You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Calm’ category.

All sins are attempts to fill voids.

Simone Weil

+ + +

Life isn’t hard if you just listen to people who are smart and leave us some valuable guideposts.  Of course as people – we tend to charge ahead hitting objects head-first without a helmet.

And, then – there are things that find us – hardships, inconveniences, bad deeds and thoughtless things done by others others.  These produce the occasion to sin – to react harshly and “get even.”  But the greatest frontier as to sin – is us, each of us.

We are sinners.  Every one of us.  (That’s why God and mercy are so necessary to our existence, our over-arching story.)

Think about this: when you sin, ask yourself what void has this sinful act uncovered in me? 

Many of the sins we see are “deficits” we experience related to the want of intimacy, or power, or status, or identity, or a place in the group or the world.  Once you discover this, sin can be defused – and then, all the more, when you realize God is vital to your full grow and development – your contentment, peace and relationship with others comes into full form.

The more sin is defuse – the more others become your brothers and sisters.  That joy awaits you.  God speed.

Shalom.

 

Advertisements

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline to the religion of solitude.

Aldous Huxley

+ + +

It will be 90 degrees again here to today.  In the mountains a breeze persists.  The pastures are green and bathed in sun to make them softer to the eye.

I listen to a CD entitled “Celtic Landscapes” – recordings from nature in Ireland and Scotland.

Last night I saw a Mama bear and her two small cubs.  They were given the order by Mama to take to the trees.  They did.  The little spuds hung one above the other on thin branches near the tree trunk.  No one moves unless Mama says so.

I hung my Scottish flag on the garage this morning then ate homemade raisin rumcake with a cup of dark roast.  All is good on the ridge.

I love the solitude.  The more disorder in mass culture, the better the silence and solitary life in nature.

A thunder storm erupts on the CD.  We shall have our’s this afternoon.

All the flowers are watered and trimmed.  The roses have a good number of blossoms ready to bloom.  The grass is cut.  The St. Andrew’s Cross flies free.

You see there are things that give comfort.  They are near.  They settle the soul and create space between disorder and peace of heart and the quiet of the soul.

Know this: mass culture is sick and it breeds discontent.  It takes its price from you.

Shalom.

If we remove the obstacles, the ego-self with all its paraphernalia, and surrender to God, we penetrate through the layers of our psyche until we reach the center of core of our being.

Thomas Keating, in The Heart of the World

+ + +

Quiet begets interior silence.  In quiet being itself appears as thoughts fade.  In quiet we hear the sound of silence that is deep inside us.  In this is God, awareness of God.

In interior silence social need falls to the Spirit – without others we are nearer our own being and that of all things and beings.  In interior silence eternity exceeds mortality – yes, reality becomes eternity, and all things now and beyond are of God and God.

This interior silence has no words nor need for words.  It is.  IT SIMPLY IS.

In interior silence we are subsumed with the “IS” and its inexhaustible ALL.  This: the experience of the Triune God – our center – the center of being here and beyond.  There is in this eternity and tranquility – our meaning, our purpose, our reason for being, peace and certainty – ease of being, the exceeding of all doubt or pain.

Shalom.

 

It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire.  Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm you own.

Marcus Aurelius, in Meditations

+ + +

Conflict in your life is the doorstep to tranquility.  Hardship and inequity is a gift for properly experienced it grows a stable state of mind, calm in strife, resolve, cunning and, best of all, control over one’s mind – in this, the eradication of anxiety and clear thinking and precision movement when most critically needed.

It is best to be calm in the great moments of conflict and trial.  One thinks best when calm, tranquil.

Tranquility is the harvest of facing many trials and becoming adapted to do well when the unexpected arises and the weight of the problem is great.

I look at the various people associated with the surveillance of candidate Donald Trump and I see the absence of tranquility.  I see incoherence, disorder, lawlessness and collective chaos.  This tells me that these people have not mastered life’s inherent struggles and unexpected events.  I see a sign you do not want to see among people in leadership positions, for the wrong people in positions of authority puts all at risk and produces calamity and usefully damage to what is good and ought to be preserved.

In the disorder of today, follow those who possess tranquility – you will known them by their clear thinking and their quiet voice, their certainty garnered from a host of troubles already faced and dependent on the sanctity of ancient truths housed in religious Canon and codified in the rare historic wisdom of the U.S. Constitution.

Shalom.

Postscript – Do you suppose a man in combat doesn’t possess an inner calm?  Do you suppose a firefighter entering a burning building doesn’t have an inner tranquility and a clear mind?  Does life itself not give us combat and the burning building?

With tranquility, emotions are at rest and thinking is crystal clear, the heart is calm and one tends to the business at hand.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.

Thucydides

+ + +

Our culture does not look kindly on men.  We are more the suspects than the welcomed.

Secular culture does not honor the nature of things nor the historical record.  Aside from rejecting religious narrative and God, groups of “special pleaders” adopt a variant of Marxist analysis and divide us by gender, skin color and political views.

In the present age, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” is reflected in disparaging men.

Thucydides speaks a Truth.  The bravest among us face the difficulties that come to their families, their clan, their children, their spouse, their friends, their community, their country, their Church, their neighbors, the old, the weak, the poor, the young.

History tells us the task of facing danger and risking death has been the job of men.  To disparage men is to lose sight of who they are.  Yet, we disparage them without thinking – “Who will fight for us, protect us, do the dying that life demands so others might live?”

We are at this point a foolish culture.  I see those who garner public attention – but I do not see the men I know – those who stand ready when trouble approaches.

Life is combat.  And men do combat.

Shalom.

 

A Quiet, Peaceful Sunday

… of the things in life … which is the thing you believe to be most valuable?  (Emphasis added.)

William B. Irvine, in A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

+ + +

We seldom stop to think about who we are and what would most satisfy us in this life.  Most people just respond to the noise and impulses of the culture.  Hard to imagine a contented life might result from that default setting.

No wonder there are so many discontented people, so many who submit willy-nilly to the noise, fashion, ideology, stimulus, fear or fancy of the day.  Yes, we play the lead role in our own confusion and discontent.  Few live a considered existence.

Given the opportunity to live a contented life of inner satisfaction and peace – many live in perpetual distraction, anxiety, turmoil and unhappiness.  Seems like such a waste.

In the manner we think about the world and ignore our humble place within it, the more chaotic our life is likely to be.

Author William Irvine reminds us that the Stoic philosophers sought to live a life without negative emotions, a life of tranquility – one absent fear, grief, envy and anxiety.

In pursuit of tranquility, the Stoics saw the mortal world as transitory.  They sought to minimize desires.  In contrast they sought to live courageously, in a temperate manner, with self-discipline and virtue, with joy.  In this they foretold of Christ.

They examined their life, sought to control their attitude and expectations – but nothing beyond their reach.  They did only what they could.

This: a descent prescription for today.  Yes, separation from the chaos and decay requires knowing what it is you intend with this sacred existence you have been granted.

Use the gift of life wisely.  Listen discretely and avoid crowds of the confused and contentious.  Yours is a sacred calling.

You’ll remember me when the West wind moves among the fields of barley …

Many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley.  See the children run as the sun goes down among the fields of gold.

Fields of Gold

Shalom.

 

 

… the world believes in the pragmatic rather than the transcendental, and you will lose your soul (that is to say, forget what and who you are) if you do not get away from the noise now and then to thing about the First Things.  (Emphasis added.)

Antonin Scalia

+ + +

You know it is not that complicated.  You either conform to the secular world or you live your birthright which is a transcendental existence.  The second does not exclude the former – that is, a spiritual existence is inclusive, while a secularized existence in its present form does not welcome nor house what is transcendental.  In a secularized world, you lose your soul – your self.

The secular option reduces you, makes your life harder – more shallow, more confused, less meaningful and less manageable, leaves you to the template of ideology and material worries.

It remains to you to decide how you will live … whether you wish a full and contented life or one that is fragmented and constantly unsettled and at odds.

Pretty clear choice.

Shalom.

Most of the time, we are lost in the past or carried away by future projects or concerns.  When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, we can see and listen deeply …

Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

+ + +

Today with all its fury, demands, confusion, transgressions, noise, deceit, foolishness and injuries has a way of capturing us.  But we need not be locked into its mischief and destruction.  Indeed it is quite unhealthy for us to be captured by all the chaos and malfeasance, the untruths and disorder.

‘Tis much wiser and far healthier to be mindful.  To focus on our interior.  Seeking quiet and listening to it gives rest, understanding – transcendence, yes, liberation.

In the fury of today, do you hear your breathing?  Most would answer, “No.”  To them I say: “You are NOT mindful.  You have been captured by chaos.  You are forfeiting your life – cheating yourself out of the life you have been given.  Making yourself sick.  Settling for far less than you have been given.”

Cistercian monk Thomas Merton had an affinity for the existential writer Albert Camus.  He saw in Camus “a man who … loves the world yet stands apart from it with a critical objectivity which refuses to become involved in its transient fashions and its more manifest absurdities.”  (Thomas Merton, in Contemplation in a World in Action).

So many are captured by the chaos.  The digital world, much like the organs of mass “communication” (or shall we say “miscommunication“) that sow chaos and confusion – reduce us drastically from whole to but fragments.

Better to hear your breath.  Be mindful.  Stand apart.  Maintain critical objectivity – you can dismiss most of what is going on around you … there are so few healthy voices after all.

Shalom.

Faith will come to him who passionately yearns for ultimate meaning, who is alert to the sublime dignity of being, who is alive to the marvel of matter, to the unbelievable core within the known, evident, concrete … Faith is … given to him who lives with all his mind and all his soul.  (Emphasis added.)

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man is Not Alone

+ + +

This from Rabbi Heschel in one of his very readable two volumes on the Philosophy of Religion (the other being God in Search of Man).

The point this Professor of Ethics and Mysticism makes is a simple one: man is not just his mind.  It follows that life cannot be fully experienced if it is confined to the mind alone – indeed meaning cannot be secured through the mind alone.  On the contrary the experience of human existence requires the engagement of more than the mind.  It requires that the soul be engaged.

In reading Milosz (a biography of Nobel Prize winning poet Czeslaw Milosz) I came to a point where the conditions of post-War Poland were described in the early stages of Communist Russia’s occupation of that country (thanks to the United States and England consigning Poland to Iron Curtain captivity) in this manner:

“A steep decline in moral standards was observed in the early post-war period; it manifested itself in cruel and ruthless behavior and in the ease with which people would commit murder.  Incidents of theft and rape were daily occurrences … ”   (Emphasis added.)

Think about this – the horrors of the Second World War followed by the submission to a godless Communist totalitarianism produced a reign of violence – that in some ways describes the present day daily news in our own country.

To me the point to be made is the point Rabbi Heschel makes: a fully developed life requires the engagement of the soul – the appreciation of the dignity of being itself – of one’s own being and that of others.  Likewise, Heschel is saying absent the experience of the Divine (of God, of supernatural reality) morality is lost and chaos and meaningless destruction results.

Over the decades I have read widely about secularism and cultures and about the relationship between faith and culture, and the full and healthy development of the human being in culture, and one thing emerges across the disciplines that apply to such a sweeping inquiry (i.e., from history, to literature, psychology, cultural criticism, philosophy, moral development, biology, biography, theology, politics, law and the like) and that one thing is this: without a reference to God and religious narrative bad things tend to accelerate, often people manifest discontent, self-destructive conduct, perhaps mental illness, addictions and violence – and once stable societies decline while their essential institutions are impaired or destroyed.  I add, by the way, that this inquiry resulted in my greater engagement of religion and produced a far more tranquil and satisfying existence.

In plain and simple terms: humans must tend to their soul – religious narrative seems a reliable (perhaps necessary) source of human and societal peace and flourishing … Said another way: humans seem to need or benefit from a relation with the Divine … we are, it seems, simply made this way and the neglect of this tends to bring unnecessary chaos and destruction.

Shalom.

For those who have the opinion that our culture has diminished the role of faith in it, I make a suggestion: be able to explain to people what faith does to further development of the human being, and be able to identify ways in which we long for a meaning in life that exceeds mortality and allows one to rise above the injustices, setbacks, challenges and losses that come to us.

The bottom line is this: be able to explain why the disorder and chaos we encounter can be properly and well addressed by a renewal of faith – an active faith lived day in and day out.

In the beginning and in the end – faith is context and everyone needs a context in which to receive life in all its joys and tribulations.  This is the essence, by the way, of religious narratives – they provide context.  You exist within an on-going story of mankind throughout history – religious narratives rest on that proposition.  Ignore them at your own peril.

To maintain monastic culture, monks limit their contact with the surrounding culture by means of cloister or separation 

Hugh Feiss, in Essential Monastic Wisdom

+ + +

Separation from existing culture in order to maintain one’s values, virtues – indeed to stay free of insanity, brutality, immorality and a range of toxic disordered and destructive dispositions in culture is a sacred act.

Monks have pursued such separation for good reason over the centuries.  We see in this practice – necessity, common sense, faith, peace and preservation.

A sacred separation comes from maintaining a critical eye on existing culture.  When cultures destroy people, institutions and what is good, those who seek healthy and peaceful existence separate.

In separation one preserves heart, mind and soul.

In separation one spends time carefully – at work, in quiet, in community, in silence, in thought and prayer – while the world about turns on itself much as Syrian bombing of unarmed civilians does today or as the American Left does by destroying standard identification of gender in favor of disintegration, confusion, disorder, untruth which they much prefer.

In separation there is no more gossip, useless “news,” talking heads, daily destruction of what is good and essential to peaceful existence.

In separation: prayer emerges, reading too, careful listening, care of self and others, soft discourse, contemplation, faith comes alive, consciousness of God is daily sustenance.

In separation you meet yourself, become re-assembled, restored to wholeness – stripped of the “needs” of the frantic culture.  In separation, life is simpler … life is life.

In separation: God, your own self, your thoughts, others and all that is under heaven.

Shalom.

Condolesse Rice wants to “modernize” the Second Amendment.  Easy for her to say – she’s among the elites — life for them does not carry the burdens the rest of us face.  Perhaps, Ms. Rice might think of the unarmed civilians in Syria whose government is bombing them daily, killing them – men, women and children.  

A little note to Ms. Rice – maybe you might want to civilize people before you “modernize” the Second Amedment.  Those of us who are not in “the elite” live far different lives than you do.  In short words – put a sock in it, no one needs to hear from you.

What (other than pride) makes you think you know anything and must be heard from?

 

Welcome Message

Categories

Log In

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: