About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Ora et Labora

Every day (almost) in the morning I iron my shirt for that day.
    For me it is not a chore, it is a spiritual exercise. Like any other spiritual exercise it engages deep and complex sensual experiences of heat, touch, smell; it also has its own proper time and rhythm. The rhythm is in the sequence in which I press my shirt. But there is also a rhythm of seasons with long and short sleeves, dress shirts and my Hawaiian shirts. Above it all, day after day I can even observe subtle changes of daylight as the Earth, and all of us with it, circle around our star. I understand why Homer sang about the rosy-fingered dawn.
    In my regular occupation as a church minister I usually do not see immediate results of my work. With ironing it is satisfyingly direct. There are results right away; before the iron there is a crumpled fabric and after is a nicely pressed shirt. And even if I make a mistake in a false or wrong crease, it is also immediately obvious and there are ways to correct it - a little bit more steam or perhaps some sprinkling. It is an interesting metaphor for our living.
    Of course I have my preferred shirts, based on materials and the makes. While ironing my shirts, I also come close to them. Thus I learned to value shirts by the quality of their fabric and how well they are made. For some time, when I buy new shirts, I have preferred those which I like to iron. The hands-on and down-close experience is changing the way I perceive the world and this is also an interesting spiritual insight.
    Every time I iron my shirt I remember those who taught me this skill. I remember my maternal grandmother who was still using a stove-top heavy iron to press shirts for my grandfather on his way to the glass factory. Of course we had electricity, but she clearly enjoyed the old fashioned way. And then, I remember my mom who taught me how to iron my shirts before I left home for seminary, clearly anticipating it might come handy. This chore is for me a spiritual connection with and expression of respect to my maternal ancestors.    
    Of course there are many and quite inexpensive places to have my shirts pressed and they can probably do it much better than I, but in no way I am giving up my spiritual exercise! At the same time, please, understand that this is my personal experience; you don’t need to start ironing your own shirts in order to get spiritual. I write about it to show that anything can become spiritual in the right context and with an open attitude. The truly spiritual is never detached from mundane life; it is often hidden right in the middle of it, in plain sight. 
   The lectionary reading this Sunday from the prophet Jeremiah will take us to the potter’s shop and help us to observe the miracle of creation and meaning of life. Come this Sunday to observe a master working with clay and should you so desire, put your own hands on some clay.

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