These days here in the U.S. we seem to be bombarded with news of violence, wars, impending wars, and fears of more violence. In the midst of it all there is the need to stop, breathe, and listen. Otherwise , we fall into that numbing place where human feeling and mindfulness are squeezed out by our brittle anxieties and intellectual fatigue. As we listen we grow in our ability to respond in creative and courageous ways. Albert Camus in" The Artist and His Time" says the following:
" Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation, others in a person. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever-threatened truth that each and every person, on the foundation of his or her own suffering and joys, builds for all."
On a practical level, dear friends, may we take the time each day to hear the " faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope". Perhaps we find that in a few moments in the early morning in quiet and meditation. Or perhaps we find it in the serenity of a long walk or run into the beauties of nature. Where ever we find it may we deepen our practice of attentive listening and continue to be " awakened, revived, and nourished". In the midst of what seems to be an intensification of violence and war this life-giving practice is a life-saving response. As we enter even more deeply into this contemplative place we discover our true foundation and as Camus reminds us it is here in the deeper encounter of our sufferings and joys that each of us together " builds for all".