My friend Tom tells the story of the Sufi elder who asked the disciples to name what was the more important quality in life: wisdom or action. “Its action, of course,” the disciples said, The elder retorted, “but of what use is action that proceeds from an unenlightened heart?” Or to put it another way , busyness alone is not enough to qualify us a spiritual. We must be busy about the right things.
Tom’s story reminds me of the early Christian debates that continue about what is more important belief or good works. We can spend a lot of time debating the issue or put our time to more productive use. Lent begins next week and The Pew will expand to six days a week during the Lenten season. We won’t spend much time debating the age old question, but instead spend some time exploring how to live a spiritual life in our own times. Hopefully we can gain new wisdom to determine what we must be and do in the midst of these times. I hope you will join with the Pew in this Lenten Journey.
Please feel free to read the daily meditation and comment. If you want to remain anonymous simply post your comment with such a notation and I’ll make sure to protect the identity of the commenter. The readers of the Pew are a unique community and if all you do is read the meditation and pass it on to friends that’s fine. But, please feel free to leaven my feeble attempts.
I leave you with another story that should give you some idea about my Lenten plans for the Pew. The story comes from the early desert monastics. Abba John prayed to God to take his passions away so he might be free from care. He said, “In fact, I now find myself in total peace, without an enemy.” But, Abba Poeman said to him, “ Really? Well in that case, go and beg God to stir up warfare within you again, for its by warfare that the soul makes progress.”
We are not meant to be long-distance observers of life. We are to give ourselves to the shaping of it, however difficult that may be in this day and age. Lent is the season to stir the pot and bring spice to our soul. Join the community and invite your friends. W.
I’m a little late in posting this, but your comment about God needing to “stir up warfare within us” reminded me of a Hafiz poem I read recently. Hafiz was a 14th Century sufi poet and spiritual leader. Many of his poems are humorous. He wrote:
How long will you remain content
Just to hear and tell stories of what happens
Beyond your horizons,
Where the courageous had no choice but
to live their ideals and imbibe effulgence’s shape?
Restless and a lack of peace can play
a vital part in your inner unfoldment.
If you ever become too complacent, too
accepting of your sorrow or shadow self,
the moon might fling a beehive into your
undies and that should wake you up.