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Current Issues

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.

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.

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.

Imperial Soldiers

By | Ahimsa, Asking the Question, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Nonviolence, Poetry, Saying the Unsayable, Social Justice, War | No Comments

How easy to end up
A soldier in a strange land,
the empire dressed to kill.
Freedom isn’t found like
that. Too late to question,
You only seek to survive.
Those praying for your safe return
go about their business,
While you do the business of those
who have played you.

How many villages must be laid waste?
How many cities rubbled, bridges bombed,
connections severed,
While those who really seek freedom
cry out in pain for a place at the table,
denied them. Cursed as they are to be born
in lands of plenty, and to have none of it.
They keep rising up and are shot down
in their own streets.

How can it be said,
that the empire is fighting for its freedom
When it is only taking
What it wants from others?
Do you see what I mean by asking the question?

In war, the poor keep killing the poor,
With no recognition of common plight.
Those who survive, return home
Dragging their medals. They roam the streets,
Forgotten, empty shell-shocked casings filled with
a story too sad to tell.

We Are What We Seek

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Nonviolence, Poetry, Social Justice, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

Why do we stand outside the temple
wondering what prayers will open the gates?
We have only to say, “Please, open.”
And what is inside will be revealed.

No need to travel to Rome,
Or visit a hundred churches.
The key is in our pocket.
We are what we seek.

Does the divine spend the day
looking around for divinity?
Why would we spend the day any differently?
God sees God everywhere.
Time to look in the mirror
and see God.

Shadow Boxing

By | Ahimsa, Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Nonviolence, Poetry, Spirituality, Wisdom/Compassion | No Comments

While the rest of the floor is spotless.
There is yet a bit of a mess in the kitchen.

It is possible, I am afraid, to “awaken,”
To become a guru,
And while chanting “Om”
Be oblivious to what’s under the stove
and refrigerator.

Sometimes monsters appear in night time dreams.
Hard to sweep them away.

Better to befriend the spirits within,
that will not be thrown out.
Too much demands to be heard,
Taken back, owned.

Some will say, “We are not our resentment;
nor are we other than our resentment.”
That’s wisdom hard to fathom.
But unless we get this, it will always be
the others who are resentful. Others angry.

And we, of course, are fine,
Righteous and upstanding,
Maybe even a guru.
Even though
the monsters don’t go away,
And the kitchen begins to smell.

Convergence

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

How much time do we spend
warding off chance, each fork in the road a convergence,
a possible head wound to a carefully maintained
worldview–our easy chair.

Where is the courage in this?
One avoidance after another
Until the door is locked and we are
going nowhere.

Should we hope for convergences
Welcome surprises
Risk such prayer?

Like asking to be used
In each moment,
Open to a Presence
yearning for completion
of what we cannot yet know,
chaotic creative energy
constantly stirring the pot
upsetting the status quo,
urging out of the familiar.

We are always bumping into something
Why fight it?
Why not stand in the dangerous
aliveness of this tension
and be stretched?

*Inspired by Carole Wageman, The Light Shines Through

No One Told Us

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Natural World, Nature, Poetry, Social Justice, Spirituality | No Comments

We are millionaires whose bank accounts
have been done in by our own inflation,
out on the street, our life confiscated
by the imperial status quo.

We learned early that rocks were inert
and no harm done in kicking them around.
We sat in obedient rows.
Graduated proficient in math but not in wisdom.

No one told us the universe was made for joy
We never just shoved the desks aside and danced
That would have been too much, the wall flowers
already relegated to remaining alone.

There are those who like things this way,
who benefit from our monotony
They are crocodiles who consume the human
Bring us down to crawling on our bellies

They fear the artists among us
those who see qualities and connection,
who sense that atoms are in relationship
from one end of space to the other.

Lest We Forget

By | Contemplation, Contemplative Journey, Contemporary Issues, Current Issues, Mysticism, Poetry, Spirituality | No Comments

Do you want some advice?
Probably not. Well,
Maybe it’ll just come back to me.
I can use it too…

For some time every day
Put your phone away
Give your thumbs a rest.
Have a risky conversation,
Face to face
A heart-to heart.
Thinking as you go.
No composing before you push send.

That phone on the table
Signals,” I’m a multitasker,
I’ll pick up the thread. Just keep it light.”
It also says, oh so soothingly,
“You need never be bored.”

We’re in but out, near but far,
Connected, as they say.
Attending one party
Asking about another,
We’re never really anywhere,
While wanting to be everywhere.
Go there, and you won’t be there.

Look Daddy,
I’m swinging.
Oh Daddy,
Talk to me.
Hello Mommy,
I’m falling into an abyss, and
No one is listening.

Lest we forget
The real context
Is not the text.