“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 3 May 2013

As the Spirit Moves Me

I love the words of Quaker Stephen Allott: "It was this Spirit of God which breathed into our human clay to make us living souls." This is something I have come to believe in the past eighteen months or so, through reading the works of the great Celtic poet and theologian John O'Donohue. He wrote, and I have come to believe (because it makes sense to me) that our souls come from elsewhere, and inhabit our human bodies, our "clay", and go elsewhere after death. Our souls are animated by the Spirit - it is the Spirit that enables us to respond to the Divine in the world.

One of the most obvious ways in which the Spirit works within us (at least to me) is when we respond to something beautiful. Who has not felt their heart lift and their level of joy soar when contemplating a majestic mountain, or the endlessly changing sea, or the intricacies of a flower, or a man-made work of art, or the face of someone you love? Who has not thrilled to the sound of uplifting music or the songs of birds in the springtime, or the sound of a beloved voice? I believe that this is the Spirit within us recognising and responding to the beauty of the world all around us.

How can we learn to listen to the Spirit, and to recognise her at work in the world and in our hearts? I think that this may be attempted by what I would call 'sacred living' - recognising that God / the Spirit / the Divine Other is present everywhere, all the time. Sacred living is about weaving moments of attention into your everyday life, and recognising the sacred there. it is about living with a new level of awareness. It is about going through our days paying attention to what is happening in each passing moment. It is about noticing the presence of the divine, the numinous, everywhere, in the natural world, in other people, in ourselves and in things that happen to us. Sacred living is about rediscovering our sense of wonder, and living our lives in response to that.



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