Author: Marc Thomas Shaw

Into The Gloom: Another Part Of The Journey

At breakfast with a friend recently, we talked about some of the challenges of parenting young children. He has a four year old and our family has different children in the house as we wrap up requirements for foster-adoption.

Beyond the obvious challenges of taking care of practical matters like feeding and naps, negotiating parenting styles, and lack of sleep (our son didn’t sleep through the night consistently until the age of four), there’s another subtler factor that drains energy.

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A Practice Of Release

In contemplative circles, we often talk about cultivating ongoing practices. Given what the term “contemplation” means for so many with no training or familiarity with the tradition, this seems antithetical.

“Wait, doesn’t contemplation mean sitting and thinking about something for a very long time?” It’s inactivity par excellence. If you fool yourself long enough into thinking that kind of inactivity matters in the world, well, you turn it into a lifestyle and call yourself a contemplative.

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Poetry Review: A Dream of Stones

There is a concept in Heidegger’s writing called Sein zum Tode, roughly translated as being unto death; it’s more an orientation than a concept. It’s a persistent awareness.

From that philosophical vantage point, life is given sweetness and poignancy, given meaning in ever-present awareness of its transience.

Since relocating to the West Coast of Ireland from the U.S., abbess, author, and poet Christine Valters Paintner has been immersed in Celtic spirituality, and her new collection of poems Dreaming of Stones, is an opportunity to follow her into that space as a kind of guide, but with the sensibility of a mystic.

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The Counterintuitive Path To Wisdom

Quick thought exercise. Who is it you think of in your own life that you associate with the word wisdom? Someone who doesn’t get caught up in games of status and recognition. Someone who is able to skillfully navigate emotionally charged interactions. Someone at once grounded, aware, insightful, honest, and humble, possessed of a quiet inner strength with no need to call undue attention to itself.

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Awakening And The Little Metanoia

One of the challenges of the contemplative life is understanding the relationship between the contemplative dimension of life – the cultivation of an interior silence that radically changes how we perceive the world and the self-in-the-world – and the bare facts of the practical lives we find ourselves in.

Philosophers call it the phenomenal world.
More poetically, Eastern traditions have called it the ten thousand things.

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Two Kinds of Magic Moment

One of my many privileges in life, and there are a lot of them, is to live in a place of great natural beauty. Accustomed to seasons of changing leaves, barren trees, snowfall, the budding, fragrant spring, and the majesty of a summer thundershower in my childhood in Germany, admittedly the low rate of seasonal change in California took some getting used to.

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