Archive for October 24th, 2009

The prose poem is a hybrid approach to writing that affords more flexibility and free-form expression as it is unconstrained by the demands of rhyme. Today, I find myself thinking about using it to explore the worlds of perception through which I perpetually navigate.

Years ago, I read “Varieties of Religious Experience” by psychologist William James. What I loved about it was the exquisite care that he put into describing the experiences people had in moments of religious epiphany. This is one of the many works of the phenomenological movement that dedicated itself to the study and detailed description of the human experience. The phenomenological method holds a linguistic mirror up to experiences. It gives us the chance to do better at describing and bridging our subjective universes.

Using the approach to look at ourselves as a reflection of the Creator’s imagination is an intriguing idea. It is also a core aim of inter-faith dialogue and panentheistic theology ( i.e., creation spirituality, process theology). [Unlike pantheism, a panentheistic theology does not equate G-d with the universe, but rather G-d is conceived as being both in all of creation and  transcendent. The Cosmos and G-d coexist in infinity and co-evolve. The panentheist argues that the Divine is the organizing matrix of matter and psyche, and while matter and spirit  show  the guiding hand of Divine patterning, they are not to be equated with the sacred persona on which their existence, character, and evolution depend. This process theological viewpoint is held by practitioners of both Judaism and Christianity, though admittedly, by a minority of thinkers.] I appreciate this view as it opens up great possibilities in pursuing dialogue between science and religion. It also seems to me to be more consistent with human experience and history, and the evolution of the idea of G-d as humanity has uncovered more knowledge of the world around us.

Religious thought should not be allowed to ossify around one model that was shaped in ancient history. While holding to certain coherent archetypal motifs, religion should nonetheless fully embrace new knowledge and experience. To do otherwise would be to freeze creative mythologizing around one set of cultural models and points in time, and break the connection that should be protected between consciousness and our intimacy in the here and now with the Beloved. Just as our relationships with people evolve over time as we come to understand them differently and as our union with them grows ever deeper as we age, so too our relationship with G-d should proceed as naturally.

Beginning with this post, I will launch a series of prose poem studies of my own experiences in the World as an experiment in looking to find traces of the Creator’s presence in consciousness, in imagery and cognition, perception and feeling. These will be short prose poem montages attempting to paint a picture in words. I offer it as a series of experiments showcasing a descriptive method that you too might find valuable on your own spiritual quest.

Sunday, October 25, 2009: “Seeing My Children off at the Airport”


Not enough time. Wanting each day that draws closer to departure to move more slowly than the one before it.

A knot grows in my stomach. I recall so many great times.

Furrowed brow moments tense with knowing that these are about then and no longer about now.


Many nights on which I was reassured by checking the house over before bed, and checking in to say goodnight. Now, I check on empty rooms.

Life flows like ketchup from a bottle: First slowly then way too fast.

That great Cosmic Comedian, Creator of the absurd; how s/he loves a good puzzle.


I too like puzzles, but, if it’s too much, I can put it down. Life puzzles are Jumanji Boards. Once you start play, you have to finish.

My senses are on tilt; stomach cramping, shallow breathing, a tense neck, tired eyes from sleepless nights, reluctance, procrastination, and worry.

Scenarios dance through my mind in all manner of pre-planning: A control-wish neurosis; a deep need to get ahead of  butterfly effects.


Twisting and turning, my mind reels from  changing inner landscapes.

My heart aches, eyes well up, yet all is as it must and should be.

Birther of the Cosmos, how hard it must be to let Creation just Be, to let it unfold in shifting tides of probability!


To incarnate is to suffer. To become embodied is to change. To exist is to recognize the inevitable ceasing: heart stops, mind stills, memory dissolves into nothingness.

Longing is as much a part of life as breathing. Letting go and being opened is the heart of every sacrament.

Letting go and being opened is the way home now.


Just not enough time. Wanting each day that draws closer to arrival to move more swiftly than the one before it.

A knot grows in my stomach as I anticipate great times. Furrowed brow moments, tense with unknowing –  it’s all about when, and forever about tomorrow.

Light grows dim before Nova. Then, the heavens burst open with the Light of many Suns.


Warmed by timelessness, my yearning for yesterday with the children makes me more vigilant.

My listening is deeper. My vision penetrates farther. The yearning draws me nearer the Heart in which I am forever contained (though I may often fail to feel it).

Ephatha ( Be Opened!)


Future posts will look at a variety of other experiences such as intimacy, loneliness, fear, being loved, loving, joy, solving a puzzle, seeing a child born, leaving home, and coming back again. May your day be filled with illumination and the always welcoming invitation to the Cosmic Dance.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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rings of years and shows of scars, watchers of epochal landscapes changed,

great arms of Mnemosyne, in greenness and dew, tell tales in silence of things rearranged.

long-suffering and true, no vow ever deeper, no focus so treasured, so dear,

tall guardians cherishing smallness, guiding hands for all that draw near.


fires, floods, diseases and quakes,  lumberjacks missions to slash and erase,

sweet spires of Paradise are mercilessly defaced.

great Spirit of the woods, father of the skies, mother of the common and the rare,

can you move hearts among us, can you move all to care?


memories now fading, stories yet untold,  shadows crossing crumbled towers,

noble heros rise and choke the darkness, be midwives for future’s flowers.

we are mere dust alive with purpose, off-springs of love and wonder,

the sundial shadow falls again, no more of Eden’s Plunder.


© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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