Monday 23rd February
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being.
“Life is like breath:
we must be able to live in an easy rhythm between give and take.
If we cannot learn to live in this rhythm, we will place ourselves in great danger.”
– David Steindl Rast
The rhythm of our breath is the rhythm of God;
if we learn to listen to our breathing, we learn to listen to God.
Prince Siddhartha, on his quest for enlightenment, took a number of turns.
His early life was one of comfort, and he soon realised that a life of comfort and ease
was not one that would help him develop spiritually.
He began to seek other ways to fulfil his goal,
eventually shedding all manner of comfort and ease by leaving the Palace environment
and becoming a wandering ascetic.
He fasted to extreme and gave away all possessions,
hoping this would lead him to enlightenment and spiritual fulfilment. It didn’t.
Then one day on his travels he came across a musician giving sitar lessons to children.
He watched as the musician taught them how to string the sitar.
He told them that if the strings were too slack they would not give a mellow sound,
but if they were strung too tight they would be liable to snap and be of no use at all.
Not too slack and not too tight.
These words had a life changing impact upon Siddhartha
and he realised the importance of balance in seeking spiritual enlightenment.
He had veered first to too slack, and then to too tight.
He realised that day that he needed to find a middle way – a way of balance.
At the heart of Lent is the recovery of balance in our lives, and on our spiritual journey.
Are we strung too tight? Or too slack? What needs adjusting?
Is our spiritual practise too demanding or do we make too little effort?
Is our life over busy or do we need to find a purpose?
Are we turning into a couch potato, or do we need to chill out and relax a bit more?
Is life all about “me”, or do I need to make more space for me?
Finding the right balance is the key to life.
As David Steindl-Rast wrote in today’s reflection:
“Life is like breath: we must be able to live in an easy rhythm between give and take.”
May this Lent help us to discover the right rhythm for our lives.