Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On the Many Faces of Love

I like to play with ideas…toss thoughts around and see what unfolds, especially lately around the current decision put forth by the Supreme Court which legislated that same-sex couples can marry. Since I am in the business of spirituality, I considered what I could know about the Nature of the Infinite, and I asked: Does the Infinite distinguish between the many forms of creation? Does It “like” some better than others? Does It, for instance, like the planet earth better than little, demoted Pluto? Does It prefer men over women? Does It find some forms of love more acceptable than others? Or, in Its creative process, does It make no real distinctions at all? Does It only delight in Its creativity and leave the distinctions, and therefore discriminations, to the objective forms of creation themselves?

Closer to the truth...

I think that the last question is closer to the truth. All we need do is see how punitive, how judgmental, how exclusionary human beings can be toward one another and how much pain this promotes. Who needs a God that is better at this than we are??

Get to know the "other".....

Over and over, from the wise to the simple, we have heard the admonition to get to know the “other” and discover that walls and resistances disappear when we find we all want the same things…the opportunities to love and be loved, to create homes or secure communities, to feel safe in our surroundings, to enjoy healthy families and to bring our special good to life. Why should something so universal, so obvious and so desirable become so complicated?

Another chance...

Well, the Supreme Court has torn down a wall and taken some of the forms of Love out of the shadows and into the light. We have another chance yet again to see ourselves, as Wayne Dyer likes to say, as “spiritual beings living a human life.”

Forms of Love....

There are many faces of Love that await our recognition and acceptance of one another. The law of the land now demands it. Our hearts have been open to this for years. Let’s step into the fullness of our humanity once and for all.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On The Long Road to Love

Another tragedy has occurred due to ignorance and blindness. A young man who does not know who he is and therefore cannot know who anyone else is killed nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C. Nine people who were loved and valuable lost their physical lives, and one young man has forever lost the chance to become loved or valuable.

Unconscious patterns...

Once again the unconsciousness patterns of racism, sexism, tribalism, homophobism, elitism, consumerism and exclusivism have come to the fore and were made very conscious, resulting yet again in the deaths of the unsuspecting by someone rabidly aware of his racist motivations. Lest we turn away in disgust, saying that we are not like this, let us remember that all come into life with unconscious patterns. They are the inheritances of the generations of ethnicities and cultures from which we spring, and to say that they are not present in us is to refuse to look at the mind sets that lie within us. Most of us may truly be unconscious of them and only get flurries when we are upset. Others, however, like Dylann Roof, live keenly alive to the fires of hatred that racism stokes within them.

Mental/spiritual calling...

Nevertheless we cannot linger over the bloody memories of the past as the media would have us do every time a Charleston or a Sandy Hook or a Columbine occur. If we do we will always be reliving the past, reinforcing the old, unconscious patterns and never, as ontologist, Ernest Holmes, puts it, turning from old, inherited conditions and turning to some part of God, the Universal Healer, the best part of ourselves. The spiritually minded all know of this as a mental/spiritual calling every day of their lives, whether there is calm or crisis. If we do not engage this calling we will never see the end of unprovoked killing and violence, no matter how many guns we take off the streets.

The road ahead...

Former President Bill Clinton in his efforts to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together, said it well as he admonished them to forego the “easy habits of hatred” and attend to the “hard tasks of reconciliation.” Let us heal both obvious and unseen wounds in ourselves so that anyone so full of hatred and misunderstanding cannot find a fertile field anywhere. Let us mourn and grieve and do the healing work for Mother Emanuel in Charleston and its congregants and learn from the faithful that forgiveness is the road ahead, and unforgiveness is the path to hell. And let us never, never get off track as we move along the long road to Love.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On Character Building

  Those of us who are fans of the PBS Newshour know that one of its weekly guest commentators is David Brooks, the noted journalist with the New York Times. Recently in an interview he spoke passionately about one of his new books entitled The Road to Character. In it he explores the lives of a number of people he believes to have truly built lives of character, lives not built so much on career success as on what he considers “consequential living” …Bayard Rustin, Dwight Eisenhower, Frances Perkins, and St. Augustine, to name a few. According to Brooks it is in combating our weaknesses and building ourselves from within that brings true breadth of character. He says that it is the humble me that creates a life of value rather than the “Big Me” that is so celebrated today.  He speaks of "radical self awareness from a distance."  In other words, who or what outside myself needs me?

Good points...

Brooks makes good points. We in this culture often do a lot of breast beating when we accomplish something, which may be wonderful but perhaps not as lasting as we think. How much greater and stronger might we become, how much more essentially valuable might we be if we worked to corral our weak places until we became strong in them? What if we could stand on the shoulders of our own flawed personalities to become the genuine vital beings that live inside us?

Pure gold...

Some things really are worth the effort, and certainly the emergence of who we truly are as spiritual beings living a consequential life in the world is one of them. Real character building does not involve self laceration for mistakes or self aggrandizement for successes as much as quietly and continuously doing what is ours to do. Sometimes it may seem thankless and lonely but what comes forth from us in our devoted efforts to bring our good to life is pure gold.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Self Reliance"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On Handling Disappointments

Now that I have more time to play with ideas, one of my favorites showed up recently, one that I am in a good position to explore, to wit: There’s got to be a good reason for getting older! There are lots, of course (not even considering the obvious one,) and one that comes to mind is this: Older people know that they will not die from disappointments! When you’re young, disappointments feel like sword thrusts, but as time goes by, they become a little more like pinpricks. Not that pinpricks don’t hurt, but they aren’t that big a deal any more.

"No, thanks"...

Just recently one of my older breakfast buddies (and, yes, there is always someone older than I am…yet) and I were talking about my book, Essays on Everything, which she professed to keep in her car (to read when the stoplights turn red, maybe?). When I offered her a copy of my second book, More Essays on Everything, she was taken by surprise, stuttered a bit, and said, “I’ll get back to you.” Poor dear! She seemed not to realize that “no, thanks” would have been a perfectly acceptable answer. I know that not everyone loves my books the way I do. The pinprick was a small one, and I got on with my day.

Disappointments can toughen...

I think there really is something matchless about learning that we are much more durable than we think we are. No matter how well we may plan and arrange things, we simply will not be able to avoid disappointments. People, situations, hopes and dreams will sometimes not turn out the way we planned, and maybe it’s just as well. Disappointments can toughen us up a bit for when some inevitable losses occur.

Another day...

Small comfort at the time, perhaps, but tomorrow really is another day…as new as we will let it be.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might enjoy "On Ordinary Miracles"

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On Quieting the Mind

         I think most of us know that it is the calm, steady mind that gets us where we want to go, not just the possession of a healthy body. There is just so much pushing and shoving that physical strength can force, but the mind that does our bidding is what causes us to actually grow up and advance in life. It may be the brain that is the chief organizing and determining organ, but many believers think that Mind is in every cell. If we are believers in Oneness with all life, then it would follow that Mind, our major connection with the Infinite, will be found everywhere. The ontologist, Ernest Holmes, said that “the mind I use is the Mind of God.”

Consistently creative...

Believers or not, we could still consider how well we are using our mental powers. I personally think that the ability to put our thoughts together in coherent form is what enables us to be consistently creative. Let’s ask ourselves: Can we think of one thing at a time? Or are our thoughts scattered all over the place, bombarding us with ideas that simply come and go? Learning to quiet the mind will not only bring peace but greater health at every level.

Practicing meditation...

How about….practicing meditation, which would help us to slow down the flow of thoughts and focus gently on one image or subject? Or being careful about what we put in our bodies? We all know what alcohol and drug use can do, especially when they take away the ability to concentrate, which I consider our major talent. If we cannot concentrate our thoughts, it becomes obvious quickly that we really waste our great, thinking energies. Then there is the openness to inspiration. What if we let our minds be receivers of all sorts of possibilities? We, personally, are not the only initiators of ideas. What if Mind really is everywhere? We also have at our command a technique called thought stopping. If we find ourselves making up all sorts of stories, we can actually “take thought” and say STOP! We can interrupt the unruly flow right where it is, step back mentally and push the re-set button to another track. This takes attention and sometimes courage, but it is definitely do-able.

Worth every effort...

Believe it! The quiet mind is worth every effort to achieve, and it is the only thing
 that brings peace.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Someone We Love Dies

"They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were  before.  They are now wherever we are."  
                                           St.John Chrysostom

When someone we love dies, there is no denying the profound sense of loss, sadness and sometimes actual physical pain we feel. Whether the passing is quite sudden…and therefore shocking…or expected through what sociologists call “anticipatory grieving,” the experience itself always seems to bring with it a thud of finality that is surprising. There is a question we sometimes ask: Could this really be happening? But, of course, it is, and what is left to us is making our peace with it.


If our loved one is someone we lived with or saw every day, we will be faced with the task of re-gearing our entire daily lives. If he or she lived at a distance, there will be the ache of knowing we will not see them again. A warm, loving presence is gone, and it is the memory of him or her that will have to fill the void.

Love...that binds...

If we practice a spiritual belief system, we may be blessed with the eventual sense of connection we share with our beloved, however that unfolds. It can’t take the place of breathing flesh, but it erases the waste of oblivion. I personally have always believed that it is love and not blood that binds us together anyway.

Small thoughts...

Obviously we do gather up the threads of our lives and go forward, and I do think that, with the healing passage of time, we will really come to know how very much those we love have added to our lives. How much less might we have been without them, whether our time together was short or many years? I offer these small thoughts, not mine, and unfortunately, anonymous. They are not sentimental but I think they carry great and varied meanings.

"Goodbyes are sad things"...

“Goodbyes are sad things. We leave behind the dreams that we’ve worked to make real, friends that we suffered with and grown to love, and sometimes a quiet security that was built with what seems to be half a lifetime. In life everywhere we move along and leave our efforts behind us in the dust, knowing deep inside that we will never find them exactly the same again…Life teaches us to accept goodbyes as a part of saying hello to things that are newer. It teaches us also that what was lost was loved and what was learned in the past can never be lost.”

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Compassion"

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On a New Baby

Our family will be welcoming a new baby in a few weeks. My husband and I are anticipating a second great granddaughter, and her five-year-old sister is very busy participating in the search for a new name. Like her sister, this newest peep will be Chinese and Caucasian, and once again I am entranced by imagining how she will look. Will she have her father’s sloe eyes, or will they be mitigated by a more rounded dome contributed by her blue-eyed mother? Will she have her father’s deep, black eyes or the more sparkling, brandy-colored eyes of her sister? These two little girls are our family’s entry into a blended racial culture…none too soon as far as I am concerned…and I am endlessly fascinated by the composed looks of new world children.

Unvarnished possibilities...

Even more, I am fascinated by the unvarnished possibilities that all new babies carry. I do believe that unborn children are not a complete tabula rasa. Like some people, I think that unborn babies are subject to the atmosphere of the mother and her surroundings, for good or ill. Maybe that old wives’ tale about singing to the child in the womb isn’t such a wives’ tale after all. But eventually the new babe has its life to live and its ideas to shape. Could we just civilize it a little…we all must get along after all…and give it some eternal values, but then leave it as unbent as possible? What a gift that would be!

Ultra newness...

There is ultra newness in a new baby that is to be nurtured, protected and cherished. We all know this, but have we forgotten about the newness that comes with every breath we take? Every new idea we entertain is given a birth home in us. The paradox is that at the same time we are growing older, we are also growing new again as well.

First time...

I want to remind myself of this when I look for the first time into the eyes of our newest family member.

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You might also enjoy "On Growing Brilliance"