Daily Riches: Jacking Up the Pace of Life (Carl Honore and Alexis de Tocqueville)

“Modern medicine may have added an extra decade or so to the three score years and ten originally laid down in the Bible, but we still live under the shadow of the biggest deadline of all: death. No wonder we feel that time is short and strive to make every moment count. But if the instinct to do so is universal, then why are some cultures more prone than others to race against the clock? Part of the answer may lie in the way we think about time itself. In some philosophical traditions—Chinese, Hindu and Buddhist, to name three—time is cyclical. On Canada’s Baffin Island, the Inuit use the same word—uvatiarru—to mean both ‘in the distant past’ and ‘in the distant future.’ Time, in such cultures, is always coming as well as going. It is constantly around us, renewing itself, like the air we breathe. In the Western tradition, time is linear, an arrow flying remorselessly from A to B. It is a finite, and therefore precious, resource. …As long ago as the 1830s, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville blamed the shopping instinct for jacking up the pace of life: ‘He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it.’ That analysis rings even more true today, when all the world is a store, and all the men and women merely shoppers. Tempted and titillated at every turn, we seek to cram in as much consumption and as many experiences as possible. As well as glittering careers, we want to take art courses, work out at the gym, read the newspaper and every book on the bestseller list, eat out with friends, go clubbing, play sports, watch hours of television, listen to music, spend time with the family, buy all the newest fashions and gadgets, go to the cinema, enjoy intimacy and great sex with our partners, holiday in far-flung locations and maybe even do some meaningful volunteer work. The result is a gnawing disconnect between what we want from life and what we can realistically have, which feeds the sense that there is never enough time.”

“making the most of your time,
because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What does “making the most of your time” mean to you?
  • Are you always in a hurry to “cram in as much consumption and as many experiences as possible?”
  • Could striving for more actually be providing you with less?

For More: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

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Thanks for following my blog! I appreciate it. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: The Surprising Nearness of God (James Finley and John Ortberg)

“God is still in the business of coming down to earth: to this cubicle, this email, this room, this house, this job, this hospital room, this car, this bed, this vacation. Any place can become Bethel, the house of God. Cleveland, maybe. Or the chair you’re sitting in as you read these words.” John Ortberg

“We begin in ego consciousness, imagining that the union with God we seek is far off. After all, ego consciousness is the subjective perception of being a separate self that has to find God, who is perceived as being other than one’s self. But as ego consciousness yields and gives way to meditative awareness, we begin to recognize the surprising nearness of God. God is already here, all about us and within us—the very source, ground, and fulfillment of our being. But subject to the limitations of ego, we tend not to experience the divine mystery of who we are, created in the image and likeness of God. We do not directly realize the God-given Godly nature of ourselves in our nothingness without God. This is why we meditate: that we might awaken to God’s presence all about us and within, as Saint Augustine phrased it, closer to us than we are to ourselves. To practice meditation as an act of faith is to open ourselves to the endlessly reassuring realization that our very being and the very being of everyone and everything around us is the generosity of God. God is creating us in the present moment, loving us into being, such that our very presence is the manifested presence of God. We meditate that we might awaken to this unitive mystery, not just in meditation, but in every moment of our lives.” James Finley

“in Him we live and move and exist”
Acts 17:28

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you often fall into thinking of God as “far off”, as Someone hard to find? (God is infinitely above us and decisively Other–but is that the whole story?)
  • Have you given serious consideration to the possibility of the “surprising nearness of God?” …that you bear God’s image? …that in God you “live and move and exist?” …that as a believer, God has chosen you as his preferred dwelling place?
  • Consider that each moment God is “loving us into being.” What would that entail?

Abba, daily may I awaken anew to your presence, lovingly at work in me and others–the source, ground, and fulfillment of our being.

For More: Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Glorious Imperfection of the Present Moment (Maria Popova, Junichiro Tanizaki and Leonard Cohen)

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

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“Unlike the Western conception of beauty—a stylized fantasy constructed by airbrushing reality into a narrow and illusory ideal of perfection—the zenith of Japanese aesthetics is deeply rooted in the glorious imperfection of the present moment and its relationship to the realities of the past…. This temporal continuity of beauty, a counterpoint to the West’s neophilia, is central to Japanese aesthetics. Rather than fetishizing the new and shiny, the Japanese sensibility embraces the living legacy embedded in objects that have been used and loved for generations, seeing the process of aging as something that amplifies rather than muting the material’s inherent splendor. Luster becomes not an attractive quality but a symbol of shallowness, a vacant lack of history:

We find it hard to be really at home with things that shine and glitter. The Westerner uses silver and steel and nickel tableware, and polishes it to a fine brilliance, but we object to the practice… We begin to enjoy it only when the luster has worn off, when it has begun to take on a dark, smoky patina. Almost every householder has had to scold an insensitive maid who has polished away the tarnish so patiently waited for. …We do not dislike everything that shines, but we do prefer a pensive luster to a shallow brilliance, a murky light that, whether in a stone or an artifact, bespeaks a sheen of antiquity.

Tanizaki speaks affectionately of ‘the glow of grime,’ which ‘comes of being touched over and over’—a record of the tactile love an object has acquired through being caressed by human hands again and again.” Maria Popova quoting Junichiro Tanizaki

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My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
Psalm 51:17

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay”
2 Corinthians 4:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Might you be guilty of “fetishizing the new and shiny?” …of “neophilia?”
  • Does this reading tempt you to think differently about beauty? …aging? …friendship? …marriage? …spirituality?
  • Why would anyone prefer a “luster” to a “brilliance?”

Abba, help me to appreciate “the glow of grime”–especially in myself and my fellow homo sapiens.

For More: In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki

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

Daily Riches: Joining God’s Eternal Dance (Alan Watts)

“The playfulness of the child, the saint, and of God are alike in this; that they are all actions in the mood of eternity rather than the mood of time. In this present world-order eternity is known in its ever-moving focal point–the present moment, and the child in his play and the saint in his holiness both live in the present. Absorbed in twisting string or dropping stones in a pool, the child lives in a timeless realm where a game that goes on and on without goal is like the planets which go round and round to nowhere at God’s command. Following the precept of Christ to learn from the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, the saint worries no more about tomorrow and yesterday, and concerns himself simply with doing the will of God as it is presented to him in the circumstances of each moment…. And in the fulness of eternity the triune God, the Father and the Son in the unity of the Spirit, is ever at the play of love, the divine subsistencies giving themselves one to another in an ageless dance [“perichoresis”] whose finite image is the blaze of aimless splendour that fills the heavens in celebration of the joy of God. This divine activity, the movement of the Spirit, never palls because in eternity there is no yesterday to remember and no tomorrow for which to plan; there is simply Now for ever. …there is so much tragedy on the surface of life that were there not somewhere, right in the centre of things and in the centre of each and every pain, a state of absolute and unconfined joy accessible to all, the whole realm of Being must be damned. The joyous centre is there, and the heart of God is open, in the very midst of every experience that can befall us. To sense and thought it is strait and narrow and impossible to find…. But to love it is wider than space and more enduring than all the ages of time–embracing every creature that was, is or shall be. It is the instant and inescapable presence of the Eternal Moment, the movement of the Spirit of God.” Alan Watts

“In Your presence
is fullness of joy.”
Psalm 16:11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you simply do “the will of God as it is presented … in the circumstances of each moment?
  • Do you think of the trinity as giving themselves to each other “in an ageless dance” of love?
  • Can you access “the heart of God” in the midst of every experience?

Eternal God, I want to participation in your celebration.

For more: Behold the Spirit by Alan Watts

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Thanks for following/sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Interruptions! (Henri Nouwen, C. S. Lewis and Frederick Buechner)

“While visiting the University of Notre Dame where I had been a teacher for a few years, I met an older experienced professor who had spent most of his life there. And while we strolled over the beautiful campus, he said with a certain melancholy in his voice, ‘You know, …my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that the interruptions were my work.'” Henri Nouwen

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” C. S. Lewis

“God is right there in the thick of our day-by-day lives…. Trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world.” Frederick Buechner

“This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What is your usual response to interruptions? Are you too hurried to be available to others?
  • Are you insisting that you know what the day should bring forth? …on being in control? How is that working for you?
  • Can you approach the next few days as “the life that God is sending you day by day?” What would that look like?

Abba, may I remember to look for you in the thick of my day-by-day life.

For more: Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Embraced By an All-embracing Love (Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Richard Rohr)

“Love people even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God’s love is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another, it means that God is choosing us now and now and now. We have nothing to attain [we need to] …become aware of God’s loving presence in our lives, we have to accept that human culture is in a mass hypnotic trance. We’re sleep-walkers. All great religious teachers have recognized that we human beings do not naturally see; we have to be taught how to see. Jesus says further, ‘If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light’ (Luke 11:34). Religion is meant to teach us how to see and be present to reality. That’s why the Buddha and Jesus say with one voice, ‘Be awake.’ …Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence, living in awareness of the Presence, and even of enjoying the Presence. The contemplative is not just aware of God’s Loving Presence, but trusts, allows, and delights in it. All spiritual disciplines have one purpose: to get rid of illusions so we can be present. These disciplines exist so that we can see what is, see who we are, and see what is happening.” Richard Rohr

It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the LORD.

…Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed,

for I am a sinful man, I have filthy lips….”

Isaiah 6:1, 5

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Moving From Head to Heart

  • God loves the whole world “with an all-embracing love”–including “loving people even in their sin.” Do you love the world God has made? …people even in their sin?
  • Are you aware of God maintaining you in every breath you take? …choosing you “now and now and now?”
  • Does your answer to the second question explain your answer to the first?
  • Is your intention to trust and delight in God’s presence daily?

Abba, embrace others with my hands.

For More: Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

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Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Mindfulness – “Now, Here, This” (Ruth Haley Barton, Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr)

“Discernment is first of all a habit, a way of seeing that eventually  permeates our whole life. It is the journey from spiritual blindness (not seeing God anywhere or seeing him only where we expect to see him) to spiritual sight (finding God everywhere especially where we least expect it.)”  Ruth Haley Barton

“The spiritual life can only be lived in the present moment, in the now. All the great religious traditions insist upon this simple but difficult truth. When we go rushing ahead into the future or shrinking back into the past, we miss the hand of God, which can only touch us in the now.” Cynthia Bourgeault

“Most of Jesus’ contemporaries missed the ‘Real Presence’ that was right in their midst, and most of them were religiously observant people…. They were looking for religion, and he was just a human being.” Richard Rohr

“He came into the very world he created,
but the world didn’t recognize him.
He came to his own people,
and even they rejected him.”
John 1:10, 11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Which describes you – unaware of God, looking for God in expected places, or expecting God everywhere? (Is God ubiquitous or “everywhere present” for you?)
  • We confess God ‘s activity in the past and anticipate God’s activity in the future. Do you expect God to show up in the present? …to “touch you in the now?”
  • Imagine all the people who saw and listened to Jesus when he walked the earth – God in their very midst – who “didn’t recognize him” and even “rejected him.” I wonder how often we fail to recognize him in our day.
  • What practices can you adopt that would help you to be more mindful of the God “in whom you live and move and exist?” (Acts 17:28)

Abba, help me to really “stop, look and listen” as I go through my day. Teach me to be more present to myself, to others and to you.

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For More: Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton

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

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

 

Daily Riches: Sticking When Things Get Tough (Joan Chittister)

“Stability says that where I am is where God is for me. More than that, stability teaches that whatever the depth of the dullness or the difficulties around me, I can, if I will simply stay still enough of heart, find God there in the midst of them. …When the monastic makes a vow of stability it is a vow designed to still the wandering heart. There comes a time in life when everyone else’s family seems to have been better than my own. …when this job, this home, this town, this family all seem irritating and deficient beyond the bearable.  …when I regret every major decision I’ve ever made. That is precisely the time when the spirituality of stability offers its greatest gift. Stability enables me to outlast the dark, cold places of life until the thaw comes and I can see new life in this uninhabitable place again. But for that to happen I must learn to wait through the winters of my life. …[Stability] says that we have an obligation to see things through until we have done for them what can be done, and, no less important, until they have done for us what can be done for us. …Stability says that we will stay with the humdrum if only to condition our souls to cope with the unfleeable in life. We stay with what, if we want to, we really could get away from so that we can come someday to cope with what we will not be able to leave. …It is not easy to continue the hard work of being here when everything around us says go there where it will be easier. It is hard to go on when it would be so much simpler just to quit. But the question becomes, what will happen to me as a person … if I don’t persist, if I don’t see this through? …In the first place, I will certainly fail to learn a great deal about myself… [and] in the second place, I will lose the opportunity to grow.” Joan Chittister

“But you, keep your head in all situations,
endure hardship”
2 Timothy 4:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Are you thinking about quitting something hard or moving on to something more exciting?
  • Do you have a history of quitting on things or people prematurely? If so, what has that cost you?
  • Could you trust instead that where you are is “where God is for you?” That God has something in mind greater than you do? …something that depends on you staying?

Abba, keep me from running after the shiny, the new, the easy.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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Thanks for following and sharing “Daily Riches.” – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Willingness to Wait (Henri Nouwen and Pete Scazzero) *

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Impatient people expect the real thing to happen somewhere else, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere. For them the moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are.” Henri Nouwen

“Do not leave Jerusalem,
but wait for the gift my Father promised,
which you have heard me speak about.”
Jesus in Acts 1: 4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a patient person? Able to stay where you are, even if it seems nothing is happening?  waiting expectantly to see what God will do?
  • Are you a patient person, willing to look for God’s fullness where you are?  willing to live in the present situation and it’s fullness – a fullness which may not be obvious?
  • Can you resist the urge to “go elsewhere”, running to a better moment rather than the present one that seems so “empty?” Can you “dare to stay where you are?”
  • Think about the quiet seemingly empty moments in the various Biblical accounts that exploded into significance when God acted in them. What might you miss if you can’t stay put in “quiet, empty” moments?

“Lord grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. Declutter my heart, O God, until I am quiet enough to hear you speak out of the silence. Forgive me for running my life without you sometimes. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms. Amen.”  (Pete Scazzero)

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For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

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

Daily Riches: The Willingness to Wait (Henri Nouwen and Peter Scazzero)

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Impatient people expect the real thing to happen somewhere else, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere. For them the moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are.” Henri Nouwen

“Do not leave Jerusalem,
but wait for the gift my Father promised,
which you have heard me speak about.’”
Jesus in Acts 1: 4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a patient person? Able to stay where you are, even if it seems nothing is happening?  waiting expectantly to see what God will do?
  • Are you a patient person, willing to look for God’s fullness where you are?  willing to live in the present situation and it’s fullness – a fullness which may not be obvious?
  • Can you resist the urge to “go elsewhere”, running to a better moment rather than the present one that seems so “empty?” Can you “dare to stay where you are?”
  • Think about the quiet seemingly empty moments in the various Biblical accounts that exploded into significance when God acted in them. What might you miss if you can’t stay put in “quiet, empty” moments?

Lord grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. Declutter my heart, O God, until I am quiet enough to hear you speak out of the silence. Forgive me for running my life without you sometimes. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms. Amen.  Peter Scazzero

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For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

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

Daily Riches: God Comes in our “Now” (Henri Nouwen)

“After having read these words [below], Jesus said, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.’ Suddenly, it becomes clear that the afflicted, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed are not people somewhere outside of the synagogue who, someday, will be liberated; they are the people who are listening. And it is in the listening that God becomes present and heals. … The Word of God is not a word to apply in our daily lives at some later date; it is a word to heal us through, and in, our listening here and now.” Henri Nouwen

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
for he has anointed me
to bring good news to the afflicted.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives,
sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.”
Jesus, reading from Isaiah in the synagogue
Luke 4:18-19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • How does God come to me as I listen to the word? Where do I discern the healing hand of God touching me through the word?
  • How are my sadness, my grief, and my mourning being transformed at this very moment?
  • Do I sense the fire of God’s love purifying my heart and giving me new life?

              (These questions are also from Henri Nouwen.)

Abba, I need you to transform my sadness and mourning, and purify my heart. I seek you, not for your saving and transforming work at some future date, in some other place, but for this moment in this place – right now.

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)