Mark Laurent



Photo: Nigel Atkins

I get mentally over-stimulated more easily these days - probably an age thing. It makes my dreams vivid, long and not as restful as I'd like. I'm feeling drawn back towards the contemplative path again - not in a religious sense (I've tended to be a bit intense in that area), but as a natural response to a desire for wholeness, serenity, and the power of a transformed life.

The search for experience and the quest for achievement are fashioned of the same stuff as the lust for possessions - you always want more and it's never enough. It's ultimately a trap - the proverbial 'wheel of suffering'.

Two worlds beckon - the material and the spiritual - and both can be hard task masters, demanding that we choose one or the other. But there is a middle path - a 'third way' - and that is to be neither materialistic nor super-spiritual, but grounded and content with simplicity, with a heart full of thankfulness and wonder at the mystery which pervades all things. Present here and now, and open to 'otherness', unafraid to say "I don't really understand".

In the end, the desire and direction of creation is more towards love than malice. Even if I don't always understand the purpose of my life, I have a sense that life is neither heartless nor pointless. I believe that our best desires to love one another and make the world a better place are echoes of the desire of God.