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Carried Across The Sky

Sometimes I go about pitying myself while I am carried by the wind across the sky

Blue Lines

By | Asking the Question, Current Issues, Nonviolence, Poetry, Saying the Unsayable, Social Justice, Spirituality, Uncategorized | No Comments

Seeing the blue line appear under my words
as I type
I wonder who is keeping me in line,
telling me forthrightly I have misspelled a word
Telling me how to say something differently
When maybe what I am saying is how I want to say it.
Can I go on and leave the line there?
Going boldly where no one has gone before
into an unknown future?

Who is seeding the world with this correctness?
Is there a master-mind?
A data collector?
An algorithm?
How many errors will I be allowed before
my Microsoft Word is shutdown
and I am hauled off to sit again in spelling class?
Fingered to be re-grammered?

Blue lines are appearing everywhere,
Not just on my screen,
but on the streets,
dressed in riot gear
holding batons
Faces shielded.
They seem to mean business.

Blue lines have got me wondering.

Shock and Awe

By | Asking the Question, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Poetry, Saying the Unsayable, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

The light shines in the darkness
Revealing its own infinity
And our incapacity to comprehend it–
The beginning of real awe.

The light shining in the darkness
Shines on our own inner darkness
As initial shock–
Revelation of our little self at work–
As invitation to awaken.

Those who walk while asleep are wasting their time…

By | Asking the Question, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Saying the Unsayable, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

For them there is only the past, present, future.
They walk out of illusion into illusion
Going along but never up.

To be awake is to be aware of the vertical dimension–
Of states of being, of evolution of consciousness,
Of entering the cocoon and emerging as something new, transformed.
Leaving behind old ways of thinking and doing.

The intersection of time with eternity
Is always the now–the quality of the moment
Is measured in lightness of energy.
Bogged down in time we will not ascend.

There is nothing to find outside ourselves
We have been primed from the beginning.
The Absolute lies within
Ready to reveal our True Self to us.

We are all asleep. When we awake, the journey begins.
We ascend the ladder that leans against no particular building
But is supported by angels ascending and descending
Between heaven and earth.

Some People

By | Current Issues, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Nonviolence, Poetry, Saying the Unsayable, Social Justice, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

don’t have a dollar.
Their numbers keep growing.
Some don’t have a job.
Some people have three jobs
And still can’t make ends meet.
Some people have ten dollars.
Some have a hundred stashed in a box
Some have a thousand in the bank
Just trying to save
For a rainy day.
It rains a lot these days.
Some people have a thousand thousand.
That’s a million
Used to be way more than enough
Even for the rich.
Some people have a thousand million
They don’t need a job.
They live off the work of other people.
They get richer and richer
Their numbers keep growing.
The way things are going,
Someday someone’s going to reach
A thousand billion.
Maybe someday soon.
And that still wouldn’t be enough.
There’s more ways than one to be poor.

Now Here Is Something Very Simple

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Now here is something very simple.
I bear within me both the finite and the infinite.
I live in time and eternity.
I will die and I never will die.
I am in God and God is in me,
And this has always been so
And is so with everything and everyone.
Since God is One we are all one in God.

And here is something else that is very simple.
To see like this is to see with contemplative eyes.
The contemplative speaks the truth about God and God’s creation.
But not everyone sees the truth.
Even though we all are looking for the truth, it alludes us.
But this truth is not relative.
It is real truth.

We have yet to awaken to the truth, to live in this higher consciousness.
Pilate asks, “What is truth?”
The truth of the matter before him is that Jesus and he are one.
But Pilate cannot see that.
He is a victim of imperial thinking.
He is a victim of the real “fake news.”

Everything said that does not in some way flow from the truth of our oneness
Is ”fake news.”
We swirl around in fake news hurling judgment and condemnation
Trying to get the upper hand and maintain it.
Fake news is the lie on which empires come and go.
And what is imperial power but the lie of our separateness
Lived out on a grand scale with all the isms that give rise to empire:
Racism, sexism, militarism, consumerism, tribalism, and to all the ways
Some lord it over others.

And here is something else that is very simple to understand
But very hard to implement.
The contemplative vision is the Good News.
The Good News is the real news.
It is the news that gives birth to the Reign of God.
To envision us all as one is the bedrock of the Reign of God.
It is the beginning of wisdom.
Every single action founded in wisdom
Contributes to a just world and a peaceful world.
The simplicity of the Good News lies in a contemplative vision.
To get free of the cycle of fake news we need contemplative eyes.

Sharings from the Lectio

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Lectio

Do you think you can only find God in one way? Then, consider this. You cannot find God in any particular way, since God isn’t bound to this way or that. So, don’t desire the way, but rather the One who is the way, and when you do this, you’ll find that every way leads to God because every way is God. But you will only come to know this if you truly abandon yourself. Meister Eckhart

Sharings from the Lectio

When we are nothing,
There is nothing but God.
And anything else is ourself at work–
Our personal salvation project.

Take up your cross and relax.
Fully let go
So that God can inhabit the soul,
Which God longs to do.
When you cling to nothing,
Everything is for you.

Rather than take a walk,
Give yourself to a walk.
In fact, give yourself to the silence,
To the Love in the silence.

And I don’t know who said this,
“If God is with us in trouble,
Then give me more trouble.”

The Dent in the New Dryer

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

If you were standing there
After the delivery men left
You might have thought
Only a dent-less dryer would ever make me happy,
Agonizing as I was over a dent, hardly noticeable
On the top left hand corner, right at the crease.
It fit in like it was made that way.
But not for me, the one who discovers–
If it is to be found–
Imperfection in anything newly purchased.
It kills me over and over.

I call my wife, “Can you see this,” I ask.
“this dent?”
“I wouldn’t have, if you hadn’t pointed it out,” she says.

“Well, It’s a dent in a new machine.
And it shouldn’t be there.” I say.
We paid good money for a dentless version. And here’s a dent.
And don’t we regularly end up with
Something imperfect? Damn!
Whatever happened to Quality Control?
“You can hardly see it,” she says.
“I can see it even when I’m not looking at it.”
“Even when I’m in another room
I see it in my mind’s eye, and it seriously bothers me.
I’m going to call and get a new one delivered.”
“Why don’t you sleep on it?”
“I can’t sleep with this dented dryer in the house.”

Next morning I call and set up delivery for a new dentless dryer.
The kids come over on Sunday, enter through the mud room,
Admire the new machine and see nothing of any dents.
While I am out walking the dog, my wife points it out.
“Oh my God,” they say. “We never would have noticed. It fits right in.”
And when I return, they tell me in their own kind way, I’m crazy.

I am–crazy that is.
I drive myself crazy.
I’ll be the first to admit it.

There’s a lesson here I have yet to learn.
One I kinda’ already know, deep down– life’s imperfect, basically messy.
It’s a lesson that keeps on giving, keeps hitting me in the face,
and I keep fighting back.
If I am going to learn it,
I know that this dryer needs to be here in this house.
A new one will only prolong the suffering–
needing it all to be perfect before I can be happy.
Because it never will be so.

This lesson,
If it is to be learned,
Is one more small death
On the way to dying before dying.

Once I was building porch stairs for a friend and mentor and
I made a mistake that would have been hard to correct–
An inch off the width between the stringers from top to bottom;
And the treads and risers already on.
I realized it when I put the railings on.
and they tilted in slightly.
Save for a practiced eye, it could not be noticed.
I pointed it out to him, meaning to fix it.
At my expense, if I must.
“No problem,” he said, “I like when things aren’t perfect.”

That was years ago, I’m still learning that lesson.
The next day I called and cancelled the new improved dryer.
“I’ll live with it,” I thought.

Nine months later I hardly think about it.

Guest Post by Brian Plachta: How to Find Flow and Jumpstart Your Spiritual Life

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Mysticism, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

When our car battery loses power, we often take out the jumper cables, open the hood, and jumpstart the battery to give it new life.  It’s the same thing with our spiritual lives—occasionally we need to step back, open the hood on our lives, and see if our spiritual life needs a jumpstart too.

A tool we can use to evaluate our spiritual lives is what I call Finding Flow.

Years ago, while studying to become a spiritual director, as part of the coursework, we learned about saints and spiritual masters, including Saint Benedict. Benedict, a fifth-century monk who started the first monastery, wanted to give his monks a template for finding balance between daily work and prayer (ora et labora). He called it a Rule of Life.

The monks had to create an individual Rule which became their guiding principle, a framework for finding inner peace and balance in their daily lives. Today, we might call it a personal mission statement.

As part of our three years of spiritual direction classes, we were tasked with the assignment to create our Rule of Life. As I pondered, I looked to the spiritual giants we studied. I noted how each man and woman—Saint Benedict, Saint Francis, Julian of Norwich, Saint Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, and others—had four common characteristics that shaped their lives.

  • First, they took daily time for solitude, to be alone with God—time to meditate and listen.

  • Second, they read the scriptures and the work of spiritual teachers to learn wisdom.

  • Third, they surrounded themselves with people who inspired them to grow.

  • Finally, they discovered their unique talents and gifts and used them in life-giving ways for themselves and others.

I shaped my Rule of Life around the ancient wisdom of Benedict and the other spiritual masters. The following became my Rule, the guiding principle we can use to evaluate our lives so we can find deeper inner peace and balance:

  • Solitude: establishing rituals to spend daily “quiet time” to deepen our relationship with God

  • Spiritual reading: delving into books that teach and inspire

  • Community: surrounding ourselves with people who nudge us to grow

  • Contemplative Action: discovering our unique gifts and talents and using them to make the world a better place

When put into regular practice, these guideposts form healthy habits that help us experience abiding joy. We can take Benedict’s wisdom, even if we’re not monks, and find unique ways to translate it into modern life. We can look at our lives through the lens of these guideposts to find balance. Wholeness.

For shorthand, I call this  Rule of Life, “finding flow.” Flow means being one with the Divine Spirit who opens our hearts, allowing us to experience inner peace, balance, and wholeness.

Finding flow involves adopting spiritual practices to exercise our souls, just like going to the gym or taking daily walks to help maintain strong healthy bodies.

Consider taking time to look at each of the above four pillars to assess your spiritual life. Check your spiritual battery by giving each of the four a ranking from 1-10 to discover which ones are full and which ones need your attention.

When all four guideposts are fully charged, it’s amazing how God deepens our relationship with him as he invites us daily to find flow.

Brian J. Plachta is a writer, spiritual director, and teacher. He writes a weekly reflection called Simple Wisdom for Everyday Living he sends out via email each Monday. You can receive his weekly reflection and also get a free copy of his book, Life’s Toolbox—Blueprints Included by visiting his website:

http://www.brianplachta.net/home.htm

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Living within the Flow

By | Ahimsa, Asking the Question, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Nonviolence, Saying the Unsayable, Social Justice | No Comments

To live in the world with wisdom and compassion is the true vocation of every human being. Living with wisdom and compassion, within Big Mind and Big Heart, is indeed a practice. For me now this practice asks of me to live generously. And this truly is my growing edge at this time, to live within and from that mind and heart within me that is non-seeking and non-grasping.

I sense that Jesus exemplified this way of living. He was the embodiment of the mind and heart of the Father whose generosity sustains us moment to moment, a constant flowing forth of God’s own life, given for us as our very existence. This is the example that I realize I need to return to as a reminder of how to be human, which in essence is to be like God to others.

To the extent that I am grasping, my participation in this flowing forth from God of pure generosity is stifled. When I become a taker, but not a giver, what is meant to flow into and out of myself is blocked. Where in this is the fullness of life received and passed on to others?

The small self is hardly up to the task of living within this flow. When we live from our small self, our tendency is to count the cost, to be very cautious. We would like to earn much, gather much, and store it into barns for the future. In doing so, we build a dam in the river, and too many dams eventually destroy any flowing forth at all, so that those who live at the headwaters store the abundance of the water, and those below receive a trickle. Fear, mistrust, anger, envy, resentment abound at every level. This is what happens when we are all living from our small self.

There is risk, then, in living within this flow. It takes faith to give of oneself, whether this giving be in the form of one’s time, talent, or treasure. When we open the spillway of our dam, we must face our fear that we will be the only one doing so and that we will end up with a drained reservoir; taken advantage of, considered a fool and a sucker by ourselves and others.

Yet, the saints tell us that this Living Water takes many forms which can only be experienced when we take the risk of opening the spillway. In essence, we are invited to experience in a personal way how Living Water will reveal its fullness to us. We are invited to participate in an adventure.

As it stands, I have yet to learn all there is to learn about living within this flow, of really participating in it and living the adventure of it, of allowing God to surprise me with God’s own endless generosity.

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Mercy

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Ingegral Spirituality/Psychology, Mysticism, Nonviolence, Saying the Unsayable, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

Our concept of mercy changes
As our image of God changes.

First, there are the gods who
Remain aloof, separate from us, who reward
And punish us whimsically in storm, in drought,
In famine, in plenty. We never know, we can only
Hope to win their favor, that they show mercy
In plenty.

Then there is the God who reaches out to us,
God’s chosen. If we the chosen follow the Law,
Offer placating sacrifice, extend mercy to others,
Mercy will be given to us. If we fail in any of these
Requirements, favor will be withheld. In its place
We will be punished. We plead for forgiveness,
for mercy as restoration of relationship.

Then there are those who experience a much larger God.
A God who is merciful to God’s chosen even when
They fail to live up to what is expected.
When the chosen deserve punishment and expect it,
God responds by embracing them, taking them back
Time and again.

And then an even much larger God is experienced as extending
Mercy to everyone in this same way, moving out beyond
The chosen in an all-inclusive embrace. And this mercy
Is once again freely given, even when the whole world
Is deserving of punishment and expects it.

Then there is the God who lives among us
As one of us. Whose very Presence in our midst
Bespeaks mercy. We see in the eyes of God a mirror
Which reflects back to us only love. And we call such mercy
God’s loving compassion. We experience a constant
Flow of unearned forgiveness. We realize that God doesn’t
Even judge us.

And then the mystics experience that God’s ground
Is our ground, and our ground is God’s ground.
And that is true for all of Creation which is the incarnation
Of the Word of God, the Christ, and that there never was
any separation between God and the Christ and never can be.
We have only to awake to our reality in God.
We are as Meister Eckhart says, The generosity of God.
And this is true whether we acknowledge it or not.

When we awake to this Reality, we can in truth lay claim
To what has always been True. In this sense grace,
God’s life freely given, replaces any need for mercy.
God is Graceful to all, even before time existed.