Strength For the Outer Life of Service

Thomas à Kempis

Why is it that we are so ready to chatter and gossip with others, when we so seldom return to silence without some injury to our conscience? Perhaps the reason we are so fond of talking is that we think to find consolation in this manner; to refresh a spirit wearied with many cares. And so we speak of what we like and dislike, and of the things we desire or despise. But in the end this outward attempt to find consolation is only an obstacle to our inner life.

Let us watch and pray that our time is not spent fruitlessly. Let us not busy ourselves with idle conversation, or with what other people say and do.…Blessed are the single-hearted, for they enjoy true peace.

Jesus’ last commandment was an action verb. Love. It’s not an emotion. It’s a way of living.

If you go back and read the parts of the gospel that talk about how Jesus lived as a story of a person, you will see that he lived that action verb–the very personification of love in action.

Yet, if you are writing the biography of a person with a deep inner life, what can you say? Only what you observe–he went off alone to pray. Oh, and he went off alone to pray.

We know that our example is to go off alone to pray.

Where do we get the strength for service? Following the example of Thomas quoted above, we pay attention to our inner life that it is not spent fruitlessly.

When I began meditation practice in my late teens, I never had a thought that it would become mainstream psychological therapy. Now, we have one of my students talking after Yoga class about a mindfulness meditation “class” his employer has during lunch time. He says, “That’s sort of what you teach at the end of class, right.”

He wondered how you could go from a stressful morning filled with meetings to a lunch time of calm and quiet.

Well, it’s called practice. It is not only possible, but necessary. Meditation literally rewires the brain. Your very personality changes over time. And you get strength for the long haul.

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