This Christmas, a friend gave me The Pocket Pema Chödrön, which includes 108 brief insights from the books of the beloved Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön. I’m committing to blog on Chödrön’s wisdom for each of the twelve days of Christmas. Because the number 108 held such energy for me, I have decided to limit my reflections and comments to 108 words, which is really not very much at all! But it will be a good Christmas challenge. Since God was able to limit the Infinite to one tiny baby, I can at least try to limit my ramblings to 108 words…
Chödrön: “Realizing our wealth would end our bewilderment and confusion. But the only way to do that is to let things fall apart. And that’s the very thing that we dread the most—the ultimate defeat. Yet letting things fall apart would actually let fresh air into this old, stale basement of a heart that we’ve got” (Selection 80: Start Where You Are, 8-9)
Readings for the Second Sunday After Christmas
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
“The spiritual journey,” according to Trappist Monk Thomas Keating, “is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal.” Defeat, failure, humiliation and loss help me push aside the heavy curtain of my ego in order to catch a glimpse of the bodhichitta, the imago Dei, the fundamental wealth within. Today’s Old Testament reading describes this same process at work among the Judahites as Prophet Jeremiah promises “fatness,” “gladness” and “bounty” for those who just underwent enormous defeat and loss.