|+ home > features > Readings > Space Betweeen Givens|
The Space Between Givens*
If you are feeling overwhelmed – by your job, by your need to find a job, by your family obligations, by caring intensely about suffering in the world, by your desire for more time to do the things you care about most – you may find nuggets of encouragement in the collective wisdom below.
I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact — to borrow from the languages of the saints — to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible.
If you let it, it supports itself. You don’t have to. Every something is a celebration of the nothing that supports it. When we remove the world from our shoulders, we notice it doesn’t drop. Where is the responsibility?
Saving time, it seems, has a primacy that’s too rarely examined.
Even if you have a lot of work to do, if you think of it as wonderful, and if you feel it as wonderful, it will transform into the energy of joy and fire, instead of becoming a burden.
Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings which is appreciated only by those who dare to grapple with them.
May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night; may the rain wash away your worries; may the breeze blow new strength into your being.
Sometimes you feel a weight on your shoulders. That in itself is not a problem. When we say "weight", people think, "Oh, it's not good!" But to feel the weight is not necessarily bad. The weight comes with the situation. You just have to know how to relate to the weight in a solemn way.
Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls.
From my depths I call to You: Give me the courage to call out to You for what I need.
Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.
In that tiny space between all the givens is freedom.
Patient endurance attains to all things.
There is really nothing to be afraid of. Remember the instruction: Whatever you come across – go beyond.
By a strange mystery — which is connected with the power of the social element — a profession can confer on quite ordinary people in their exercise of it, virtues which, if they were extended to all circumstances of life, would make of them heroes or saints.
Suffering is not overcome by leaving pain behind; suffering is overcome by bearing pain for others.
If we truly believe in the dignity of labor, any task can be performed with equal pride because none can demean the basic dignity of a human being.
Darling, the body is a guest house;
What is leisure? As the balance between work and rest, it is the opposite of idleness because it is the basis from which good work starts and grows. We might say that leisure is the beginning of all virtues in the sense that it is an inner attitude of openness and trust. Its characteristics are “taking it easy” rather than “keeping busy,” of “allowing things to happen,” not “keeping things under control.” Trust is necessary, because we can only let things happen if we believe that things will work out all right, that events and circumstances and things and situations come from a source that wants our good. We can open our hands and receive these things without the nagging fear that they are traps. The difference between this inner openness and a kind of nervous choosiness is the difference between an open hand and a clenched fist.
Thus, leisure is the basis for a full awareness, for as long as we pick and choose we limit our horizons. And, to the degree to which our awareness is increased, our aliveness is increased. That is what leisure is – the amount of our aliveness.
* Our thanks to Sue Bender
for inspiring this collection's title!