The Cosmic Dance
The theme we will explore in this Silent Sunday resource is titled The Cosmic Dance. I invite you to join in with the music, readings and reflections around this theme.
Deep peace of the rolling waves to you
Deep peace of the silent stars
Deep peace of the blowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth
Let peace, let peace, let peace fill your soul
May peace, may peace, may peace keep you whole.
Time: 11 minutes 30 seconds
Spend some time in silent prayer now, making the choice to gently move below the surface level of your thinking into the quiet depths of God's presence (you can choose between a 10 minute timer and a 20 minute timer below, which each have a gong at the beginning and three gongs at the end). If you find your mind wandering, gently let go of your thoughts and return to being present, to awareness of your breath or your sacred word.
Listen to the following music as an ending to the time of prayer:
Read the following readings through twice or three times, with an attitude of open receptivity.
Reading 1 – Matthew 11:28,29
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Message version)
Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
But the God who knows only four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me.”
Reading 3 - Psalm 137 (adapted from Nan Merrill's Psalms for Praying):
Plunge into the Ocean of Love, where heart meets Heart,
Where sorrows are comforted, and wounds are mended.
There, melodies of sadness mingle with dolphin songs of joy;
Past fears dissolve in deep harmonic tones, the future – pure mystery.
For eternal moments lived in total surrender glide smoothly over troubled waters.
Hide not from Love, O friends,
sink not into the sea of despair, the mire of hatred.
Awaken, O my heart, that I drown not in fear!
Too long have I sailed wherever the winds have blown.
Plunge into the Ocean of Love through stillness in the spirit and silence within the soul.
O, Heart of all hearts, set a clear course, that I might follow.
Guide me to the Promised Shore.
Practice: Becoming aware of the dance of nature
If possible, find a place to sit where you can look at nature - it could even by a tree or an open patch of sky. Allow yourself to settle in quiet receptivity to the sights, sounds, and sensations that you notice, becoming aware of the gentle dance of nature.
For Further Reflection:
I encourage you to spend some time in further reflection on this theme. Below are quotes from the talk and some additional quotes for further reflection.
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free.
"With just a little bit of grace I can behere, really exist here, present, open, available, immediate. With just a little grace I can see the sunset, feel the cold air, sense the beauty, feel my reactions, experience my thoughts arising and the emotions they engender, perceive my little attempts at control, experience my commentary, and notice my leaving.
It can all be an experience, within the present moment, with thoughts, images, senses and feelings all embraced together, all unified in Being Now. ... The bare-naked possibility of it, the fact that life can be lived with such Presence, is a wellspring of endless hope for me. And I want it. I yearn for it. I give myself to it because I have felt it and cannot shake the sense of its perfection. I stake my life on it because for me it is the place where you and I dance into realizing, realizing our eternal embrace of one another and the earth within God's endless, infinitely intimate embrace of everything. It is where the reign of heaven comes alive. It is soul freedom, love unfettered, and absolute compassion, all flowing from the tiniest gift of grace."
~ Gerald May, from The Wisdom of Wilderness
"We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.”
~ Thomas Merton
All things come from you, O God.
And to you we return.
All things emerge in your great river of life
And into you we vanish again.
At the beginning of this day
not as separate streams
but as countless currents in a single flow
the flow of this day’s dawning
the flow of this day’s delight
the flow of this day’s sorrow
your flow, O God.
In the twisting and turnings of this new day.
~ Philip Newell from Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace.
You see the beauty of the dancer
You hear the beauty of the song
You feel the beauty all around you
You wonder where do you belong
You are the beauty of the dancer
You are the beauty of the song
You are the beauty all around you
You're standing right where you belong
All above you, all below you, all around you, all within you
Beauty all above you, beauty all below you
Beauty all around you, beauty all within you
You are beauty, you are beauty.
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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from loot.co.za or Takealot, or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.