A woman came to my house recently whose
husband I had helped put in jail the day before. One day she felt afraid of his
violence. The next she felt ambivalent about her choice, and she wanted my help
to get him out of jail. While I had helped her call the police, I wasn't
willing to pay his bond.
So most Jews know where Jesus was born, even though few Christians know
much about Buddhism. Jesus makes the cover of one general-interest
magazine or another ever month or so, and it only takes a couple
shopping trips between Thanksgiving and New Year's to accidentally
memorize the words to "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
It's easy—from the comfort of my desk, where I’m healthy, well fed and
securely employed—to experience a sense of "enough," as I wrote last week.
It’s easy to champion compassion, justice and peace (what's not to
like?), even when it puts me at odds with a few biblical texts.
When he’s at home, Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury, begins each day with a short meditative walk, or sometimes with some slow prostrations, followed by 30 to 40 minutes of sitting on a low stool to repeat the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”). Usually he repeats the words silently, saying them while breathing out. “Over the years increasing exposure to and engagement with the Buddhist world in particular has made me aware of practices not unlike the ‘Jesus Prayer’ and introduced me to disciplines that further enforce the stillness and physical focus that the prayer entails,” says Williams (New Statesman, July 8).