BENCH ON JONES BEACH
In loving memory of
Margaret M. Ross – Adler
from your family, friends and colleagues
We love you – miss you more than the
number of waves that roll down front.
Ordinary bench – wooden seat
with steel – iron frame –gives it
strength. Wood – a bit worn from all
the sun – wind – salt water.
Dedicated to Margaret Ross - Adler
by her family - friends. Bench looks over
sand into wide sea
endless blue sky – cloudy days
rainy days. At night looks at
black sky – stars – constellations.
I wonder what secrets are whispered.
Secrets of living – dying – health
sickness – peace – war. Bench watches
endless stream of life
world – universe.
I envy it such a perfect
beautiful place to wonder. Every day
whole year – day – night.
I come to the sea
want to touch mystery - sky – seashore.
Let vastness wash – flow over me.
Bench - I on the same trip
travelling through the years with
its tears – laughter – health
sickness – life – death. Bench sees it
all – we humans live it all.
Bench is persevering just sits here
does not give up. Example to me keep
walking in life – back – forth on
beach of life with sand – sky
I should not become
overwhelmed too distressed with
flow of life. Bench is here each day
sunshine – rainy days. I have
to keep on walking through the
years unraveling mysteries – finding
Waves will not knock me down.
SUMMER CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
As we enter into summer time, it may be an occasion for us to enter more deeply into our understanding where our life is going. Summer can bring on a slowing down of our schedule and commitments so that we can take a breather from our many activities. Those of us who live in these big modern cities, the never ending schedule of many meetings, telephone calls and commitments overwhelm us – so many things to do. I myself look forward to a break where there is more time for myself, enjoying the summer garden and taking a ride to the seashore. This slowing of our schedule can be a time to deepen our understanding of contemplation and the meaning to our meditating for twenty minutes each day. Our daily contemplation takes us on a mystical journey to an encounter to meet someone, the Divine. We are not thinking about deep theological issues or the dogmas of our faith. Rather it is a journey and quest to have an experience of God’s presence in silence.
In the quiet of contemplative prayer, we are entering into a new level of consciousness. We leave behind the rational world of our daily living and enter into a new way to experience reality. We reject our self-orientated way of living where our ego is the center of attention. The quest in contemplation opens us up to a newer way of seeing things and living due to our contact with God. Slowly we begin to see things as the Lord sees them and who invites us into have a relationship of love. We realize that we are being loved by someone and it is imperative to us to respond to this with reciprocal love. We are now not enamored of our ego and its needs and importance but our life is now orientated around our love relationship with our Beloved.
This new way of living and our understanding of it are very important and can help us orientate our life in a more authentic way. We will not find real happiness and meaning if we are just concerned with our material success and prosperity in society. This is a big temptation because the material world and its attractions are overwhelming with the mass media; it constantly bombards us with messages and images to participate more in consumer society. This causes unhappiness and restlessness since these things cannot really fulfill our deepest needs as humans. There are other dimensions which need to be fulfilled and answered. Our journey into contemplative prayer leads us to the center of our human spirit where we encounter the spirit of God in silence and darkness. It is a path to the love of the Lord around which then we orientate our existence. It does not mean that the problems of our personal life and those of the world will disappear but we will put them into perspective which then gives us a sense of hope and security. Our life then is in the hands of Someone who loves us and takes our hand to lead us through the years.
If we read the lives of the great mystics who lived before us, this is the discovery which they made in their prayer and contemplation. In the silence of meditation, they met Someone at their center and still point which opened up for them a new way of existence. Today through the contemplative prayer movements, we are lead to the same path; we do not have to live in a monastery. We are now living in a ‘monastery without walls’ where we receive the invitation of the Lord to travel the same mystical journey. We do not have to look around in the world to meet this presence of the Divine but to travel within ourselves, to our center and still point. Here we meet the spirit of God who is our Beloved. The slowing down of our schedule in the summer time can be an occasion for us to take stock of this opportunity and grow in authentic living.