How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice
by Pat SchneiderOxford University Press, Oxford, England & New York © 2013 303 pp.
There is a tale of a rabbi who was famous for his great prayers. One day, after a particularly brilliant display of his public praying, an angel appeared and told him that he was doing fairly well, but a man in a nearby village was better at praying. The rabbi went in search of the man and found him to be an illiterate tradesman. The rabbi asked, 'How did you pray on the last holy day?'
The man told him that he couldn’t even read—he only knew the first ten letters of the alphabet—so he felt inadequate to pray. 'So I said to God, ‘All I have are these ten letters; take them and combine them however you want so that they smell good to you’.
To pray is to open oneself completely, intimately, into the Presence that is beyond our ability to name. And we have so few letters! And the ones we have are sometimes very confusing. The poet William Wordsworth said a newborn child comes 'trailing clouds of glory.' He did not say, but it is true, that a newborn comes also trailing clouds of genetic material and family history; clouds of tradition, ritual, prejudice, and resistance to difference or change. Growing to maturity requires an incredible balancing act if we are to live at peace with our own portion of letters among the many alphabets, the many understandings of mystery. Both writing and praying are acts of deep vulnerability. It is so easy for us to mistrust our own ten letters of the alphabet. But if we do not reach into inner and outer space—for morning stars sing together in both—we may miss the most exquisite relationship human life offers." (pp. 9-10)
— submitted by Jennifer Knight
To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com