The Library: Thin Veils

Thin veils serve to allow us a glimpse of what is beneath with just a slight touch, a careful look, often a momentary encounter that leaves us wondering if we really did see what was beneath the veil.

Today is one of those days in Celtic (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, to name a few) traditions where the veil between this world and the Otherworld thins allowing us memories and glimpses of loved ones who have passed over, perhaps even messages from them offering guidance, direction and wisdom for our lives.

I had an experience the other day in my house with our family library that reminded me that this time of the year was upon us.  I had to go down to the lowest floor of our house to get something which meant going down a twisting stair case.  The wall all along that set of stairs is an extended book case holding a large part of our family library.  As I went down, I glanced over at the books.  I reached out without thinking and ran my hand over the books.  Suddenly, I was drawn to this book, and then that book, and another.  Before long, I had pulled them off the shelf and was flipping through the pages of John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara, my first copy of the Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell and Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh.  As I flipped through pages, I found the lines of each book that I had underlined years ago, and in that moment, the wisdom poured fourth and refreshed my soul.

A friend recently referred to these kinds of important, powerful underlined gems of wisdom as our “personal scriptures.”  I like that.  I suspect that in all of our home libraries, whether many bookcases or simply a small stack of cherished books, we each could assemble our personal scriptures.  Otherwise, why keep all those books?

Why not take a few minutes today and go run your hands and your eyes over your home library?  Which books call out to you from behind the veil of too many years?  As you take them down and open their pages again, what wisdom speaks to you through the veil of time?  I invite you to find one personal piece of wisdom in your library today, and cherish the gift.

Bob Patrick

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