the gentle art of knowing offers opportunities for
a nine month contemplative programme
retreats and sabbaticals
to support people deepen their understanding of themselves so they live a more awakened life and grow in greater ease, appreciation and compassion for themselves, others and the world.
All week I’ve been entertained watching four guys two houses away replace an old shingle roof with a colour steel one - I’ve always found watching people work, particularly doing physical work, very relaxing! They’re all so nimble; competently balancing on what to me would be a precarious angle, with not much protecting them should they fall… They might be finished today, although I don’t see them speeding up to make sure of that and why should they? They’ve been working diligently if their employer needs me to testify for them and they can be well pleased whenever they do complete the job.
Now, if only our spiritual waking up was as simple as replacing a roof! If only this were the 100th roof we had completed, and not our 1000th 20 minutes of meditation or lectio divina… As a roofer, this particular roof might have challenged us by a particular angle or the high winds we’ve had lately, so we’d incorporate that into our bag of knowledge and one day may confidently venture off into self-employment.
Whereas with yet another sit, watching our breath, placing our attention on a mantra, letting go of thoughts or whatever our practice may be… we get up without looking back, without hoping the boss noticed, without funds going into our bank account, without the satisfaction of a job well done…
So why do we do what we do? There’s no one answer here. Rather, each of us is responding to something that we can’t perhaps name and can’t do any justice to describing. In some equally unfathomable way we’re responding to some experience that our present sleepiness dimly obscures… We’ve heard mention of it, we‘ve potentially glimpsed it on occasion; we may have even met people who convey some ease, freedom and wakefulness.
So, not to be daunted, we take off our shoes and encourage each other to get onto our cushions or chairs… not to complete a task, impress a boss or build a merit account. Rather like repairing a roof, we want to consciously re-pair our sense of separateness so we can wisely respond to the needs of our family, neighbourhood, environment and our cosmos…
Will this be finished by the end of the day? I don’t know, but let’s re-pair the roof where we can…