I have come from another Zen retreat which involved silent sitting meditation and silent walking meditation for three days. It was wonderful to tune into a sensitivity at the level of impulse. I am reminded of Saint Ignatius Loyola who maintained that a positive source “touches the soul gently, lightly, and sweetly, like a drop of water going into a sponge”. This is what it was like for me after a while at the retreat. When I got distracted, I found myself saying “gently, kindly, lovingly” from the core of my being. Then I returned to listening to the breath in my belly.
Ignatius also told us what it was like to be pulled in the opposite direction. He maintained that a negative source “touches the soul sharply, with noise and disturbance, like a drop of water falling onto a stone”. Unfortunately, I had this experience yesterday when I got distracted by something that kept me feeling low. Thankfully, I turned to my spirituality and felt a nearness to that positive source again. I am still a bit shaky after the noise and disturbance, but I will try to endure knowing that the sweet inner movement is so much better.
Finally, I am reminded of Ignatius’s meditation on two standards. On the one hand, he encourages us to see an inauthentic leader “seated on a throne of fire and smoke, in aspect horrible and terrifying” and an authentic leader “in an area which is lowly, beautiful and attractive”. I think you can guess whose side I would prefer to be on. How about you?