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Nonviolence

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.

Mercy

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

A poem inspired by Mystical Hope*

We are card-carrying members
Of the Body of Creation,
No opting out,
No other place to go.
Born into participation
Others dying for us
Transformed for us
Following the pattern
Of death and resurrection
Into life, nothing lost.
Just taking time.

We are being carried
Whether we know it or not
Whether we like it or not,
By a great Love,
From which there is no falling out.
We can only be fools, until
The day Wisdom takes hold of us,
and our eyes are opened.
That day will come

When all is stripped away,
And the “gold kernel” rests
At the wellspring of hope where
the soul meets its ground.
And we who are carried,
Will carry others

Until all is said and done–fulfilled,
And the embracing Love, which has
Always been there, its only desire
Union, smiles from within us
On everything.

*Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope (New York, Chicago: A Cowley Publications Book, 2001)
** “Gold Kernel” See Mystical Hope, p. 70-71)