People sometimes ask me where I experience God, or a Spiritual Power. I find the experience in my second thoughts. When things don't go according to my plans and expectations each day, my first thought is that the person or situation that upset my plans/expectations is stupid, lazy, uncaring, spoiled, and just plain old all wrong. The first impulse may then be anger, resentment, self-pity, and even some fear. If I were to act on the energy of these first thoughts and impulses, my day would be chaos. But then a second thought comes and with it some relief of negative energy. This second thought is my experience of a spiritual power. I am not sane enough to come up with second thoughts by myself. The second thought might be, "Terry, if you go through the day being angry and negative about things, you will have a miserable day." "My plans are just my plans." "Let it go. Live with gratitude." And such like. When my big sister, Maureen, was bossy or failed to spoil me, my first thought was that she was a witch. It took a long time to get second thoughts. Only much later in life did I come to realize it was me who had to change....even if she was a witch, but a nice witch.
Monday, January 23, 2017
When I label someone I narrow them. If my label is negative then I fail to recognize the wider aspects or fullness of a person. Someone may in fact be "illegal," or "a minority" and in my worst moments some people are "worthless." These are people who upset my plans of how things are supposed to go. Some labels may be facts but a person is more than a fact. Until I get to encounter the person and open myself to listening, or being with, I won't get beyond my labels. Tribal groups of religious believers may call themselves "saved" but that does not express all parts of such persons. I tend to look for attributes, good habits and attitudes in others that more define their innards. One is kind, loving, compassionate, responsive, generous, full of gratitude and can listen. Whether they are Conservative, Liberal, Reformed, Orthodox, Eastern or Western seems to me to be secondary and only leads to separation and judgment.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
In Buddhism it is called, "Chop wood and carry water." This is equivalent in football to "blocking and tackling." Do the basics on a regular basis if you want to be at your best. The occasional good action is just that, occasional. In football, no one can run with the ball to score or pass to someone who catches it and scores unless everyone else on the team is blocking. For the other side, the defense, they have to be tackling. Over and over in the game blocking and tackling is going on. A fan who watches the game looks for the spectacular. The spectacular happens occasionally, if the unsung others are blocking and tackling. To have a good day, I try to do my blocking and tackling, my chopping wood and carrying water. No one will notice that I continue to do what is in front of me, that needs to be done. I can recollect that God is with me, that God is active in my life in an unspectacular fashion. Spiritual practice that is steady very well goes unnoticed by people around us. To cease the practice is to have no wood for the fire and no water to drink. I need to warm and hydrate my soul.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
I use to think that if people really knew me, my faults, shortcomings, interior darkness, insane thinking, they would not like me. But only the Catholic parishioners and Catholic school teachers would not like me. They put us clerics on a pedestal. But I have found that when I tell non-Church people who I am, they like me more! Why? Some people seem to benefit from hearing truth to which they can connect. A lot of us seem to have problems. I wonder if all those holy Catholic school teachers are imperfect like me? I would like them even better if they were less perfect. It is trying for me to be with perfect people. I wonder if the nuns who taught me, were not as holy as the movies made them? Catholic schools seem to have a "Perfection Quotient" and I would bring it down by my presence. I would get C to F grade for perfection depending on any given day. I hang out with sinners. Come to think of it a couple of these school teachers do know me and still like my blogs. Guess these teachers have to come off my pedestal.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Peter's Mother-In-Law teaches me a lot. In the first chapter of Mark's Gospel, she is the first person, besides Jesus to do any action. The men not so much. She is sick with a fever. Jesus heals her. She gets up. Does she say, "I will go into the streets to begin a ministry." or "I will now do some bible sturdy," or "Now I will meditate." No. She gets up and does what is in front of her. Hungry, and helpless men. She feeds them. Peter and his friends, including Jesus, are bringing their travel dust into her home. She is the boss in her home. She sets the tone for allowable mess. The Gospel says that when evening came, people came to the door with the sick and possessed. Jesus met them at the door. He may be God, but he is not going to mess up her home with more street dust. Today, I did not meditate or spend time with the Bible. I did what is in front of me. It is cleaning day. I changed my bedding and towels, put the dirties into the wash and then I cleaned the bathroom. Like this woman I did what is in front of me, instead of multiplying tasks, even good deed tasks. So many of us avoid what is in front of us to do some "outside" stuff, that really just feeds our ego and self-importance. Cleaning can be rewarding and humbling, and I did it with joy rather than resentment. Where was Peter's wife? I have to work on that.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Someone recently asked me for some help in trying to escape his insane life. My first thought was, "Go away. This will eat up my time for doing things I want to do." I have learned that when people ask for help and I think "no" it is really my desire to isolate. I did not say my first thought, "No." Instead, I said "Yes," before I could come up with some acceptable excuse. In my case, yes is the right answer. So I took out some "valuable personal time" to meet with this person and be of help. The result? For him, I am not so sure. My advice/suggestions require him to take action. I cannot force action. But for me, the yes made for a very good and sane day. I think I became saner! Maybe this person was a gift from the Presence, the Spirit, to me, to help heal me. This fellow knew he needed help. Sometimes, I am not so aware of my own need for Grace!
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The Bible says, in some places, that "God is Love." Skeptics say that they do not see God loving in this cruel world. Well, maybe God is loving, but chose to do it very inefficiently. God decided to love through me, and you. The reason that God's love is invisible is that we are not so loving. Fear, resentment, reliving the past, anxiety, self-centeredness can all get in the way of love. Either God is not very bright, in wanting to love through my actions of loving others, or, God has great hope for me yet. I prefer the latter. Whenever I mess up, I try to remember to have hope, that the next time I will do better, be more loving. Will there be a next time? One can only hope.