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When you learn to be alone you’ll discover the difference between alone and lonely.

L. J. Vanier, in Ether: Into the Nemesis

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Coming to the ability to be alone is like climbing a very steep and very high mountain with tough terrain and turbulent weather.  Yes, being alone is not the first thing we come to embrace – more like the last thing we come to embrace.

I used to dread being alone.  Why?  I just lost so many people in my childhood – it was like being in battle and seeing those on your side, those you needed disappear leaving you with dwindling odds for survival.

Yes, loss at an early age is a serious awakening that brings more fright than confidence.

But then there is age.  When you have weathered many storms, you somehow grow in strength and confidence.  You can only bury so many people before you realize “you are still standing … and each battle has made you wiser and stronger … and ready for the final days whenever they appear.”

At some point being alone is tolerable and supplies you a state of peace that awakens you spiritually.  At some point, alone comes to mean God, what is eternal and joins you with those long gone but not missing really.

When you can be alone and yet with the others you have known, you have approached the summit.  At the peak of the climb there is no sadness, no loneliness – just the fruits of the hard climb up the craggy mountain.

Some people never climb the mountain.  In this the mountain becomes a demon and fear settles deep in the valley of one’s soul.

For me, I’ll take the mountain and the peace it brings – brings in such an odd way of suffering and challenges.

… Jesus led them up the mountain.  There he was transfigured.

Mt 17: 1, 2

Shalom.

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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.

 

In order to be enchanted we must be, above all, capable of seeing another person – simply opening one’s eyes will not do.  (Emphasis added.)

Jose Ortega y Gasset, in On Love, Aspects of a Simple Theme

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In his book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor tells us that those in secular culture have lost their capacity for enchantment.

To be enchanted is to be charmed, enraptured – capable of being taken by delight.  The word itself is rooted in the Latin word incantare meaning: to chant magic words.

What Taylor is saying is that in a secular existence one cannot easily be enraptured, taken by the mysticism of sacred things, lost in sacred words.  In terms of Ortega y Gasset – Taylor is saying that one is unable to know a love of another completely.

Mind you Ortega y Gasset reminds us that to take another in one must do so not with eyes but with heart.

Considered fully, Taylor makes a very serious observation; in secular culture we are unable to be fully human, to know the love of another as fully as we once could.  Taylor is saying in secular existence we lessen or lose the capacity for intimacy, for relationship with others – lose the capacity for deep intimate union with others.  In this we are less human, less fully developed, less able to experience the mystical experience of faith or the wholeness of our being.

Taylor’s view seems right to me.

I listen to the contemporary music of the 1940’s and 50’s and I hear ballads that express the love one can have for another.  The content of the music of those days was overflowing with descriptions of the rapture of love of another.

I hear very little today that conveys such sentiments.  No now, I mostly hear coarse lyrics, and I see marital infidelity, divorce, abortion, the rise of pornography, harsh language on the public airwaves and little that models healthy devotions of man to woman, and woman to man.  It is my view that feminism has actually deprived woman of their humanity and men and women are much the worse for this.

Secularism levies a heavy price.  No wonder we manifest such unhappiness and loneliness.  Maybe it is time to reject secularism in all its crippling forms.

Shalom.

Absolutely shameful.  Congressman Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, indicated today that there was no intelligence material alleging any collusion between Russia and candidate Donald Trump that would have justified the opening of an F.B.I. investigation of Candidate Trump.  He made this comment after reviewing the existing intelligence reports that would have contained such information should it have existed.

Mr. Nunes also said that two former associates of Candidate Hillary Clinton (the former Secretary of State in the Obama administration) were disseminating information to people in the State Department – leaving Nunes and others to wonder if Hillary might have been the impetus for investigating her opponent Donald Trump.

This is all absolutely shameful and fitting a totalitarian regime.  Very serious stuff.

 

 

 

O taste and see the Lord is good …

Ps 34:8

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Tasting and seeing.  Are these not acts of experience … of ingesting, of taking into oneself?

Yes.  Of course, they are.

Is this not exactly the essence of the Incarnation?  Is this not the essence of Christ in human form?  Is this not the message Jesus brings to his peers, his neighbors, the strangers he encountered, the people of authority, the wealthy and the poor of his day, the well and the ill?

Is this not the message he brings to us?

We are to experience God.  Ingest God.  In this experience we close the gap between the Creator and the created.  This is God’s intention in offering Himself in Christ.

Believe me, once you come to understand that it is the experience of God that is offered to you – you will not be burdened by the weight of this world, its trials and trivial activities, its gossip, its corruptions, its temptations, its hostilities, its divisions, its anxieties and its evil.

The experience of God will change the way you live, bring you above the quarrels of those who do not have that experience.

In the experience of God is contentment – no matter the storms that swirl about you.  In the experience of God the words of God are fulfilled in you.

Yes, we are made to taste and see God.  In this we understand St. Athanasius who said, “God became man so that man might become God.”  Yes, we will see that we dwell in God, that we are One with God – divided and lost no more.  Does Jesus not show us exactly this!!!

Taste and see.

Shalom.

Oh, Goody!  U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, (Democrat, N.Y.) is introducing legislation today to decriminalize marijuana under federal law.  It is reported that in the legislation there will be special federal funding to assist women, racial minorities and homosexuals in entering the marijuana business.  (Apparently, hetrosexual White males do quite well in this business as is.)

Chuck Schumer.  What a guy!  Wears his eyeglasses on the tip of his nose (the old Ben Franklin look).  My pause with Dear Charles rest on this: bifocals, Chuckie!!!  We are way past the 18th Century, Charles – come and join us.  By the way, be careful with the kite and the metal key in thunderstorms … don’t want you getting hurt.

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.

 

Like every other human being, I am a splinter of the infinite deity … If the human [soul] is anything, it must be of unimaginable complexity … the only equivalent of the universe within is the universe without … as I reach this world through the medium of the body, so I reach that world through the medium of the psyche.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Memories, Dreams and Reflections

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Jung in describing the psyche is also conveying to us the nature of human health and wholeness whereby one lives not merely through the body but (and more critically) through the psyche as well.   Indeed, for Jung and other psychiatrists and learned people – a person is far from well (and prone to sickness and disorder) who lives within the body alone.

Looking about America in this age and time it is quite obvious that we are awash in disorder.  The social pathology is visible daily in news stories.  A state governor, despite being married, has a bizarre public sexual romp with his staff person, a man and woman beat their four year old child to death for spilling soup, a caretaker places a child in an oven to punish her … And the list goes on and on …

Are we not the only country that seeks tax revenue from drug use?  And look at the failure of custodial authorities (schools, social workers, police, teachers, principals) to attend to the obvious sickness and danger that Dylan Cruz plainly displayed and the pathetic social policies associated with that failure (the suppression of data on criminal conduct in Broward schools by the creation of “deversionary placements” so as NOT to have to face school violence done by “minority students” and the police officers unwilling to enter the building during the shooting for fear of running afoul of those who govern policy).

Let’s be honest – we live in a disordered culture, one in decline with manifestations of mental illness that simply go unacknowledged – denied, disguised, normalized or hidden.

In Jung’s words – we deny we are “a splinter of the infinite deity” and in that we starve the soul and ignore the psyche – the nexus between the world within and the world without (that which recognizes a mortal existence that is housed within eternal reality).

Yes, we are very poorly evolved and hence psychological problems, injuries and death abound.

We see these problems starkly in the ideas and actions of the political Left.  Indeed, having the lunatic Left present and active is like we are in foster care of Sarah and Cheryl Hart (the two lesbian mothers and “mates”) who drove their SUV off a California cliff into the Pacific Ocean 100 feet below with six helpless foster care (Black) children in the vehicle and to their collective death.

Any honest comment on American life, culture and society today must begin with an understanding that there is a great deal of mental illness that is unaddressed, dressed up as “normal,” excused, and tolerated despite the brutal costs that it imposes on others and the population at large.

We have drifted a long way from health and happiness and the decline is accelerating at a compounding rate.

That said, I offer you the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. –

In the shadow of death may we not look back to the past, but seek in utter darkness the dawn of God.

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.

… 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

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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.

The two worlds, the divine and the human, can be pictured only as distinct from each other – different as life and death, as day and night.  The hero ventures out of the land we know into darkness … his return is described as coming out of that yonder zone.  Nevertheless – the two kingdoms are actually one.  The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know … the exploration of that dimension … is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.

Joseph Campbell, in The Hero of a Thousand Faces

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Easter approaches.  But do we think of Christ the Hero who joins again the divine and the human in “the two kingdoms that are actually one?”

Yes, this is the time for our unification of the divine with the human – a reminder that we live in but one kingdom – whole and divine … that we are made whole and divine!

I am often struck at how it is that we live as if there is no recorded human story over all these years of human existence and how in our ignorance we miss the obvious truth and significance of the essential and repeated stories of the Hero, the sacrifice – the rule of the Divine over all from Age to Age.

Our Easter celebration occurs in many forms in varied cultures, religious narratives and ancient stories – making it all the more True, and making us in our ignorance all the more in need of wisdom and sight that is not blinded by our badly mistaken assessment of our own importance.

In our political life we are trapped in the daily event – unable to connect history’s dots.  We live so superficially – and listen to the most inane dribble day to day.  In this small frame of mind we fumble about, pontificate, content to be doomsayers, hopeless, foolishly assertive grand problem-solvers, faithless.

Shortly after the above passage Campbell questions the Hero who returns, thus: “Why attempt to make plausible, or even interesting, to men and women consumed with passion, the experience of heavenly bliss?”  He notes it is just as easy to “commit the whole community to the devil.” Yet, he notes for the Hero comes “the work of representing eternity in time, and perceiving in time eternity.”

Christ descended into darkness for three days and arose and, then, returned to us so we might know eternity in time, and time in eternity.  But are we governed daily by the Hero’s selfless deed?

In Easter we meet reality.  But do we live this reality?  That is the critical, life-changing, life-saving question.  That is what you face at Easter – that one and only eternal question – that which governs mortal life and time, and eternity.

Shalom.

Hillary Kills Feminism.  Well, the poor-as-church-mouse Miss Hillary is at it again.  Traveling in India she tells us that she lost the election because White Women were directed by their husbands, male bosses and sons to vote for Donald Trump.

There you have it – the end of Feminism!  After years of listening to feminist nonsense and their howling at the moon – Feminism has achieved this one amazing thing: the White Women among their ranks now do what their husbands, male bosses and sons command!  Guess that puts an end to that “Cause.”  Take a bow, Ladies.

With Feminism dead, can gender studies be far behind?

The more we are adjusted to reality, the better our lives work.  But we can live in a world of reality only if we have a taste for mystery.  For the reality of the situation is that our knowledge is like a little raft bobbing up and down in a sea of ignorance, in an ocean of mystery.  (Emphasis added.)

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

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We know less than we think and far less than can be known.  Absent that understanding – humility is rare.

In mass communication culture we are presented with endless talking heads – male and female … most with a B.A. from some once-elite college, or (God help us) a communication degree from some third or fourth-rate place.  These people never utter these words: “So-and-so wrote a remarkable book on X and it says …. ”

Yes, we listen to non-readers with no significant and examined life experience, and crappy educations at mediocre institutions at best.

Imagine if people had as a baseline this: “Gee, life is a mystery … I best respect how little I know, how limited my knowledge and intellect is, how unfamiliar I am with the classics, with mythology, with religion and religious narrative, history, psychology, philosophy, the 20th century …”

The words of wisdom are the words of those who are experienced and humbled my life, by the mystery that it is.

Alas, we have the C minus-minus students telling us things that made no sense and are frequently simply wrong, uninformed, idiotic.  That’s news and public discourse now!!!

God help us all.

If it gets any worse, I’ll get my news from squirrels.  At least they have not been to some overpriced loony-bin of a college where left-wing pabulum is dished out for four mundane and tedious years.

Shalom.

Postscript – Hollywood and the media establish one significant “take it to the bank” truth and it is this: there is absolutely no correlation between wealth and intelligence, or between wealth and character, virtue, wisdom, common sense and decency.   As for courage, wealth and courage parted company a long, long time ago.

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