Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sacrificing Worry and Fear (Instead of Time)

Peaceful Lake By Bob Ross*

Sometimes when I do a combination of mindfulness walking and meditative reading just what I am needing seems to pop up and finds a place right away in my life and soul.
This was one of those days.

Recognizing I was worrying too much (and at a loss over just how to pray) about the recent storm (and for loved ones and friends who were or may be in the "path" of Sandy) -- and noticing as well that I was fretting a bit too often about some personal issues, I decided to look up 'fear' in a marvelous book: "Discovering Choices" every single entry was incredibly helpful. I especially loved p. 139 about how someone who'd been terrified of people came to appreciate people and being with them and even wrote: "There is pure joy in being with someone who isn't afraid of growing spiritually" ... Then I turned to another richly helpful book and although I only looked up one page in that one on fear (seemingly by accident) I found this gem which really spoke to me:

I suspect that if I reclaimed all the minutes, hours, and days I've sacrificed to worry and fear, I'd add years to my life. When I succumb to worry, I open a Pandora's box of terrifying pictures, paranoid voices, and relentless self-criticism. The more attention I pay to this mental static, the more I lose my foothold in reality. Then nothing useful can be accomplished.

To break the cycle of worry and fear, I'm learning to focus all my attention on this very moment. I can turn away from destructive thoughts and concentrate instead on the sights and sounds around me: light and shadows, the earth beneath my feet, the pulse of everyday living -- all pieces of the here-and-now. These bits of reality help rescue me from "what ifs" and "should haves" by anchoring me in the present.

Prayer and meditation...are other sources of serenity that bring me back to this moment.

As I shut out the noise, I am more receptive to my Higher Power's will, and therefore much more able to work m way through difficult times.

Today's Reminder:
This day is all I have to work with, and it is all I need. If I am tempted to worry about tomorrow's concerns, I will gently bring my mind back to today.

"The past has flown away. The coming month and year do not exist. Ours only is the present's tiny point." Mahmud Shabistar

Note on Mahkud Shabistari -- he is shockingly contemporary -- yet look him up to be surprised here

(From "Courage to Change" Reading for January 10)

* The code for the image of the lake above is:

Friday, October 26, 2012

26 October 2012 Prayers & Greetings

Photo of the Cordoba Mosque of Spain and more info found here Morning Light in Cordoba Mosque Below

On such a day as this -- 26 October -- I want to greet my Muslim friends and All People of Faith everywhere in this special way:

May Allah’s blessing light your way, strengthen your faith and bring joy to your heart as you praise and serve Him today, tomorrow and always. Hajj (Eid) Mubarak

May we each and ALL serve Love in a mindful soulful heartfelt way on this very special day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hildegard of Bingen

picture found at Wikipedia showing Hildegard writing down her visions

Just this month, an explosively-creative, self and divinely-taught woman became one of only four Doctors of the Church.

Although some have written that she would reject women's liberation as we practice it today, her fearlessness went beyond most of our's. She said what she prayerfully found needed to be said. And she did what she knew needed doing -- despite the fact she was a woman.

She wrote and spoke widely concerning social justice -- the duty of seeking with all our heart and soul the freedoms and opportunities for all to have the opportunity to develop the divinely-appointed potential at the heart of each and all -- no matter our background.

Hildegard spoke about the natural world as infused at the center through and through with beauty and energy and entrusted to our care -- not to be wrecked but rather to be held sacred for the benefit of the many.

If a Pope or an Emperor needed a rebuke, she rebuked them.

Her work is STILL seen as completely contemporary as well as expansive.

To this day, Hildegard of Bingen brings art, science, and religion together and offers us a way to see all three as vitally connected. They each provide spiritual and practical insights in her theology.

She uses expressions which are more natural to non-western traditions -- thus providing a helpful bridge to riches and spiritual giants outside the usual avenues of theology and art for much of the world. (About which we would do well to understand sooner rather than later -- even if only in small measure.) For example, Hildegard's use of metaphor, symbols, visual imagery, parables and various sorts of artistic means of communication goes beyond pat expected words and helps God make all things new. As Flannery O'Conner indicated in metaphor of her dramatically different work -- yet similar role -- to the deaf (the writer) must shout and to the blind (the artist) must write large.

May we be nurtured by the fact that Hildegard's humility, rather than underplaying her feminine role, reminded her world then and our world now that sometimes God through the Spirit does give VISIONS and teachings to unexpected people. We can be sure that the Divine school can be truly effective -- even with those who've not been privileged to receive a traditional education.

"O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love, and walk before you as children of the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever."

In a letter to the Monk Guibert, 1176, she said: "The marvels of God are not brought forth from one's self. Rather, it is more like a chord, a sound that is played. The tone does not come out of the chord itself, but rather, through the touch of the Musician. I am...the lyre and harp of God's kindness."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Where are the Wellsprings? Where are the Walls?

Photo Credit: Jewish Journal

Anat Hoffman Leader of Reform (find out more about Hoffman and her recent torturous arrest below)

CATCH the universal concerns echoing so clearly across our religious institutions and even our cultural/national practices and fears -- sometimes it's women, sometimes it's someone else our power-mongers wish to dispose of or use as an example -- someone else to torture and thus create fear of taking a stand...No More Crusades of violence and power-grubbing...let's reform our entire world with such examples of non-violent acts of courage -- chosen with care of course...let's support those who are leading the way...

Just in:
From the Western Wall to the Western Well (Shalom Center)

The Email came; I read: "FYI for those who have not heard about the recent arrest of Anat Hoffman [an Israeli woman who has led the effort for women to pray freely at the Western Wall] for chanting the Shema out loud at the Western Well.”

Says the Sh'ma, "God is One." Unless you are a woman. Then God is probably not Two, or Three, or even Ten (as in the Kabbalistic imagery of the Sfirot). God is as splintered as the s^h^a^r^d^s of a broken wine-glass after the wedding.

Not surprising: The Rabbis taught that our Covenant with the One is a Marriage. The Wedding was at Sinai.

So--------- arrest a One who Proclaims the One, and the glass is truly shattered — not to affirm the marriage but to destroy it.

Rereading, I see the email report said “at the Western Well.” “Well,” not Wall. Ah, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we need a Western Well! Like Hagar’s. And Rivka’s. And Rachel's. And Tzipporah’s. And Miriam’s.

Maybe the problem is marrying State Power — the power to arrest — to Male Overlordship. On second thought, maybe they don’t need to be married — each is, both are the same domineering life-process. Maybe the State Power that arrests and invades and calls itself Jewish is as much about Overlordship as those who beat up women yet call themselves Torah-true?

Ahhhh, maybe that’s what the Levitical prohibition is about: “No Overlording Alpha Male shall marry an Overlording Alpha Male as if he were marrying a woman who wants to chant the Unity at a sacred place. The result is liable to be the "Violence Alliance.”

Sh’sh’sh’sh’shma! Hush’sh’sh’sh’sh in order to listen to the Wellspring’s mmmmmurmmmurrrring: “I am your long-lost sister Hajrrrr: Drink me. I am your long-lost sister Tzipporaaaahhhhhhh: Drink me. I am your long-lost sister Mmmirrryammm: Drink me.”

All those trouble-making women. Tzipporah and Miriam would have been dragged away, shrieking the Sh’ma into the night, if they had dared to chant it at the Western Wall. Better they should find a Western Well instead.

Why are we still pretending that there is a Jewish government in charge there? Maybe Anat Hoffman is the real Prime Minister of a Jewish country that is defined by wellsprings, not by Walls?

Sh’sh’sh’sh’shalom -- Arthur
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Read more about Anat Hoffman here Find a report on the recent arrest and inhumane treatment here