Saturday, November 11, 2017
Through meditation over the last day I realize that the "outdated notions for viewing the things that are troubling me" which I mentioned yesterday is a return to the use of self will and my own thinking to deal with life, an oppressive way of approaching challenges. The mode of thinking I am returning to is asking for guidance and support together with a faith that everything will unfold as it is supposed to, a much lighter and very practical approach. Irene Claremont deCastillejo outlines this approach well: "If we can resist the compulsive pressure of our logical thinking, without relinquishing our precious heritage of lucid thought; if we can hold our ground with our own hardly won ego personalities, yet bow our heads and say, 'Thy will not mine be done'; if we will but notice the reactions of our bodies; and heed the behaviour of the world towards us; if we can learn to listen to the voices within and to the whisper in the wind, with trust as well as with discrimination, we may be able to follow the road where the Rainmaker walks."
For the last few days I have been experiencing anxiety over the state of the world, destructive human tendencies and my own physical condition. I have been worried about my ability to cope with these things. The other night I had a dream in which I was in a mechanic shop having no luck at locating some out-moded spark plugs for my very old vehicle. That dream continues to haunt me and apparently tells me that I am using outdated notions for viewing the things that are troubling me. I have a very well developed (and possibly outdated!) tendency to view the state of the world, destructive human tendencies and my own physical condition as problems that need fixing, rather than human creations that are also part of Divine order, meaning that they do not need fixing, they are simply a part of reality right now. As Elaine Pagels wrote: "Heracleon [disciple of Valentinus who opposed the rigid judgmentalness of Irenaeus] explains that most Christians tend to take literally the imagery they find in the Scriptures: they see God as the creator who made this present world, the lawgiver who gave tablets to Moses on Sinai, the divine father who begot Jesus. But those who experience God’s presence come to see these traditional images for what they are—human creations." Time to meditate and figure out how to be with conditions as they are and determine the next right action for me.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Jesus said, "I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me." (gospel of Thomas). Admittedly it is hard to see, but "all things" includes people indulging in self-destructive or harmful behavior. When I view these behaviors through the eyes of Love, I feel no condemnation, judgement or anger. However, Jesus might say something like "sin no more", as he apparently did in response to the adulteress and I might say something like "walk in the light". This sort of Loving approach to the myriad problems in the world today may be the only solution that will dispel the fear, hurt and anger I spoke of yesterday.
It is totally understandable but there is a great deal of fear, hurt and anger evident in the actions and decisions of the people in this and other countries. In our case we still haven’t fully recovered from the "great recession", so resources are tight and many people are under-paid or under-employed. In the words of Benjamin Friedman: "When material progress falters........people become more jealous of their status relative to others. Anti-immigrant sentiment typically increases, as does conflict between races and classes; concern for the poor tends to decline." Unfortunately, these tendencies result in political decisions and actions that harm the earth and many of the humans living on it. It seems clear that reason, science or material gains are not sufficient to reverse these trends, resulting in better choices. The only thing I am familiar with that might work is love and a spiritual awakening of sorts. This has also been suggested by many spiritual leaders. "In the Dhammapada he [the Buddha] teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate."
Monday, November 6, 2017
Many years ago, during a sweat lodge ceremony, I prayed for discernment, the "ability to be attuned to authentic movements of the Spirit". I was seeking to be able to determine my "next right move" and to disentangle that action from earthly attachments or desires for "money, power & prestige". I was granted that gift if I quiet my mind, connect with the Absolute and listen, carefully. I have come to agree with Patricia Loring when she wrote "To undertake to live a discerned life, to endeavor daily to be attuned to authentic movements of the Spirit leading us into greater fullness of life, is a strenuous undertaking." She also wrote that "It requires even more discernment to discover whether the ministry called for from a particular individual in a particular instance requires prophetic speech, humble and hidden activities, bold and dramatic action, professional service or some, novel and previously unimagined course." Recently, I have been spending a large amount of time and energy in working with spirits, largely "humble and hidden activities", which most people know nothing about and some would say was only in my imagination. I am now planning to begin, once again, to attempt to get a literary agent and promote my writing, which will require "bold and dramatic action", as well as some "professional service". It feels right and we shall see where the path leads.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
I am not so concerned about the specifics of the political choices and decisions being made, but I would like to see decisions based on Love and compassion rather than hurt, fear and anger. I do not yet know how to accomplish it but I would like to see decisions based on something like the three questions which are the central focus of my book: Would I do this in front of God, or whatever you call that power/force?; Is my name really on it or is it really my responsibility?; Will this increase the integrity of the universe, or is this loving? In order for me to determine how to accomplish this I connect with that Loving force, the Absolute, through meditation and listen. I need not ask, for if the answer is meant to come - it will. "Seek not for faith to move mountains. Seek God first. Perhaps the mountains do not need moving, perhaps He will lift you up above the mountains which may be better than moving them ....... Seek not power, not even power to do great deeds. Seek God and Him alone, and power will flow from you in ways and times which are hidden from you."