The heart is not made pure by prayer, but rather prayer is made pure by the pure heart.
- Meister Eckhart
You can breathe pure oxygen or munch on pure chocolate. You can seek pure refreshment and bask in pure pleasure. You can study pure science, rely on pure reason or even wear a ring of pure gold and sip some pure alcohol while riding your purebred horse. So many ways to enjoy purity; so little time.
But purity has had its downside when it comes to religion. The Puritans, for example, tried to purify Anglican religion and ended up taking away life's fun and amusement - particularly amusement with sex. Likewise, folks who consider themselves absolutely "pure" are usually not the life of the party.
But purity is really about nothing more than simplicity. It's about being free of extraneous and superfluous distractions. It's what we seek when we take a hot bath or walk in the woods or meditate. It's why people go to therapy or church or yoga or prayer groups. It's what many religious practices are about. We may call it "focus" or "centering." We may call it "slowing down and lightening up." But what we're seeking might well be described as purity. Being purely ourselves. Being purely at peace with ourselves.
Purity can seem illusory or unattainable. We all know how polluted and adulterated life can be. But, it might not be a bad idea to keep the dream of purity alive. Dreams can come true, you know.
Howard and his LadyLove just came back from a few kick-back days in The Florida Keys. Islands and island mentality still feed the boy's soul. When Zac Brown & Jimmy Buffet sing, "Mind on a permanent vacation. The ocean is my only medication. Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away," they are singing Howard's song. At this life-giving change of seasons, Howard lifts a cup to all.