Saturday, November 17, 2012

even MORE sunlight-just-for-you words

"Show me where it hurts, God said, and every cell in my body burst into tears before His tender eyes. He has repaid me though for all my suffering in a way I never wanted: The sun is now in homage to my face, because it knows I have seen God. But that was not His payment. The soul cannot describe His gift. I just spoke about the sun like that because I like beautiful words, and because it is true: Creation is in homage to us." (Daniel Ladinsky/Rabia)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

gifts going around

Our union is like this: You feel cold so I reach for a blanket to cover our shivering feet. - Daniel Ladinsky/Hafiz 

1. My house is getting those winter drafts. I was standing on my cold kitchen floor yesterday in socks thinking "Man, I need some slippers."

2. At around 8pm an old homeless man showed up on my front porch. I've seen him walking around the neighborhood - I think actually once he said to me "Your smile is pure sunshine." But he's definitely mentally ill. He rambled about the base of his leg almost freezing last night before he could get into a gas station reopening at 5am; I mentioned the Nashville homeless shelter where he could find warmth. He said he needed $9 to get his stuff out of storage; Nate and I noticed he had beers in a bag at his feet. He said he had no pride left and he would take "Anything. Anything you got." I said "I can give you food."

I went inside and Nate said "You cannot come here after dark, any time, that I am not here. She is a single mom. We will help you, but you need to respect boundaries." Which is true.

I grabbed some quarters from my change teacup and some food we won't eat. Nate gave them to him.

3. I went to class. I got home at 9:30. At the base of my steps I found a red pair of worn J. Crew slippers with bows on the top. They were my style; I turned them over, and they were my size (8). I think I might even remember having circled them in the Christmas catalog last year or the year before.

I took them inside and said "He left these as a gift. He put them off to the side of the light in the yard because he was showing that he was respecting the boundary." Nate asked if they smelled like urine. I said no. He said they were probably stolen off of someone else's porch; I said that person would forgive him. He said the man probably used the change to go buy more beer; I said I'd rather err on the side of trusting his story and giving him some quarters than to give nothing at all.

I washed the slippers today and they're drying in sunlight. I almost threw them away, but you know what? A pair of new slippers would have looked just as worn after a few months of wear, too. I think they were a gift from God. (I thought about a Daniel Ladinsky poem, that quote up there - not me covering the homeless man, the homeless man covering me.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I love this

Somehow I came across this review of a book about corruption in the papacy (surprise!), and I loved it so much I want to repost what the fellow wrote. I completely relate, with all the churches I've ever been a part of.
"I honor the Catholic Church today - from a distance. I keep the mystical force of its music close to me. I keep the force of its mystics close to me. Jesus said it best, 'Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.' But sometimes that forgiveness - perhaps always - must come in the form of justice. I truly believe I never would have come to this realization as a practicing Catholic. I would have been too blind, too 'dumbed-down,' too full of gossip and a desire to present one life to the world while living another one.

The narrow and close-minded will continue to attack Matthew Fox just as the church elders and leaders attacked Christ and eventually crucified him. What else is new? They are frightened. They have no inner connectivity to the very wisdom and compassion, curiosity and creativity that must be in place to actually travel a path to God or whatever an individual's personal understanding of God is. The Catholic Church is addicted to power and thus, is in bed far more with the powerful than the poor. Is anybody surprised by this? Reading the negative reviews of his work on this site is a healthy way to study the disease of the human mind and heart. But take them seriously too. They are important.

Thank you Matthew Fox for being a catalyst for my own spiritual growth and for standing beside me as I continue to make my own mistakes, learn from them, aspire to an inner state of calm, peace and joy. I had to leave the institutions of the Catholic Church as well as the paradigm and holy spirit of the Christianity itself as it is institutionalized in this world - I had to leave - in order to get closer to its core teachings, its core that I might internalize it - via meditation, contemplation and the recognition that if not for the works of Matthew Fox, Meister well as current pith path I am on as a Vajrayana Buddhist. I fall far short of internalizing or living the kind of just life I aspire to. I am still in the process of seeing just how unjust and blinded by fascist obedience I can be in my own path. I am still learning and I will never give up. I stand in horror of those who claim to 'be there' and who spew their venom and confusion on the world. These are the dark ages.

Look to your own heart and mind and then look out upon the world and ask yourself where you desire to tread. As the Buddha said - don't take my word for it - test these various visions, views, paths, rules, regulations, rationales of the many religious paths for yourself. Follow the one that resonates, that uplifts you, that literally gives you the sensation of expanding out and into the world in a circular, flowing like water, all encompassing way...and yet, one that brings you into direct, valid, conscious contact with the God of your understanding - NOT the one you are told to believe in OR ELSE."

Monday, November 12, 2012

the twain meets

Two quotes from the Eben Alexander book:

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. - Soren Kierkegaard

I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classified as a superstition... we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world. - Sir John C. Eccles

Here's the problem: there are so many assholes on both sides. Religion and science both puff people up with Their Own Understanding and self-assurance. I've heard both sides try to convert each other using the same tactics.

I'm reading this book thinking, "This is such a big deal, but millions of religious people won't be able to see just how groundbreaking it is, because they think they know it all already, and don't care about science, even though it is saving their loved ones from things like breast cancer." Or they'll dismiss it because it isn't lining up precisely with What They Have Already Concluded. Same with scientists. This book is a BFD for science, but science has as much ego as religion, and so-called scientists won't allow themselves to be shaken up by facts outside of their present understanding, hence the Galileos of history.

Humility, humility, humility. The ability to say "I was wrong." The ability to follow truth wherever it seems to be going, to the best of your limited ability. I've followed what seemed to be the truth out of certain religious perspectives. This book is pulling me back, or rather, rounding me out. I think skepticism is a healthy and necessary human mechanism that protects us from being duped by cult leaders and psychological magicians. But science is starting to back up claims that have previously only been sheltered by the spiritual folks, and despite the rampant power abuse and lack of critical engagement in many groups of these spiritual folks - we all need to be on board.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

feeling divine

We've been talking a lot about death and heaven around here, ever since I started reading Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven and distilled his story for the kids. Today Eden put on my knee-high black books and my most stylish coat, and reiterated something I told them yesterday: "I'm a Piece of God!" I'm telling you, feeling pretty and feeling divine go hand in hand.

Ella's quote that summed it up: "You might die, but you'll never be dead."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

working too fucking hard

I've had a breakthrough this week in that I've skipped classes three days in a row and might just not turn in two of the papers due, because I wanted the energy for this:

Less and less am I able to force myself to do anything these days other than what my heart knows I should be doing.

We work too hard on things that don't matter. Americans' expectations for themselves and others are insane. It is crucial to work hard on the things that do matter, like loving your kids and spouse and friends, and whatever your calling is (which may not be what you get paid to do), and to be a decent human being in your workplace. But beyond that, there's a shitton of insanity in our culture. A friend of mine who used to work in a mental health institute just told me about moms who would occasionally be checked in for nervous breakdowns, who would sleep 2 days straight when they weren't eating meals. NORMAL WOMEN NEEDING TO GO TO THE LOONEY BIN BECAUSE OF OVERWORK.

This is just crazy. We are not machines. We are not made for this pace of life. We are not made for constant interruption from a screen in our pocket. This is why we're overweight (not from iPhones, but from the cultural expectations that an increase in technological advances has created, which make us stress eat). This is why we have heart disease. This is why Mother Theresa said we have an epidemic of loneliness in our country. We just don't have time for connection - with our own souls, our kids, our extended family. We come home from work and eat crappy food and stare at faces on a panel in leiu of our friends' for three hours. We get judged for being lazy when we prioritize stillness over money.

Just because you are capable of something, does not mean you are required to do it. 

Crazy times, my friends. We live in very crazy times.