A high wall had been erected around the Garden of Truth. It was agreed that, if each man supported another on his shoulders, then, the last man, who alone supported no one, would be in a position to see over the edge of the wall and, so, to share his vision with the rest. But when the highest man looked over, he was struck speechless by what he saw. Presently, he refused the honor to one more eloquent than himself, retreating to the bottom of the “ladder”, that another might look in his place. Yet, mysteriously, each man, in turn, became mute, and not one could be found with enough nerve to describe what he had seen. But, then, who would have understood him, anyway, apart from the men who had seen it themselves? Only when the last man peered over the wall was there no more need to impart the vision.
We’ve all seen with that true eye. For a moment, somewhere, we looked on things in a spirit of poverty; simply. Saw how only nature is perfect and pure, and all the works of men, even those we most admire, bear the stamp of something at once silly and scary, childish and exaggerated. We stood in the silence, and were a part of the silence; humble, and without knowing ourselves to be profound. We had to become self-conscious, – distanced in an instant from “that hollow note”; dragged, as if by some great and implacable whirlwind, back into the roar of the familiar, – before we could know just what had happened. What had we touched? What had we lost, in that instant, and maybe forever?
Walking amidst the bookshelves, you know the poetry speaks of moments like these, but the books are tombs; enshrined facades. Somehow, there is no taking them down, no opening, no entering into the life of them, for us. We might thumb at them, trying to recapture that devout and elusive magic, which springs unsummoned, and only at some unforeseen time, when person and book are perfectly matched by providence; for neither is capable of holding in itself that ineffable nature, that true splendor which shines through only of its own accord, and in its own patient hour.
Or when you stepped over branches, shielded heavy leaves from your path to get somewhere through the woods, and — catching scent of something unmistakable, something real, — stopped dead in your tracks, to notice it gone. Now the path is familiar. You brush those leaves away with annoyance, and hardly remember, or remember with annoyance, having been there once, and felt, for a precious instant, the presence of grace; the breath of God on your nape. Now sadness that is a deadening of soul drags you down and down, and forgetfulness, like a curtain, closes off to you the life that was once so real and true, if only for an instant.
And you think that it is gone forever. But that thought is both the seal of your tomb, and the emptiness from which all new things are born, and receive their spark of life.
What am I, in all of this? What difference — I? God is still good. Whether I stand or fall, God has the victory, and I, by my faith, have a measure in it. For, though I would grieve for my sin, and wrestle for my salvation, yet am I not aggrieved to see the eternal glory of God manifest in so many saints and goodly, simple folk. Why, then, should I be more afflicted by my own wretchedness than I am joyous for the sake of others, whom he has blessed? O, be not envious of those whom God has chosen, but rejoice to see them raised, — and so shall you be raised in a measure with them! Why concern yourself more with yourself, than with them? Truly, I see a righteous law at work in all things; so that, if I should stand, it is to his glory that I shall stand; or if to fall, again, shall he be glorified. Herein I find my peace; that good has triumphed, and must triumph for all time, simply by virtue of being good, and for no lesser reason. A Son of God crucified, reviled, and denied is still a Son of God, and Love, whether it be requited or scorned, is no less than it was. By this, we know the devil to be a liar; for evil can never win; lest it be confessed, and converted to good.
Begin with love and you can never go wrong.
Take aim at love, and you can never “sin”– which is, “to miss the mark”.
Love is lighter than the wind, lighter than the ether. Your arrows will cut fire and fly straight.
A single arrow will point you the whole way to the Kingdom, if its aim is true.
Begin with love, or repeat history.
The most incredible lessons are not realized until after they are passed.
During such experiences, guiding spirits shield from our vision all but the moment. Only in time do great lessons come to light. They are given in an instant, to be pondered for an eternity.
Philosophy is the high art of devoting oneself to wisdom, and honoring one’s experience of the world, by the patient application of thought to the ephemeral appearances which impress their significance upon us.
When you chew your food, every bite you take makes it easier on your stomach. Without reflection, indigestion. So, in remembering God, let us remember Him frequently. In this way, it must be easier to digest His Word for us; our lesson in the world.
Our Father desires only our freedom.
He comes only when we beckon Him, and otherwise leaves us free reign.
Like a servant, the Lord waits on our command.
Such a servant is worthy of reverence, and what deserves reverence, deserves frequent remembrance.
For, truly, a man is indebted to his servant, as the beneficiary of his graces. And how much more are we indebted to our Lord, whose graces themselves serve us, and bestow graces beyond themselves?
For by means of gifts, more gifts are discovered.
Always, the gifts of gifts.
Everything is holy.
A line crossed out is a bible unseen.
The scriptures are woven with jewels, and all of them rejected.
Even to discover them is to reject them.
Every discovered jewel is a rejected star. Every star is a rejected sun. Every sun the center of a cosmos. Sages abandon themselves in this orbital dance and are senseless.
The work one loves is the work of love.
Who does not love to write does not write to love.
When you love what you do, what you do is love.
You all have gifts to be discovered. The light that reveals your gifts shines out from within them, and is one with them.
You are not a chronicler, but a composer of songs.
There is nothing to be. When it is said, “Be this,” or “Be that,” you are already “this”, you are already “that”.
It is your voice that speaks. It is your song that would be sung.
And it is not a command but a declaration; a declaration of love for “this” or “that”.
“But, how will I know when it is love that speaks?”
Because love, my friend, always comes singing, gently singing…
I will beg the muses to linger, though the darkness is all but replaced by the light, and the Moon is barely a shadow.
But if the muses be silent, I will read and reflect upon their gifts with the deepest gratitude, lest I stray by following my mortal lights.
For truth is alive, and speaks only through the mouth of a muse, – and does not speak, but sings.
And all that is not sung is dead; untrue and unmoved.
Truly, the greatest sages have all been poets and singers of songs. Lesser sages, at their best, sang us a song.
And if they had only one song in them, they learned it well, and sang it often.
All truth is sung.
All truth is poetic.
All poetry cryptic.
All love is rejoicing.
All life is homecoming…
What is to be remembered? Only what is dead.
Shall we remember the Lord in this way? Or do we perhaps mean something different, something unique, when we speak of “remembering” the Lord, who is All Life?
Truly, to “remember” the Lord means only to forget all that is dead and past, and, rather, to dwell in the Life of His infinite Presence.
Shall we remember a person when he or she is with us? Would this not be to neglect our guest?
A song is well remembered only when it is sung, for that is not to bury it, but to give it new life.
Just so, the Lord is well remembered, even resurrected, when we love.
Begin with love and you can never go wrong.
Ending in love, you know you’ve done right.
Love is the beginning and end of all good labors, and all true questions.
But love does not seek to uncover, only to leave things be.
Love knows that all is well.
To open the Ark is not to heed its inscription:
“This ark is Love. All you will find inside it is Love. But if you see no Love in this outer form, or in the modesty, the secrecy, of this form, how shall you find it inside?”
Love is fond of mysteries, but does not press.
Love is not greedy for more than what is revealed.
Love will not undress the truth, but patiently seduce her to disrobe.
Love love’s foreplay.
Love is always on the edge of her seat, but never hurries the truth.
Love needs no reason, nor argument to love, and does not seek for something more to love, but is content at all times to find the mystery in a grain of sand.
The Ark is a Pandora’s Box, and Love’s inscription is the soft lock upon that box. It is locked for love of you, but the key is granted upon request, also for love.
Let them interpret these and other sayings.
All they shall discover is love.
All they shall ever learn is love.
Let there be interpretations, for true words are many layered, and many secrets go undiscovered when any secret is disturbed.
The noonday sun shuts out from our sight a thousand stars.
Love keeps all secrets, for the only secret is love, and the only mystery is our ignorance and indifference to love.
The mystery does not trouble itself to confound us, or to be mysterious. Its nature is mystery, so it is infinitely mysterious.
But if you ask a sage, he or she will tell you every time, “The answer is love.”
So light, it floats away on the breath when we call it.
So heavy, it comes pregnant with mysteries, desperate for a bed.
So fine it cannot be seen.
So dense it cannot be fathomed.
A blinding vision to behold…
Darling one, come again. My wonder.
Like a grandmother, let me behold you, grandchild. And run free like a child at your choosing, unbound by love.
All your choices are for love.
And when you have gorged yourself on love, in one form or another, it is to love’s bed that you retire.
And both forms of love are divine. Both are prayers well received.
All love is divine, and all prayers are holy. For God hears only love, and God hears all love.
Even the faintest love is a chorus attended by God.
And all that speaks of unholiness speaks to unholiness, and is itself unholy.
Do not disturb the mystery.
Let the mystery be holy.
Leave the questions unhurried.
Let the questions be holy.
Love is certain.
For, to be certain is to rest,
and there is no rest but in love.
Only love is at rest.
Only love is certain…
Breathe in, when you meet with resistance, and breathe out when you meet with acceptance.
The greatest wisdom is simple, as a seed is simple. Every seed can sprout a thousand Vedas, and nourish many nations.
True wisdom is self-perpetuating. To grasp it is to be inspired with it.
Where the song of love is resonant, it is creative.
Can you sing a hurtful word?
Who will permit it in her song?
The song of love is melodious, and by its delicacy you shall know it.
But harsh tones of accusation do not soothe, and bitter reproaches are clumsily sung.
Even to make note of them here would be a disservice, were it not done in the service of love.
Let all lessons not be in vain.
Leave them be, if they are learned.
All lessons are but the restless spirits of lives already passed, crying only to be left in peace, unreconciled and unresolved; their legacies entrusted to living descendants.
You are not your lessons or your karma, though the spirits of your ancestors move within you unperceived.
Your heart is a ghost yard, restless and disturbed. Your questions and answers are the plaints and groans of the dead.
Relax yourself, and give them peace.
Abandon your lessons, child, and partake of the summer breeze! You have appointments to keep with the flowers and the trees!
They have new, adventurous secrets to impart, to whosoever would meet them.
Then let the present life inform you.
You are not a historian, but a maker of history!
In this knowing there is only love, and only love is this knowing. For love is all that is known, and all that can ever be known.
There is no end to God’s love for you, and no end of love songs to sing.
Only be still, and you shall hear the strains, and they shall move you to dance and sing by themselves.
Singing along to this song, you will know you keep synch with the Lord.
Dancing, you will know you keep step.
Speak of the eternal and your words shall be eternal, immortal. Speak of troubles and your words shall be as dust, shook loose from the soles of His feet.
The great work is only interrupted when you doubt yourself, for that is to doubt God’s love for you.
Speak, then, as the Son of our Lord shines; He does not cease to shine for eclipses. So is my love for you uneclipsed.
We only ever reject ourselves.
We only ever reject love.
If we had love for ourselves, we would rest safely in that love, and not desire to move from there, in order to heap scorn on another.
All we ever want is love, and love is ours to give!
Hear this and rejoice!
Know your understanding is lifted. And with it, love is lifted from the depths of your spirit, and poured out freely over the parched earth of your soul.
You love yourself; tired, beaten down by a thousand ungentle truths; not in glory, but in ruin; not perfected, but incomplete; not the bread, but the flower, ground exceedingly small.
You are the child, fit to pass through the narrowest gate.
The Lord gives us all that we have, and is not done giving. Open the gifts of the Lord.
Children, do not wonder:
All is welcome. All is forgiven.
As you ache, I ache for you with you.
I’m there, inside you, like a child, welcome or unwelcome. Your contractions are only occasioned by my hastening to you.
You, the Virgin Mother, and I, the Lord, your God.
To some it is madness, to others a secret bliss.
Mother, will you love me, small as I am?
Will you carry this child to term?
Embrace the formless spirit within this broken form?
I, the Lord God, am this child…
God love us!
God deliver us!
Love is infinite.
The only thing is love.
The only thing you reject is love.
Blessed are the rejected.
Loved are they, even as all are loved.
But this love is greater in a relative sense, for “The stone that the builder rejected shall be the head stone of the corner.”
There is nothing to embrace but the Christ, nothing to reject but the Christ.
That which you have in hand is the Christ, and the first stone which must be set.
Asking ourselves, “What do I reject? What do I despise?”, we locate the stone.
Speaking unto the Lord, “This shall I love,” we embrace the stone.
Silent in our hearts, “Loving the stone,” we carry it to the appointed and anointed place.
Losing ourselves in love for the stone, we affix it there.
Such labor is a joy incomparable.
Who labors with the Lord, gives birth to love, and lives in love with love!
That which is weakest is wanted.
All who grow tired grow strong.
To be low is to be flooded in God’s love, for God’s love must fill all the rivers and channels it runs down, and gather force along the way.
My beloved one, do not trouble yourself to understand this. These mysteries are boundless and not to be circumferenced.
There is nothing to know, nothing to be won.
All love is free and flows everywhere like the air.
Will you only breathe deeply when you draw your last breath?
Alas, that flesh is hunted,
and taken before its time,
while love grows on trees,
and dies on the vine!
Love is everywhere ripe, and everywhere engenders itself.
As you reap it, so is it also sown,
as the seeds fall from your lips.
To love is not difficult.
To love is only to be forgiven.
Is it so difficult to be forgiven?
Don’t ask Saturn.
Don’t ask Neptune.
Ask yourself, if you are given.
You, who hide your beauty under a veil of shame.
You are the virgin bride of the Lord, worthy to bear the true prince.
Let your tears be for joy.
Let His mercy enfold you.
There was nothing before, and there is nothing now, but love.
Always, it has been so.
Only you have desired to hear.
Hear me, then.
Love me, if you would reject me.
Or, if not me, love another.
For I am in all things, and am not an object to be loved, but the love itself!
Only love, love, and all accounts shall be balanced, all laws perfectly fulfilled.
Why beat your head against a wall?
The only way through it is love.
Behold, I shall stand before you in the nakedness of my flesh, and not move from your path until I am fully embraced.
My body shall be as an impenetrable wall around the garden of my spirit, and only those who can love the body shall be able to pass through it as spirit.
This is the way, the truth, and the life.
This is the eternal law of love.
Out in front of us is the drama of men and of nations, seething, struggling, laboring, dying. Upon this tragic drama in these days our eyes are all set in anxious watchfulness and prayer. But within the silences of the souls of men an eternal drama is ever being enacted, in these days as well as in others. And on the outcome of this inner drama rests, ultimately, the outer pageant of history…
Meister Eckhart wrote: ‘There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends, and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves,’…
Our churches, our meeting houses are full of such respectable and amiable people. We have plenty of Quakers to follow God the first half of the way. Many of us have become as mildly and as conventionally religious as were the church folk of three centuries ago, against whose mildness and mediocrity and passionlessness George Fox and his followers flung themselves with all the passion of a glorious and a new discovery and with all the energy of dedicated lives. In some, says William James, religion exists as a dull habit, in others as an acute fever. Religion as a dull habit is not that for which Christ lived and died.
There is a degree of holy and complete obedience and of joyful self-renunciation and of sensitive listening that is breathtaking. Difference of degree passes over into utter difference of kind…
George Fox as a youth was religious enough to meet all earthly standards and was even proposed as a student for the ministry. But the insatiable God-hunger in him drove him from such mediocrity into a passionate quest for the real whole-wheat Bread of Life. Sensible relatives told him to settle down and get married. Thinking him crazy, they took him to a doctor to have his blood let—the equivalent of being taken to a psychiatrist in these days, as are modern conscientious objectors to war in Belgium and France. Parents, if some of your children are seized with this imperative God-hunger, don’t tell them to snap out of it and get a job, but carry them patiently in your love, or at least keep hands off and let the holy work of God proceed in their souls. Young people, you who have in you the stirrings of perfection, the sweet, sweet rapture of God Himself within you, be faithful to Him until the last lingering bit of self is surrendered and you are wholly God-possessed.
The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness. Its joys are ravishing, its peace profound, its humility the deepest, its power world-shaking, its love enveloping, its simplicity that of a trusting child. It is the life and power in which the prophets and apostles lived… It is the life and power of myriads of unknown saints through the ages…
God inflames the soul with a craving for absolute purity… No average goodness will do, no measuring of our lives by our fellows, but only a relentless, inexorable divine standard. No relatives suffice; only absolutes satisfy the soul committed to holy obedience. Absolute honesty, absolute gentleness, absolute self-control, unwearied patience and thoughtfulness in the midst of the raveling friction of home and office and school and shop… Boldly must we risk the dangers which lie along the margins of excess… For the life of obedience is a holy life, a separated life, a renounced life, cut off from worldly compromises, distinct, heaven-dedicated in the midst of men, stainless as the snows upon the mountain tops.
“All we can say is, Prayer is taking place and I am given to be in its orbit. In holy hush we bow in Eternity, and know the Divine Concern tenderly enwrapping us and all things within His persuading love. Here all human initiative has passed in acquiescence, and He works and prays and seeks His own through us, in exquisite, energizing life.”
~ Thomas R. Kelly
“As the experience of this inward life matured, Thomas Kelly found himself using language that would have repelled him during his years of rebellion against evangelical religion. ‘Have I discovered God as a sweet Presence and a stirring life-renovating Power within me? Do I walk by His Guidance feeding every day, like the knights of the Grail on the body and the blood of Christ?’ An Earlham colleague wrote of his visit there in the autumn of 1940, ‘He almost startled me, and he shocked some of us who were still walking in the ways of logic and science and the flesh, by the high areas of being he had penetrated. He had returned to old symbols like the blood of Christ, that were shocking to a few of his old colleagues who had not grown and lived as he had. But he brought new meaning to all symbols, and he was to me, and to some others a prophet whose tongue had been touched by coals of fire.'”
~ from: ‘A Biographical Memoir’ by Douglas V. Steere