I was with a friend this morning, and the passing of their Beloved four-footed family member. My heart aches.

“The Edge of Center”

All tempest has,

like a navel,

a hole in its middle,

through which

a gull can fly,

in silence.

– Fourteenth-Century Japanese, Anonymous

From across the centuries, this nameless voice tells us that at the heart of all struggle there is a peaceful enduring center, if we can only reach it. All the wisdom traditions affirm this.

Still, a deeper paradox of life is carried here. For the gull flies through the peaceful center; it does not live there. The work, it seems, for us is to draw sustenance from that central, eternal space without denying the experience of the storm.

Repeatedly, we are thrown into the storm and into the center. When in the storm, we are exacerbated by our humanness. When in the center, we are relieved by our spiritual place in the Oneness of things. So to find the center and spread our battered wiings is to feel the God within.

Our constant struggle is in living both sides of this paradox. For we cannot get to the center without going through the storm that surrounds it. Yet the storm of human experience can only be endured by knowing what the gull knows. The storm can only be survived from the center. In how we pass each other from storm to center and back – there you’ll find the trials and gifts of love.

– Mark Nepo

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