“Hallelujah Anyway.” Hallelujah that in spite of it all, there is love,
there is singing, nature, silliness, chocolate and mercy.
All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature.
The great Hindu scriptures say that God is absolute truth, absolute joy, absolute beauty. Any scientist who is seeking the absolute truth, as Einstein did, is seeking God. Anyone seeking absolute joy, whether in a tavern or in the shopping mall or in Monte Carlo, is seeking God. And anyone who is seeking absolute beauty – on a canvas or a stage or a mountaintop – is seeking God. What lovers of beauty seek in paintings, in sculpture, in dance, in music is just a reflection of the absolute beauty that is God. The real source of all beauty is God, the Beloved.
So, there is nobody who is not seeking God. The scientist in his lab, the gambler at the casino, the artist in her studio: all are seeking God. We are all lovers, restlessly searching for the Beloved, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Face behind the veil.
Blue Mountain Center of Meditation
All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave… be merciful… feed my lambs… press on toward the goal.
Broken things have been on my mind as the year lurches to an end, because so much broke and broke down this year in my life, and in the lives of the people I love. Lives broke, hearts broke, health broke, minds broke. On the first Sunday of Advent our preacher, Veronica, said that this is life’s nature, that lives and hearts get broken, those of people we love, those of people we’ll never meet. She said the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward, and that we, who are more or less OK for now, need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers. And then she went on vacation.
“Traveling mercies,” the old black people at our church said to her when she left. This is what they say when one of us goes off for a while. Traveling mercies: Be safe, notice beauty, enjoy the journey, God is with you.
May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.
May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you.
May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds
Into sources of refreshment.
May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds,
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in new direction
Through the glow of your contradictions.
May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.
May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness
Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.
May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.
May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.
May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.
May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every given gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.
May all the Angels be your sheltering
And joyful guardians.