Friday, July 29, 2011

TUG OF WAR



Tonight while out under the end of the day sky, alone, there was a bit of a tug of war in play. It's been a day that could be described as the full spectrum of human experience. Mel was doing better this morning then his body went septic and had a turn for the worse, then the kidney dialysis began to work and he began to do better again later in the day. This is going to be a rough go for him and Theresa and Tyson. I spent several different moments on the phone with our daughters who were having their melt-downs while they were in Springfield caring for Mel and Theresa's son and trying to pack the things he needed so they could bring him back here to stay with us. And Julie called a few times for encouragement as she is still there at the hospital in Indiana in the heat of the fluid stressful situation and having to begin to face a long drive alone tomorrow to come back home for work tomorrow night on very little sleep. While sitting out there, all of things things were fresh in my mind.

It was a good idea to head to the hilltop this evening.

I often wonder how many people can relate to the feelings I have while out in the landscape under the cosmos? It really is all at the same time, both freaky and magnificent. The outside natural world has been completely fused with the inner presence of belonging, the kingdom of heaven/the eternal, inside me. As the sun made her decent towards the horizon, her light sent beams reaching through the clouds both into the heavens and down to earth and created a feeling of there being nowhere any of us can go that somehow places us outside the embrace...the nearness of the Divine Presence. I guess in a sense that somewhat answers my question above. Most people seem to struggle when it comes to knowing they are being constantly embraced and that God is near them at all times. As for myself, I sense it everywhere, especially when I am out where the natural world is visible. It's something that should be a constant reminder of the Creator's care for us and the wasteful extravagance of it all. WE ARE LOVED.

So those two competing realities were what created the tug of war this evening. We can't escape either one of them no matter how hard we might try. We don't get out of this world without having to tangle with both.

With that being true, here's my encouragement. I know most of you are already struggling with the chaos in varying forms that is this world of uncertainty. I know that. I see it all the time. I'm less certain though at this time of how serious the wrestling is with the Divine. No one can do this for us other than ourselves. Unfortunately many put that wrestling off towards the end of their lives or until some devastating storm comes bearing down of them and strips them of their illusions of control. Why do we avoid it for so long? I avoided it for all those years in religion. Others avoid it in other ways. When all the while, it's this wrestling with the Divine that can calm the storm created by this world of uncertainty. We are already caught up in that struggle unwisely thinking we can gain control over it when we can't. It just makes good sense to at least explore the invisible realm and to look deep inside ourselves towards our inner life to see what kind of calm is waiting to be awakened there. The trustworthiness of the elements and the cosmos can help us with that.

While out this evening parts of this video clip kept coming to mind.

http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=LtEL7u1BnTQ

Thursday, July 28, 2011

REVERENCE


"As individuals, we are in need of retrieving the necessary things we have lost. There is a reason we feel burdened, and frustrated, and conflicted, and in conflict with others (and ourselves) regularly. Have we even lost our ability to imagine what life might be like among a people who live with a reverence of the one who dreamed this all up and sent us here and that we could really live with a reverence for all things created out of that dream?

The way we spend our days makes a difference. The things we think on that then give birth to what we do makes a difference. To awaken to what we have become and to have the courage to be honest with ourselves and the others around us about it makes a difference. It's the beginning of beautiful changes being set in motion.

"Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." John Muir

"In order to become attentive to beauty we need to rediscover the art of reverence. Our world seems to have lost all sense of reverence. We seldom even use the word anymore. The notion of reverence is full of riches that we now need desperately. Put simply, it is appropriate that a human being should dwell on this earth with reverence.

Ultimately reverence is respect before mystery but it is more than an attitude of mind. Reverence is also physical. A dignified attention of body showing that sacred is already here.

Our time is hungry in spirit. In some unnoticed way we have managed to inflict surgery on ourselves. We have separated soul from experience and become utterly taken up with the outside world and allowed the interior life to shrink. Like a stream that disappears under ground there remains on the surface only the slightest trickle. When we devote no time to the inner life we lose the habit of soul. We become accustomed to keeping things at surface level. The deeper questions about who we are and what we are here for visit us less and less. If we allow time for soul we will come to sense its dark and luminous depth. And if we fail to acquaint ourselves with soul we will remain strangers in our own lives."
BEAUTY...The Invisible Embrace

"The more mature person is not the one who has all the questions settled. The more mature person is the person who enters ever more deeply, ever more farther and farther and farther into the mystery and into the wonder.

If life is not lived at this level, it is lived at a superficial level. And whoever has the power to control your superficial level will rule over you."
The Human Experience

Monday, July 25, 2011

UNABLE TO REALLY LIVE

When we live unaware of the circle of belonging, we will spend our days seeking to quell our longing through activities and acquiring things and looking for connections with people that can never quiet the insecurities that are driving us. It's a life comparable to a bird whose wings have been clipped and can no longer fly.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

THE NEGLECTED INNER LIFE OF MODERN CULTURE


We've caused great damage to ourselves and others, and to the world, as we have severely neglected the inner life. Modern culture has left most people addicted to the external and haunted by a kind of belonging that can never care for the heart nor the soul. It's a way of being that actually causes a crust to form to where after awhile people fall completely out of rhythm with who they are and oblivious of the immensity that dwells inside them and inside the others around them and inside all created things. Living in abusive exploitative ways of others becomes the norm and people end up thinking it's normal. When this happens, humans are then just left wandering around, unable to sense the very wonder and beauty that is necessary for this life to make any sense and to carry any real meaning. When marooned in such a barren wasteland it becomes impossible to maintain any sense of graciousness and gentleness. It leaves people full of such devastating frustration that leads to a self absorption/self-preservation and produces a pain that can't help but go shooting out in all directions.

What will it take for transforming beauty to come back into focus? Do many even have any inkling as to what real beauty is anymore? Has it been so marginalized now in our fast paced modern culture to where most minds find the nature of real beauty too boring? Has the quick titillating surface hit, and the corresponding response it seeks, that is produced by a perversion of beauty that dominates our culture and becomes so ingrained in the psyche, left people stuck in the equivalent of a drug induced stupor? It certainly seems this is the situation many have settled for. Beautiful people lost in the false belonging that is constantly sold to them as the real deal.

Until we as individuals make the personal choice to step out of the misdirection, nothing will change. We'll just go on and on feeling frustrated and empty and eventually hopeless and blaming everything external for our problems, when it was ourselves that made the choice to focus on the external, thinking that arranging it all in a way that we thought would make us happy, would make us happy. This script has always failed. It has never made people happy nor produced peace in one's life.

One thing I have come to believe is that beauty has never left us. We left beauty by running off from where life is found and settled for something that promises to us something it can never deliver. And in that space we lost touch with our native ability to recognize beauty. Each of us ourselves are the only ones that can change this situation for our self. Until we return to a way of being that nourishes our inner life we will remain confused about beauty and blind and will live like we are paupers, when in reality, we are surrounded by astonishing abundance. It is the eye graced by an awakened inner life that can pick up the Beautiful everywhere and then sustain it in a way to where beauty and peace and joy and rest become constant traveling companions.

Your life longs to be freed
From the controls of the world
And it's conditioning.

And only you have the power, the key,
That can open the door
To let your caged life go free.


Monday, July 18, 2011

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE


Nobody puts on a more meaningful show wrapped in a musical and visual spectacle then U2. Especially when they take it into stadiums.









Saturday, July 16, 2011

SET THE IMAGINATION FREE



The Beauty of Nature can help.

click on the photos to enlarge

"And if you can enter into the dream that brought you here and awaken its beauty in you, then the beauty will gradually awaken all around you." ~~~John O'Donohue

It seems we need beauty as much as we need love. Love is beauty...beauty is at the heart of love. They are intertwined . It's the environment we long for because it's the environment we are meant for.

We are all artist creating as we move from moment to moment. Some of those creations reflect the dream that brought us here and cause the beauty to awaken around us....and some of them don't.



Friday, July 15, 2011

DO WE LIVE LIKE WE CARE?


"Religion, as it has been openly practiced in this part of the world, has encouraged people to believe that the world is of no importance, and that their only obligation in it is to submit to certain churchly formulas in order to get to Heaven. And so the people who might have been expected to care most selflessly for the world have had their minds turned elsewhere — to a pursuit of “salvation” that was really only another form of gluttony and self-love, the desire to perpetuate their lives beyond the life of the world. The Heaven-bent have abused the earth thoughtlessly, by inattention, and their negligence has permitted and encouraged others to abuse it deliberately. Once the Creator was removed from the creation, divinity became only a remote abstraction, a social weapon in the hands of the religious institutions. This split in public values produced or was accompanied by, as it was bound to be, an equally artificial and ugly division in people’s lives, so that a man, while pursuing Heaven with the sublime appetite he thought of as his soul, could turn his heart against his neighbors and his hands against the world."

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace