Sunday, October 28, 2012

enlightenment (according to lax)

Robert Lax, Photo by Hartmut Geerken
to be "enlightened" is not to shine; nor to bring multitudes to the hill where one sits cross-legged, to listen.

it is rather to know what one is doing (& even, perhaps, to enjoy it.)

- robert lax, from "love had a compass, journals and poetry", page 209


  1. To know what one is doing? That's a pretty tall order, Beth..
    Enjoying it, I find a little easier!

    1. maybe Lax is insinuating "mere presence" in his directive to know what one is doing. paying attention.

  2. PS: I heartily commend Richard Beck's latest post.

    1. Love these last lines from that post:

      Stringfellow describes these sacramental ethics of grace as "the witness of mere presence."

      [T]he Christian (the Church) must simply be in the world, sharing in and caring eloquently and honestly for the life of the ordinary world--or the life of any person--just as it is.

      This witness points to a freedom from our slavery to the fear of death, a freedom observed in our ability to overcome self-interest in loving others:

      Whoever the outcast is in given circumstances, the Christian is free enough from his own self-interest, from the necessities of preserving his own life, to intercede for another and to take up the other's self-interest as over against the rest of the world.

  3. 2cents ______________________

    Without economic value !
    you can see them on street corners
    asking for money and on rainy days
    under the eves of buildings
    sometimes drinking wine -

    Blessings ____________________

    1. A few weeks ago I came across a man sleeping in a mostly deserted shopping center on a Sunday afternoon. He looked so very thin and was barely moving so I wondered if he was still alive. I could see the bottle, still in a paper bag, next to him. I was moved to DO something for him, but knew that waking him up wouldn't help anything. I walked on, feeling somewhat guilty (for what?), but also like I had come close to something very holy, real, vulnerable. I don't know what else to say about it ... there are no words, really.

  4. greetings Beth ------------------------------------

    the little ones are there own message !
    "wisdom is found in the market place
    its name is proclaimed from every crossroad " OT

    blessings _______________________________________

    1. you're right, bob - the little ones are their own message. no need to explain or analyze. more important to see, to acknowledge without judgement.

  5. I keep this Stringfellow quote close at hand to remind myself about relating to others :
    "Listening is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot listen to the word another is speaking if you are preoccupied with your appearance, or with impressing the other, or are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or are debating about whether what is being said is true or relevant or agreeable. Such matters have their place, but only after listening to the word as the word is being uttered. Listening is a primitive act of love in which a person gives himself to another's word, making himself accessible and vulnerable to that word."

    I just realized - I frequently say to myself at work "what am i doing here?"

    1. thanks, tommy. it comes down to being quiet, doesn't it?

      I think Stringfellow hits the nail on the head when he says that listening is about making oneself "vulnerable" to the other. There's a really soft place in ourselves that we want to protect at all costs. When you open yourself to another's words, you expose that place. Most of us have probably been hurt deeply there at least once in our lives.


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