Thanksgiving Sunday, 11/24: The Breads of Our Lives: A Multigenerational Thanksgiving Communion. Join us at 4pm for the 19th annual United We Sing, an interfaith and intercultural celebration of music, word and dance.
November Monthly Theme: Attention
Attention is the beginning of devotion.
Poet Mary Oliver said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” You cannot love something you do not (really) see.
Once there was a man who filmed his vacation… With a flick of a switch, there it would be. But he would not be in it. He would never be in it.
I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do.
To give one’s full attention is to look closely, to linger upon, to delve, to immerse oneself into something that at first seems “other” but soon seems “one with.” To give attention, in the end, is to be grasped.
I have noticed that beliefs work like blinders on a racehorse. They keep you focused in a specific direction. This can be great as long as you have a destination in mind. But what good are blinders when you are grazing in a beautiful meadow on a crisp, clear spring day? I wore my blinders so long I forgot I had them on!
“Sometimes it takes a little craziness to get your attention… The prophet Elijah fled from a hundred pursuers. He hunkered down in a cave on the wind-whipped mountainside… his heart pounding in his ears. Then he finally noticed the still small voice. The holy waits in your world, too. Maybe today it will find you in a listening posture, and will whisper…”
One does not need to fast for days and meditate for hours at a time to experience the sense of sublime mystery which constantly envelops us. All one needs to do is notice intelligently, if even for a brief moment, a blossoming tree, a forest flooded with autumn colors, an infant smiling.
This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness.
If we want to support each other’s inner lives, we must remember a simple truth: the human soul does not want to be fixed, it wants simply to be seen and heard.