Belle’s Story by Belle Snyder, Member of Mary of Magdala Community
Belle Snyder, Mary of Magdala Community Member, recently quoted Ram Dass in a letter to me: “We walk each other home sharing our stories.” ( Ram Dass and the Seva Foundation are one google search away.)
Belle has been thinking about this story for a while and understood that the Holy Spirit was urging her to share it.
In the 1960s Father Keating (author of Centering Prayer) noticed flocks of young people arriving in India to study Buddhism. He later learned in groups that many of those young people were Catholics.
In the monastery where Father Keating lived there was a great house at the roadway and a monk who gave directions to people. The young people stopping at the house were all asking directions to the Buddhist monastery down the road. Finally he asked one of the young people, “What are you looking for?” He responded, “A path, man, a path.”
The monk went to Fr. Keating and said, “Do we have anything to offer these young people?” Fr. Keating said, “No.” Sp, Frs. Keating, Menninger and Pennington mined the tradition, specifically The Cloud of Unknowing and came up with a one word mantra, placed on the heart to ward off incessant thinking. This was the beginning of Centering Prayer or meditation which can lead to contemplation.
They reached out to priests and bishops but there was no interest. But lay people lapped it up. They were hungry for God.
Belle goes on. Why I tell this story. For me the foundation of my spiritual life is a spiritual practice. I need 2 twenty periods each day to “rest in God” in faith. From that center all reading, everyday living, live evolves. Without it I am lost in my own ego world, seeking comfort, security, affirmation.
So that is the story that I have been thinking about.
An addendum… This practice for many, many years has evolved for me to have a word attached to breath which brings me into my body.
Community will return after long efforts of vaccinations.
Take care, Belle
Thank you for the story. We are fortunate to have community members like you who point to what we should be doing.