I’ve posted this Christmas prayer/mediation by Paramahansa Yogananda
for the past few Christmases. I find it so beautiful that I thought I would post it again. But the difficult part, the nearly impossible part (at least for me), is living up to it…but it’s good, I think, to have something to aspire to. Merry Christmas. Peace.
A Christmas Vow
“I will prepare for the coming of the Omnipresent baby Christ by cleaning the cradle of my consciousness, now rusty with selfishness, indifference, and sense attachments; and by polishing it with deep, daily, divine meditation, introspection and discrimination. I will re model the cradle with the dazzling soul qualities of brotherly love, humbleness, faith, desire for God-realization, will power, self-control, renunciation, and unselfishness, that I may fittingly celebrate the birth of the Divine Child.”
The above image is of a pin that was given to me yesterday by a friend (thanks Jane!). It’s a miniature version of a sign that I’ve had in the front garden for the past years. Actually the sign in front of my house is the second sign…the first was stolen (how’s that for irony). It’s an image/slogan that began with Sister Karen Klimczak. Anyhow, I was going to write a long post on how much I enjoy having the sign in front of my house (though I don’t always believe I do what it says), how much it means to me, and how powerful and beautiful I think the below quote and prayer are…and also how much inner work I feel I need to do to be able to actually embody some of the things I share on this blog. But I don’t know where to begin. The image, I believe, and the below words, speak for themselves.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
I’ve used this comparison before but have to mention it again…you see a lot more when on a bike than in a car but you see ten times that when you walk. Because, like a car, when you ride a bike you have to stay in control–or at least keep the bike in control lest you fall. But when walking, especially in a neighborhood that is familiar to you, you can walk somewhat aimlessly and take it all in…and that’s just what I did today. I have a couple things laying heavy on me–concerns and decisions to make–and one of the best things to help level my thoughts (besides prayer and meditation) is a good contemplative walk. I really believe that there is art and beauty all around us–even in the middle of a city–and that all one has to do is look. Anyhow, these are just a few of the things I saw today on my short walk (a mile each way) to the health club.
I saw the above squirrel–rather, he saw me first–as I approached it at the corner of Delaware and Summer Street
. It darted from in front of me, forgetting the chestnut it was chewing, then came back–looking at me the entire time–to retrieve it before scurrying onto the fence to finish it’s consumption. He was, I’m guessing 30ft/9m from me–truly taxing the zoom on my little point-and-shoot camera–but I’m sure he was watching me out of the corner of his eye. I watched him for a moment and wondered if he ever worried about money or paying bills or about anything for that matter. Likely not. His concerns are honed to where his next chestnut is, how secure his shelter, or if there are any predators about.
The photo directly below is the shadow of a fence very near where the squirrel was sitting; the light seemed just right at the moment I was standing there.
The next photo below, and in the middle, is of a flower I’m sure I saw while in full bloom (I walk/ride this route often). In the height of season it was I’m sure, white, fluffy, and full of life. But now, brown and withered, it still stood defiant of it’s decay. T
And the most bottom photo (and this is my favorite) is a little hidden gem in the city. I’ve photographed this path before and in all seasons though not this close up (meaning I walked down it a bit). It’s a private path (a rear entrance to someone’s home) but to me it looks like it could be somewhere in rural Europe. What’s interesting is that it is located on Summer Street
in the city of Buffalo.