Thursday 12 January 2011
The joy of my kindle! Browsing the free books, I came across Practicing the Presence by Brother Lawrence. How extraordinary that the words of this simple, gentle monk who worked in his monastery’s kitchens 400 years ago can reach out to me in the C21 and still speak to my heart. Not only that, but there is a web site devoted to reflections on him: Am struck by the similarity of Brother Lawrence’s striving to remove from his life anything that could stand between him and God and Buddhist effort to live free of attachment to wants, objects etc.
I read Brother Lawrence on waking, and although I do not agree with his beliefs on our innate sinfulness, his goodness and simplicity illuminates my day. I find myself stopping throughout the day and trying to bring my attention back from the mundane, often ironically through performing mundane tasks like peeling carrots!
Today I read his biography and found that he suffered terrible back pain all his life after an injury to his sciatic nerve. Yet, he was always so joyful. When my back is bad, I feel his presence and it comforts me.
Tuesday 17 January 2012
Have been trying to live like Brother Lawrence. The problem is I don’t know how to live in perpetual conversation with God – or to love him continuously. I do know that for me living in an open state of exaltation does not work. It blows all my fuses. So, after a lot of ruminating, an answer came to me: live every moment kindly. Kindly not only to others but to oneself, to everything including machinery! Have been doing this consciously for a few days and it feels blessed. Not a patch on Brother Lawrence, but the best I can do at the moment.