Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On Becoming More Self Aware

Every day the opportunity lies before us to become more self aware, which is very different than becoming self involved. In self awareness there is greater clarity of thought and the ability to experience a greater connection to those around us, where, on the other hand, self involvement usually means a drawing back into ourselves with less appreciation for the life around us. In fact one of my favorite resting places in Mind is this: If I do not know who I am, I cannot know who you are.

A primary concern to us...

I think that people who are interested in penetrating the depths of their spirituality almost automatically become more concerned with the well being of those in their surroundings as part of themselves rather than an “other.” If we believe in the inherent connection of all life, what happens to our brothers and sisters in life becomes a primary concern to us; hence, another interpretation of being our brothers’ keepers. Actually with increasing self awareness it becomes more difficult not to know what’s up in the world, which brings on a question: Is there something that is mine to do here?

We can always lend a hand...

And perhaps there is, maybe physically if this is within our means. Maybe through the annals of prayer and gift giving in some way. We can always lend a hand in increasing a loving consciousness to the general field of thought, and maybe we have the means to participate in bringing our good to life through footsteps on the ground or the distribution of our substance.

A great mass of loving concern could encircle our globe...

Once we know that we are part of the All, there is no retreating into our little corners of the world, never to step out again. Think of it! If increasing numbers of us become more intentionally self aware, a greater mass of loving concern could encircle our globe. Perhaps the great Christian mandate, Peace on earth, Good Will to all, could actually become a reality instead of just a hoped-for dream.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Just Getting By

When life gets tough, when great disappointments endure or perhaps failed relationships get rocky, we may come to a place where dismay is so great that we are inclined to do just enough to get by. Anything more seems too much trouble. There is a wonderful, eye-twinkling Yiddish word that comes to mind when I think about this place…the word is schlepp. Even the sound of it makes you want to smile, maybe even snicker a little. There is, of course the infinitive form of the verb, to schlepp. Then there is the active form of the verb, schlepping, often accompanied by an adverb, the word, along, so one does not simply schlepp , one is schlepping or schlepps along, all of which wraps up the whole idea of telling a good story, but not doing a whole lot.

Are we not stealing from ourselves......

Silliness aside, there is a serious element to just “getting by.” If we persist in getting by long enough, there can be a certain amount of theft taking place, maybe not so much involving other people, but actual theft from ourselves. Are we not stealing from ourselves when we do not make the effort to do a thing well, to the best of our abilities? Do we not see time dribbling by when we make minimal effort, almost using our energies by default? No care, no concern, no investment of ourselves?

Life can become more of a sigh....

Things, situations and circumstances die from just “getting by.” They die from lack…lack of love, lack of interest, lack of commitment, lack of genuine engagement. Life can become more of a sigh than anything else, and there is sadness in this. Not only are we not spending our capital wisely, we are wasting a lot of love and concern that could be coming our way.

Is this as good as it gets?

Maybe we could think seriously about the question: Is this as good as it gets? It never is, but there needs to be a place in us that sees...

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On Knowing Love is the Answer

As 2015 moves along, I do believe a new awareness is spreading into peoples’ minds. We have been experiencing the miseries of Ebola and the murderousness of ISIL, along with the usual run of disasters and upsets, but something new and lustrous is gathering space in the corners of our minds, something that is telling us that love really is the answer…not just kissy-face, smash-mouth love, but love that works, love that cares, love that sees the “other,” and love that recognizes our same-nesses more than our differences. People who willingly work in Ebola-stricken parts of the world know this; people who use their search operational equipment to find bodies lost to airplane crashes know this. People who volunteer to help in special needs know this.

Wholesale love will  begin to bloom...

Actually everyone is waking up to the signs…in groups here, groups there all over the world, groups connecting on purpose to serve, to do good, to bring possibilities to others, where before there were none. I think one of Malcolm Gladwell’s “tipping points” is being reached, and wholesale love will begin to bloom throughout the land.

Moving in the same direction...

Its demonstration will be different for all. For some it will be the giving of substance; for others it will mean being in the trenches, and some will fill the consciousness with constant prayer. For all it will be the knowing in some way that love is the only way. Nothing else will do, and every heart will be moving in the same direction.

Cannot be a pipedream anymore...

This cannot be a pipedream anymore. We have become too efficient at knowing how to kill one another. Now we must become even more spiritually efficient in choosing to save lives. Some parts of corporate America know this. Is it not the mandate of the Gates Foundation that “every person deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life?”

Now is the time; life needs our best; love is the answer.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On Being a Believer

I am a believer. Always have been at some level, and I don’t know why. I know only that it probably is part of my spiritual DNA. It has nothing to do with religions, which, in my opinion, have coalesced over time around the lives of exceptional people into hardened systems which don’t take kindly to questioning. I do like organized, spiritual thinking, however, and so found a philosophy that helps me give rational form to my somewhat inchoate, mental ramblings. I am content with this. It lets me question to my heart’s content and still gives me a way to go when things get hairy as human beings seem to insist on killing each other over their “differences.”

Easy for some....

Being a believer has been easy for some. Philosophers like Kant and Descartes simply plopped a God into their contemplations to give them backing. Others, like Hegel with the World Historical Spirit, and Jaspers, with his Existenz, were a bit gauzier about it. Then, of course, there is science which often reasons away the need for belief because of its capacities to go to the limits of thought with the Big Bang.

Doubt and wonder simply show us we're alive...

Being a believer has not been easy for others. Some want to suspend reason altogether and go straight to a system they probably inherited. But reason cannot be set aside because it can get us to a part of where we want to go. I think there is nothing whatsoever the matter with questioning. It can unbind the ignorant and keep us from too much certainty about that which cannot be made certain. Doubt and wonder simply show us we’re alive and in the game. The question of being is an ocean in which we will always be swimming.

Close to answering some soul questions...

I think that no one can know for us what we can only know for ourselves…not the wayshowers who can only show ways. I also think that knowing, at least in the world of belief, is tenuous at best. We should not fear the sometimes wondering but move into it instead, for here is the aliveness of belief. As far as I am concerned we are not lost and never have been. In the dark at times, maybe, but evidences, like light, show up along the road. If we develop kindness, compassion, loving concern about others, perhaps we are getting closer to answering some soul questions.

But, then, this is part of my belief.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On Worrying

I am a consummate worrier. It’s not that I have a pessimistic view of life or look for trouble. In fact, I have a deeply-held spiritual belief that life is basically good and that, as the philosopher Ernest Holmes said, the universe is for us. I just seem to be wired for worrying. Probably because I am something of a control freak, knowing there is always a possibility that things may not go as I would like…which they often don’t…and this is worrisome.

Is his trust level higher?...

My husband, on the other hand, does not worry about much of anything. His quip to me is “Why should I be concerned? You worry enough for the two of us!” He’s infuriating…and he’s right. Is his trust level higher than mine? Have his life experiences given him a stronger hold on his own wellbeing? Perhaps. Maybe his having survived being an active pilot for the RAF during WWII has given him an outlook I cannot have. Whatever it is, it’s a blessing.

We keep trying...

But then, maybe there are at least a few gifts at hand for the worrier. I think that worrying keeps us present to what’s at hand. Annoyingly so. And it also suggests a level of caring about outcomes. Worriers want everyone and everything to be ok at all times. Impossible, but we keep trying.

Short circuit the ramp-up....

While worriers may not achieve permanent, laid-back coolness, we can be smarter about de-tensioning ourselves so we can short circuit the ramp-up of full-on worry before it takes hold. We can recognize the signs of mild freaking out that can sometimes accompany worry and remind ourselves of who we are and where we are. We can haul in perspective again and certainly practice more trust. Our worlds can be a little gentler, and perhaps we can bring together our abilities to both care and be at peace as well.

It’s certainly worth the effort.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On One Day at a Time


            One day at a time…
            One day at a time…
            O, Lord, for my sake
            Please help me to take
            One day at a time…

I remember vividly the words of this old hymn, and how wise its cautions are.  I know also that AA people at every level abide by this premise all the time…This day I will not drink…This day I will not use drugs…This day I will not overeat.  They practice restraint; they practice thoughtfulness; they practice true regard for themselves, and almost as important, they realize the wisdom of not “borrowing trouble” in advance.
The spontaneity of the day's unknowns
    Yes, we plan for the future as much as we are able, and then we let things unfold as they will.  To live by too many “what ifs” only keeps us from enjoying the moment before us which really is the only moment we have.  We don’t have to cast our fates to the winds and be blown along by every gust and swirl, but we can enjoy the spontaneity of the day’s unknowns with a clear eye.
Is the Universe a friendly place?...
  Being a control freak I put my day in order because my natural inclinations and my responsibilities require it.  I have also learned that one cannot have much ease without trust that life itself will be revealed in the best possible ways without the need for constant “tweaking.”  It raises just too much angst to think otherwise.  There are those fortunate folks who seem to navigate their days effortlessly.  I wish I were one of them.  In the meantime I learn; I practice saying yes to Einstein’s question:  Is the universe a friendly place?, and I simply remind myself to look for the good because I’m the only one who’ll find it for myself.

     Each day holds it gifts…and its challenges, and so I’ll take them…one day at a time.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Fear...and Love

Some thirty five years ago an M.D. named Gerald Jampolsky wrote a wonderful, little gem of a book entitled, Love is Letting Go of Fear. People loved it, and it went everywhere, and so it deserved to. Jampolsky’s major premise was that there are only two emotions, love and fear. The first is our natural inheritance and the other the mind manufacturers. Think of it! This means that it is natural for us to come from love for ourselves and others. It is unnatural for us to move from fear. We have to invent it ourselves, and so we do.

...A brand, new first response...

Thirty five years later, where are we in the scheme of things? Are we cultivating our inborn capacity to love and to choose it as our mode of action every time we go out the front door? Or, more likely, are we so confused and conflicted by the complications of the world that our default response to most everything is some form of fear? I think it is more often the latter. We have become so conditioned by negative, subjective responses that we don’t even recognize a loving response. We can, of course, but we would have to go back into a willingness to trust the gift of love and pull it up as a brand, new first response.

We are purveyors of Love...

Yes, we can, and we can scan ourselves mentally and emotionally to rediscover the strengths that are ours and the responsibilities that are ours as spiritual beings living a human life (Thank you, Wayne Dyer!) We have no business sinking into media marketing or giving away our power to external manipulations. We are more than this. We are purveyors of Love, and we can teach and learn from one another. We more than the tribes into which we were born. We are God’s own… every single one of us… worthy of the best.

"Teach only love...

Let’s give Jampolsky the last word on the relationship between love and fear. He said, “Teach only love for that is what you are.”

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