Friday, January 13, 2006

simplicity and four dollar perspective

i swear that you find the best stuff in delete bins.

i mean, think of all the great cd's or cheap dvd's that you've found there. how many amazing shirts or pairs of shoes have you picked up from a bin marked
clearance? plenty i'll bet.

i recently found a book (now the odds of finding a good book among the stinkers and lo-fat cookbooks in a clearance bin are definately stacked against you, compared to finding a great sweater there, but that's a whole nother blog) in a bin at sears the other day. i was so excited that i dug around and found a second one, which i bought for a friend of mine. the book is called
the music of creation and is written by my favourite secular franciscan monk: john michael talbot.

i discovered the music of john michael talbot when i was in high school. it was, apart from my dad's
maranatha praise albums, my introduction to worship music per se. before and after that, everything was rock and roll for all the reasons that we love guitar, bass and drums blasting from the windows of a mustang driving down mainstreet in search of the ultimate challenge off of the line. ( i realize that this probably warrants no comparison aesthetically to the tooth-rattling drone characterizing the powerful subsonic presence of a tricked out, hip-hop fueled honda crx pulling up to a light behind or beside you, but whatever... i digress)

point is, talbot's stuff was different than anything that i had ever heard. although he was a monk in a habit, he was this brilliant guitar player who was able to reflect upon the attributes of God with liturgical balance, while playing with the passion and prowess of a man who had sold his soul at the crossroads. although, over time, his music did become quieter and more contemplative as he changed from steel to nylon strings, there was still an integrity that said to the listener that this man was singing from the core of who he was to the creator of that core, not simply serving up some nice background ambience for preachers to write sermons by. years before i was writing worship songs and leading God's people towards the throne of grace myself, i was being led into the presence of God by this guy.

anyway, enough fanclub tributes. i bought this book for $3.98 and began to read it.

i didn't get past the introduction before i was smitten with the power of an image cited by talbot and used by monks of the christian orthodox east to describe the stillness and silence of their unique way of life, a life of quiet discipline that is lived intentionally with contemplative prayer and mystical union with God as its objective (summarized in the greek word
hesychia meaning stillness and silence.) he speaks of a pond.
When a pond is agitated, it becomes muddy and unclear. You cannot see what is within, nor does it reflect what is without. But as the pond becomes still, the water settles and slowly clarifies. When the water is still clear, you can see the reality of what is within. Its surface also becomes mirror-like, reflecting all that is without and providing a brilliant display of the surrounding trees and foliage, the animals and people along its bank, as well as the very blue of the endless sky...

Hesychia is a way of stillness that helps calm the waters of the soul, bringing us inner peace. Once that occurs, we can see underneath the turbulent surface of our lives, perhaps for the first time. In Hesychia, our spirit, soul, and body become mirrors reflecting the reality of God and the original harmony and peace he intended for all creation.

Achieving this kind of clarity is only the beginning of a lifelong process, because once we can see into the pond of our soul, we can begin to make out some of the old garbage that has lain on the bottom for many years without detection...
four dollar perspective with which to step into a new year... i'm still trying to figure out how to apply it to my own cluttered journey.



Blogger jollybeggar said...

if you are interested, here is the shortcut to this book on amazon...

as usual, the 'review' is written by someone who seems more interested in appearing intelligent and well-read than in actually presenting a fair and balanced appraisal. oh well- it's a common problem.

Blogger curious servant said...

That was nicely said!

Blogger dans_inferno said...

You can look at Dans Search for Hell for my thoughts on surf boards and tsunamis....dans_inferno

Blogger dans_inferno said...

dans says: Anyway, if you look into Dans Search for Hell over at or thereabouts, you will see links to posts on consciousness and other events. It's on the Edgar Mitchell (the astronaut on Apollo 14) posting board If anyone cares to get into discussions...dans

Blogger jollybeggar said...

although they are probably not as entertaining as bigbro's, you can find jollybeggar's thoughts on surfboards and tsunamis at

the chronicles are almost complete.

Blogger Internet Street Philosopher said...

Yeah, some of the best DVD's, books and CD's I've ever found have been in discount bins. And I love the pond analogy.

Blogger dans_inferno said...

dans says: Hell is not about being enttertained. It's about being the entertainment. You have to understand the evolution of consciousness to grasp that reality.

I'm not so much exploring hell as creating hell, or pockets of it, or circles of it.

Some day in the not too distant future a tsunami is going to whack the Pacific Northwest. The death toll along the Oregon and Washington coastline is going to be rather impressive. Maybe even bigger. It's kind of humorous to view the so-called escape routes to safe havens for the coastal citizens. The safe havens are actually death traps.

So much government planning, so little time to trap the little rats......dans aka bigbro aka fred call

PS...I notice you've made it ininitly more complex to post a simple message on your comment board. You shouldn't be so afraid of the truth.....dans

Blogger jollybeggar said...

ininitly? um- okay.
actually, i just hate spam- i'm okay with your same old baloney!

Blogger curious servant said...

Just checking in to see if you're still kicking!

Blogger jollybeggar said...

yeah- been major busy lately- blogging can be a distraction for me, so there are times when i have to just step back... kinda like easing back on the coffee, ya know?

kicking is a good word.

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