I take pen in hand today with a bit of trepidation, because this piece feels important, beyond me. For reassurance I invoke Meister Eckhart’s wisdom, “The preacher must beg the word of God from the people,” and I ask for guidance to see and speak truth with inner eyes.
The seed was planted as I read from the memoir of Jacques Lusseyran, And There Was Light: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance in World War II. Lusseyran tells the story of the accident which blinded him as a boy and how he adjusted to the disability and thrived because of it. He formed a resistance group in World War II and survived imprisonment in the Buchenwald concentration Camp. In the following quote Jacques Lusseyran describes how he used his sense of touch:
“Touching the tomatoes in the garden….is more than seeing them, it is tuning in on them and allowing the current they hold to connect with one’s own, like electricity. To put it differently, this means an end of living in front of things and a beginning of living with them. Never mind if the word sounds shocking, for this is love. You cannot keep your hands from loving what they have really felt”
And There Was Light: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance in World War II by Lusseyran, Jacques
This “more than seeing,” the “turning in on” and “connecting” moved me deeply. I immediately recognized it as the most profound description of contemplation I have ever read. If we can touch one another this way we will have re-discovered fire (paraphrase of Teilhard de Chardin).
It’s all about listening. Really listening, as if we cannot hear with our ears, so we must hear with our souls. Contemplative listening touches the soul of the other with our presence. We enter that place of sacred presence in ourselves by recognizing the difference between our ego needs and desires and the true self divested of ego. Abiding in that place, even if for just a moment, we are free to connect with the other in his or her place of sacred presence, and sparks of spiritual energy ignite and transform.
Contemplation does not only happen between our ears as we sit alone in meditation. Cultivate sacred listening.
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As I look closely at the featured photo of the green and golden leaf I can actually feel the raised veins. Try it. I highly recommend this book.