Tuesday, July 26, 2016

On Holding Hands

Lately when I take my walks I have been noticing what seems to be an increase in the number of walking couples holding hands. Is the number really increasing, I wonder, or is my need to feel the comfort of connected people greater than usual? Has the public rhetoric of recent weeks been so miserable that I cannot trust the words I hear and feel the need for greater closeness every time I see it? Perhaps. And also there are the multiple, silent messages that are being transmitted through the medium of touch. Among other things, holding hands implies “I’m here for you…You can count on me.” A clasp around the shoulders suggests “I know how you feel…I hear what you are not able to say.”

Our personal "space"...

When we are rigidly taught to keep our personal “space” inviolate, we miss something. Some years ago I visited India and, on a bus trip, noted how the streets absolutely teemed with people. There was no chance for them to have broad, personal space, but they serpentined easily and thoughtfully together in the available opportunities. Somehow they managed to respect the movement they shared collectively without resentment. Did they know something about closeness that I did not?

"Vocal in the silence"...

My intention is to become more “vocal in the silence,” if this makes sense. I want to bring the message my heart would love to say if it had the words. When it does not, I will need another language…the universal language of touch, something even the youngest among us understands. Even a child knows when the proferred hand of an adult is meant to guide and secure.

Touch is not that clever...

Words can be lies; they can manipulate; they can change meanings into something completely different than the syllables uttered. Touch is not that clever. It may be soft; it may be insistent but it always transmits its meanings. What if, instead of saying the angry words about to spring from our lips, we extended a hand that indicated. “It’s ok…It’ll be all right.”? Just imagine the situations that could be re-directed and perhaps saved!

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On a Safe Harbor." 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On Knowing When to Let Go


The wise and wonderful have been counseling us for years on the relief and freedom involved in letting go, on releasing people and circumstances to fly from us so that they---and we---can be free to pursue our own ends. Of course this all makes good sense and extolls the wisdom of rational thinking. The trouble is that letting go does not only involve the use of reason but also the powerful clutch of emotion involved in hanging on. So we not only are looking at a rational choice about releasing a situation but also the smarts to know when to do so.

Reason vs. emotion...

The awareness of when gets all mixed up in the function of reason versus emotion. When should we persist longer in the possibility of seeing things through, when just a little more patience might uncover some resolution? On the other hand, when do we get stuck in endless teasing, thwarting, texting, tweeting, cajoling, persuading with rounds and rounds of push back and resistances? When do we have so much feeling involved around a person or situation that there is simply no place for reason to surface?

Inhibition of flow...

Good questions…and part of the endless challenges that growing up every day of our lives presents. One of the problems that not knowing when to let go illustrates is the inhibition of flow, of healthy movement. Stuckness long held eventually leads to stagnation and the small deaths that come from it. Lack of movement leads to lack of health at every level. If we want to be really whole, effective beings, we will all need to recognize when we have worked long enough with something that is not resolving and when it is time to just let go and let new paths open before us.


Necessary? Yes. Easy to do? Maybe not.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon


You might also enjoy "On Thinking Hard Thoughts"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On The Practice of Prayer

As a retired minister, I do, from time to time, like to talk about that most valuable, spiritual practice…prayer. Prayer is a connection with Something greater than ourselves, however we may view this. It is also a practice, not something we are working to “get right,” but more a skill we burnish to keep our connection to the Infinite clear and available. I am a metaphysician who believes in complete Unity with God, so I feel no need to get a connection to that which is already part of our very existence, only to keep it refreshed and easily accessible. Consequently…not “better” or “worse” prayer, only a favored form.

Touch their foreheads...

Some like to touch their foreheads to the floor; some fold their hands together in reverence; some like a prayer of supplication; others whirl in ecstasy. I use prayer as the practice that returns our focus upon the Infinite Presence, often as a form of “imminent salvation,” because there will be times in our lives when we face things so horrendous that it is only the natural movement inherent in prayer that gets us through the difficulty in front of us. It does not necessarily make everything all right again, but it does remind us that life and healthy living still lie in wait.

Relief and release...

Prayer also helps to remind us of who we are…as Wayne Dyer said, spiritual beings living a human life. It brings guidance and clear thinking; it can bring relief and release. Prayer is also a place of remembrance so that we never get too far from our spiritual core, and some of the most loving, renewing prayer does not involve doing or getting, but simply allows a quiet place of being.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You may also enjoy "On Faith."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On Chosen Love

We are all cockeyed again. Demonstrations throughout the country are taking place protesting the unseemly killing of black males by white police due at least in part to a persistent tribalism in our culture. Yet, isn’t this a slap in the face to five white policemen killed in a wholesale murder in Dallas? It is a widely-known fact that the vast majority of police never fire their weapons when on duty throughout their entire service in law enforcement. We are grasping for ways to think about current outrages and where we find ourselves as citizens and simple human beings. We cannot look away from either scenario, but we don’t know how to look at them either.

Many have the answer…perhaps the only answer…and they are speaking of it over and over. Many are speaking about love so often that it feels almost glib, something pulled out of the air. But we are not just talking about what Joseph Campbell called “the attraction of the organs for each other,” we are talking about the greatest spiritual power in the universe. We are talking about chosen love, always available, seldom understood. Everyone comes into life with love, but we have to learn how to use it. We think of some of us as worthies, some as unworthies, but many have come to believe that we are all sons…and daughters…of God; therefore there are no unworthies, only those who do not know who they are and therefore cannot know who others are. We can choose love at every turn and resist the turn to anything less, no matter what. Throughout our history as human beings we have not done this. It is time and past time.

There are so many ways in which to love, some very big, some small. We can begin to dissolve tribal attitudes. Race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sex, religion are but distinctions in tribal thinking. We are all more than these and always have been. Some of us may bring money as a tool for education, enlightenment and physical care. Prayer for self and others is a constant in active loving. We can, we must no longer engage in anger and half-realized rage; here is where wars begin.  Mentally we can no longer fall into "default" thinking and actively choose to walk in love.  Respect, small courtesies, these are some of our gifts.  Ours every single day.

Tips…just tips…on using the power of love every day.

So many ways to choose love. It is way past time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Safety

I think of a word that has entered my common parlance more than usual lately. I think of actively desiring a sense of being safe, which is now in the forefront of my mind. Normally such a status would rest lightly in the annals of comfortable memory. Why would it not? Do I not accept feeling safe as a given in my life? I do not live in dangerous circumstances; I do not knowingly put in myself in harm’s way; I feel the overarching protection of living in a country governed by laws.

Something has changed...

But something has changed.  There seem to be more lawless, murderous people intent on disturbing people's lives all around the world with few brakes on their behaviors.  Reason is disrupted.  Why would angry, dangerous people want to harm the innocent simply because they can?  These behaviors have been explained over and over with no solutions.  And part of feeling unsafe comes about when we know that even the best military and police forces cannot guarantee physical safety.

What's to be done?.....

What's to be done?  Do we wait and hope that such anti-social trends will "play themselves out?"  Do we sequester ourselves in prayer?  Do we stir ourselves from accepted comforts to enter into the lives of those who live in a kind of perpetual danger because of their environments?  Perhaps so, in the ways that we can.  Since we know there really are no guarantees that will insure us we will live long, happy lives and die in our beds, maybe we will need to be more active participants in knowing where we can spread some good around...active, effortful good.

Inner stalwartness...

If we are genuine  believers in a spiritual system that provides a powerful foundation of being, perhaps this is as safe as it gets since it is not dependent on the preservation of physical bodies.  Certainly it is a good, jumping-off place into a world that needs our best, even if it cannot provide constant safety.  Perhaps there is some inner stalwartness to be found in moving in the active threads of life rather than longing for stability.  When we are "up against it," as we sometimes are, and walk though it, as we eventually must, I think we find the safest place there is...the one inside us that rises to meet our needs.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon
You may enjoy "On The Comfort of the Familiar."