Words of WonderFor-Presence-John-ODonohue

Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.
Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

by John O’Donohue


Each one of these ‘blessings’ as Irish poet and priest John O’Donohue calls them, is a potent message. They feel touching because it’s as if he is speaking directly to me in the most compassionate of voices. Some of the lines are like gifts which I can unwrap, transmitting to me a mindful way of being.

‘Enter the quiet immensity of your own presence’ – can you feel this right now, if you pause and drop into the heart/body? What a counter-cultural, powerful act it is to feel this, in a world intent on stealing our attention. I think that presence is the first and most fundamental power we possess.

‘May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame’. This is a wonderful way to describe the experience of compassion. I feel that there is something magical about presence. It can be felt as electric, transformative, soothing, shocking. And it can be felt as compassionate, as described here – aflame with the warmth of the heart from within.

I really experience this poem as a receiving. It feels as if O’Donohue is speaking in the most tender and caring way, backed by a wisdom that knows what is good for us human beings on a deep level. We are being pushed and pulled to constantly pursue things/status/activities that are not going to satisfy us deeply or promote lasting wellbeing. The words of this poem are an antidote to the stress, speediness and frankly, the insanity, of the times we live in.

Would you like to spend a weekend in a beautiful secluded place and devote yourself to connecting with ‘the mystery of being here’? Would you like to develop more compassion for yourself and others?

Ps. If you want to discover more about developing mindfulness and compassion come along to a new in-person weekend Introduction to Compassion at Samye Ling Monastery, near Lockerbie in mid-August.

Pps. If poetry touches you and you want to discover how you can ‘receive’ a poem’s wisdom more deeply into your practice, have a look at our Mystical Poetry meets Mindfulness offerings here.

Photo by Chris Ensey on Unsplash