Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On Growing Up


I’ve been growing up again. I do this periodically. Technically I grew up many moons ago when I arrived at 21 years old, grew boobs, and thought I knew everything. This, of course, was laughable. Of course we all grow physically (and, in due course, hopefully, stop growing, but this is not a given…), but then comes the ever-increasing need to grow up mentally. Well, I thought I had done that as well. Went to school. Got degrees. But that seemed not quite enough, and most of my prized knowledge got outdated anyway.

...learning how to share...

I will say that marriage and family does demand a certain amount of growing up. After all, you have to least make the attempt to stay ahead of your kids for a while anyway. And living with a spouse does demand learning how to share.

Death grows you up in a hurry...

Death grows you up in a hurry, I found. When people you love die, I discovered that I did learn to live without them, even though I thought I never would, and pain does heal, even though missing them goes on. What became really interesting about death was when the people dying began to get closer in age to me, and suddenly I began to feel a little less immortal. This growing up is definitely not for sissies!

I have perspective...

Now when I grow up, I want to be like Angela Lansbury. I want to be able to contribute, to be artistic, to be creative, to have all my marbles like she does. There is nothing like a good role model when gravity is becoming a concern! And suddenly I discovered I have perspective, something I didn’t know much about when I was young. Now I can impress all the younger folks with it.

After all, there has to be a good reason for getting older!

You might also enjoy "On Noticing"

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On Letting Go


What is so difficult about letting go? There is a wonderful old spiritual adage that states very simply: Let go and let God. This is some of the best, most thoughtful, practical advice there is…and we hardly ever take it. It is almost as if we have to have the person, situation or the thing ripped from our clutching fingers before we will relax our grip. And then if we’re not careful, we’ll want to snatch it right back.

 Losing control.....

I wonder…could it be that we’re so afraid of losing control that we must have every person, place and thing under our hand all the time. Or are we just afraid of losing control…period! I have found that, the more things seem to get out of hand in world situations, the more I want to know that all my chicks are all accounted for. And I’m not sure whether it’s world problems…there is always something going wrong, after all…or if I feel I’m losing my grip with the passing years.

A great trust...

I really do believe in letting go and letting God, even if I sometimes seem reluctant to do so. Then again, I have developed a great trust in greater wisdom than mine, so it is mine to practice letting go. The days will continue to pass; the sun will rise each morning; the moon knows how to do its thing, and my chicks all arrive home at night.

The life in us knows how ...

It really does not have to be this difficult, does it? Some people are good at letting go, not many maybe, but some. They just let things slip right on by when it’s time. When I grow up, I want to be like that. The life in us knows how to be lived; therefore, letting go is up.

Better get on with it.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Questioning

I think of the daughter of one of my former congregants. As a vital, young woman, she turned to her father and asked, “Are we kidding ourselves? Are we making this up?”, a natural inquiry as far as I am concerned, into the durability of our very existence. Some might consider it blasphemous to question so, but I don’t. I think that the more we ask, the more we can know. And as people who are spiritually minded—and any who reads these blogs are—we will ask.

The "know-ability" of the subject...

I recently watched a series of lectures on Understanding Gravity—Black Holes, Tides and Curved Spacetime. The mathematics escaped me entirely, but not the “know-ability” of the subject. Is it not amazing that minds on an infinitesimal speck of a planet in an infinitesimal speck of a galaxy in a jinormous cosmos can dope out the connectivities that consistently unfold in something that cannot adequately be measured? Sometimes it is enough to ask questions that will get answered down the road like Galileo, Newton and Einstein did. I am content with the “know-ability” of that which I do not yet know.

Evidences rather than proofs...

Or maybe enough with rationalizing! Maybe we could do what the religieuse—priests, nuns, people who join holy orders—do and follow spiritual practices that focus upon God-like ideas. Perhaps the inner invitation brings some light and enough “knowings” to keep us going, for some will feel a response to the invitation. I think that we will need to be satisfied with evidences rather than proofs. The evidences will be unique to the one who questions since no one can know for us what only we can know for ourselves.

Keep up the questions...

I think we should keep up the questions, though. What I did learn about black holes was that they can be dangerous and things that fall into them never come out. Better to keep up the inquiry rather than fall into a mental black hole that forms through disinterest and discouragement.

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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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