Friday, September 22, 2017

Inside Or Outside

I am having trouble typing this blog.  I tripped while exercising yesterday and fell on my hands and knee.  They are a mess.  I am icing the knee.  It did not get cut.  The hands did get skin torn off and are a mess.  I went home and rubbed alcohol on my hand wounds.  I about passed out from the alcohol sting on raw flesh.  Ironically, if I could laugh, alcohol on the outside of my skin takes away germs and helps healing, after the initial ouching.  I used to take alcohol on the inside of my skin for a different pain, but it never healed anything.  It only numbed me for a while.  So, I find alcohol does have healing qualities, if kept on the outside, poured over or rubbed onto a wound.  Now if I had pain relieving ointment, that would have been nice.  Tonight, I will limp to a party with seven couples who want to have dinner with me.  They will ask how I am.  I will lie and say fine, while maybe  wearing gloves.  I will secretly hope that someone has a miracle healing ointment and non-stick bandages.  I seem to still be delusional, thinking that people come to dinner parties with triage kits in their purses.  At the party, there will be drinking of alcohol.  I have learned that no matter how yucky my hands and knee might feel, the alcohol on the inside will only make it worse.  If someone going to the party reads this blog, I may yet have a happy, triage experience.  But I will come sober no matter what.   😇

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Simon of Cyrene

In the Christian Gospel there is this fellow, Simon of Cyrene, who is minding his own business.  But he is in the wrong place or right place, depending on his spiritual condition.  The soldiers grab him off the street to carry the heavy cross beam to which the condemned man, Jesus of Nazareth, will be nailed in horrible crucifixion.  Does Simon whine or grumble about his bad luck?  Or does he see this as a chance to help someone, even a man condemned by the state for capital punishment?  What would be your response if you were Simon?  Well, here is my spiritual journey at this point.  I might feel resentment because I have no time for this.  I would feel self-pity, "Why me?" and fear of what the authorities could do to me in if I refused to help.  The journey for me is not just from the street to calvary, the sight of crucifixion, but from the above self-focused attitude, to being ready to carry the burden of someone else, even someone condemned by the courts, seen as criminals.  Some people have the God presence in them in a hidden way, or as Christians would say, "Christ is hidden in them."  So I want to become a person who does not judge others, but rather someone who is ready to help carry another's cross, to be with them in their suffering.  I cannot take away suffering directly, but maybe by my presence and attempt at love, I can slightly lift their burden.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Before Dying

I have a friend who died recently.  Right up to a few days before he died, he had an appetite.  He had a seemingly normal hunger to eat.  Then his appetite left him.  This is usually a sign that death is immanent.  And so he died shortly thereafter.  I found it to be so with both my parents for whom I cared in their dying days.  We have spiritual hungers too, and sometimes we starve our spiritual hunger, or fill ourselves up with non-nourishing stuff.  To recognize this hunger for what it is begins the journey to inner fullness.  Then we feed ourselves with such things as prayer, art, music, walks in parks, and even one on one reflections with a friend on the same journey.  If this inner hunger is fed on a daily basis, then the dying we will do is a dying to bad habits such as being selfish, judgmental, controlling, procrastinating, porn, lazy, angry, resentful, jealous and food-binging.  I try to allow my bad habits to die a little each day.  How about you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Right-Fighter

Someone said that they were "right-fighters."  They always had to be right.  Is this you too?  When I am at my best, balanced, centered, I don't have to prove that I am right and therefore you wrong.  I say, "This is what I think" and then examine my opinion against the information I receive from others.  The experience of others helps me to get a better sense of what is reality.  When I am off my mark, then is when I tend to be prejudicial, judgmental, with a need to be right so as to overcome some fear that dwells within me.  Nothing like looking stupid and being the last one in the group to know.  This has happened to me more than once.  The key to holding on to "being right" when I am wrong, is fear.  I work on fear...most days.  Living in the "Kingdom of Jerks" is rather painful, eventually.  Better to trudge the road of happy destiny than to be mired in the wrong road altogether.  Someone else's experience taught me this, when I was ready to listen.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Loser Is The Winner

HOMILY NOTES
MATTHEW 25: 14-30
SEPTEMBER 2, 2017

Three servants are given money to invest while their master is away.  Each is given a different amount depending on their perceived abilities.  The ones who are given more, make 100% return on their transactions.  The one who is given the least to invest, buries the money and gets punished by the master, tossed out into the darkness of the street, unemployed and homeless.  I do not think that this parable is one that weds capitalism to religion, specifically, Christianity.  But many Westerners, educated in the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation, with the Protestant work ethic, see it as good old hard work, talent and smarts are rewarded.  

Here is my take.  It is about surprising grace.  Say what?  Well, The master is a hard-nosed guy, who harvests fields that he did not have planted.  This means that he foreclosed on farmers who could not pay their debts, took over their land and reaped the profits.  Way harsh for religion, but not so harsh if you are a banker.  It is business.  The ones who doubled there money?  Now that is quite a return on investment, so they probably did some underhanded method to make 100% return.  Good business, but not good ethics.  Maybe insider trading?  Or took advantage of some persons who were in a tight spot at the moment?  Very entrepreneurial but not very neighborly.  

Now the fellow who buried the money?  He did not lose anything, and did fear his boss, the master.  But the greedy master wanted at least to get some interest on the money.  So this poor frightened fellow is thrown out on his ear.  The outer darkness of the street is where God is.  God wants to embrace the world’s idea of “loser.”  When we are failing to fulfill the world’s demands in commerce and industry, the desire for “more,” then God is ready to welcome us.  God invests in lost souls, and powerless people.  This fellow is the one who enters the kingdom of surprising grace.  The others get a few short years of success in this life, and then find out that such behavior towards others does not do them any good in the kingdom.

You can’t take it with you. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Misalignment

There are two kinds of "fits" in my life and both can be fixed, but with different steps.  One fit is when I know I am doing something or being somewhere that simply is not a good fit for me.  It could be a work situation or a relationship.  When I am spiritually fit, I will intuit or sense this.  Generally, the solution for this is to move on.  In this situation, there is nothing the matter with me or with the work or person.  It is just not a good fit for me.  It could be a high paying, ego boost job, but it is not the job for me to be my best and truest self.  It could be a wonderful person to whom I relate, but we just don't fit together.  Move on.  The other fit is "misalignment."  Here, everything around me is good, but I am a mess.  It could be at a social event that is otherwise healthy, or simply being at school, but I feel as if I don't fit in.  I am misaligned with my surroundings.  Now if I drink to try and fit in, then I would be "sliding into misalignment," even more.  For this, there are the programs of recovery, the twelve steps, some spiritual practice to get me aligned with the world.  When you are a mess, this is generally misalignment.  When you are healthy, inside and out, then it usually is "not a good fit."  No one needs to be fixed when it is simply not a good fit.  For me, the business world I worked in was this sort of "not a good fit."  I just did not belong there.  The monastery is a good fit.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Small


E. F. Schumacher was an economist who wrote a book in 1973, Small Is Beautiful.  He thought that we were headed to catastrophe if we made growth, efficiency, and production the ultimate measure of value.  He thought that people should matter more than they do in that model of value.  He counseled us to resist the temptation of letting our luxuries become our needs.  This last part is something I am working on for myself.  I do get needs and wants mixed up.  I don't need any more running shoes.  I have more than enough.  Well, maybe one more pair in bright colors?  Drat.  I am still a work in progress.  How about you?