These are a some meandering thoughts through words and ideas and images I cam upon this morning: secret heart, slowness, curiosity, cynicism, silence.
The secret heart is the me others cannot see.
Whether I go to or not, it directs my life.
If I’m honest, I don’t fully understand my own secret heart but I know it’s a place I need to find and nourish.
These words from Richard Rohr provided me with a helpful starting focus:
‘[T]ry to be here. Which as you know, is the hardest place to be. […] Can you be present to this little bit of now? Get curious […] Don’t be afraid of the silence.’*
Joseph Jaworski writes about a “special silence.” not empty but pregnant with future possibility:
‘In that special silence, you can see, or get a strong sense of something that wants to happen the you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.’**
John O’Donohue makes an interesting observation on cynicism, connecting it to the secret heart:
‘Cynicism is very interesting. Behind the searing certainty of the cynic there is always hidden somewhere, disappointment of longing. It takes a great deal of energy to be a committed cynic.’^
Nipun Mehta offers four brave moves offers hope for the person whose heart has become cynical or disconnected: from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, isolation to community; and, scarcity to abundance.
Consuming, transactional, isolationist, scarcity, or …
contributing, trusting, commune-icating, abundant?
Hmm, which to choose?
When it turns up as a lack of curiosity, cynicism is dangerous because it reduces our openness to the future possibilities
There’s nothing new – same old, same old.
Why bother. Nothing ever changes.
There are no surprises. I know exactly how things are going to turn out.
I’m not going, it’s a waste of time.
More happens in life when we reduce cynicism and increase curiosity.
‘If you learn to listen to your curiosity, you will find that you become curious about those things at are different and new. […] Possibilities and the unknown, not the predictable or obvious, make you curious. […] Curiosity pursued is one of the things that allows serendipity to happen.’^^
Curiosity takes us beyond ourselves to others, to the other.
Jacques Goldstyn’s young protagonist embodies this journey to the secret heart beautifully. Although an introvert, the unnamed child shows us the value of finding the secret place, befriending a 500 year-old oak tree named Bertolt, climbing among the branches, into their hiddenness. The story reminds us how this secret place is not an easy one to find:
‘No one else climbs Bertolt. Maybe they haven’t thought of it. Or maybe they’re scared. Anyone can climb an ordinary tree, but an old oak is something else.’*^
The secret place takes effort and practice to get to:
‘The first branch must be 15 feet from the ground. To reach it, you have to go up the trunk, which is like a wall. But I know all of Bertolt’s hollows and where to put my hands and feet. It’s like climbing up a secret ladder.’*^
The “secret ladder” is our helpful reminder of how each of us will find a different way, unique to us, for accessing the secret heart. And there’s always deeper:
‘Once I reach the first branch I continue to climb.. It’s like going up a steep, winding road, so forget it if you get dizzy.’*^
We come to that place in which our deep curiosity is nurtured:
‘When Bertolt is covered with leaves, nobody can see me, but I can see everyone else.’*
Another word from this morning, slowness, reminds us that it takes a lifetime to find this place and that this is okay. Just because we haven’t found it yet, or maybe lost it, doesn’t mean it can’t be found again. There’s no judgement, only invitation, I think. And when we go to the place of our secret heart, I think we’ll find more good things already there than we had thought there would be:
‘So join me, sisters and brothers, now and for the rest of your life, in allowing this positive flow of life, asking and blessing your body consciously and slowly – with what is already happening within you.’^*
(*From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(**Joseph Jaworski from Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers’ Presence.)
(^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(*^From Jacques Goldstyn’s Bertolt.)