Sunday, April 23, 2017

Balance

     Perhaps it is because I am a Libra, but I find the issue of balance to be key.  Take last week's rant, for example.  I was describing my belief that while we are spiritual beings having a human (bodily) experience, we can't deny either the spirit's or the body's reality.  Some religions do emphasize one or the other, but I believe that balance is necessary.

     To be more specific, we have a choice in how we live.  We can turn our back on everyday reality, become a hermit and cultivate spiritual perfection.  Or we can roll up our sleeves and fight to make the world better.  Or, we can maintain the delicate balance of keeping our spiritual perspective (that there is an ultimate Reality beyond this present one) while working to ease the pain and injustice in this world. 

     Let's recall Jesus' example.  Yes, he told his listeners to focus on the Kingdom of God within each one of us.  But then he would feed the hungry, heal the sick, and call out the hypocrites.  He balanced a spiritual perspective (Reality) while working to effect positive change in his immediate world (reality).

     Dear Reader, I believe that is our duty, now more than ever. 

     Or as Joseph Campbell said, "Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world." 

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Informative Book, Part 2

     Last week I was discussing Alan Cohen's book A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love, which explains the basic teachings of ACIM in an easy-to-read manner. 

     While reading, I found some good points that I could incorporate in to my life, but also was bothered by some things.  Perhaps it is the result of Cohen's need to pare down the enormous ACIM texts, but I felt it was missing some things.

     Here is a quote where I became most bothered:
End the world today by refusing to contribute to the pool of fear that has kept the world of sorrow in force.  End starvation by feeding your soul.  End war by ceasing the war against yourself.  It is your happiness, not your pain, that will save the world.  Misery has enough company. (p. 193)
     I had to think a long time before I understood why that bothered me.  I had to step back a bit and think about what viewpoints various religions teach.  Some religions stress good works and striving to make one's world a better place.  Others stress the unreality of this world and the reality of an ultimate Universe/One/Spirit.  Still others try to balance the two viewpoints.

     I think that ACIM tends to fall into the second camp, denying worldly reality while emphasizing the ultimate Reality.  Here's where I disagree.  Yes, you can spend your life achieving great spiritual insight and enlightenment, but if your neighbor is treated unjustly or your children's schoolmate goes hungry every night or your political leaders try to demonize ethnic groups or take away your rights, I think it a work of spiritual service to do something about it.  Your enlightenment won't ease their hunger or pain.  Your spiritual insights won't deter political shenanigans.  Maybe it is my empathic nature speaking, but I don't know how you can find peace when your silence allows violence and injustice to continue. 

      It's something to think about.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

An Informative Book

     Perhaps you have heard of A Course in Miracles, a book espousing a system of new thought that was first published in 1976.  I once saw the book in a bookstore and thought it looked overwhelming long and I didn't have time to read through it all.  Still, my curiosity was piqued and I finally found a much shorter book which encapsulated the teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM).  Written engagingly by Alan Cohen, A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Lovesatisfied my curiosity while leaving me with some food for thought.

     While providing information on the background of ACIM, Cohen also goes through the major lessons and philosophical points of ACIM.  Cohen's writing is easy to read and provides relevant examples related to the points he covers.  If you want to understand the basic tenets of ACIM without investing the large amount of time it takes to work through the original texts, Cohen's book is for you. 

     That said, I came away a little flummoxed and it took me a while to figure out why.  More on that next week.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Poem to Share

What We Need

The Emperor,
his bullies
and henchmen,
terrorize the world
every day

which is why
every day

we need

a little poem
of kindness,

a small song
of peace,

a brief moment
of joy.

David Budbill (1940-2016)


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Some Quotes to Share

     I love The Sun.  Do you read it?  It's a fabulous magazine that often touches my heart in such a way that I feel the same way after I have attended church or after a meditation session.  Highly recommended.

     One of my favorite parts of The Sun is the last page, called Sunbeams.  It lists quote after quote, all with a related theme.  Here are some of my favorites from a recent issue:
After a great blow, or crisis, after the first shock and then after the nerves have stopped screaming and twitching, you settle down to the new condition of things and feel that all possibility of change has been used up.  You adjust yourself, and are sure that the new equilibrium is for eternity . . . But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over, for the story which we think is over is only a chapter in a story which will not be over, and it isn't the game that is over, it is just an inning, and that game has a lot more than nine innings.  When the game stops it will be called on account of darkness.  But it is a long day.  (Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men)
I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.   (James Madison)
If we are ever in doubt what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done.  (John Lubbock)
In a nation of millions, and in a world of billions, the individual is still the first and basic agent of change.  (Lyndon B. Johnson) 
 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May there always be work for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Happy St. Patrick's day!

(illustration courtesy of pixabay.com)