Tag Archives: Caroline Fox

Coming back to the edge of silence…

Coming back to the edge of silence, where only the blood’s shouting in the ear remains, I think of Caroline Fox’s words (QFP 26.04):

The first gleam of light, ‘the first cold light of morning’ which gave promise of day with its noontide glories, dawned on me one day at meeting, when I had been meditating on my state in great depression. I seemed to hear the words articulated in my spirit, ‘Live up to the light thou hast, and more will be granted thee.’ Then I believed that God speaks to man by His Spirit. I strove to lead a more Christian life, in unison with what I knew to be right, and looked for brighter days, not forgetting the blessings that are granted to prayer.

“Live up to the light thou hast… not forgetting the blessings that are granted to prayer.” Yes. This I have needed to hear. It is so easy to forget, to become caught up in doing, in assuaging the patterned guilt of the news reports, spinning on the surface of days like a whirligig beetle, when all the time the deep roots of the waterlilies wait in the cool dark for the slow carp of the praying heart, nourishing, healing, the source of all that is new, and whole, and good.

To sit still under the itching and the busyness, to refuse the anxious demands and the loose, slippery hungers of all that is restless: to sit still under it and let it alone (QFP 26.02) – then the living hope, that true voice, comes, that Emilia Fogelklou heard: “This is the great Mercifulness. This is God. Nothing else is so real as this.”

Live up to the Light thou hast…

The first gleam of light, ‘the first cold light of morning’ which gave promise of day with its noontide glories, dawned on me one day at meeting, when I had been meditating on my state in great depression. I seemed to hear the words articulated in my spirit, ‘Live up to the light thou hast, and more will be granted thee.’ Then I believed that God speaks to man by His Spirit. I strove to lead a more Christian life, in unison with what I knew to be right, and looked for brighter days, not forgetting the blessings that are granted to prayer.

Caroline Fox, Quaker Faith & Practice 26.04

The experience of Pureland Buddhism is that we develop appreciation. This is not just for what others have given us, or for the world we inhabit, though these are important. The central practices and teachings are grounded in an attitude of appreciation that goes beyond the worldly to the transcendent. The practice is deeply rooted in the sense of other-ness, an appreciation of the reality of a measureless beneficent presence beyond the limits of the self-world. This practice… centres on devotion to Amida Buddha, the immeasurable expression of Buddha in the universe. It is a practice that expresses deep joy and gratitude, that reaches out in the wistful longing expressed by yugen, and that gratefully allows the practitioner to rest in the knowledge that despite their imperfections, they are blessed.

Caroline Brazier, The Other Buddhism

We have seen that the Jesus Prayer involves body, mind and spirit – the whole of man. If the whole person is  given to God in prayer, then it reflects the greatest commandment of all, to love… The cosmic nature of the prayer means that the believer lives as a human being in solidarity with all other human beings, and with the animal creation, together with the whole created order (the cosmos). All this is drawn into and affected by the prayer. One believer’s prayers send out vibrations and reverberations that increase the power of divine Love in the cosmos.

Br. Ramon SSF, Praying The Jesus Prayer (Marshall Pickering Christian Spirituality Series, now sadly out of print)

So often we despair, feeling little, and isolated, and unable to help in the face of the vast and manifest suffering of our fellow creatures, animal and human. We know that we can love, and yet it seems such a little thing. The tears we weep from love seem so small, and impotent; yet they are salty, and not one of them is lost (Psalm 56).

We are not alone: we are connected at the deepest level of what we are. In mind, with all the years of others’ thoughts, and words, and music that have gone to make us who we are; in body, with all that is made – we are, literally, stardust; in spirit, with Spirit itself and so with each other. The Light that is the very Ground of Being streams through us all. All who live. Look into a cat’s eyes. Listen to the sparrows. Kiss your lover’s hand. Here is God.