Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Letter to My Lovely Ladies




 My Dearest Ladies,

It’s Advent 2015 and the world is in such confusion, I want to take all of you up to some far away mountain and keep you safe, but I cannot. So I must do my best to let you all know what love is and what love can do to change a world in such confusion. I must let you know that even though love cannot protect us, love can sustain us.

It seems so naïve to suggest that “love” can do the things that so desperately need to be done in our world at this moment.

But I’m not talking about a love that is naïve. I am talking about a love that cost everything. I am talking about a love that must die to self and open to and trust this great mystery we call God, the God whom Jesus pointed to as his Abba, Papa.

Our sacred text says that this God is love.
Our sacred text says that this love:
Feeds the hungry
Clothes the naked
Love’s its enemy
Visits the sick
Visits the imprisoned
Rains on the just and unjust

Our sacred text says that “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship this Love in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers this love seeks. This love is spirit, and this Love’s worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

This LOVE is not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist. 

This Love is LOVE.

A poem I have shared with all of you at some time by Rumi seems to me to be the perfect prayer for this Advent season of 2015:


“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”

― Rumi

Where is that field?

I believe that field is in the deepest part of us. 

Thomas Merton spoke of it this way:

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak his name written in us…like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of live vanish completely”

Merton says this place is not accessible to us, but that would seem to suggest that we have no hope of changing this confused world but to wait on God.

But maybe what he is saying is revealed in the next sentence. This place is not accessible by our ego, our false-self, that self that wants to win, be the better than, have more...'inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.'

Could it be that God is waiting on us?

But how can I, You change the WORLD?

We begin just where we are. We begin with our own hearts and pray that change ripples out beyond us –

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”

It’s an act of kenosis. Self-emptying…a self-emptying of our ideas of what is right, what is wrong…
It’s to become aware of our oneness with that which we call LOVE. That place of “pure truth”…that place where “…ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make sense anymore.”

It's that place where we realize we are all one.

It is called that place of non-duality.

It’s really not a place we go to but a place we realize.

And we realize it by taking the time to be silent, to be in solitude, to breathe and to wait for the grace to be given by the Mystery we call Love.

Yes,
God is waiting on us.
Waiting on us to wait...to wait for the realization that we are one with Love,  just as Jesus was.

And Christ again is born into this world…

Merry Christmas,
Love Papa




ADDENDUM:

There will always be wars and some which are necessary for the sake of the innocent but war is not the answer and war will not resolve the confusion

Sunday, December 6, 2015

REMOVING THE CLUTTER AT 66, ON THE FEAST DAY OF ST. NICHOLAS





It is the feast day of St. Nicholas and my sixty-sixth birthday.

Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.(source: The Saint Nicholas Center)

My wife is out of town at my daughter's baby shower, so I have the house all to myself.

I have decided to declare this a day of silence and reflection.

I spent the morning cleaning and rearranging my sacred space. In the process I realized how symbolic this was to my life at this time.



I am making a major transition in my life as of January 1, 2016.

I will be working part-time, opening more space in my life for other things that matter, removing the clutter of full-time work.

I am trying to have no expectations of what will unfold in this space of grace coming my way.

Everyone keeps asking me, "What will you DO with that time?"
I don't see this as a time to DO.

I see this as an opportunity to BE.

I have mentioned in another post that I see this transition as a spiritual matter.

I sense the great Mystery offering me something in this transition and I am trying to pay attention to what that might mean or be.
It may just be life.

And so this Advent season for me feels pregnant with possibilities.

May it be so.

Alan






Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PRAYER







I wrote in a previous post that I don't believe we serve a God who fixes things. I wouldn't mind being wrong. Just because I believe this does not make it so, but it is what I believe.
So why pray?


Mary Oliver says in one of her poems,


"I don't exactly know what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention..."

Prayer has always been the stick in the spokes of my theological wheel.

 I have spent 26 years with suffering and sickness, death and dying, and praying with patients and families in the midst of all these scenarios.

"Lord, teach us to pray."

In all the ways I have tried to understand the efficacy of prayer, quite often I feel I am just performing a clerical service that is expected of me when asked, "Will you pray for me?"

Sometimes I want to respond, "I don't know what difference it will make but I will."

"Lord, teach us to pray."

Maggie Ross says,
"...true prayer tries to gather what needs attention and let go of it in the love of God."

Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 615-616). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

Ross reminds me here of Mary Oliver's understanding of prayer.

I couldn't agree more with these two spiritual pilgrims.

So today when I go to work, I will gather what needs attention
and let go of it in the love of God.

Amen

"Lord, teach us to pray."

Alan

ADDENDUM

At the end of her chapter on prayer Ross writes:
The deepest form of intercession is simply to open ourselves and offer God the life given us, wordlessly, in silence and stillness, in adoration, not knowing and not wanting to know for what purposes our life might be used, or what consequences, if any, there might be.29 Intercession allows a space for something to be worked out, we know not how. It tears a hole in the imprisoning membrane of our thoughts and fears so the rain of salvation may fall on us (Isa 45:8). And when we have been denuded of our ideas of how the world should be, or even what the problem is, and enter this space of intercession, we find to our wonder and joy that we are wearing the robe of glory of our original nakedness, signing the world with the full potential of Eden. In this vast and fertile wilderness we offer the life we share with God, and we wait on that loving-kindness in a silence that is both end and beginning, our source and our home.

Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 680-682). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 
Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 674-680). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 



Monday, November 16, 2015

MAY WE BEGIN EACH DAY WITH THIS BOW

(From St. Joseph's Abbey Web Page)

Reading this morning from 
We Are Already One
(Thomas Merton's Message of Hope)
Reflections to Honor His Centenary 
1915-2015

Simeon Leiva-Merikakis, OCSO,
Reflecting on Merton's influence in his  becoming a monk, writes:

"When I finally met Father Louis  briefly in the Gethsemani guesthouse in June, 1968--only six months before his death-I simply wanted to speak to him a heartfelt thank-you in person. He had shown me through his own struggles and choices, shared with me by those writings with their irresistible tone of intimacy, that it was not an inane romantic dream to aspire toward eternal  Beauty even in the midst of a hard-nosed, pragmatic age. He had taught me by his life, more than by his words, how to distance myself from the shallowness and ruthlessness of the world in which I lived.
But above all, he had modeled for me the thrill of humbly bowing the neck of my own conceited ego to the tender persuasion of a faithful Love that does not pass away."
Pg. 133


Saturday, November 7, 2015

IN WHOM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING

For me, God is mostly mystery.
For me, God doesn't "fix" things.
For me, God is simply present.
For me, God is intimacy.
For sure, God is love.

So when my wife had to be called back for a second mammogram this past week, I didn't find myself praying to God and asking that everything would be alright. Of course I was hoping everything was alright but if it was not, I just wanted the peace and wisdom to walk with my wife and be for her whatever it was she needed me to be.

We both believed that whatever was, was.
And if she had breast cancer we were both going to be afraid, sad
and all the other emotions that come with such a diagnosis. 
And then we were going to do our best to walk this journey together.

Why do I say all this?

It was just good to know that
as I sat there in that waiting room by myself for some forty minutes, following my mind to all kinds of scary and crazy places, I never once asked God to fix anything. There was no bargaining with this Mystery.
My life and my wife are no different than all the others who have gone through such ordeals. We are not in some way special.  I stuck with what I truly believed about this great Mystery we call God.

The Mystery is.

Maybe that's enough.

Maybe faith is just trusting the life we have is always infused with that mysterious Presence.
"...in whom we live and move and have our being."

My wife was fine.

What was, was.
And as she later posted on her facebook page...

simply, "I am thankful!"


So am I babe!
I love you Laurie.

Alan

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What Do You Know and What Do You Believe?

The Zen View FAITH-BASED SPIRITUALITY AND EXPERIENCE-BASED SPIRITUALITY 

Japanese mothers used to try to curb their children’s mischief by saying, “If you aren’t good, a spook will get you,” or “a child snatcher will come for you.” I remember being scolded like that myself as a child. Spirituality based on faith follows a similar model of trying to guide people using certain images and ideas. On the other hand, spirituality based on experience leads people to peace by having them perceive reality clearly, thereby ridding them of fear:

Koun, Yamada (2015-07-14). Zen: The Authentic Gate (Kindle Locations 268-273). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

TO SUCH BELONG THE KINGDOM



"My computer sits in a room at the back of our house, with a view of the garden. I sat there writing yesterday when all of a sudden I heard a scraping, squeaking sound. My gaze shifted to the outside, to the garden. The weather was brilliant. Not the slightest breeze in the air, everything bathed in a soft, clear light. I saw nothing. Another squeak. Then I had to laugh. Above the weathered garden fence I saw the curly head of Antje appear and disappear. She was on the swing, and loving it. Antje is five. She regularly stays over at her grandmother's, who lives next door. Delighted, I keptp looking at my neighbor's little grandaughter. At the eunthusiasm with which she surrendered to the swinging, while her curls danced wildly up and down. She was not contemplating theories or explanations. She was just swinging...I watched this little girl move with her whole being. Without thinking of anything at all Completely at one with her activity. And suddenly I wished for life to be such that we would not grow older than five"

THE TASTE OF SILENCE: how I came to be at home with myself
Bieke Vandkerckhove
Pg.54

Monday, September 7, 2015

LABOR DAY












May the light of your soul bless your work
with love and warmth of heart. 
May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul. 
May the sacredness of your work bring light and
renewal
to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work. 
May your work never exhaust you. 
May it release wellsprings of refreshment,
inspiration, and excitement. 
May you never become lost in bland absences. 
May the day never burden. 
May dawn find hope in your heart,
approaching your new day with dreams,
possibilities, and promises. 
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. 
May you go into the night blessed,
sheltered, and protected. 
May your soul calm, console, and renew you. 
John O’ Donohue

Sunday, August 30, 2015

??????????????





Lawrence Freeman, in his book Jesus, The Teacher Within, addresses throughout this book the question of Jesus to his disciples:

Who Do You Say I Am?

Early in this reading Freeman remembers some of his own teacher's thoughts (Father John Main) about the importance of "questions" vs "answers" saying:

We have reached the point, John Main believes, where we do not need more answers, instant diagnoses and solutions. We need to relearn how to listen, humbly and profoundly, to the redemptive questions.

Freeman, Lawrence (2011-09-05). Jesus the Teacher Within (Kindle Locations 312-314). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition. 

When is the last time you googled the right question instead of googling the right answer?

What are the redemptive questions for our lives?


Alan

Friday, August 28, 2015

BEING RIGHT OR BEING OPEN




The absurdity of certitude is life’s most seriously damaging narcotic. It accuses us of our shallowness and hollows out the soul. Doubt is uncomfortable, yes, but doubt always leads us beyond the present moment to the kind of moments that call us to greater truth, deeper wisdom and a more adult measure of the self.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 154). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

IN HONOR OF THE UPCOMING COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON AND KNITTING




LOOKING FORWARD TO THE GAMES AND SOME GOOD TIME KNITTING!

Go Dawgs!


Knit one and Purl Two!



The question haunts us from dawn to dusk, from night to day. Exactly what is a woman? What is a man? Or better yet, what is a “real woman” and a “real man”? And whatever the answers, how do we show it? The issues that characterize this problem of identity are more than simple scientific ones. They are socially cataclysmic. Everywhere children learn young that invisible social barriers separate them from the fullness of themselves. Males— boys, in particular, who do not epitomize definitions of the manly man— who suppresses emotion, exudes physical prowess, and emphasizes sexual conquest— are excluded from contemporary social life for reasons far beyond their control. They are small boys who play with dolls— and are laughed at for doing it. They are young male teenagers who prefer to learn to knit or dance or sing rather than be athletes and so are hounded to an early grave because of it. They are grown men hiding the truth of their sexual identity from their mothers who want them to get married and produce grandchildren. Or they are young males hiding their softness from fathers who want them to drink hard and kill animals, rather than write poetry or join the local theater group. They are men who learn to feel diminished by doing “women’s work” like babysitting or child care. They are grown men who grow up full of self-hatred for not being muscle-bound and autocratic, loud and overpowering of others, sure of themselves, demeaning of others, rough and tough and controlling. They are men with sensitive hearts who love to hold their children, who kiss their sons and teach them to cook, who encourage their daughters to greatness, who have no expectations of being waited upon by women who have full lives of their own to live. And yet they spend their lives questioning their identity to the point that the questions themselves are madness-making. Only when we all come to the point where “masculinity” can claim for itself the kind of feminine freedoms to love and cry and care which the psychologist Carl Jung speaks about can men become the fullness of the real man they are meant to be. It can only happen when the rest of us begin to realize that the questions we’ve been asking about what it means to be a fully developed person are themselves wrong. The great question of life is not so much, What is it to be masculine or what is it to be feminine? The great question of life is, What is it to be human? Then, the humanity of all of us will be safe. Then the humanization of the human race will really be possible.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 100). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

THE PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDIING


THE SERENE DISCIPLE by THOMAS MERTON

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.






Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.


Is this not realizing Ordinary Mind?

Alan

Sunday, August 16, 2015

CONTINUING MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TOWARDS RETIREMENT, THIS BOOKS POPS UP FOR ME THIS MORNING





From John Armstrong’s     How To Worry Less About Money


Money can purchase the symbols but not 

the causes of serenity and buoyancy. In a 

straightforward way we must agree that 

money cannot buy happiness.

AND THE FOLLOWING FROM THE SAME BOOK


A good life is still a life. It must involve a full share of 

suffering, 

loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with 

one’s own mortality 

and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is 

good as a life 

involves all this.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Where Are You Going and Why? STOP!







Sister Joan Continued...

THE PRODUCTIVITY OF REST AND RECREATION 

The nice thing about the human body is that it wears out. It wears down. It can, as the Rule of Benedict says in chapter 64, be “overdriven.” To be more precise, the Rule is talking about the abbot or prioress in the chapter when it says, “They must so arrange everything that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from.” The point is clear: Good leadership does not ask more of the worker than the worker is capable of doing. Whatever happened to that kind of wisdom? And how much further can we possibly go unless we rediscover the value of such an insight? The really interesting aspect of such an ancient directive is that it was written in the sixth century, before lightbulbs, before humanity could do little or anything about extending the day into the night and veritably erasing the difference between the two. In those days, when the sun went down, people went to bed. “Make hay while the sun shines,” the farmers said— and for good reason— since there was surely no way to make it otherwise. Days were measured from sunup to sundown. They were not divided into shifts. Darkness covered the earth and with it came silence, and rest, and recuperation time in preparation for the day to come. It was a far cry from a world in which the Internet links the ends of the earth twenty-four hours a day. 

Before the Industrial Revolution engines did not continue to pound out bottle caps long after most workers went home for supper. Trucks did not race on in a mad dash to link the world’s cities so that packages of widgets would be delivered in twenty-four hours and modernity could triumph. The writing did not go on late into the night. The offices did not stay open. The problem solving did not continue. The schoolwork did not begin after the parties ended. Yesterday’s work did not get done in the middle of the night so that tomorrow’s work could start again in five more hours. And human beings were not taking sedatives to cope with stress or drugs to calm down. The medical community was not warning people about the effects of sleep deprivation. And surgeons were not beginning another operation at the end of an eighteen-hour day.

We drive ourselves relentlessly from one exhaustion to another. We pace our societies by the pace of our computers. We conduct the major relationships of our lives— both professional and personal— according to the speed of our communications. We measure ourselves by the amount of our productivity and every day we become more exhausted, less rested in body, spirit and mind, and so less capable of producing things, let alone of developing relationships, as a result. That’s not irony, that’s tragedy. And though we know it, we do not know what to do about it. Now the question is a simple one: Are the ancient insights only that: ancient? Or are they wisdom because they have been carried down to every generation and found to be true?

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (pp. 72-73). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Don't Give Your Soul To An Institution!

Alan

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cllutter Clouds Our Vision, We Can't See What Matters

To have everything is to have nothing. Overwhelmed by quantity we lose all awareness of life crystallized into small pieces of joy and insight and gratitude. It is the death of the soul.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (pp. 52-53). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

MY NEXT GREAT SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE


I  posted the below to all my granddaughters on their blogs. It is a continuation of my reflecting on my decision to retire.






Dear Lovely Ladies,
This month I am writing the same thing to all of you. Right now Papa is pondering his retirement from his present vocation. There is much to consider in this kind of decision. Mostly, the decision surrounds the AMOUNT OF MONEY ONE WILL HAVE TO LIVE ON.

How much is enough? What does it mean to live?

Regarding the "how much?" question:

Not as much as one would think if we have our spirits aligned with the truth regarding the second question.

Many see this major decision as a financial decision, especially those of us who have been saturated in Capitalism.

What do I mean by that?

In her chapter titled The Emptiness of Accumalation, Joan Chittister writes:

In a capitalist society consumption is a national virtue. It is its backbone, its engine, the mainframe at the very center of the society. We measure our society’s well-being by keeping precise records of the amount of consumption we do. We use percentages to signal how much better or worse we were at buying things this year than we were last. We celebrate our gross national product when we never even consider calculating our gross national distribution of goods, and we define buying as a sign of national health. It’s buying, after all, that sustains the economy. And sustaining the economy is what a capitalist system is all about. “The chief business of the American people,” President Calvin Coolidge said, “is business.” 
At the height of the worst national tragedy in U.S. history, the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, President Bush ended his first television message to the American public by telling them that the most important thing they could do in the face of such a devastating attack was to “keep our economy going … to go shopping more.” The whole world must have drawn breath on that one. 

In the face of the first foreign attack on U.S. soil since the War of 1812, in the middle of the smoking rubble that carried the ashes of over three thousand civilians, there was something about the message that rang hollow, that broke the heart, that lacked soul. No talk of 
discovering reasons for such an attack. No talk of reaching out to allies in the Middle East. No talk of bringing the height of U.S. justice to this devastating situation. No talk about being our spiritual best at such a time as this. No, the god who would save us from this disaster, Bush was clear, was the god of the free market.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

I wish I could say my spirit is perfectly alligned with the "truth" but I am one of those people who likes to shop, confusing what I "need" with what I "want". I have been, like you, saturated in the virture of consumption.

Chittister continues:

And yet, why wouldn’t we be a society of consumers? What other basic value do we learn in a world where developing excess want is more important than meeting basic needs? In societies such as these the people who manage to accumulate the most things are considered the most successful. So we sell and we buy and we buy and we sell, all of us trying to catch up and keep up and get more tomorrow than we had yesterday. We live in a whirlwind of exchange where we market to three-year-olds on the television sets in their playrooms and begrudge retirement monies to those who spent their whole lives making the very things we want everybody else to buy. The problem, of course, is that the never-ending marathon of marketing that is required to maintain such a system is now sucking the rest of the world into it, as well. Poor societies, which cannot afford the goods we buy, make the goods wealthy societies consume at lesser pay and great cost to the quality of their own lives. At the same time, the quality of our own lives, drowned in adult toys and public playthings, are just as surely being smothered by them, too. Judging from the front page of every newspaper we print, every television program we watch, every deteriorating school and bombed-out neighborhood and pitted road and overloaded electrical grid and homeless family in the nation— in a nation awash in the flotsam and jetsam of things— there’s something missing that is far more important than the gadgets we have chosen in its stead. We are bartering our souls for the sake of what will be tomorrow’s refuse.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

So what is the answer? How does one make this decision in a responsible way, knowing we still have to "live", pay our bills and eat? Is there a different kind of "retirement planning" That can make this decision easier?

Chittister ends her discussion this way:

...The price we pay for the accumulation of things is a high one. For the rest of our lives we are condemned to fear the loss of them and to live forever with the taste of continual insecurity in our mouths, unending neediness in our hearts and the inability of soul to enjoy what we have and be grateful for what we love. 

The things of the soul— the joy of life, the love of beauty, the gift of friendship, the integration into nature, the pursuit of truth and the depth of the spirit— grow in open land, bare of the baubles of life, free of frenzy and devoid of the chaos of accumulation. Then we are rich. Then we are strong. Then no one can take anything away from us because we have already relinquished it. Or, as the philosopher Epictetus wrote: “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

Chittister helps me to see what a great "spiritual adventure", not a "financial adventure" I have before me now.

What a great risk it is to feed the spirit and not the ego!

It is the Gospel!

It is dying and rising!

MAY ALL OF YOU GATHER THE THINGS OF THE SOUL IN YOUR LIVES. MAYBE THEN YOU WON'T HAVE TO RETIRE FROM ANYTHING.

LOVE,

PAPA

Sunday, August 9, 2015

STEPPING OFF THE TREADMILL OF WORK...A WONDERFUL INVITATION TO RISKS






AS MY WIFE AND I PONDER MY RETIREMENT DATE, THESE WORDS SPEAK SO PROFOUNDLLY TO WHAT WE SHOULD BE PONDERING...

THE POSSIBILITIES OF RISKS


"...Worst of all, sooner or later we all discover the most egregious element of all about security: It is not only bogus, it is out of our hands. It is totally dependent on outside influences and circumstances over which we have no control, never did have any control, never will have any control. If you’re Rockefeller, the stock market crashes; if you’re on welfare, the government cuts the stipend; if you’re Bernie Madoff, the police come. And what, in the middle of the night, do you do then to assuage yourself of anxiety, to convince yourself to get up the next morning? There is only one way to deal with security: Don’t worship it; don’t count on it. But at the same time, understand that the universe is friendly. Something else is waiting for us over the next dune. As the ancients imply, for every dead and uprooted tree, there is another forest of young ones waiting to take us in. Risk, the willingness to accept an unknown future with open hands and happy heart, is the key to the adventures of the soul. Risk stretches us to discover the rest of ourselves– our creativity, our self-sufficiency, our courage. Without risk we live in a small world of small dreams and lost possibilities. Risk prods us on to become always the more of ourselves. It is the invitation to the casino of life."

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 35). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

LADDER THEOLOGY





Once you align with the mind and will of empire and success, your spirituality focuses on perfection, achievement, performance, attainment, and willpower. This "ladder theology" has dominated much of church history, both East and West, down to our own time.
From Rohr's Daily Meditations

My guess is that it is very lonely at the top. I prefer what Rohr refers to as the "spirituality of imperfection"

Alan



Saturday, August 1, 2015

ONEING WITH DR. BENNER'S POST



I think I experienced what Dr. Benner is speaking of 

below when I looked at this picture of one of my 

granddaughters.


Not so much the texture as it was moving from 

my mind to my heart. Maybe heart isn't the 

right word. Maybe "becoming one with" would 

be a better way for me to put it.

But then I went back to his picture and truly felt 

with my eyes the textures.

It seems to be an expereince of embodying.

Maybe even an experience (using Rohr's word) 

of oneing.




www.drdavidgbenner.ca/minds-to-senses/

LEAVING OUR MINDS, COMING TO OUR SENSES

15-8
Awakening always involves leaving our minds and coming to our senses. Awareness is the dynamic engine that drives this process. Awareness draws us into our bodies, puts us in touch with inner and outer realities, and mobilizes us for action, not simply reaction.
In ordinary consciousness our awareness is primarily focused on our thoughts. These form the core of the intermediate world that exists between ourselves and reality. This is the world of our prejudices, pre-judgments, categorizations, and biases and it is through the filter of these things that we view the world beyond us. But experiencing the world through this filter is not the same as experiencing things as they actually are. It is experiencing ourthoughts about the world, rather than directly experiencing the world. The distance this provides from the raw reality of things as they truly are may keep us comfortable but it always leaves us out of touch with reality.
This is the state of being asleep that spiritual teachers in all traditions urge us to awaken from. Our senses are a portal through which we can begin that awakening process. Suddenly they bring us into immediate and direct contact with reality. They bring us into our body and they put us in immediate contact with our environment.
But full sensory awakening doesn’t just happen in a moment. It needs to be cultivated. As we begin to leave our mind and come to our senses we begin to notice that eyes do not just see, they can also feel – just as fingers can see and noses can taste. Look carefully at the above picture – letting your eyes touch it, not just see it. Feel the textures. Slowly let them guide you across the surfaces they present. Feel them with your eyes. And notice what you experience in your fingertips as you do.
The world is full of textures, harmonies, wafting aromas and presences, subtle changes of temperature and energy, and an infinite variety of tastes. Don’t be content with what you think you already know about the world. Dare to open your senses and engage the world afresh each day. This was what Jesus was encouraging when he repeatedly urged his followers to listen, keep watch, and be vigilant. And what is it that you should be watching for? The possibilities of new and renewed life that is within and all around you.
Prepare to awaken and see the world through new eyes, the eyes of your heart. Prepare to see new places where Divine is incarnate in the world which you have failed to notice. And prepare for the new birthings within you that always accompany fresh awakenings.
Dr. David G. Benner