Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On Deep Spirituality





    Many of us do not consider ourselves particularly religious, and sometimes it is because we may feel that the strictures of religion seem unreasonable and somewhat mythological. Still, we don’t necessarily feel alone out here in the universe either because of a hard-to-define sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves, something that belongs to us as we belong to it. This, I believe, to be our deep spirituality touching base with us, something that does not fully lend itself to reason but is known to us intuitively.

Reason can only take us so far....

Reason can only take us so far when we explore this sense of spirituality, but spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, contemplation…which we can engage in rationally…can enlarge the areas of knowing and experiencing the ineffable. And this is a part of ourselves we must come to trust…an element of ourselves that we can experience but not necessarily put into words.

Our touches of spirituality become "personalized"...

Something that is essential, not given to palpable form, is just as real as a table and chair. In fact, it is more real than a physical form that comes and eventually goes. Our sense of self, our sense of innate connection to life, stays with us whenever and however we go and can only seem more real as it moves through all our life forms. The spiritual philosopher, Ernest Holmes, tells us that our touches of spirituality become “personalized” by us as we recognize it as the core of our being.

In sum, I believe us to be deeply centered in spirit, whether or not we planned on it…even on days when we least feel it.

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

 You might also enjoy "On Right Mindfulness and Right Effort."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Consumers and Citizens




When governments, corporations, and organizations of any kind refer to the general populace, they generally call us “consumers,” which is kind of a dirty word to me. Think about it! The nature of being a consumer is to use up and not give back… just to take without thought of giving. At least some animals that consume can leave manure that is useful to farmers and agriculturists! Our “leavings,” whatever they may be, are usually not wanted. Consumer is not our best or most thorough designation…It is shortsighted and thoughtless.

"Consumers"...."Citizens"

We are way more than just consumers; we are citizens, and I believe should be so designated and valued. It is in true democracies that citizenship has real worth since it is citizens who, as Thomas Jefferson said, “consent to be governed.” Otherwise we would simply be subjects, people on hand to fulfill the whims and wishes of the ruler. I would remind myself and the readers that in an earlier blog, I wrote that it is citizens who choose to be governed, not ruled.

Leadership-Rulership...

Now if some of this leadership-rulership stuff is feeling a big dicey these days for Americans, maybe we should take our citizenship a little…or maybe a lot…more seriously. Citizens have responsibilities to themselves and their country. Subjects take orders. We may want to pay more attention to those who govern so that they do not turn into rulers, and we may need to remind ourselves that freedom is highly valued by those who do not have it and is often far too neglected by those who do.

The right to vote....

Citizens have the most powerful right in democracies everywhere…the right to vote, the right to consider the national well being. We could ask: Are we being wise citizens, treasuring this right and using it?

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You may also enjoy "On Connection." 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On Trust




         One thing about trust…It can only be freely given once. If trust is broken for any reason, its return must be earned, and then such return will be fragile for quite a while, if not forever. Trust is precious, matchless and soul touching. Without the capacity for trust we would continually find ourselves tossed about by the winds of fate. It is the bond that is formed between people, institutions and governments that depend upon one another to be who they say they are and do what they say they will do; and woe be to those who break the bond because the sense of loss and disappointment can be immeasurable. More than that, such a rupture can affect all other relationships, casting a shadow of suspicion over everything.

A sacred quality...

Looking at trust from this perspective, we can see that it is truly a sacred quality…God-like in many ways, the foundation for all that contains honor, truthfulness, stability, love and peace. We all know this; and we know trust as a link between ourselves and the rest of the world. If we look within ourselves, we can ask: Can I be trusted? Is my word my bond? Is my face before the world the same from day to day, or is my smile cast to deceive? Can I be counted to deliver, or do I simply speak what is convenient at the moment with no thought of truth or lie?

The word of the President...

As human beings, persons, citizens, we should all ask these questions of ourselves with some regularity to make sure we have not forgotten who we are. And just as regularly, we should ask them of our leaders. On a recent PBS Newshour, political columnist and commentator, Mark Shields, told a story of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States and the Soviet Union were dangerously close to armed conflict over Russian missiles stationed in Cuba and U.S. missiles stationed in Italy and Turkey.  During that time U.S. President, John Kennedy, sent then Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, to France to share information with French leader, Charles de Gaulle and enlist his support.  Acheson offered to share secret surveillance photos with de Gaulle who famously said, "No, no, no, no.  The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me."

That was then.  Would the word of the President of the United States be good enough now?