Sunday, September 23, 2018
We meditate to discover our own identity, our right place in the scheme of the universe. Through mediation, we acquire and eventually acknowledge our connection to an inner power source that has the ability to transform our outer world.
-- Julia Cameron
Thursday, September 20, 2018
As I understand it, "Tao" means "way" or "path," as in "the way things are" or "the way of life" or "the way to live life."
But it also points a finger at the source of all, the well from which time and space pour out into time and space. The garden of yin and yang.
Tao is not God. Tao is how we discover God. Tao is how we learn God. Tao is how we live God.
God is not God, either, by the way.
No name is.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The more we do to isolate
ourselves from others,
the more fear we experience.
The more fear in our lives,
the more chaos and hatred,
the more greed and anger,
the more violence and ruin,
the more gnashing of teeth.
The more fearful we are,
the harder it is to live lives
of trust and compassion,
of mercy and gratitude,
of serenity and joy.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
I have often suspected that the most profound product of this world is tears. I don't mean that to be morbid. Rather, I mean that tears express that vulnerability in which we can endure having our heart broken and go right on loving.
-- Cynthia Bourgeault
Thursday, September 6, 2018
What is God if there is no God?
Is God just a "spiritual" experience? What is that, and why do so many people across time and space have them? Why are these experiences so compelling, so convincing? Why are they so nakedly personal and unshareable?
How do we know they're even real, that they're not just a cloud of brain chemistry? How do we know they aren't some random constellation of neurons firing inside our skull?
Why is it that some people have them and some people don't? Why do some who want them never seem to get them while others who have no interest in anything "spiritual" do?
Do we create God just by choosing to believe in a god? In other words, if we choose to believe in God, that decision changes the way we look at our surroundings, and that changes what we see when we look. Suddenly, we see the Divine all around us -- and even within us -- all because we choose to believe.
On the other hand, if we choose to believe that to have faith in any kind of Supreme Being is stupid, superstitious, and potentially lethal, then we don't look for evidence of some supernatural Grandfather, and in turn, we don't see evidence of the Divine, and there is no God. There is no God because we don't believe in God.
Do we create the God we need -- including nonexistent ones?
Yes. But only in our minds.
For me, it's about being awake. When I look, I see. When I listen, I hear. But only when I'm awake. Only when I'm aware. Only when I'm paying attention.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
The more our sense of identity and well-being depends upon what we possess or what people think of us, the less we are aware of our own intrinsic worth and, consequently, the more we are enslaved to the fear of loss.
-- Kabir Helminski
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
I know a lot of people who don't have a religious life. They don't see a need for one. Why waste all that time in church?
I'm fine with that. I'm mostly fine with whatever people choose to believe or not believe about church and God and Jesus and Tao and barbecue sauce. And I can understand why someone would opt out of the whole religion thing. One of my closest friends opted out decades ago, and another never opted in in the first place. Same with my wife.
And yet, I still go. I get up on Sunday mornings and go to church. I'm usually there on Wednesday nights, too. In fact, I spend a lot of time at my little Presbyterian church. I love the people there. I love the conversations we have. I love the Sunday morning services. I love that it's a little church with a big, fat social justice heart. I love that it tries to do right by people.
At the same time, there's a big part of me that thinks I don't really belong there. I feel like an interloper because I see a different Jesus and Bible and God than most Christians see. The good news for me is that even though I'm more open about what I do believe these days, they still seem willing to let me stick around.
As I've written elsewhere, I've come to see Jesus the way a Buddhist sees the Buddha. I don't need Jesus to be a uniquely Divine Being in a human body come to save my sorry ass and return me to God. I see Jesus as a finger pointing at the moon.
I guess you could say I'm a Jesusist more than I am a Christian. But then, why should my religious perspectives really matter to anyone beyond my own skin anyway? We can have community without that.
If we want it.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Where there is no disinterested love (or, more briefly, no charity), there is only biased self-love, and consequently only a partial and distorted knowledge both of the self and of the world of things, lives, minds, and spirit outside the self.
-- Aldous Huxley
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Gratitude seems like such an odd little animal to me sometimes.
A hurricane swamps a woman's business in so much saltwater that it'll never dry out, and she's thankful nobody got hurt. A tornado grinds a man's house down to the concrete slab, and he's thankful nobody died. A sink hole opens its big fat mouth and swallows a woman's parents, their house, and both cars, and she's thankful it didn't happen the day before on Christmas when the whole family was there.
This is what gratitude does. It changes the way we see the shit in our lives. It focuses our eyes not on what went wrong but on what went right -- what could've gone wrong but didn't. It also reminds us that even the shit in our lives is temporary.
As for me, gratitude has also shown me there's value in pain. In fact, there are certain things -- valuable things -- that can only come to me through pain, but I have to watch for them or I'll miss them. When I see them, I say thank you.
Pain. A carrier of blessings.
Gratitude. A gift we give ourselves.