A Lenten Refection from Laurence

I have to say this would be good for me to heed:

John the Solitary – the famous one – said that there are levels of silence. Our own daily practice of meditation will gradually reveal them. It doesn’t help to imagine or anticipate them but the small sketch that he gives can be useful and help us to persevere whenever we feel discouraged or that we have got stuck. It’s always good to be reminded that there is more to come.

The first kind of silence is that of the tongue. St James addresses this when he urges his early fellow-Christians to guard their speech. The tongue is a like a rudder, he says, very small but with a great influence on the direction we are going. It is obvious enough that we should control our speech when we feel like saying something violent, merely hurtful or spiteful whether it is direct or concealed in humour. It is hard then because we would like to get our angry feelings off our chest. But words spoken in anger and intended to hurt (because the other person deserves it) falls into the same trap as all violence. It never achieves what it promises and it always makes matter worse.

There is however another kind of restraint of speech. Most of our utterances are mindless, they don’t mean what they say, often their main meaning is to fill in the embarrassment of silence and are usually quite trivial. I don’t mean we should always be speaking about sublime realities; but we should always mean to communicate something helpful, meaningful or actual. Empty chatter is the verbal equivalent of promiscuity. Controlling the tongue, knowing when to start talking and when to stop is like being chaste.

When we sit to meditate the first and obvious step is to cease speaking, even not moving our lips or tongue as we say the mantra. With children we sometimes say the mantra aloud a few times with decreasing volume but they soon find they can go straight into reciting it interiorly and silently. This feels a great relief because we often don’t realise how undisciplined and superficial our manner of speaking can be, how often we slither into gossip or. Resting the tongue frees the mind to start moving heartwards.

But first we have to deal with what is disrupting the other level where silence has something more to teach us.

Travel Theme: Colorful

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Breckinridge, Colorado

Kid's ride, Jinan

Kid’s ride, Jinan

Buddhist Stupa, Thailand

Buddhist Stupa, Thailand

Strawberry pie

Strawberry pie

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Each week Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? challenges bloggers with a creative word. This week we’re to post photos inspired by “Colorful.”

What do you find colorful? If you want to join the fun, follow these steps:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Colorful
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

Check out Where’s My Backpack for more photos interpreting “Colorful.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Was Buddha a minimalist?

Was Buddha a minimalist?

 

1. Each week, we’ll prov ide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Travel Theme: Broken

Broken Buddha

Broken Buddha

Near Datong

Near Datong

Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes

Each week Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? challenges bloggers with a creative word. This week we’re to post photos inspired by “Broken.” That took me in a few directions as we’re invited by advertisement, friends, temptations, and commerce. I hit a few of these possibilities with the photos above.

What do you find inviting? If you want to join the fun, follow these steps:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Inviting
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

Check out Where’s My Backpack for more photos interpreting “Broken.”

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai

Spirit House

Spirit House

Thai wat temple at night in Chiang Mai

Thai wat temple at night in Chiang Mai

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

Buddhist relics, Shandong Provincial Museum, gold

Special Exhibit: Buddhist Relics, Shandong Provincial Museum

I’m not one for bungee jumping or sky diving. My adventure today was to take some new friends to the Shandong Provincial Museum where we saw this magnificent relic holder in an exhibit of artifacts. I was blown away by this majestic object.

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What a nice place to keep your relics

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge. Other great photos:

Related articles

Keys of the Kingdom

The_Keys_of_the_Kingdom_poster_149741

In Keys of the Kingdom, Gregory Peck plays Father Chisolm, a young, humble, authentic priest who is sent to China after a lack of success in his home of Scotland. His mentor, a bishop feels Fr. Chisolm will thrive in China.

The story’s told in flashback. It begins with an old Fr. Chisolm getting reprimanded and told his unorthodox teachings are forcing him to be removed from his hometown parish. The bishop who makes this threat is staying at Chisolm’s rectory. Before he goes to sleep, he picks up Fr. Chisolm’s memoirs and reads of his extraordinary life.

Chisolm’s father and mother were killed in a riot against Catholics. He’s brought up by and aunt and almost marries as a young adult but circumstances lead him to stick with his choice of the priesthood. As a young priest, his parishioners don’t appreciate his questioning and some of his theology. His mentor has a hunch that Fr. Chisolm would be right for a deserted mission in China.

When Fr. Chisolm arrives in rural China, every believer has left as they really only came for the free rice. The church is in ruins. Slowly, Fr. Chisolm rebuilds and stays true to his principles and beliefs even if it means losing the church or being treated like an inferior by a haughty former classmate.

I have such an appreciation for anyone who pulls up stakes and moved to Asia before the comforts and connections of our era. No internet, reliable heat or a/c, few books or letters from home must have taken ages.

At one point the political climate in China shifts and warlords threaten the mission.

I found the movie compelling and was better than average for avoiding the stereotypes so common in the 1940s. His performance is carries the film and I would never have guessed it was Peck’s second film. It seemed like a biography, but apparently it’s based on a novel, not a real life.

My only complaint is I wish they hadn’t skipped through the years of turmoil and war in China. They show early 20th century violence, but explain and show little of the revolution that erupted. The film jumps from one attack when Fr. Chisolm was probably in his late 30s to Chisolm as an old man. By weaving in Fr. Chisolm’s ecumenical beliefs and his strong friendship with an atheist, the film feels modern.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialog

Thai temple, Buddhist guardian

Thai temple, Buddhist guardian

At Chion Temple, Kyoto Japan

At Chion Temple, Kyoto Japan

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Related articles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Poem of the Week

Sunday Brunch at the Old Country Buffet

by Anne Caston

Here is a genial congregation,
well fed and rosy with health and appetite,
robust children in tow. They have come
and all the generations of them, to be fed,
their old ones too who are eligible now
for a small discount, having lived to a ripe age.
Over the heaped and steaming plates, one by one,
heads bow, eyes close; the blessings are said.

Here there is good will; here peace
on earth, among the leafy greens, among the fruits
of the gardens of America’s heartland. Here is abundance,
here is the promised
land of milk and honey, out of which
a flank of the fatted calf, thick still
on its socket and bone, rises like a benediction
over the loaves of bread and the little fishes, belly-up in butter.

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