.  It even does a better job of explaining to me the idea that special relationships are mirrors to ourselves.  The quote makes me think of the parent that has the child pursue the interests or career that the parent wants; then you are just looking upon yourself.  If you child is an athlete because you were (or want to be), or a soldier, or a beauty queen, are you not loving then the part of yourself that is unfulfilled instead of letting the child be who he knows himself to be if given the chance?
The three quotes below reflect conflict I am currently feeling. I feel torn between the importance I know of about self reflection and the sharing of Love with others.  Self reflection to learn to understand and forgive yourself is critical to acceptance of yourself.  I know from experience that this is what causes the heart to open, to have courage, and to live humbly with integrity.  I believe this growth is necessary for me to Love others and learn to give what I am meant to give (I’m not sure what that is yet).
What I have been struggling with lately is feelings of separation from others.  Part of me sees the effects of Love on my family, friends, and those I interact with throughout my day.  But my priorities and perspective are so different than theirs.
I just had a big “Ah-ha!” here.  My heart is open; through it I am connected to others. My mind is the part that is separate!
Wow, I feel the anxiety leave as I know I can certainly Love without sharing the thoughts and beliefs of the one I am Loving.  If I can Love and accept the differences in thought with those I Love it will be good training for learning to Love everyone!
I am full circle back to the message of the film, to respect all of our differences.  In our hearts and souls we are the same.
Thank you Lord for this new understanding!
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” ~ Thomas Merton
“Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.” ~ Thomas Merton
We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God. ~ Thomas Merton

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