The Bible says, in some places, that "God is Love." Skeptics say that they do not see God loving in this cruel world. Well, maybe God is loving, but chose to do it very inefficiently. God decided to love through me, and you. The reason that God's love is invisible is that we are not so loving. Fear, resentment, reliving the past, anxiety, self-centeredness can all get in the way of love. Either God is not very bright, in wanting to love through my actions of loving others, or, God has great hope for me yet. I prefer the latter. Whenever I mess up, I try to remember to have hope, that the next time I will do better, be more loving. Will there be a next time? One can only hope.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
In 1998 I had back problems. It was my own fault. I could not get well on my own, so I had surgery. After the surgery, I was given as series of exercises. I was told that if I did these exercises everyday, my back would be OK. After surgery my back was sore and the exercises difficult. It was all new to me. But then my back got better and I was even able to run again. Now if I had said, "I am OK now. I don't have pain. I can stop my exercises," you would think me crazy. I still do these exercises everyday, and add some yoga and dynamic stretching a few times each week. I meet so many people who did not get well or stay well, because they did not discipline themselves to do what they were told would heal them on a daily basis. Healing is a daily reality, not a permanent reality once achieved. The spiritual life, recovery life is the same dynamic. You learn to do something to make you well, but then you stop doing it because now, "I feel better." Better is only for today. That is why I do the same basics over and over again. Detachment is not about letting go of healing activities in our daily life.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Why bother entertaining bad thoughts? You are generally powerless to change the situation about which you are so glum. We approach insanity when we keep revisiting these same thoughts with the idea that something will change. Why not choose thoughts that inspire good feelings, such as peacefulness? To get the day started in a positive, sane direction, why not begin, as soon as you awake, with thoughts of gratitude. We are often surprised at how many things might fit on this list. One or two would be a start. I begin with being alive, a roof over my head, and the opportunity to be of some use in my day. Even if my night's sleep was fitful and yucky, it is over and I cannot change it. I don't dwell on what is done and beyond my control. Gratitude can be a New Year Resolution.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
I remember hearing about "sins of omission." This is good stuff that we could have done but did not do. I think that the mode of living in which sins of omission occur is isolation. In solitude we simply step away from the active world to connect with ourselves/God in healthy and invigorating ways, to prepare for positive action. Isolation is when we put up walls, are out of touch with a spiritual side, and are too self-imploded to be of much use to anyone else. There are many days or moments when I have to ask myself, "Am I in isolation or solitude?" Isolation has no prayer to it. Isolation is somewhat indifferent to the world around me. Sometimes I fool even me by saying, "I am too busy, or too overworked." I find that when I have sufficient solitude, being too busy never seems to come up. By stepping away from saving all humanity, fixing everything, I enter into quiet prayer that seems to refresh and energize me when I am done. If I am not sure about which mode I might be in, I go to a meeting of friends where I might be of use. Works every time.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
This phrase refers to avoiding a focus on the present moment. Sometimes it shows up as fantasy. Other times it is focused on a resentment, fear, anxiety, remorse and other negative feeling, rarely about real factual events. The present moment is thus filled with preoccupations. When we "catch" ourselves in this mode of mood or fantasy, we might ask, "Why am I doing this?" Why am I so uncomfortable with me as me in the here and now? When I ask this question of myself, I find that I am uncomfortable in m own skin. I am too ordinary, or too something else that does not appeal to me. This is not as bad as it sounds. Why? Because it is often followed by a "spiritual awakening." It is OK to be me. I am loved by God. My fantasy me is not loved by God, since fantasy is not real. Now in the present moment of reality, without all these negative feelings, I often begin to think of some good that I can do. Example: one day, on the way to the bank, I was in the "not real" world. I awoke to the present moment of reality. I am me, loved by God as I am. Then I remembered someone who mentioned a special white tea that she liked. After the bank, I went to the nearby tea store and picked up a small bag of this tea. She was delighted. Later, we shared a cup of "present moment white tea." The present moment has such great possibilities. Future-tripping not so much.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Are you physically healthy, and can walk without assistance? Here is a good deed or service you can perform almost every day. I got this idea from someone. Far be it from me to think it up. Here is the good deed: don't park your car as close to the place you are going as you can. Why? There may be elderly people with canes and walkers who could use that convenient place in front of the store, theatre, park, meeting. I tend to thank the "parking gods" when I find a convenient parking space. This is all about focus on me who can still jog and walk fine. The everyday and the ordinary is a way to live out our best self, rather than the occasional good deed that goes recognized.