September 19, 2003
The Chaplain's Corner
As I write this, Hurricane Isabel is bearing down on the Carolina coast.
As the formidable storm passed north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, satellite images showed a fierce tempest hundreds of miles wide.
But at the center was a perfectly formed eye spanning fifty miles -- a place of calm in the center of almost unimaginable chaos and fury.
In his poem "Burnt Norton," T. S. Eliot refers to God as "the still point of the turning world."
It is an image the Christian Eliot borrowed from Buddhist philosophy -- If the world is imagined as a great mandala, a spinning wheel, then the outer perimeter of that wheel whirls at great speed while at its very center there exists a point of perfect stillness.
The centrifugal forces of life propel us to the perimeter, where things move at chaotic velocity.
How can we move closer to the still point?
Some communities of faith have recently rediscovered "centering prayer," a method of praying more concerned with silence than with words, cultivating an attitude of receptivity to the calming presence of the Spirit.
Maybe you need to get centered.
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