Morning haze and cool breeze say this will be a cooler day. The trees move like the water, green ripples all around. A couple of birds sing, a chipmunk wanders up the hill, on top of the woodpile, and away. Flying bugs are back, having come a month ago, and then disappeared when the weather turned cold. Oaks are a light yellow, with just a touch of greeen, slowly filling their branches with leaves, changing the entire look of the forest. With the pines gone, the dominant color of green replaces the orange, making the forest seem alive again, thriving.

My mind is struggling to find a point of focus. Phone calls and dogs barking in the night kept a sleep from being sound. Even now, with the sun shining in my face, I’m a little groggy. I’m continuing to remind myself, as I did this morning, to flee from thoughts of future possibilities, to dwell in the now, to do that which I can, to be settled with who God has made me to be in this moment.

I caught my mind drifting, and was happy to remember what I wrote yesterday. It filled me with calm. At a certain point, I think, we take what we read from others, the words we’ve heard preached, the wisdom of the present and the ages, and have to learn to apply it to our own selves. A person can go an entire life and never do this, always requiring the next ‘great’ speaker, or inspirational book to provide the moment of insight and direction. These are naught but the calls of the Spirit outside of us, words of truth broadly applied to help people start and move. However, it is the Spirit in us who must be the most powerful voice, the words which the Spirit says to us as individuals has to become our source of inspiration, a communion with the Divine which words on paper cannot match.

Even Scripture are broad strokes of truth, not meant to guide our particulars, or to give specific answers to our daily needs. It is the canon which sets the bounds, but is not a detailed list for our life. Learning to listen, and speak to ourselves is a worthwhile task, I think. Taking the knowledge and applying it, hearing what the Spirit says to us through it and through all the manifold ways of teaching. For a long time I’ve felt weary of hearing preaching, of reading yet another inspirational book on spirituality. Besides Scripture, and Cassian, I grow weary of words. I think this is because I’ve heard enough words. Either now I apply it, or I don’t. That is the way of the Christian path, and maybe why weariness in walking it sets in, shown either by exhaustion or an unquenchable drive for new stimulation. We come to the point where we must act, or not, and until we learn to take the words and give them meaning for our own daily lives, we simply cannot ingest more, or even understand more.

But the application requires a great deal from us, significantly more than just listening does, it requires change and sacrifice, our whole lives.

That is the message of the monks, when they say to stay and learn in one’s cell, not going out and beyond. Until we learn what we already know, there is no point to further teaching. This learning is a lengthy process, especially at the advanced levels of truth, where meat is the primary food.

Taking this in, really understanding it all with our being, results in tranquility and calm, contentment in all circumstances. This is not a call to action when Paul mentions it, it is a result of his really understanding, of waiting and listening, of enduring and learning. We are not called to force ourselves to be content, we are called to learn the secret of contentment, and thus be what we want to be.