Daily Riches: The Rhythm of Happiness (Thomas Merton and Richard Bandler)

“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

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Sources: Merton, Thomas. No Man Is an Island. New York: Fall River, 2003.

 

Daily Riches: Hanging on to Joy (Henri Nouwen, James Martin and Francis de Sales)

“Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way. Laugh in its face and know that you are in the arms of God.” Francis de Sales

“Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.” Henri Nouwen

“Remember that your environment doesn’t define you. One of the most difficult things about living in an environment (home, workplace, religious community) lacking in joy is that you may gradually assume that (a) you should not be joyful; (b) you are not naturally joyful, since you’re experiencing so little joy; or (c) the world is a joyless place. Joy-free persons sometimes seem to be joy vampires, sucking the happiness out of everyone’s life as well. In these situations, it’s important to remind yourself that (a) it’s okay to be joyful; (b) you do in fact experience joy in other areas of your life; and (c) there is joy in the world, though it may be outside of this house, workplace, religious community. It requires an inner strength similar to what’s required in being a believer among those who might scorn your beliefs. Hang on to your joy as you would hang on to your belief in God.” James Martin

“Dear brothers and sisters,
when troubles of any kind come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does “joy seem hard to find?”
  • Review Martin’s list of unhelpful assumptions and necessary reminders. Which of these reminders is for you?
  • Isn’t it dreadful to think that you or I could be a “joy vampire” to others?
  • Can you “choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise?” …to “hang on to your joy” as you would hang on to your faith?

Abba, help me to bring joy to you and others.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

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“Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

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