Showing posts with label Morning meditations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morning meditations. Show all posts

Friday, October 18, 2019

Facing life with faith and equanimity

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Sometimes people say that a person is a "man of the times". We also say that a person was in the right place at the right time. Circumstances are constantly shifting. Accidents are waiting to happen. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Are you ready for whatever comes your way? Will you be able to take advantage of the future circumstances? The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared". When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

A spiritual life is one where a person is light on his feet, is able to go with the flow, to respond to circumstances even if challenging and at times distressful. My goal, of which I often fall short, is to face life and whatever it brings with equanimity.

I have dealt with many very difficult things in my life, the most difficult of which was when my two youngest children were killed in a drunk driving crash. People often ask, “How do you deal with something like that?” People have dealt with worse things in the Holocaust, and today they deal with worse things as the consequences of Trumpism are felt in the U.S. and around the world. You cannot compare one traumatic tragedy with the next for each is unique and worthy of acknowledgement in its own right.

People want to blame God for letting such things happen but this is nonsense for God had nothing to do with it. It is human beings who cause DWI crashes and war and most of the other terrible events which inflict pain on people. It is a lack of awareness and stupidity that causes most of the heartache in the world and until people learn and become more aware, these heartaches will continue.

The mature soul knows that people are ignorant – that is- they are unaware. They sleep walk through life unconscious for if they were truly conscious they couldn’t do the hurtful and destructive things they do and the support they give to others who do them. There is a tremendous lack of awareness of the interdependent web of life of which all things are a part.

I always liked the bumper sticker which says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
And so I suffer from therapeutic depression in which I observe the goings on and I try to maintain an attitude of compassion and equanimity because otherwise life would be too hard and I would give up.

It is faith that keeps me going. I am reminded of the old spiritual, “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.” So when people ask me how do you do it, I say “Faith”. Faith not in some far away God up in the clouds, but faith in my values of Unitarian Universalism and the other great religions which believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice and compassion and equity in human relations, and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and a respect for the interdependent web of all existence, and an abiding faith that some day all humans will get it. We have a ways to go before everybody loves everybody all the time. I look forward to that day with faith, optimism, and equanimity

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sharing the light

"We light this chalice to remind ourselves of that flame which burnes in each of our hearts. Remembering that when flame meets flame, match meets candle, the two become one, belonging to each other."

Joan Montagnes, Canada, in One and Universal, edited by John Midgley

I bought this neat little book from the UUA bookstore entitled, One and Universal, edited by John Midgley, which has prayers which he has brought together on behalf of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists which was formed in 1995.

I like the metaphor of lighting the chalice and reminding ourselves that we are of one heart as Unitarian Universalists.

Yesterday, I went to visit a prisoner in one of our state prisoners. I like to think that I do this on behalf of the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. We didn't and couldn't light a flaming chalice in the waiting room, but hearts are joined his and ours as we celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

The Spirit of Life is inclusive and calls us to recognize our oneness with all of humanity and other living things.

Is visiting the incarcerated an important part of our Unitarian Universalist faith? If we are to share the divine spark, the divine flame it is. No person should be left in darkness. It is important for people to know that no matter how heinous their actions, their mistakes, their sins, they are still loved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Awareness overcomes misery

There is misery in the world and how do we account for it?

Christians blame original sin.

Hindus blame wrong doing in past lives for which karma demands amends.

Buddhists blame attachment.

Unitarian Universalists blame lack of awareness. It is our ignorance that makes us miserable. UUs believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. UUs believe in reason not creeds. UUs also believe in compassion which minimizes judgmentalism and exclusionary tendencies and UUs believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Awareness brings the respect for the interdependent web of all existence.

There is a difference between pain and suffering. UUs experience pain like every physical creature, but awareness puts an end to suffering because we can transcend our sense of victimization and experience the gratitude and appreciation of being part of life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Old age is your own creation.

It can be a misery, it can be a celebration; it can simply be a despair, and it can also be a dance. It all depends how deeply ready you are to accept existence, whatever it brings. Once day it will bring death too - accept it with gratitude."


Osho is a strange teacher. Very counter cultural. He says that life will bring you death inevitably and advises that it be accepted with gratitude.


Socrates did the same thing as did Jesus and to a lesser extent Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is it about enlightened people that they do accept death with gratitude?

Maybe, it is that they have fully lived. They have overcome and/or mastered their fears. They understand the "big picture" and are at peace with it. They have given up the ego and melded into a cosmic consciousness.

I am not there yet, this level of consciousness, but I aspire to it. I admire those who have attained it. They are my heroes. I want to be like them when I grow up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Morning meditation - How to live?

"But all the religions of the world have been committing such crimes that they cannot be forgiven. They have not been teaching you how to live, they have been teaching you how not to live - how to renounce life, how to renounce the world. This world, according to the religious, is a punishment; you are in jail. So the only thing is to try to escape from jail as quickly as possible.

This is not true - life is not a punishment. Life is so valuable that it cannot be a punishment, it is a reward. And you should be thankful to existence that it has chosen you - to breathe through you, to love through you, to sing through you, to dance through you."


I guess Osho does not agree with the Christian Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin. He would probably agree with Father Matthew Fox that a better metaphor would be the Original Blessing.

I heard Rev. Kaaren Anderson at First Unitarian of Rochester say that we Unitarian Universalists don't try to get people into heaven, we try to get heaven into people. Osho would probably love that way of putting it.

I have muttered to myself since I was a little boy, "It isn't a bad life if you know how to live it."

And how to live it? That is a question better answered by the philosophers than by the theologians. I have my own answers and I will share them with you. They are not original with me. I have picked them up from others along the way and they have "stuck" with me.

1. Always be honest, at least with yourself if not always with others, but try to be honest with others as much as you can too.

2. Always give others the benefit of the doubt maybe once or twice, but three strikes and you're out. What's the old saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

3. Be loving and compassionate. It takes no more energy to be positive and nurturing than to be negative and destructive. Accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.

4. Suck em in then stick it to them. It is hard to hold others accountable for the right thing unless you have a relationship with them. First there has to be an element of trust, familiarity, and attachment, or it is hard for them to accept any corrective advice or requests that you make of them.

5. Here are the priorities in life: God comes first, then comes you, then your significant other, then children if you have any, then your work, then your friends, then your extended family (maybe they are your friends too, in which case they come first, if not, friends come first) then others like hobbies, politics, etc.

6. Use your talents and abilities in actitities that bring you satisfaction and fulfillment. It possible make this your life's work.

7. Be humble. Life isn't about you. You are a teeny tiny speck in the Universe. It helps a lot in life if you know your place.

8. Make plans but take things one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.

9. Be prepared to let things you love, go. Grief is a huge part of life because we become attached. Attachment is a good thing, but, believe it or not, detachment is too. We need to learn and practice both skills.

10. As you grow up, which continues through out life, you will find that the majority of people are self centered and stupid (unaware). That's Okay. You have to take people where they are at. However, don't them hold you back either. Almost always you have to separate yourself and move up. This takes courage, persistence, and faith.

11. People in groups can be a great source of support and strength and also a great source of evil and destruction. Be wary and careful of the groups you affiliate and participate in. While it is good to belong to a group, always be yourself and listen to your own conscience. Don't just follow the herd; it can lead to great sorrow and regret.

I, no doubtedly, have more answers, but this is enough for now. You probably have some answers for how to live life yourself. Share them in the comments.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"This is the mind of the old man: ahead there is darkness and nothing else. The child thinks of the future, of the golden future. The old man thinks of the golden past. But this happens on on the horizontal line. On the vertical line the past is golden, the present is golden, the future is golden - it is a life of tremendous celebration.

So rather than being worried about the laws of old age, think on which line your train is moving. There still is time to change trains; it is always time to change trains, because from every moment that bifurcation is available. You can shift, shift from the horizontal to the vertical - only that is important."


Actually it is not an either/or but hopefully a both/and. We all are riding on the horizontal train and we can choose to ride on the vertical train. If we are riding both, then it is a matter of which one we focus on, is more important to us, gives meaning and definition to our life.

I continue to grow older every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade. While I grow older I strive to also grow up. I seek transcendence. I seek at-one-ment, atonement for my separation.

First we grow apart from others. We become egocentric and are concerned only with the me, the mine, the ego. Then we become ethnocentric and want to be a member of the group and give ourselves to a purpose and a cause a little bigger than just our individual self, we realize that there is safety in the herd. Then we move up to the cosmocentric view when we want to become one with the all, become one with everything. Being the drop of rain we melt into the ocean.

Old people can become bitter and negative. There seeking to aggrandize the ego has not brought them happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment because the ego is never satisfied, it always wants more. Old people also can become disillusioned and bitter with their family, their community, their church, their country because the herd no longer meets their needs or perceives them as having much value and status. Old people who move beyond the ego, beyond the ethnocentric, find a joy and optimism and hope that is based on hope for the world and the mystery of the universe.

I want to grow up not just old, and as Osho says, it is in growing up that there is amazing celebration.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Morning meditation - Where is the altar of truth?

"Miracles reawaken the awareness that spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle."

From A Course In Miracles

As a society we are fixated on our bodies. Products are sold to improve the physical appearance. We decorate them at great expense and obsess over the latest fashion.

I was in a super market yesterday, and now that the weather is warmer, people wear clothing that reveals more of their bodies. I was amazed at the number and size of tatoos which people wear especially women.

Do tatoos express a person's spirit? Does this body art indicate what is significant and important to a person?

People seem more interested in decorating their bodies than they do their minds. The beautiful mind is awesome to behold.

I was taught that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is curious how many of us allow our temples to become defiled.

I guess it's a matter of priorities. What do we value? The Course says that it is our spirit that is the altar of truth.

Isn't that the truth?

So, look past the body. Look through it. Beauty is only skin deep. You can't tell a book by its cover.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Morning meditation - Looking upwardly inward

"The East understands that the word 'enlightenment' has nothing to do with genius, has nothing to do with intelligence; it has something to do with discovering your real, authentic being. It is discovering God within you.

On the vertical line there is love, no law. There is the growing experience of becoming more and more spiritual and less and less physical, more and more meditative and less and less mind, more and more divine and less and less this trivial, material world in which we are so much enmeshed. On the vertical line, slowly you feel desires disappearing, sensuality disappearing, sexuality disappearing, ambitions disappearing, will to power disappearing, your slavery in all its aspects - religious, political, national - disappearing. You care becoming more an individual, and with your individuality growing clear and luminous, the whole of humanity is becoming one in your eyes - you cannot discriminate."


There comes a point in one's life where a person can't be bothered by the small stuff any more. There are so many things to sap one's energy. So many emotional vampires that want to suck and drain the energy right out of you.

I put my attention on other things. I look upwardly inward if that makes sense. I pay attention and watch my own mind, my own emotions, my own behaviors, and I am amused.

I laugh constantly at myself these days and the incongruities and absurdities of life. When distress arises, I say, "I know, I know. It will be okay. Been there, down that."

As Kurt Vonnegut, that great Unitarian Universalist frequently said, "And so it goes."


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Morning Meditation - Learning the ultimate lesson

This is a course in miracles.

It is a required course.

Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum.

It means only that you can elect what you want to take at given time.

I love the Course In Miracles. I have been studying it off and on for over twenty years. Obviously, this is a period in my life when I am back on.

As a Psychiatric Social Worker I witness to the truth of these beginning words of the course every day. A lot of people make the same mistakes over and over again and we ask ourselves, "When will they every learn?"

I myself have had to repeat some of life's lessons over and over again until I finally "got it."

Since I was a kid I have this inner mantra which I have no idea where it came from, but which I repeat to myself frequently, "It is not a bad life if you know how to live it."

It is learning how to live it which takes effort, reflection, awareness, humility, and a deep sense of awe and curiosity.

Life is constantly teaching us what it means to be human and how we are to live in this world.
Will we learn life's lessons soon enough before we kill each other, ourselves, our species?

Some of us are here to be God's messengers, to help ourselves and others wake up. We do this by removing the obstacle to love which is fear. The secret of the course is that what we fear isn't really real at all. It is our own hell which we have created.

When we see through the charade, the illusions of the ego, we are on the path to enlightenment and atonement.

It is in practicing love that we bring about the miracles and joy of what is real and eternal.

I try to willingly accept the curriculum which has included the deaths of two of my children, the end of a marriage after 35 years, and the willingness to give everything up for the love of God and God's creatures.

Jesus asks us to give up everything and come follow him and like the rich young man most of us demure. We can't. We are too attached to our things, and our relationships. Some day, though, we will have to give them all up whether we want to or not. Life will teach us the ultimate lesson. Will we choose to learn it?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Morning meditation - The innocence of old age

"The child's innocence is really poor because it is almost synonymous with ignorance. The old man, ripe with age, who has passed through all the experiences of darkness and light, of love and hate, of joy and misery, who has been matured through life in different situations, has come to a point where he is no longer a participant in any experience. Misery comes, he watches; and happiness comes and he watches. He has become a watcher on the hill. Everything passes down in the dark valleys, but he remains on the sunlit peak of the mountain, simply watching in utter silence.

The innocence of old age is rich. It is rich in experience; it is rich in failures and in successes; it is rich in right actions, in wrong actions; it is rich in all the failures, all the successes - it is rich multidimensionally. Its innocence cannot be synonymous with ignorance; its innocence can only be synonymous with wisdom.

Both are innocent, the child and the old man. But their innocences have a qualitative change, a qualitative difference. The child is innocent because he has not entered yet into the dark night of the soul. the old man is innocent - he has come out of the tunnel. One is going to suffer much; one has already suffered enough. One cannot avoid the hell that is ahead of him; the other has left the hell behind him.

You need not be worried about old age. It is your maturity; you have simply passed through every experience. you have grown so experienced that now you need not repeat those experiences again and again. That is transcendence."


I have witnessed alot in my life. I probably have more to witness and I will go on to witness things but the quality of my witnessing has changed. I feel more detached. I've been there and done that and the world is so corrupt that it is laughable to me now.

I used to get upset but not so much any more. I have detached myself with love. I feel compassion but not necessarily a compulsion to act. People need to learn for themselves. They will not listen to me anyway because they are full of ego, emotionally aroused, they need to find out for themselves.

I am not smug but rather what M. Scott Peck calls therapeutically depressed. I see how messed up things are, how clumsy and hurtful human beings can be, and there is little I can do about it. I rather reflect, contemplate, meditate and commune with my God. This communing gives me peace, comfort, joy. I can be quiet and appreciate the beauty. I can look beyond the drama to the goodness in people and life. I can passively wish for a better world where people live together with one another and nature in harmony, love, and joy.

I have endured enough pain, disappointment, suffering in my life. I don't need any more. If I had to choose between drama and peace, I choose peace. If I had to choose between fun and joy, I choose joy. If I had to choose between ignorance or awareness, I choose awareness.

As a person gets older, a person becomes aware of what really matters. It is in knowing what matters that we find wisdom. Most of what people gossip about, and get excited about doesn't matter. It is stupid.

As I grow up as well as grow old, I pray to God that I develop the wisdom to know what matters and in watching the drama of the world, I watch through the eyes of innocence.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Morning meditation - Keeping it real growing up

"I have always had the idea that the first phase of education is the preparation for life and the second phase of education should be the preparation for death."


"We can make the second part so beautiful that people who are still in the first part will feel jealous, will feel, 'How long will it take for me to be retired? - because those old guys are really enjoying it. We are working, earning, they are simply relaxing, taking sun baths on different beaches around the world, with different women."


"In fact, it has to be more beautiful than the first phase, because the first phase was only a preparation for the second. And the second is preparation for the eternal."


I love Osho. He puts it right out there. He looks at things that other people are afraid to look at and names it in a positive constructive way.

Are you afraid to grow old? Are you afraid to die? I am.

But then I start thinking about it and experiencing it and it isn't so bad. Not as scary as I was afraid it would be.

Osho makes a distinction between growing old which is a horizontal process, and growing up which is a vertical process. We talk with children about growing up to adulthood. We ask, "What would you like to be when you grow up?" We laugh when we say that to a 40 or 50 year old, but I find that the question is often still a good one to ask.

We all are growing older every minute, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade. And yet many of us stop growing up and this is the phenomenon which Osho is pointing to.

Growing up involves coming to know oneself. Who was it that said, "Above all else know thyself." Growing up involves paradoxically going inward and reflecting more on one's inner space that the outer space that surrounds us.

How does one prepare for death? By taking risks in living. It is a regret to die if one has never really lived. What use is a candle unless it is burned up?

The shame in life is never to have used one's talents and abilities to their maximum. Unfortunately, in the first phase of our education we loose touch with our truer selves, our truer talents and abilities because the State tells us what we must learn and what talents and abilities we must develop in order to be what they have determined is a productive citizen. This prescribed curriculum may not fit for us. Our conditioning may alienate us from ourselves instead of empowering us.

In the first phase of life we have to pay our dues. We have to do what our society and culture tell us to do. In the second phase of life we get to do our own thing. If only we know what our own thing is. It is in doing our own thing that we begin to finally grow up if we haven't been doing so already.

Growing up entails becoming conscious of and attending to our real self. I hope that you are more and more, as you are growing up, keeping it real.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Morning Meditation - The dichotomizing mind misses the recognition of the ground of being, the life force

Love and hate are the opposite sides of the same coin as are light and dark, bitter and sweet, right and left, up and down, us and them. The mind loves to dichotomize, to compare, to contrast. The mind thinks it is being smart to analyze, to deconstruct, to unpack the concepts and beliefs that frame and structure the mind's existence. But are these things "real" or just illusions that the mind constructs in an attempt to make sense out of its experience, because beyond these dichotomies there is a whole world where these components are parts of the whole. What would it be like to go there where there is no things, but only the oneness, the wholeness before the dichotomization?

Specialization, differentiation of labor, bifurcation, reductionistic thinking has its place. It has given human beings great power to manipulate phenomena in the physical world, but in the spiritual world it seems petty, trivial, stingy, obsessive, less than satisfying, because we miss the big picture, the understanding of life, the ability to appreciate the system which is greater than the sum of its parts. Can we see the forest when we are closely examining the tree? Can we see the person when we are operating on his gall bladder? Can we appreciate the community when we focus on the bad behavior of one individual?

The answer is probably that we have to look and appreciate both the system and the parts, the analytical reductionist view as well as the integrated whole. If love and hate are part of the same process why favor one over the other? We need both for a complete system. Sometimes we hate the most the ones we love the most, and sometimes we hurt the most, the ones we love the most. The hate and the hurt are not the problem, but the way we handle the hate and the hurt when it occurs. The mature souls knows that hate and hurt and love and kindnes are part of the whole. Recognize them for what they are with understanding and compassion. The ying and yang make up the great Tao.

And so Unitarian Universalists welcome the theists and the atheists. We know that there could not be one without the other. Unitarian Universalists are not threatened by either as they are aware of the third way, the place between or above or beyond the dichotomy. The life force supports both theists and atheists and that is where Unitarian Universalism is coming from and going to.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Morning meditation - God is with you. Go in peace

The young monk asked the Master, "How can I ever get emancipated?"

The Master answered, "Who has ever put you in bondage?"

A great question isn't it?

First, our parents.

Second, our teachers.

Third, the media.

Fourth, our peers.

Fifth, our local, state, and national governments.

Sixth, our church.

Seventh, ourselves who believe and take to heart all the nonsense we have been conditioned by from our parents, teachers, media, peers, government, and church.

We become emancipated when we start listening to God, our Higher Power, whatever you conceive that Higher Power to be.

We become emancipated when we become true to ourselves, we no longer are living at cross purposes trying to be someone we're not to please other people.

Approval is a drug and some of us are highly addicted needing approval from others to survive. We loose touch with our own souls. We forget who we are.

I am a child of God, a child of the universe. I am blessed to be here if I can be free from the social scorn, oppression, subjugation, ridicule, abuse, rejection, and ultimately abandonment.

Our biggest fears as human beings, build into us neurologically, are the fears of falling and abandonment.

Emancipation, enlightenment, cannot occur until we free ourselves from the fears of abandonment.

God is with you. Go in peace.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Morning meditation - First Sunday Of Advent

Matthew 24:42 - 51

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.

So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

"Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.

Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.

But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,'
and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

Let's be honest. Most of us are asleep. We haven't got a clue. We believe all the propaganda on the TV, and the assumptions of a corrupt society. We, dear friends, as a society, have lost our souls. We torture people, we kill people in foreign lands, we have made greed a virtue, and shopping our new religious ritual. We express contempt and disdain for the poor, the immigrant, the sick, the imprisoned. We are destroying our environment and Mother Nature is rebelling as we continue to buy products advertised on hate talk TV and radio shows where the hosts call our concern for the environment a liberal mental disorder.

Most are asleep but some are awake, and at this time of advent we become even more expectant than usual that better days are yet to come. Not better days in terms of material wealth, but better days in terms of spiritual health. For Jesus said that the way to the Kingdom "is to love as I have loved."

You can tell the ones awake because they live the Sermon on the Mount. There are not many, but there are a few. We UUs who are awake and other people of good will celebrate this season as a reminder to ourselves and others that our better selves are yet to be borne and developed.

We enter into a joyous season where the love of one another and the world becomes a hope and to some extent a reality.

Happy Advent!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Morning meditation - Spiritual values and mental health

What is the relationship between spiritual values and emotional health? Shakespeare says in his play Hamlet, “Above all else to thine own self be true.” Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Philosophers have told us for ages that creating a life is a work of art in progress. Since I was a young boy I have constantly told myself as a way of encouragement, “It’s not a bad life if you know how to live it.” Perhaps that’s it, the big question, the biggest question of all, “How do I live my life?”

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk show advice dispenser, said that feeling good and doing good are two different things. Sometimes there are things that make us temporarily feel good that are bad for us, and there are times when doing good is difficult and doesn’t always make us immediately feel good because it takes sacrifice.

Spiritual values are a guide on how to live life. If our values work for us they should promote good mental health for us and the people we are in relationship with.
If you asked most people, “What are your spiritual values,” I doubt they could tell you. They might tell you what they believe like “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” or “I don’t really believe in God” but they would have a harder time telling you what their spiritual values are. A mature soul can. A mature soul wouldn’t hesitate. A mature soul would tell you that he/she values kindness, forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, inclusiveness, a nonjudgmental attitude, justice, peace, respect for others even those different from oneself, the right of conscience of the individual, and good stewardship of our resources. The mature soul isn’t interested in creeds, and laws, and regulations. The mature soul knows that in the end love is enough. True love, though, is not egotistical, is not narcissistic, is not manipulative. True love appreciates the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Good spiritual values are a reward unto themselves and lead to good mental health and a good life. The reason that a life based on good spiritual values is rare is because our base human nature has proclivities for greed, power, lust, gluttony, sloth, pride, wrath, and envy. These proclivities must be understood and disciplined and that takes effort and guidance which often is lacking.

It is not a bad life if you know how to live it and it takes a lifetime to learn how.
Our Unitarian Universalist values/principles can stand you in good stead until you can sort out your own. As Groucho Marx said, "If you don't these principles, I have others."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Morning meditation - followed by a great heron

"This morning, before Prime, in the early morning sky, three antiquated monoplanes flew over the monastery with much noise, followed by a great heron."

Thomas Merton

And so it goes with technology capturing our attention in noisy and titillating ways and we miss the delights of our own souls.

Where is your great heron? Is it off the ground soaring or still in the nest? And if it is off the ground where is it taking you? What are the sights? What is the grace?

It is easier to react to external technology than take a deep breath, step back, and look within. Are we afraid of what we will experience? The lust, the greed, the hatred, the envy, the desire to dominate overwhelm us and we wonder why the world is in the shape it is in. We need to look no further than our own soul.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morning meditation - Improvization and taking risks

I have been thinking a lot about my spiritual life lately. I haven't been to church in several weeks and my morning routine of posting here and doing some spiritual reading has taken a back seat to caring for my 89 year old mother who moved in 3 weeks ago and my 42 year old daughter who moved in two weeks ago with her 15 and 1 year old daughters.

We now have a 4 generation household which is a great blessing but also takes a lot of adjustments and changes in routines.

Rev. Kaaren Anderson at First Unitarian in Rochester, NY gave a sermon recently which I listened to in a podcast dealing with taking risks and improvisation. It was a great sermon and I found it very validating in terms of making it up as you go dealing with circumstances that push a person outside his/her comfort zone.

I realize at age 63 that this change in my household is good for my spiritual growth and development and so while I am not enjoying the solitude I was before, and cannot do the reading, blogging and churchgoing I was doing before, the service I am performing in terms of intimate family relationships is a spiritual practice worth pursuing and reflecting on. It is teaching me patience, kindness, compassion, and tolerance of my own reactions of annoyance and anger.

I like Kaaren's idea of improvisation as a spiritual practice and in order to improvise one must take risks and put oneself in a position of the unknown and unfamiliar.

Once again, my involvement in Unitarian Universalism has been a big help in my way of life.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Morning meditation - Love and Hate, two sides of the same coin

Love and hate Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. They are not opposites as most people quickly assume. What love and hate have in common is that you care. What is the opposite of caring? Not caring. So the opposite of love is indifference.

They say that sometimes you hate the most the ones you love the most. Sometimes you hurt the most the ones you love the most.

True love is not infatuation. It is not having a crush. It is not some romantic valentine day card sentiment. True love is deep caring which can leave you feeling sweet and in rapture, or bitter and ready to lash out in anger self righteously to offset the terrible shame of being ignored, betrayed, humiliated, rejected, or attacked.

Love makes us grow up. It makes us mature. It makes us rise above ourselves and calls us to become a better person. Mature love is a decision, not a feeling, and we make that decision several times a day, until it becomes a committment that if not honored does more damage to our self than to the other.

Love is the guiding priniciple of life and if, as Socrates suggested, we are to know ourselves, then answer honestly and fearlessly, who and what do you love and are ready to be hurt for?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Morning Meditation - Who or What Would You Take A Bullet For?

Compassion world "An operational question I use to help people determine if they really love someone is, 'Would you take a bullet for this person?' This may seem an extreme standard, since few of us are required to confront such a sacrifice and none of us can say with certainty what we would do if our desire for self-preservation collided with our love for another. But just imagining the situation can clarify the nature of our attachments."

Gordon Livingston, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, pp. 9 - 10

Jesus of Nazareth said, "No greater love has any person than to lay down his/her life for a friend."

Who would you take a bullet for? One of your children? Grandchildren? Parent? Brother and/or sister? Spouse/partner? Friend? Country? Religion? Some other ideal or cause? A stranger?

Love is a strange thing. True love leads us to appreciate the interdependent web of life and leads us to the awareness that all life is precious probably none more valuable or less valuable than the next. The altruistic, empathic response is to sacrifice our own well being for the good of others, but in the more primitive brain is the desire for self preservation.

The narcissistic need for self-preservation and self satisfaction competes with the empathic concern for the other. In a paradoxical way, true compassion flowers when awareness reaches its pinnacle and we become one with the universe. As the monk said to the hot dog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

When our awareness melts away the ego and we become one with everything, love abounds, and compassion spreads like a fragrance and blesses everyone and everything within which it comes into contact.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Morning Meditation - Can You Find Your Original Face?

Laughing_buddha When you grow up in a dysfunctional family you learn all kinds of dysfunctional stuff. You learn dysfunctional stuff about who you are supposed to be. You learn dysfunctional stuff about how other people are supposed to be, and you learn dysfunctional stuff about how people are supposed to deal with each other.

Andrew Boyd, in his book Daily Afflictions, says, "Not only are you ready on a hair-trigger to detonate a flexible array of adult issues, but you've been rigorously trained to handle operational systems of adult institutions, including passive aggression in the school system, guilt bartering in organized religion, and domination-submission patterns between corporations and government." p. 29

You are also well trained to screw up your personal relationships and bring plenty of pain and anguish and suffering to yourself and others whom you claim to love.

As Osho points out in his book, Compassion, we have forgotten our original face. Our original face was the face of love and innocence that we were born with. Our mother's womb was a place of love, serenity, security, and contentment, and then we got born and we came into the world perfectly innocent and were corrupted. The challenge of a lifetime is to rediscover our original face and when successful, we have achieved enlightenment, and hopefully that enlightenment includes compassion in such away that conscious love includes the whole world like that of an innocent, trusting, loving child who delights in sight of its mother's face.

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