Thursday, October 29, 2020

October 29--The Only Solution

Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    Yep, that's it. As long as we are operating in "us vs. them" mode, there will be no tranquility or happiness. With the election only a few days away (thank God!), we are being buried in "us vs. them." The closed mindset of "I am right and you are wrong" will never resolve any problems, as we have plainly witnessed over the past few years. As long as we see ourselves as separate from Spirit and each other, rather than as one unified whole, it is impossible for compassion and understanding to flourish. 
    The concept of lack contributes enormously to the sense of separateness. This is the false notion that there is not enough to go around. Therefore, I've got to grab my share before someone else gets it. How many wars have happened because of this? Yet everywhere we look we see the infinite nature of life in the extraordinary resources of planet Earth and the unbounded creativity of humans. Competition does not create compassion and understanding. Knowing there is enough for everyone is what creates them. Fear of lack creates the "us vs. them" mode discussed above--and there you have it, an ugly vicious circle. 
    Let's amp up our practice of simply listening--a good start toward understanding.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October 28--Simply Wait

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen; simply wait. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked; it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet. 
--Franz Kafka

    That's a lovely thought, but I think few of us, including me, are patient enough for that. In a world where ever-greater productivity seems to be the goal, waiting, sitting in stillness and silence, does not appear to be a useful activity. It is that very thing, however, that allows the support and guidance of our own intuition (Spirit within) to "freely offer itself." Our intuition seeks always to bring greater good into our lives. 
    Have a merry Wednesday, wherever you are!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October 27--I Am

I exist as I am. That is enough.  --Walt Whitman

    Whitman offers a profound spiritual truth there, but how many of us believe and live that? We are our roles--mother, father, worker, manager, athlete, surgeon, son, daughter, and so on. We are so used to labeling ourselves in some way, that we are lost without those labels. We often feel we need to look or act in a certain way to be likable, or to keep others content with us. We have to "keep up with the Joneses." Our status or level of wealth defines us. We seek the rewards of acting as a "human doing" rather than a human being.
    What if we strip all that away? What if there is nothing to prove, no one to please? What if there is no need to justify one's existence? What if we are all simply one of the "mooing herd," no greater and no less than anyone else? I'll grant you that this is a challenging way to live, to be fully dependent and operating on one's inner connection to All-That-Is, without investment in the outer trappings of life. This is seeing ourselves as Spirit sees us--perfect, whole and complete in every way. Each of us is an individualization of Spirit, and as Whitman says, that is enough.  
    You are enough and I am enough,

Monday, October 26, 2020

October 26--Fear Weakens

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.  --Max Ehrmann

    I'm not feeling too placid right now. I'm angry and frustrated. Each time the mail arrives with more fear-based campaign crap, I want to scream. I offer this additional quite-relevant quote today:
Confidence in self breeds confidence in others, and fear weakens both the brain that plans and the hand that executes. --Helen Williams
    I listened to former President Obama's rally speech for Joe Biden given last week in Philadelphia. I ended up in tears. I so miss an intelligent President who can speak in complete sentences and who clearly cares about and appreciates ALL Americans. Obama believes in the American people, and his confidence in us is powerful and infectious. It's inspiring. 
    The Republican campaign literature I've seen is entirely based on fear, and noting the quote above, yes, fear weakens. It operates on ignorance and lies. It is corrupt. Nothing good can come of pushing fear, and it makes me sick to see it. Needless to say, I can hardly wait till Election Day is past. 
    Now that I've vented, I shall look to the silence for some peace.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October 25--Turn Away

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. 
--Albert Camus

    Understand the world? Holy cow, I don't know if it is possible to understand our complex, crazy world. That's looking at the bigger picture. I generally feel like I have to turn away from it to maintain my sanity. Just the stuff going on in the U.S. alone is overwhelming. Turning away from the world at-large is very useful to remind me of what I can actually control--not much. 
    Consider, however, bringing "the world" down to my personal life and my quite limited sphere of influence. My spiritual practice is one means to turn away regularly. Swimming, golfing and yoga are other ways. I appreciate the 12-Step wisdom that each of us is neither above or below our fellow human beings on the ladder of self-worth. The Universe does not revolve around me. Turning away from the world gives me the opportunity to let go of the myriad things beyond my control. That frees me to focus on what is mine to do, and with that proper focus, I can make much better sense of my world. 
    Right now, I'd love to turn away from my world by lazing on a warm beach...


Saturday, October 24, 2020

October 24--Art

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.  --Ansel Adams

    Each one of us is a magnificent mystery. There are things that we experience that cannot adequately be described in words or images. I've been blessed to have several of these transcendent moments. As I look back on them, each was an interlude of profound silence, both around me and within me, "time stood still" moments.
    One of my favorite things to do when traveling to a new place is to find the art museum. I have been blessed to go to museums all over the world--Rome, Paris, Dublin, Boston, San Diego, Wichita, Seattle, and Chicago, to name a few. Clearly I love seeing different styles and periods of art, but what I truly love is the curious silence within me that takes over when I am in the presence of great art. It is a feeling of awe and wonder, and, yes, contentment. 

By Ansel Adams (1902-1984),
creator of stunning black and white photographs

Friday, October 23, 2020

October 23--Noise

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. 
--Steve Jobs

    Wise words, those are. We are conditioned as newly forming earthlings to take on the beliefs, attitudes and opinions of those raising us. It can even be considered a matter of disloyalty if we choose to reject them.
    I came of age in the 1970s--hippies, pot-smoking, anti-war protests, women's lib. Along with long-term prejudices against African Americans, gays and Catholics, my parents had a lot of noisy, nasty opinions about all of them. As I moved through high school and college, I made friends with folks in all those groups. My inner voice told me that given my experience, those noisy opinions of my parents and older brothers just did not match the person I wanted to be. Along with multi-generation addiction, I elected to do my best not to pass ignorant prejudice onto the next generation. Like all of life, that's an ongoing practice. 
    It's an easy thing to let others' noisy opinions rule us. There is a huge element out there today with the belief that "if you don't believe like I do, there's something wrong with you." Too many people are much too ready to offer their opinions. One need look no further than Facebook to see that in spades. It takes courage to hear, trust, and use the inner voice alone. 
    Those noisy opinions change over time. Glancing at hippie photos on Google Images, I am reminded that the "evil drug" marijuana of the 1970s is now an accepted medicinal therapy for many aging hippies. Times change, thank God. 
    The inner voice is the source of peace. It can be trusted to never lead us astray.