Seeking Stillness by Turning to the Early Monks
This Week from the Emergence Magazine Podcast
Emergence Magazine is a quarterly online publication exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Each issue explores a theme through innovative digital media, as well as the written and spoken word. The Emergence Magazine podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories, and more.
In pursuit of a contemplative inner life amid a world in upheaval, Fred Bahnson looks to the early desert monks for guidance on how to direct our gaze and maintain an attentive heart. As he ponders the role of prayer, he considers the individual and collective healing it can offer. “Those seconds of stillness, those brief moments when we glimpse purity of heart, can add up to hours, days, months, even years of our life,” he writes. “Until one day they become our life.”
Fred Bahnson is the author of Soil and Sacrament (Simon & Schuster), and his essays have appeared in Harper’s, The Sun, Orion, Image, and Best American Spiritual Writing. His essay “On the Road With Thomas Merton,” first published in Emergence, was selected by Robert Macfarlane for Best American Travel Writing 2020. He is a recipient of a W. K. Kellogg Food & Society Fellowship, a North Carolina Artist Fellowship, and a Terry Tempest Williams Fellowship for Land and Justice at the Mesa Refuge. He lives in Montana with his wife and three sons.
James Lee Chiahan is a Taiwanese-Canadian artist and graphic designer. He is interested in creating images that recall moments in everyday life that are deeply affecting but difficult to explain. His clients include The Marshall Project, The California Sunday, and The On Being Project. He is currently based in Montreal, Canada.