Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Someone said that they were "right-fighters." They always had to be right. Is this you too? When I am at my best, balanced, centered, I don't have to prove that I am right and therefore you wrong. I say, "This is what I think" and then examine my opinion against the information I receive from others. The experience of others helps me to get a better sense of what is reality. When I am off my mark, then is when I tend to be prejudicial, judgmental, with a need to be right so as to overcome some fear that dwells within me. Nothing like looking stupid and being the last one in the group to know. This has happened to me more than once. The key to holding on to "being right" when I am wrong, is fear. I work on fear...most days. Living in the "Kingdom of Jerks" is rather painful, eventually. Better to trudge the road of happy destiny than to be mired in the wrong road altogether. Someone else's experience taught me this, when I was ready to listen.
Monday, September 18, 2017
MATTHEW 25: 14-30
SEPTEMBER 2, 2017
Three servants are given money to invest while their master is away. Each is given a different amount depending on their perceived abilities. The ones who are given more, make 100% return on their transactions. The one who is given the least to invest, buries the money and gets punished by the master, tossed out into the darkness of the street, unemployed and homeless. I do not think that this parable is one that weds capitalism to religion, specifically, Christianity. But many Westerners, educated in the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation, with the Protestant work ethic, see it as good old hard work, talent and smarts are rewarded.
Here is my take. It is about surprising grace. Say what? Well, The master is a hard-nosed guy, who harvests fields that he did not have planted. This means that he foreclosed on farmers who could not pay their debts, took over their land and reaped the profits. Way harsh for religion, but not so harsh if you are a banker. It is business. The ones who doubled there money? Now that is quite a return on investment, so they probably did some underhanded method to make 100% return. Good business, but not good ethics. Maybe insider trading? Or took advantage of some persons who were in a tight spot at the moment? Very entrepreneurial but not very neighborly.
Now the fellow who buried the money? He did not lose anything, and did fear his boss, the master. But the greedy master wanted at least to get some interest on the money. So this poor frightened fellow is thrown out on his ear. The outer darkness of the street is where God is. God wants to embrace the world’s idea of “loser.” When we are failing to fulfill the world’s demands in commerce and industry, the desire for “more,” then God is ready to welcome us. God invests in lost souls, and powerless people. This fellow is the one who enters the kingdom of surprising grace. The others get a few short years of success in this life, and then find out that such behavior towards others does not do them any good in the kingdom.
You can’t take it with you.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
There are two kinds of "fits" in my life and both can be fixed, but with different steps. One fit is when I know I am doing something or being somewhere that simply is not a good fit for me. It could be a work situation or a relationship. When I am spiritually fit, I will intuit or sense this. Generally, the solution for this is to move on. In this situation, there is nothing the matter with me or with the work or person. It is just not a good fit for me. It could be a high paying, ego boost job, but it is not the job for me to be my best and truest self. It could be a wonderful person to whom I relate, but we just don't fit together. Move on. The other fit is "misalignment." Here, everything around me is good, but I am a mess. It could be at a social event that is otherwise healthy, or simply being at school, but I feel as if I don't fit in. I am misaligned with my surroundings. Now if I drink to try and fit in, then I would be "sliding into misalignment," even more. For this, there are the programs of recovery, the twelve steps, some spiritual practice to get me aligned with the world. When you are a mess, this is generally misalignment. When you are healthy, inside and out, then it usually is "not a good fit." No one needs to be fixed when it is simply not a good fit. For me, the business world I worked in was this sort of "not a good fit." I just did not belong there. The monastery is a good fit.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
E. F. Schumacher was an economist who wrote a book in 1973, Small Is Beautiful. He thought that we were headed to catastrophe if we made growth, efficiency, and production the ultimate measure of value. He thought that people should matter more than they do in that model of value. He counseled us to resist the temptation of letting our luxuries become our needs. This last part is something I am working on for myself. I do get needs and wants mixed up. I don't need any more running shoes. I have more than enough. Well, maybe one more pair in bright colors? Drat. I am still a work in progress. How about you?
Friday, September 15, 2017
Someone reminded me that there are three keys to kindness, and they are not what I thought they were. Here are the keys:
When I do these three things in my daily routines, I seem to be a nicer, kinder, less judgmental person. When I am a slug, eat junk, and stay up to late, I am not so very nice. How about you?
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Do you ever find yourself in the midst of negative thinking about persons or situations? I do. And when I am there I cannot seem to stop the negative thinking just by wanting to stop. Ever so slowly I begin to crawl out of my mind, and it does seem to be as helpless as crawling. I just cannot simply stop altogether. I say, "OK, stop thinking so judgmentally about that person. " But very soon thereafter, I am thinking badly about some situation be it work or community or relationship. What works best for me in these moments is to focus on doing one thing that will occupy my mind. Type out a blog. It has to be something that really does take up my mind. Cleaning my room won't do it. My mind is still to free to be thinking other things while I am doing this chore. What solutions do you have when negative thinking holds you hostage?
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
With all the hurricane activity, I sense that some people are praying now, who never or rarely pray. If they are praying, they must believe in something. Maybe desperation can bring people to faith, at least in the short term? Many a drunk in recovery has discovered this path to faith and prayer. They have no other way out of, or through their addiction. Hurricanes can bring us to the same sense of powerlessness. Such a feeling of reality can lead to some of the deepest praying. We are praying with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Fear and dread may accompany this time of praying. So don't put yourself down if you are praying hard now for life and home, though you rarely in the past gave much thought to God or prayer. Your prayers now are sincere and hopeful. Lack of prayer is often associated with the problem of control. When we feel control, then prayer lessens in time and intensity. Hurricanes remind us that we are not gods. Since my life is often like a hurricane whirling about, I tend to pray often and desperately.