每一天都是禮物 Gifts of the Sprit- Day
星期日的午后,我獨自一人在咖啡屋的一角,手捧一本書. 當我一字一句細細的讀著也再三回味字裡行間的意思時, 頓時咖啡廳內的音樂與周圍的談話聲逐漸散去.我忘記時間的流逝,內心沉靜的在書籍裏游盪.
Gifts of the Sprits - Day上帝和佛陀的禮物是我正在讀的書.
我很慶幸自己曾在天主教大學讀書學習過,也有機會與許多國家的修女與神父共事過. 實際在修會機構裡生活過一段日子,所以知道書中提到的相關資訊時是在說什麼. 沒想到年輕時的經驗在當時不覺有任何意義,時至今日,竟是讀此本安頓身心書籍的必要養分.
此書的讀者群應屬小眾吧! 在書店的一角默默發亮.只有想要追求心靈成長的人才會注意到它吧! 我相信它一定引不起一般人尤其年輕人的興趣. 如何賺錢,如何功成名就,如何化妝等實用書籍才較能吸引他們吧!
縱使如此,我依然埋首研究此書. 我瞭解親友是無法瞭解我讀此書的感受. 因他們不知道我年輕時那段特別經驗.
畢竟在清晨五點多摸黑起床,迎著乾淨的冷空氣,穿過花木及迴廊來到莊嚴美麗的天主教堂 Chapel ,與一群充滿愛心的修女望彌撒唱聖歌的如夢幻經驗只有我有. 鮮花、 燭光、 詠嘆調 、修女白色優雅的背影、與對天主單純堅定的愛交織出的景象是我最美麗的寶貴體驗. 每餐簡單的食物在禱詞之後竟是那麼美味勝於今日我在高級餐館所享用的餐點!
居於過往經驗讓, 我知道作 者Philip Zaieski 及 Paul Kaufman 的論述是真有所本,也很嚴謹的. 這本書讓我憶起當年未婚時少女的單純美好時光.是最窮的年代也是最幸福洋溢的年代.
From "Gifts of the Spirit: Living the Wisdom of the Great Religious Traditions" by Philip Zaleski & Paul Kaufman
Gifts of the Spirit
Drawing on the wisdom of teacher from the world's great religious traditions, including Robert Thurman, Sharon Salzberg, Ram Dass, Mother Mary Clare Vincent, Joan Halifax, and Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man, Gifts of the Spirit deepens our appreciation of such everyday routines as waking up, eating, and working, as well as the abundant rewards of enjoying music, gardening, walking, and being with others. Vivid descriptions of rituals from around the world help us find new spiritual meaning in life's key passages.
Discover everyday spiritual riches through:
Zen arts of cooking and eating
Jewish and Native American coming-of-age rituals
Bedouin rules of hospitality and friendship
Mindful approached to pregnancy and birth
Ancient Christian practices that nurture the dying
Shaker philosophies of daily work and craft
The Buddhist way to a peaceful night's sleep
Life in a Day
I was clambering over a toppled oak when I caught the faint, acrid scent. Perhaps a patch of moldy mushrooms, I thought. I had spotted large clumps of brown fungi in the area a few weeks ago, before the late spring rains arrived. As I continued on my evening ramble down the rough trail toward the lake, the smell increased. Looking up, I noticed dark specks mottling the air. I broke through the brush, cutting my thumb on a bramble as I entered the waterside clearing.
Before me the air danced with fairies. I didn't notice the pain in my thumb, so entranced was I by the sight. The fairies were tiny, with pale green or yellow translucent wings, their torsos long, brown and curved as if in ecstasy. Clouds of them coagulated and burst apart, roiling up twenty feet or more, then thinning like mist and drifting toward the ground. I discerned individual threads in the shimmering tapestry, but only for a second or two before a wind gust or some herd instinct remixed the threads into a seething knot.
Right away, I recognized what I was seeing: a swarm of ephemeroptera, or mayflies--also known as fishfly, spinner, shadfly, and sandfly--dancing in erotic frenzy. The ground was slick with their carcasses; they coated the gravelly path and the surrounding granite rocks. A faint scent of decay arose from the mass grave. But this insect cemetery couldn't hold my attention; I was far more captivated by the bedroom antics in the sky. There males danced, females pranced, happy couples mated, and a new generation of ephemeroptera was conceived before my eyes. It was a glorious sight. But what gave it special poignancy was the remarkable life cycle of these miniature creatures--also known, fittingly, as dayflies--for after a long somnambulistic stretch as nymphs, they burst into adulthood, make love, and die all in a single day.
If, as Matthew Arnold observed, the life that burns half as long burns twice as hard, then these mayflies blaze like the sun. To be born, procreate, and die in twenty-four hours! No wonder the mayfly has become an archetype of life's swift passage, beloved by poets, philosophers, and fishermen (who find them to be splendid bait for trout). Benjamin Franklin wrote a soliloquy from the viewpoint of a "venerable ephemera who had lived four hundred and twenty minutes," a hoary age. This mayfly, a prophet and visionary, shakes his head in wonder at his "great age," decides to spend his remaining seconds "in the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well," and surmises that the sun, whose arc he has traced across the sky, will soon "be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction."
I sat down on the shore, the low summer sun warming my neck, wondering idly how many mayfly Methuselahs reeled toward death within this great throng of life. I planned to watch the delicate ballet for five or ten minutes before resuming my hike. It didn't work out that way. Within a few seconds I was engulfed in mayflies. They clumped around me, flying into my ears and mouth, settling on my red shirt and blue pants like flecks of whitish-brown paint. I breathed shallowly, reluctant to draw a family--or an entire clan--into my lungs. They flew against my face, so thick at times that it seemed like a crystal veil was suspended before my eyes, through which the world shimmered, suddenly unknown.
Enveloped in mayflies, I held my ground for a minute or two--each minute a month from a mayfly's point of view--enraptured by this spectacle of life coming and going like ocean waves. Is this, I wondered, how God sees the rising and falling of generations, kingdoms, civilizations? Just for fun, I tried to switch lenses, to see this drama from the mayfly's point of view. Here was something new! It dawned on me that philosophers write from a human perspective when they pity the mayfly its brief moment in the sun. But from a mayfly's perspective--that is, from the profundity of a mayfly's experience of time--a moment can contain a lifetime. William Blake knew the secret:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
When Benjamin Franklin's mayfly rejoices in his "long life spent in meaning well," we laugh, but that laugh contains a secret assent, for on some level we know that the mayfly doesn't deceive himself; his day is indeed a lifetime, and he really has "lived long enough . . . to glory."
Well then, I thought, why not take the mayfly's wisdom as our own? Every day, our mayfly sage suggests, is a miniature life: we are born with the dawn, grow to full potency at noon, retire in the evening, and find oblivion with sleep. Here lies a deep truth. Whether we yearn for yesterday or pine for tomorrow, it is only in this day, this now, that our life unfolds. Thus the most famous slogan of the 1960s counterculture: "Be Here Now." Twelve-Step programs offer a close cousin in "one day at a time." Days do come one at a time, and so we must take them. "Carpe diem," goes a more ancient saying, and although we may reject the bittersweet despair that underlies that summons to pleasure, we in search of the spiritual life must also seize the day.
負責本書的主文撰寫。他對靈性、精神領域的事物相當有研究，並有多項這方面的編著作，包括《靜定心：遁世修行之地》（The Recollected Heart: A monastic Retreat），Prayer: A History 以及 The Book of Heaven（後兩本為與妻子共同合作），同時也是《?物線雜誌》（Parabola magazine）、Best American Spiritual Writing 及Best Spiritual Writing叢書的編輯，並在史密斯學院及魏司連大學分別教授宗教及文學課程。其關於宗教與文化的著述常刊登於國內各大刊物，包括《紐約時報》、《?物線雜誌》、《要事》以及《讀者文摘》。
負責本書的隨筆、訪談與側寫，曾擔任哈佛大學客座助理研究員。有過數項和人共同合作的作品，包括《富創造力的心靈》（The Creative Spirit）一書，及《大眾心智》（The Public Mind）一片，並因為後者而與比爾?莫爾斯（Bill Moyers）共同贏得美國廣播界最具聲望的喬治?佛斯特?皮博蒂獎（George Foster Peabody Award）。