Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Love

In the Dhammapada the Buddha teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate. This is also expressed in the Quaker and other traditions. I would add that love dispels or alleviates pain, fear and hurt as well. I, often find it necessary to have very firm boundaries in saying "no" or "you cannot do that here" but to do so in a loving, understanding and compassionate way, a difficult but important combination. As I commented a couple of days ago and is well written by Patricia Loring "We can cultivate an environment among us which will foster one another’s spiritual growth by directing and redirecting intention and attention to God; by discouraging what draws us away; by loving support for each other in the vicissitudes of our utterly human lives; by respecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each life."

Monday, October 16, 2017

Symptoms 2

Yesterday I wrote about some superficial signs of an underlying problem in this and other cultures, specifically racism, global warming, obesity, the opiate epidemic and others. It is first necessary to become aware that these are the symptoms of an underlying problem, not just problems themselves. In my book I suggest a loving spiritual solution, which worked in my case and required a life-style change as well as some discipline. However, I was not interested in pursuing any sort of life-style change until my life choices became very unpleasant, until I knew my life was not working. Fortunately, I had some guidance and the freedom to choose differently. "These chapters [1st 3 of Genesis] tell a story, and through that story is revealed the agonizing discovery of our human freedom— our freedom to choose between god and evil, and not only freedom to choose but the imperative laid upon us to choose the good daily, or inevitably fall into evil."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Symptoms

There are several issues in the world today which appear to be symptoms of deeper problems and the, understandable, tendency is to attempt to address the symptoms as the problems. That approach is, obviously, not working. The problems I am referring to include racism, global warming, obesity, the opiate epidemic and others. I cannot say for certain what the solution is. However, promoting a life-style change toward something like what I suggest in my book, Three Simple Questions: Being in the World, But Not of It, would alleviate all of the symptoms - that worked for me! Well written by Patricia Loring "We can cultivate an environment among us which will foster one another’s spiritual growth by directing and redirecting intention and attention to God; by discouraging what draws us away; by loving support for each other in the vicissitudes of our utterly human lives; by respecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each life."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spreading Love

In my life and on a broader scale, historically, with rare exceptions, behaviors stemming from anger, hate and violence lead to more anger, hate and violence. I read the paper and listen to news reports about anger, hate and violence all over the world, including many attitudes and issues in this country. My method of dealing with that is to observe it and spread Love and Light at every opportunity. Spreading love, is very enjoyable, feels right and has miraculous results. "In the Dhammapada he [the Buddha] teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trials

Today I was feeling a lot of gratitude for the spiritual and emotional growth resulting from the numerous trials and challenges I have dealt with in the last few decades and the person I am today. The challenges include, particularly, my relationship with Maria, my wife, my sweat lodge experiences and my dealing with my disability. Each of them has provided me with spiritual and emotional challenges which ultimately required spiritual solutions and actions resulting in a very fulfilling life. As St. John of the Cross says of such spiritual touches " The delights they engender more than compensate for all the trials suffered in life, even though innumerable"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Presence

Tonight it is raining hard, not storming but I can certainly feel the presence and the power of nature/God when I sit in silence and the dark. Tonight reminded me of sitting in the dark in Flagstaff, AZ and listening to the baby elk outside calling for its mother. My concept of God has expanded from nothing at all to a judgmental being to something loving, ineffable and all inclusive. As I indicate in my book and website, I have explored and practiced numerous traditions and religions and now realize that they are all talking about the same thing from slightly different angles and using different words. In the sweat lodge I used to pray to "He who has no name and all names". I am reminded of the beautiful words written by Valerie Brown "The God of my childhood has given way to the God of my womanhood, a God of many names----Allah, Shiva, Great Spirit, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Yahweh. This is the God who is present in the tiniest acorn and the vastest ocean."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Being Open

During several of my conversations today I was reminded that human beings, particularly males, like to believe that they are "in charge" or control the events in their lives. Spiritual leaders have long realized that it is important to realize they are not in charge in order to be open to whatever happens. I believed I was in charge until my life was turned upside down repeatedly. I then decided, reluctantly at first, to give up attempts to control, to enjoy the ride and be open to the many gifts of being open. As Kornfield wrote in ‘93 "To love fully and live well requires us to recognize finally that we do not possess or own anything---our homes, our cars, our loved ones, not even our own body. Spiritual joy and wisdom do not come through possession but rather through our capacity to open, to love more fully, and to move and be free in life."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dawn Ceremony

Every morning shortly after dawn, in my backyard, I do a "dawn ceremony" in which I bless this area , its plants and birds and express gratitude and love for the coming day. The ceremony I do is simple, only involving me and my thoughts. My wife does a ceremony as well but hers includes feathers and herbs. This morning was special since the sky was adding gentle, life giving rain. The morning smells are wonderful and it’s a good way to sense the changing seasons. "According to Thomas, Jesus says that this primordial light not only brought the entire universe into being but still shines through everything we see and touch."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Practicing I Am

Conducting my life using the "I am" sense I talked about yesterday, my internal god-sense, is an exhilarating and powerful experience, but it is also very easy for me to lose track of. In today’s world behaving through that part requires that I stay humble and focused on the absolute, loving force I call God. For some reason I find it easy to become distracted and absorbed by my daily activities. My staying focused is aided by having a period of sacred time in the morning and then throughout the day. As Seeger points out "From everywhere, it seems, we are bombarded with the idea that our nature is innately violent, that our chief preoccupation is with our sexuality, and that our main purpose in life is the acquirement of ever more nifty possessions.......Indeed, if is only through the practice of inner silence that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from our culture and its illusions.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I Am

During my meditation a few years back, though I did not know what to call that part of me, I encountered a part or sense of self which was free of the encumbrances of the ego or this physical body, a part that was "with" God and was eternal. The experience was and is memorable and exhilarating. I then discovered that a Hindu spiritual leader named Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj had very nicely described the same "There is only one state, not two. When the "I amness" is there, in that consciousness you will have many experiences, but the "I am" and the Absolute are not two. In the Absolute the "I amness" comes and then the experience takes place. In the Absolute there is no individuality, no memory that I am this or that, but there is continual stirring." Since then I have learned to return to, identify with and carry that part in my daily activities. Recently I also found out that Jesus referred to that part in the gospel of Thomas "[Jesus said,] ‘Blessed is the one who came into being before he came into being.’"