“The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God. ” § Meister Eckhart
I lie latent in the Ground of my soul
waiting for the Farmer-Spirit to till the soil,
turn me over to bake in the Son,
and nourish me with the elixir of her grace.
Human seed conjoins with
God-seed and produces a
The holy, hard-working
Smiles at the
© rita h kowats 2014
I sit in my chair to meditate this morning. Gusts of wind heave heavy rain at my windows and the tears finally come. They don’t stop, so I am here with you, holding vigil for the people of Oso. Forty Five miles north of me loved ones stand in the rain over a 1.5 mile expanse of mud and debris waiting to confirm the fate of family and friends. King 5 News reports that “…tons of earth and ambulance-sized boulders of clay” from Hazel Hill loosened by steady, pounding rain, came crashing down on the houses below last week. They wait to have news of death crash down on their souls housed in now spent bodies. The official count today is seventeen dead…but the missing list bears ninety names- half the population of Oso, Washington, USA.
The constant rain has brought geologists to the area to monitor the very real threat of more landslides to the rescue workers in the valley. It is too much to dwell on it further. The video embedded below recounts the story of the rescue of a four-year-old boy. It helped me to understand better what this experience was for the people who died, and for those who wait. My thoughts from two recent posts bear repeating here.
One spiritual practice we can do for Oso is to step away from the role of spectator, and take the time and solitude to feel empathy for the people who suffer. Although we cannot fully know their experience of suffering, we know that it matters that they suffer, and it matters that we stand with them spiritually. Whatever the suffering is, it is. In our prayer we can ask that they be given the grace to be faithful and true to the process of living through it. May they eventually come to a juncture in their grieving, that they can embrace the reality of the experience and emerge whole again. By holding vigil with them we can live the suffering with them from inside the presence of God, vulnerable, clean and stripped to our essence. May they hold themselves together while training a vigilant eye toward grace. For those of us from afar, words are ineffective. We must send spiritual energy. You may find the meditations below helpful.
Buddhist Practice of Metta, Sending Loving Kindness
May you be safe from harm.
May you be happy and peaceful.
May you be strong and healthy.
May you take care of yourself with joy.
Tonglen Meditation Practice: Compassion
A fellow blogger at http://wildninjablog.com/ has gifted us with links for sending donations and helping in other ways. This is an in-person look at life in the 530 corridor at this horrific time It holds up for us the people of Oso and their strength and committment to the common good of their community.
Photo Credit: http://www.3news.co.nz/Photos-Washington-landslide-search-and-rescue/tabid/1125/articleID/337624/Default.aspx
One day In February 1968 two sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death in a garbage packer in Memphis Tennessee. They were African American men working for starvation wages and under dangerous conditions:
From Taylor Branch’s On Canaan’s Edge (ISBN 978-064857121), page 684:
- “It was a gruesome chore to retrieve the two crushed bodies from the garbage packer and pronounce them dead at John Gaston Hospital. Echol Cole and Robert Walker soon became the anonymous cause that diverted Martin Luther King to Memphis for his last march. City flags flew at half-mast for them, but they never were public figures like Lisa Marie Presley, whose birth at 5:01 PM was being announced. . . . Cole and Walker would not be listed among civil rights martyrs, nor studied like Rosa Parks as the catalyst for a new movement. Their fate was perhaps too lowly and pathetic.”
- For the sanitation workers in Memphis enough was enough. They began organizing a union and marched for their rights on March 28, 1968, Dr. King joined them. Frustration erupted in rioting and looting, and one person was killed, a child who became a man that day: Larry Payne. He had come to the March with friends. He was sixteen years old. Stories differ, but one historian reports that after having left the March, later in the day, a police officer shot and killed Larry in front of his housing project. He was unarmed. The officer has not been prosecuted. Very recently, the FBI has reopened this cold case which was lost in the event of Dr. King’s assassination.
- The sanitation workers carried signs that simply stated, “I am a man.”…not a “boy,” not a “nigger.”…A MAN. On the anniversary of his death today, I want to remember Larry and his family who still grieves. I remember all the sanitation workers who sacrificed so much to advance the cause of civil rights even in the face of Jim Crow. The exclusion of any person diminishes our humanity. I hope that we can intentionally develop spiritual practices which create space for all.
Start Here For More Information on the Memphis Strike:
May morning be astir with
the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the
eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some
That cut right through the
surface to a source.
May this be a morning of
When the gift within you
Of the sticky web of the
With its hurt and its
And fixed fortress corners,
A morning when you become
a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved.
Until the veil of the unknown
And something original
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.
♣ John O’Donohue in To Bless The Space Between Us
Miss Rosealima knows what she wants and how to get it. It starts with a low, expectant hummmm, followed by a subtle tilt of the head, revealing a not so subtle bullseye tattoo accompanied by the message, “Scratch here.” If I fail to heed the signs I am bombarded by one shrill Ragdoll meow rivaled only by the opening notes of the bassoon solo in Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” I succumb to the task at hand.
This little beauty teaches me every day how to peel away the veneer to get to the reality of my experience. With Rosie, what you see is what you get. As I practice emulating her, Jesus’ words echo from the recesses of my spiritual formation: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and those who seek find, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7) The same promise is proffered by the other evangelists and throughout the Hebrew Scriptures in the Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. * It’s just that simple. Ask.
Contemporary cosmology and New Age thought hint at the same promise. Everything in the universe is connected. Our thoughts are energy. If we manifest an authentic need and trust that it can be fulfilled, it will be fulfilled not always how and when we want it, but it will come back to us. We can throw in a bombastic meow now and then while we wait, beat the door down if we have to. Some things just call for “holy audacity.” Meanwhile, we can hold God’s promise to Julian of Norwich close to our hearts, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” (Showings)
*http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-7.htm (This link shows all the cross references to Jesus’ words.)
Chief Albert Luthuli
Hundreds of others…
On March 21, 1960 in the township of Sharpeville five to seven thousand Africans gathered in front of the police headquarters to protest the carrying of mandatory pass books. Their intention was to leave their passbooks at home and fill the jails until there was no more room, thus costing the government financially, and depriving white employers of workers. Police threw tear gas into the crowd without warning and some protesters reacted by throwing rocks at them. A police officer opened fire with live ammunition, and a reported 70 people were killed, among them eight women and ten children. One Hundred Eighty were injured. The BBC reported on this day that, ” Police Commander D H Pienaar said: “It started when hordes of natives surrounded the police station….He said that, “If they do these things, they must learn their lessons the hard way.”
“Hordes,” “Natives,” “Lessons,” Africans with rocks, police with loaded guns. Unbelievable, I say. I, the one whose country brutally colonized American Indians and enslaved Africans, while perpetrating deplorable crimes against them. I who am still financially complicit in their inequality, and unconsciously complicit in my ignorance. We all are called to look within on the anniversary of this terrible massacre.
Helen Suzman, Ruth First, and Joe Slovo were South African Jews. They knew that Shoah can happen again if we stop remembering. It happened again in South Africa in Sowetto Township on June 16 1976. More than 176 and up to 700 people were killed by police who fired into a gathering of school children simply demanding to study in their own language rather than in mandatory Afrikaans. The BBC on that terrible day quoted South African Prime Minister Vorster as saying, “We are dealing here not with a spontaneous outburst but with a deliberate attempt to bring about polarisation between whites and blacks. “This government will not be intimidated and instructions have been given to maintain law and order at all costs.” [emphasis mine].” Denial purports to cover a multitude of sins.
As spiritual persons we are called to remember. It makes us human. Today let us hold our own truth and reconciliation hearings in our own hearts, to one another, and to the world beyond.
“Spring brings that One true thing, that flick of assurance on the wing…” more
“Since there is no escape from the Now, why not welcome it, become friendly with it?…” and more from Eckhart Tolle
Please appreciate this poignant piece by iithinks, and send it to any of our vulnerable young women who may be comforted by it.
Buddhists have a profound practice of sending Metta, Loving Kindness to others. When I make this meditation, I call to mind a person/s who are in need of loving kindness. I honor my own Christian roots by bringing them into the presence of God. With conscious intention, I send them loving kindness. All aspects of the universe are connected. It matters that we hold vigil for one another in this way.
I send peace out to you on this Saturday in March. If your weather is still severe, may you bloom peace.
photo credit: royalty-free NASA space photo