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Diane T

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I joined a Cafh community when I was 18 year old. It was a very conscious choice that I’m happy to have made early in life. Four years after that, I moved to the Yorktown Cafh community, of which I have been a member since then. I feel it is a great privilege to live in a spiritual community and to know what my mission in life is. Writing this blog is a way of sharing that.

The Sustainable Fuel in My Life

Do you remember the first time in your life that you wrote a to-do list? Before that, it is likely that you had time to play, hang out, think! What happened then? Yes, yes, life got complicated: too much information, too much communication with demands and expectations to match. All our “fuel”, then, is directed to fulfilling these endless tasks. Check off an item of the list just to add another two, or three, or four. When was the last time I had nothing pending and leftover fuel? When did I finish checking off all the items in my list and breathed with deep satisfaction? In all of this complexity, is there time left to pray? Can we pray anymore? Or is it prayer one more item in the endless to-do list, most probably not a priority one? Is prayer even sustainable in our modern world?

In my experience, prayer has become the “sustainable” fuel in my life. Even more, as time went by, the act of praying underwent a transformation: it started permeating my daily tasks, those items in the to-do list, until it became life sustaining. Before, I used to pray while exercising; now, I exercise so I can pray. Before, I prayed while working; now, work gives life to prayer. Before, I prayed while going to study; now, I study so that prayer expands beyond limits. Now, I live so that my life can be a prayer. Prayer is certainly sustainable in our modern world, and as meaningful as we choose it to be.

Do you pray?

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The Poet's Desk

Did you ever ask yourself where poets write? Is there a place that inspires them the most? Do they have a formal place, an office let’s say, where they go every day to write? Or do they just write their poems on a notepad wherever they may be and whenever the muse inspires them?

Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets, and a great inspiration to me. Therefore, when I visited Chile recently, I made sure to visit his house at the edge of the ocean.  “Isla Negra” (Black Island), as he called it, is in a place of stunning beauty. His many collections are displayed there for visitors to enjoy: seashells of all sizes and colors, vintage bottles with ships, masks of various cultures, and so much more. They reflect his attention to detail, the interest he had in everything, especially in sailing and the sea.

As I was pacing through the different rooms, a small rustic desk called my attention. The caption read something like this: “One morning, Pablo Neruda was looking out to the sea when he saw a piece of driftwood from a shipwreck. He said: ‘The sea has brought the desk to the poet’ and went to the beach to sit down and wait for it. It is at this desk where he wrote great part of his work.”

The eyes of the poet see the potential in what many of us can easily overlook, take for granted and readily dismiss. I wonder how many times a possibility, an opportunity has gone by without me noticing. How many times did I fail to find beauty, meaning, depth, taking life for granted? All I need to do is to be able to see with the eyes of a poet, find a desk in the piece of wood adrift, the desk where life becomes a poem.

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Divine Blessings

El Angel is the name of a waterfall in the lush rainforest of Costa Rica. It is located near the two Cafh spiritual communities in that country. I had seen pictures that showed its beauty and heard the astounding descriptions of those lucky enough to have seen it. So when I had the great privilege of visiting those communities, I looked forward to the journey into the rainforest that led to El Angel. The walk through the pristine rainforest is not only breathtaking but also powerful; I could feel the energy of nature surrounding me. The culmination of the journey was reaching the falls. I sat on a rock in the river, watching the fall of water with its irresistible beauty and purity. The minutes passed, but I didn’t notice; that moment was full of Divine presence. . . As I contemplated the waterfall, all I could think of was the divine blessings we receive, incessantly. Some we notice or understand better than others, yet the Divine keeps pouring blessings on us. Since then, I haven’t returned to El Angel, I don’t even know how the waterfall looks nowadays. But the experience remains as vivid as ever. I find that I can take that same journey within, through the forest of my inner self, till I’m able to reach my heart, the place where all blessings cascade like a waterfall . . . and be truly aware of them.

Recent Comments
Felicitas
Diane; I share your feelings. I also feel it is privilege to live in a spiritual community. I started living in community in 1968!
Saturday, 05 January 2013 2:02 PM
Lourdes D
Diane, you are right, waterfalls are breath taking experiences. I felt united with nature and all souls.
Saturday, 05 January 2013 2:02 PM
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Annual Retreat

I have been so waiting for the annual retreat. It becomes evident, almost palpable, how worn out I become; not worn out exteriorly, but interiorly. The everyday hustle, concerns, difficulties, exterior obligations, all weigh down on me. You might wonder where my spiritual life is then, all I can answer is that I am as human as everyone else. Yes, I practice silence, prayer, meditation among the many aspects of my life that are conducive to spiritual unfolding, however, the end of the year comes and I am craving our retreat.

The time came and went. I relished every minute of it as I relish the moment I eat a piece of chocolate. As with the chocolate though, it ended and I can’t help but feel a mix of nostalgia and mourning. The effects of this special time will have to last until the end of 2012, when we begin our next annual retreat. In the meantime, a variety of experiences will come my way, some predictable, others not, and the spiritual nourishment of the retreat will be my fountain of inner resources to draw from.

We finished our annual retreat. The spiritual renewal is powerful, precious, deep. It resonates within and oozes without in subtle vibration. I wish I could keep it forever, but I know it will fade away. Every day that passes will tear it, removing layer after layer. Will it reach others? Will it serve those in need? Even in my best effort I cannot say, all I can do is let it spread: give it away. This is simply renouncement, it seems futile, nonsensical, and yet it leads to such spiritual life…

 

 


 

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Linda
Intriguing about the retreat experience. I feel I need the same.
Saturday, 05 January 2013 2:02 PM
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About Community Life

Upon waking, the beating of my heart elicits from deep within a prayer of thanks to the Divine for the miracle of being alive. During the meditation, being alive combines with the blessing of having a purpose in life, of knowing what I have come to do on earth.

As the day goes on, with its demands and rewards, my heart beats in unison with the rest of the Community. In a moment of silence, I reflect upon the meaning of our Community life. Community is a word used to describe a group of interacting people who live in close proximity, sharing common values.  There are many “communities” in our human societies, among which some are spiritual communities, like ours.  We interact and we share common values, yes, but this definition is not enough to describe what the Spiritual Community means to me.

The daily obligations engage my attention again until the end of work time. As I begin study time, I try another train of thought. The word "community" is derived from the Latin communitas, where cum means "with/together" and munus means "gift". The “gift of living together” is a better approximation but, again, I fall short…how could I express it more accurately?

At the end of the day, now recollected and grateful for all my blessings, I listen to the beating of my heart, and in it I find the answer. The spiritual bond that unites us is hard to describe, it seems subjective; however, it is powerful and ever present. Without this spiritual life that permeates everything we do, think and feel, our Community would not exist. Spiritual life is at the heart of the Community, it pumps life into it, nurturing it, transforming it. Spiritual life unites us beyond human bonds.

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