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… for God did not send His son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe in Him has been judged already …

Jn 3: 17, 18

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These are the words of Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus.

Let’s look at these words.  What do we learn?  One, the Father sent His son into world so that the world might be saved.  Presumably, this tells us that learning from Jesus, doing as He says saves us and the world from discord, destruction, heartache and chaos.

Yet, we also learned that Jesus does not appear to judge the world, only to save it.

So, we need not fear if we “measure up” – we need not have anxiety as to our value and need have no illusions that we must be perfect, rather we need be only human.

But, the key point is that all we must do is: believe in Him.

Yes, a Christ-centric life is all that we need to know eternal life.  Not deeds – but belief is the critical thing.

Today, tomorrow – each day is an opportunity to belief … and in that belief one knows certainty and calm.  In belief the tension disappears and life is easier day by day.

Hence the question.  Do you believe?

Shalom.

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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

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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

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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.

A Reflection

The drama of the archetypal life of Christ describes in symbolic images the events of a conscious life – as well as in the life that transcends consciousness – of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Letters (Volume 11)

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Who among you sees Christ in your life?  That is – associates Christ in your very existence?

Do you not know that Christ is the pre-existent Son of God in the manner that you are His pre-existent child?

Rest assured that Christ is our sacred archetype … that we are as Christ and are to live and be, and die as and with Christ – as He was, and is and will be forever as to each of us.

As an archetype, Christ leads us from ego to Self, True Self amid the divine drama of mortal life.

In life we choose: salvation and health or a godless life stuck in our ego – never knowing Christ or God or our own person in the full.

Our best choice: a life of meaning and purpose, contentment and tranquility, wisdom and happiness, or one of calamity and continual unhappiness and discord.

Yes, we each have eternal roots.  Our origin is in God, not in each of us one by one.

We are, as Christ, called to the direct experience of life in the full – conscious and unconscious, material and spiritual, mortal and eternal.

With Christ as our template we see Light brighter than the works of the son of darkness.

The life of Christ: your guide, your template, your Divine Gift – your very identity.

Shalom.

 

She was gone and the coldness of it was her final gift.

Cormac McCarthy, in The Road

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Along my fence line the cows are slowly chewing their way down the ridge.  They meander and are, as always, unperturbed.  The calves are the most interesting.  The youngest ones follow Mama, while the ones slightly older seem to couple in bands of three.  Unlike the elders, they wander here and there, and are often drawn to the downed tree too old to withstand time.

The morning sun has not yet risen.  It sits just behind the Blue Ridge too shy to show its face until just the right moment.

The moon appeared last night as I had never seen it.  Standing naked against a cloudless indigo sky hanging just over the mountains well before darkness.  It stayed a long time before retreating to its usual place in the high heavens.

I’ve never seen the moon show itself that way – alone, docile but invincible, large and so close.  I could see its uneven blemished surface from the craggy grays against its comforting glow.  In a world of alone there it was – big and personal – reassuring.  What is eternal is also loyal.  Such is the Divine way.

Some betray us.  I never had such instinct.  I was drawn to loyalty.  Always thought that was love.

Those who leave tell you that they are shallow.  Worthless.  Less than dust in the wind.

Words have no meaning to those who betray.  Once gone, they are dismissed forever.  Dead.  They are not the cows, or the calves, or the mountains, or the shy sun before daybreak, or the fallen tree that kept its place until age caught it as it catches each of us.

Ah, but the moon – that solitary moon – so big, so certain, so loyal and undying.  That is who I am.  Inside and out I am the moon and will be long after time takes me down.  Those who loved me and did not leave will see me in the moon and when they need me most, I’ll be there alone against that indigo sky.

Shalom.

Tasteless Media, Tasteless Left – The Washington White House Correspondence Dinner showed the crassness of the media and the Left when it featured an unfunny, insulting “comic” as their eve’s humorous.  In policy and reporting, in their politics and ignorance the Left and the media show  they are without value and should be utterly dismissed.

If the constant baseless and often loony attacks on the President are not sufficient, the hatred displayed at the Dinner was the topper.

Give the Left and the media what they have earned: your contempt and rejection.

I looked for you in everyone and they called me on that too

I lived alone but I was only coming back to you …

and springtime starts but then it stops in the name of something new

and all my senses rise against this coming back to you …

Leonard Cohen, in Coming Back to You

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Each of us has someone – and probably more than one someone – that we have lost to mortal time.  For many, the years of loss have piled up while the memories persist and set in us deeper roots.

It need not be springtime to feel those losses – but in springtime when all is new and delicate and beautiful, those losses seem to move about like the warming breezes – turning our attention to the touches we knew, the embraces we shared, the laughter we had and all those days together.

Spring is “the coming back” time.  I give you this –

So take your walk, and sit a bit when the breezes beckon you

 for in the Spring when warm sets in, I’m coming back to you.

Shalom.

 

Good Friday, March 30, 2018

… there is … an unseen order of things …

M. Scott Peck, M.D. in Further Along the Road Less Traveled

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Psychiatrist Scott Peck is making the point that life is more than a material experience.  Rather he is saying: just as we have an unconscious aspect of our existence, we also have a spiritual aspect to our humanness.  I add, for those who doubt this – do we not have an emotional aspect of our human life?  Are these not unseen and part of the order to human existence in its totality?

The point to be made is this: existence is more than material and the full human in the unconscious, the spiritual, the emotional, and social nature of being a human lives within the unseen order that engulfs mortal life.

On Good Friday, is this not evident?  It surely should be.

If Dr. Peck is correct (and I would say he is) – imagine what life would be like if we denied any prospect that life was more than mortal and material.  Would that not be a life whereby each of us who followed that predicate would be far less content than we would otherwise be able to be?  Would not such a state of being bring anxiety, uncertainty – discontent, unhappiness, significant personal burdens and produce a far less sense of ease and comfort than one might (by design) be able to know?  Would not one manifest in their incompleteness – disorder … the absence of peace derived from the knowledge of the existence of an unseen order itself?

The great American psychologist William James wrote in his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience that religion is best understood to be “the attempt to be in harmony with an unseen order of things.”

I would add if such a reconciliation is not essential to human persons – there would be no range of distinctive religious expressions and religions themselves manifest over centuries and in such varied cultures and in the wide range of historic levels of human development.

It follows that to deny life is more than what is seen, more than what is material – is somewhat foolish and at odds with human history.  Indeed, to deny an unseen order bends against the sum of human history.

Good Friday, 2018 – Do you sense that there is an unseen order of things?  There is health and stability in recognizing this very reality.

Shalom.

Listening to Others – Listening to others on television is mostly a lost cause.  Why?  Television is not a medium which pursues the essential questions of the day in any depth, nor is it remotely likely that those who appear to talk about a substantive question know much about the subject matter.  Rather, those who address an issue largely have a bias they convey while it is clear that they have spent little time fully examining the issue they attempt to address.  In most instances you are better off passing on these conversations, lest you be either misinformed or angered.

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

Hugh Feiss, in Essential Monastic Wisdom

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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?

 

Solo cello plays.  God’s morning canvas is muted – all the richness is shown in subtle tones.  The moist low hanging clouds have not ascended.  They wrap themselves around the mountains – a morning embrace.  The sky and land are softened and wordless silence speaks.

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There is a widespread sense of loss here, if not always of God, then at least meaning.

Charles Taylor, in A Secular Age

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The careful observer sees what Taylor sees today.  Despite all the chatter, we are lost.  Appearances to the contrary, notwithstanding the incessant breathless media mouths – meaning evades their words.  They are incapable to connecting a single dot one to another.  They possess no such skill, no sense of what a lived life is, what came yesterday and the yesterdays well before – the long string of yesterdays and the message they have offered throughout the centuries.

There is this pervasive unacknowledged sense of loss.  The words of breathless public speakers are trite, inane, senseless, contradictory, idiotic.  They stand as symbols of failure – in thought and feeling.  Their incoherence our gate to renewal.

The clueless are legions upon legions.

What is one to do in such an age and time?  Surely, escaping from the insanity – the sea of words that say nothing worthy of your time.  Escape.  But how?

Listen less.  Detach.  Withdrawal: essential and immediate.  Find silence and your heart and soul will whisper to you, speak softly – call you back to health and the insight that brings stability, understanding and wisdom.  God dwells in silence.

The task today is separation.  From that tranquility and God’s presence within you and about you.  There is simply no other way to stay dry and warm but to get out of the cold dark sea that swirls around you.  Come, wrap yourself in a soft blanket and let the sun fall on you.

Shalom.

You are so hard on yourself.  Take a moment.  Sit back.  Marvel at your life: at the grief that softened you, at the heartache that wisened you, at the suffering that strengthened you.  Despite everything you still grow.  Be Proud.

Tibetan Wisdom

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Grief gives.  Heartache gives.  Suffering gives.

Gifts come in unexpected wrappings.  Receive the gift.  Live in the gift.  Breathe in the gift.  See the sky in the gift.  See the sun in the gift.  See the trees and the mountains in the gift.  See the sun and its shadows in the gift.  Feel the wind in the gift.  Touch your memories in the gift.

Never be captured by things less than God.  There is no daily confusion that surpasses eternity.

See the gifts.  Accept yourself – a child of God.  Smile at it all.  Be settled in what is reality not what is less.  What is temporal is only temporal.  What is Divide is Eternal.

See the gifts.  Life is a gift.  You are a gift.

See the gifts.

Shalom.

More Money for YOU!  Well this week you are getting more $$$ in your paycheck because of the Trump Tax Reform legislation.  Mind you, Democrats in the Congress opposed this legislation.  The message is plain: Democrats want more of your money for them, for bigger government, to give to others.  Progress?  Yes, we are ATM’s no more! 

Weasels and Liars.  Yesterday a dismissed former F.B.I. Director tweeted about “weasels” and “liars.”  Irony is interesting.  Introspection is essential – humility its product.

FISA Memo.  Will the release of the FISA memo spell the end of the Democrat Party?  One might think so given the energy its Party members are putting into fighting its release to the public.

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