Monday, November 23, 2015

Finding Out Who You Really Are

"I'm sure that most people in the Western world have never really met the person who they themselves really are."

Most of us have lived our whole lives with a steady stream of consciousness, with a continual flow of ideas, images, and feelings.  And at every moment of our lives we cling to such ideas or feelings: I don't have the idea; the idea has me. I don't have a feeling; the feeling has me. We have to discover who this "I" really is, the one who has these feelings or these thoughts. Who are we ourselves---behind our thoughts and feelings?

I'm sure that most people in the Western world have never really met the person who they themselves really are. Because at every  moment, all our life long, we identify ourselves either with our thoughts, our self-image, or our feelings.  We have to find a way to get behind our thoughts, feelings, and self-image.  We have to discover the face that we already had before we were born. We have to find out who we were all along in God before we did anything right or wrong.  This is the first goal of contemplation.

I ask you to imagine a river or stream. You're sitting on the bank of this river, where boats and ships are sailing past.  While the stream flows past your inner eye, I ask you to name each one of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called "my anxiety about the future." Or along comes a ship "objections to my  spouse" or the boat "I don't do that well."  Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take time to give each one of them a name, and then let it move on.

For some people this is a very difficult exercise because we're used to jumping aboard the boats immediately. As soon as we own a boat, and identify with it, it picks up energy.  But what we have to practice is un-possessing, letting go.  With every idea, with every image that comes into our head we say, "No, I am not that;  I don't need that; that's not me."  Again and again we have to tell ourselves this. Some of the boats that are accustomed to our jumping aboard them immediately think we just didn't see them the first time.  That's why they head back upstream and return.  The boat says, "But before this he always got mad at his wife. Why didn't he this time?"  Some of you will feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don't attack them. Don't hate them or condemn them: this is also an exercise in nonviolence. You aren't allowed to hate your soul.  The point is to recognize things and to say, "That's not necessary; I don't need that."  But do it amiably. If we learn to handle our own souls tenderly and lovingly, then we'll be able to carry this same loving wisdom into the world outside.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

Contemplation without the expertise of work offers
only partial resolution to life's great calling
What I've quickly and humbly learned in life as I've sought to live life with a spiritual bend, is that a life of prayer and contemplation cannot be done apart from living within the challenge and cares of life and all the hard work that must be done. You can't do one without the other and find fulfillment and resolution. And I've learned that how you do anything, is how you do everything. It's inescapable. Let me try to explain using a very interesting relationship I was part of for many years.

Life can only be lived where you are, with yourself and  "Another". Mystics insist upon this.  If you don't know what "Another" is, or better yet "Who", I challenge you to stop what you're doing right now and ask yourself "Who" it is. It is bigger than the "God" you think you know and is more unrecognizable than the people who enter and leave our lives without us understanding who they really are.  This lack of recognition often leads to great confusion about the people and relationships we are given in our lives.

Life is  designed with an intelligence built in from the Manufacturer that will confront the soul where it is.  We are playing our part in The Great Soul.  I would say that we are not a soul in a body, but a body in a greater soul.

If in this confrontation of life and soul the soul insists on delaying the inevitable path to redemption---which includes life's great relationship challenges, our delay is irrelevant because delay is merely a time issue, and time is held gently in God's hand as a helpless bird awaiting its release to fly into the expanse. There is a sense in which we get to choose our time of redemption and suffering and yet it is entirely beyond our control. Now is the better time the scriptures insist.

I have been on this prayer, meditation and contemplation path for just a few years and it has been one of valleys with devastating periods of emotional turmoil, and mountaintops that are unsustainable because the air is too thin for daily living. Sooner of later life's reality will either drag you out of bed in the valley, or it will drive you down from the proverbial mountaintop of glory to one more time face people and life just as people are and life is.  Having lived in all these places, I now stand as a tree and mountain in the earth requiring deeper roots, as a tree, and the great and unthinkable disruption of my earth's tectonic plates, so the mountain can push higher. As I write this I am cautious using such imagery especially of the mountaintop because ascension is actually a descending into the "belly of the whale", the Sign of Jonah that Jesus said was the only sign given, and followed such characters as Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, John the Baptizer and Jesus of Nazareth, who became the Christ.

Our practice of prayer and contemplation in life must include the problem. And we all appear to have so many.We all need more space, more solitude but we also need thethe cares of daily life that plague the soul and consciousness.  Prayer and contemplation is not the avoiding of distractions, but precisely how you deal with the distractions.  Most do not know how to do both prayer and daily life. We might think we do, but as you read I think you'll find we haven't been taught this skill.

I have learned a great deal from a great soul I encountered for a 7 year cycle. I had misunderstood  her journey through life and it was that misinterpretation of her specific journey that caused us such travail in our previous relationship. I can not begin to dissect the many issues I possessed, and neither can I offer any  certainties that would reduce my suffering or solve our problems. But before my eyes she lived her life confronting the distractions and cares of life, not avoiding them. There were times I judged her in the cares of life and was unable to see her struggle as my own, to offer compassion and help, not escape and delay.  She knew how to merge with the problem,  would seek resolution, though not fully as she did not have the timeto attain solitude and contemplation---which tends to plague us all in this post-modern age. I suffer great loss this very moment, because I did not sit with her in the tension and the trouble. I escaped to a wilderness of further suffering having lost the expertise of someone so skilled in her particular calling.

 And what is the inherent problem we are called to. It's a problem of daily cares and working them out with intensity and finding time to pray that we can resolve them fully as God would lead us to.  But what we do as humans is tend to do one or the other. We either immerse ourselves deeply in contemplation-which iswhat I did for many years sitting beside the cceanside or cooped up in a back room of this woman's house. This was not healthy for me. Or  we work intensely through our daily problems, but unable to find periods of immersion in prayer and contemplation.

 Both of us even now, imo, are receiving only partial resolution to life events because we each lacked the others expertise and that  lead to immeasurable difficulties in our relationship with each other and  in our relationships with others close to us and looking on.  I do not believe anyone in our lives was praying and working, especially us,  and no calling will find root and fulfillment without both of these in operation.

  We are now separated and the communion and expertise we both so need from each other has been cut-off. The Word Become Flesh and The Word of God(37) is now subjected to another path to full resolution, not the one offered. 

Full resolution is always the marriage of spirit and soul, as it was in Jesus on the cross. Both. Expertise and contemplation, but not either apart.

In a Story of a Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux's autobiography, we see a young woman's daily dealings with her irritations, judgments and desire to run from the many people and daily cares that confronted her. She faces her own mixed motives and pettiness. She is constant in her concern for those living their lives around her. But her goal is always compassion and communion. She suffers her powerlessness until she can finally break through to love. She holds the tension within herself(the essence of contemplation) until she herself is the positive resolution of that tension.  (end quote)

We have not been taught that within us is the positive resolution of every tension we face in life.  I know I was taught that such tension was escapable through the many distractions we employ in life. Unfortunately this is why i am even now sitting in many a great tensions , learning to hold that within myself until I, not anyone else becomes the positive resolution of whatever it is stealing or plaguing my peace. The truth is that I might be running on empty many days, but I am not running anymore because I know now how I do anything is how I do everything.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Beautiful Mess

The contemplation of non-existence prior to birth, is a serious consideration one will likely consider at one point in an incarnation. Whether or not this consideration is viable, is irrelevant because it is part of the journey of the soul into redemption and God.  The greater realization is that my Father loves me because his imprint is upon this beautiful mess. All is well because there is no "end" as we have been taught, but only the "Beginning and The End" that is Christ is this progressive unfolding.  All fear must be experienced and undone to be the illusion it is and the reality of Life is only after the subjection to futility and the appearance of death.   Be well!  We are all the beautiful mess that we are. There is no fear in Love because perfect Love casts out fear.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Merry Go Mind

The merry go mind
A trap of the worst kind
Easy to get into, hard to get out of
Constantly badgering and berating
The perpetual clacking of its castanet within my head
To dance to its tempo
To saddle its lifeless, mindless horse
Is a merry-go-round
Taking me nowhere new
Round and round I go

The Spirit is life and peace
Probing the depths of the infinite Soul
Out of  the circle and into the depths
Height and depth, width and breadth
Futhermore, infinity
There is a wind I long to mount
To ride forever in Mystery
From here to beyond
The merry go mind

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our Slow Dissolution

Our slow dissolution
It's a haunting proposal
At our  disposal
The advance so desperately needed
When the ingrown soul is depleted

Our slow dissolution
Our beauty, our passions
Like the shore
The sea fashions
By ebbing and flowing
Though never washed away
We are this way

Our slow dissolution
Healing and reeling
A sense of release
Yet at times
This gnawing, empty feeling
It's moment to moment
For you?
The end of a consort
For me?
The Last Resort
There is no mutually satisfying solution
In our slow dissolution