November 28 – Devotion – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Sincerity is that which flows out of your genuine inner most self. Without this, honesty is mistaken and insufficient. It is like trying to move in a boat without an oar.” Mochimasa Hikita

It is one thing to see accurately. It is another to allow yourself to feel what you see with sincerity.  And still another to allow your actions in the world to be formed by both honest seeing and sincere feeling.

All this reminds me of the stained glass master in Europe who would teach three ways of seeing as necessary to create a sacred window. First, she would say, there is the need to see what image of life shapes the window. Next, there is the need to fill the window with color. And finally, there is the act—the pledge—to let it all come alive by placing it in the light.

How like stained glass we are. Honesty enables us to discover the images of life that shape us, the images that scratch and stain us with experience. But these are nothing without the sincerity of heart that will fill them and us with color. And then, if we are to come alive at all, we must place ourselves in the light.

We all know how sudden and brilliant a stained glass window can be: dirty and opaque one moment and breathtaking as soon as the sun floods it and we can see it from the inside. We are the same:sacred windows in the making. So to place ourselves in the light and to see each other from the inside are the most important skills we can learn.

When we do these things we are practicing devotion. This may sound difficult but it is no different than how we coordinate the eye, hand, and mouth to eat every day. It is basic and necessary, and, after we learn, we do it every day without thinking.

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