“There is no such thing as failure, only feedback that what you’re doing is not working.” Richard Bandler
“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth. If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work. If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner of them with action and experience, God will seem silently to withdraw from our hearts and leave us empty. Let us, therefore, learn to pass from one imperfect activity to another without worrying too much about what we are missing. It is true that we make many mistakes. But the biggest of them all is to be surprised at them: as if we had some hope of never making any. Mistakes are part of our life, and not the least important part. It is by making mistakes that we gain experience, not only for ourselves but for others. And though our experience prevents neither ourselves nor others from making the same mistake many times, the repeated experience still has a positive value.” Thomas Merton
“We all stumble in many ways.”
James 3:2 NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you trying to eliminate every silence in your life? . . . to refuse “less” and “slow” in order to experience more?
- Is that working for you? Does it make sense? Does it seem like the path to happiness?
- Are you surprised by your many mistakes? Can you forgive yourself for them? If not, what does that say about you?
Abba, help me relax about my projects and befriend my mistakes. Help me focus on joining the human race rather than winning the rat race.
For more: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton
Sources: Merton, Thomas. No Man Is an Island. New York: Fall River, 2003.