Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sharpening the Blade

From Anthony De Mello's Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations:

When the Master invited the Governor to practice meditation and the Governor said he was too busy, this is the reply he got: "You put me in mind of a man walking blindfolded into the jungle - and being too busy to take the blindfold off." When the Governor pleaded lack of time, the Master said, "It is a mistake to think that meditation cannot be practiced for lack of time. The real reason is agitation of the mind."

. . .

There was an exhausted woodcutter who kept wasting time and energy chopping wood with a blunt ax because he did not have the time, he said, to stop and sharpen the blade.

. . .

Meditation or in Western terms, contemplation, "non-discursive" prayer, is the means of "sharpening the blade" of perception so that we can inhabit time mindfully rather than "wasting' it. If we fail to sharpen the blade, we find our selves blinded by ego, fear, and resentment, living in the past or the future, rather than attending with awareness to what is right in front of us, right now.

Those of us who have a passion for justice cannot afford to forego spending time sharpening the blade, lest we only exacerbate the causes and conditions that lead to the suffering we wish to heal. Sharpening the blade is the precondition for action that makes a positive difference, rather than merely reacting in ways that keep the cycle of suffering spinning.

Even Jesus took time alone to pray. If he needed to "sharpen the blade," what makes us think that we can do without it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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