Finding That Glass Half Full
Posted by BarbaraZ on January 29, 2012
The need for finding peace within is critical in this day and age. I know as I reach my senior years, that life brings me many challenges. I have to find the means not only to accept these challenges, but also keep on moving forward. I have new things to do, new directions in life to follow. I am not ready to stop now. Inner conflicts regarding the physical obstacles that enter my life can make things most difficult indeed. Getting beyond that mental as well as physical struggle is my goal. Using the mind and our thoughts has long been a recognized as an important tool for people of all ages.
I am by my heritage and early training, a Catholic. While I do no belong to a specific church today, my way of thinking is built heavily on the tradition of meditation as expressed by the Catholic thinkers of the past. There is Henri Nouwen, a Dutch diocesan priest who studied psychology and went on to teach at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard.
Thomas Merton is my favorite. I have posted a number of posts on my blog highlighting quotes by Merton. It was through Merton’s journey into the monastic forms of meditation of the eastern religions, that I found Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.
I mention his book ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’, not only because it shows the parallel of thinking between the two religions, but for the similar lessons taught in both. He did not try to prove one way of thought was wrong, and the other right, but how the teachings of both promoted a similar approach for finding a sense of community, inner peace, stronger faith and how important it was to be true to your faith’s teachings. Follow the rules and do not make up your own to make life easier. It is this last part I found to be the critical belief. There will always be rules, and to try and make your own rules will forever cause strife.
He is also one of the main supporters of Mindfulness Living.
Then there is the unusual book on faith and meditation by Louis Evely that I recently re-discovered when going through my many books. This book, translated by Edmond Bonin, was ‘That Man is You’. It was written in and translated in a most poetic format.
There is one excerpt I will present here. While this was written in regard to an individual’s personal relationship with God, it can be applied to us all as we try to find an inner peace in the middle of the present chaos of our world today. WordPress would not let me keep the original formatting, so I just centered it. It still kept a bit of the uniqueness about it!
A Trappist friend of mine used to say,
“It is not enough to apply the brakes on your car;
you must also cut the motor that’s racing inside.”
The engine of our solicitudes is still whirring at top speed.
It has to slacken,
and turn at an easier pace.
We have to move in time with another rhythm,
gear our will to another will,
learn to connect with the slow-paced,
and steady motor
of God’s will.
As long as we’re in a turmoil,
taken up with our problems and our interests,
we’re safely sheltered from God
and out of His reach.
We need several days of recollection
before we can begin to live in Him
and on Him.
We have to stay there in a kind of stupor
and let our motor idle
till we’ve adjusted to a new tempo
we’ve never experienced before.
These thoughts and actions can be applied by anyone no matter what their beliefs. Some of us have never been able to find that inner tempo that leads to a sense of peace. At times it has been a deliberate move to remain in the fast lane, for others, it has been out of the need of forever having to ‘catch up.’
Finding an inner sense of peace, a quiet mode, is a gift we can all give ourselves, for it is here we can refuel and gather the strength to move on.