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The image titled The Homeless, Psalm 85:10, featured on the cover of ELEMENTAL, can evoke multiple levels of response. They may include the spiritual in the form of a studied meditation upon the multidimensional qualities of the painting itself; or an extended contemplation of the scripture in the title, which in the King James Bible reads as follows: Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The painting can also inspire a physical response in the form of tears as it calls to mind its more earth-bound aspects; namely, the very serious plight of those who truly are homeless in this world, whether born into such a condition, or forced into it by poverty or war.
There was a white man sitting at the kitchen table, warming his hands by wrapping them around a hot cup of tea. He had kind of an oblong face, curly red hair piled on top, a close-cropped but dense red beard, shocking blue eyes that always looked wide open. He face was ruddy with the outdoors, and the way he was sitting there with that tea, he looked so calm, so centered, almost like he was in meditation. When I came in, he looked at me and smiled just a trace, without showing his teeth…
Nature has come to a point where now, unless you take individual responsibility, you cannot grow. More than this nature cannot do. It has done enough. It has given you life, it has given you opportunity; now how to use it, it has left up to you. Meditation is your freedom, not a biological necessity. You can learn in a certain period of time every day to strengthen meditation, to make it stronger — but carry the flavor of it the whole day.
The conventional sense of self is an illusion—and spirituality largely consists in realizing this, moment to moment. There are logical and scientific reasons to accept this claim, but recognizing it to be true is not a matter of understanding these reasons. Like many illusions, the sense of self disappears when closely examined, and this is done through the practice of meditation.
There are several different kinds of painful feelings that we might experience, and learning to distinguish and relate to these feelings of discomfort or pain is an important part of meditation practice, because it is one of the very first things that we open to as our practice develops.
In every scientific question, even with the most intense meditation, men find that they soon come to the limits of new thoughts; a barrier, like a prison chamber, rises in every direction, which is impassable until new experiments are made, or new knowledge which bears upon the question is attained.