Monday, January 31, 2011
Like and infant's open-eyed wonder
and the insights of a wise grandmother,
like a young man's vision for justice
and the vitality that shines in a girl's face,
like tears that flow in a friend bereaved
and laughter in a lover's eyes,
you have given me ways of seeing, O God,
you have endowed me with sight like your own.
Let these be alive in me this day,
let these be alive in me.
John Philip Newell
Friday, January 28, 2011
a mirror that cannot close its eyes
to your longing. My eyes wet with
yours in the early light. My mind
every moment giving birth, always
conceiving, always in the ninth
month, always the come-point.
How do I stand this? We become these
words we say, a wailing sound moving
out into the air. These thousands of
worlds that rise from nowhere, how
does your face contain them? I'm
a fly in your honey, then closer, a
moth caught in flame's allure, then
empty sky stretched out in homage.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I read this article on Opening to Happiness with interest this morning. I like it's pragmatic correlation of Buddhist practice and psychological rationale. So this is a little different post than I usually offer, but I enjoyed the time to follow the impulse. ;-)
I am reading a book called The Steps of Essence, by Hanns-Oskar Porr, that describes the first call to becoming who you truly are with this analogy: In the movie, The Matrix, Neo can take a blue pill that allows him to live every day in bliss, but the trade off is that he gives up his autonomy and control to an unknown force that renders him a mindless slave - happy, but mindless. OR he can take the red pill which will afford him to learn the truth about himself. He will understand the forces that control him and learn to gain freedom from them, but at a steep price. The road will be hard; he will enter into dark places of overwhelming fear. But he will learn to master his fear and to hold it in tension with all the good that he finds. The journey will reveal the truth and the truth will guide the journey. He will learn who he is. He will become his most authentic self. Happiness will look more like self-acceptance and deep joy, for Neo will be the Hero of his own life.
I was intrigued with this because I think I missed this point in the movie. Or maybe not, it has been awhile since I saw The Matrix, but I am familiar with the choices that the pills afford. So, the first step is to say, ok I am willing to take the hard road. But here’s the catch: everyday you get the pill choice again...Will you choose to wait for happiness to present itself to you, to be a victim of life, a sort of bystander to your own existence? Or will you choose to to be the Hero of your life, to confront your fear, put aside some of those things you think you "need," and ride the wonderful experience of your true Self? The choice to hold the tension between what should and should not be is the demand of truly living YOUR [authentic] life.
At my niece’s graduation, the priest gave a sermon on "The Road Ahead" for the grads. He said that Jesus would ask them at every turn, “Do you love me?” To answer to this question, we must make the choice of pills. If we answer yes, we take the red pill. We agree to be Christ-like in love which is to love ferociously, and, yes, to suffer for it. To love is to be vulnerable. It is to bear all the sweet goodness of your divine Self to the other, with no defense; to be completely compassionate. The red pill requires us to be loyal to truth, above all else. And the truth is, Love is who we are! Every day we are faced with the choice to be either authentic or robotic. Every day we choose to take the high road or the low. Everyday we can allow the circumstances of life to control us, or we can choose our destiny. To know ourselves as love requires incredible courage and strength. To remain positive, optimistic, “happy” requires us to be a warrior for love and kindness, even at those times when we would rather not be. To truly live into love, which is our authentic nature, is to encounter hurt, absorb it and love harder.
We can run from the demands of life and relationship and never know who we are, or we can meet life head on with the Wisdom (yes, this choice is a wisdom choice) that happiness means more that just getting what I want. Which pill will you take?
© Peggy Beatty 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
to the field of love
to the land where forgiveness and right relationship meet
we look, O God,
with longing for earth's children
with compassion for the creatures
with hearts breaking for the nations and people we love.
Open us to visions we have never known
strengthen us for self-givings we have never made
delight us with a oneness we could never have imagined
that we may truly be born of You
makers of peace.
(from John Phillip Newell's forthcoming prayer book Praying with the Earth)
Monday, January 17, 2011
No one is free when the walls of ego (personal or collective) prevent the illumination of truth. PB
adapted from Richard Rohr's daily meditation
©Peggy Beatty 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
After being freed from Egypt the Israelites traveled for a long, long while. Brim full of the providence of God, they crossed the red sea, were blessed with the law of Moses at Sinai, yes God was revealed in freedom and opportunity. But the journey was hard and long. They were tired, hungry and there was much wilderness to reconnoiter.
The weary people began to forget the bliss of freedom from slavery. They had nothing but manna to eat and not much water to drink. Back in Egypt, they would have at least had decent food and drink, even if they were enslaved. How easy it is to want to remain in the comfort of what we know, even if it means to suffer there.
Numbers 11:4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
Manna was nourishment. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down. Manna was comparable to white on the grass, like hoarfrost , and had to be collected before it was melted by the heat of the sun. The Israelites ground it and pounded it into cakes, which were then baked, resulting in something that tasted like cakes baked with oil. God instructed to eat only the manna they had gathered for each day. Leftovers or manna stored up for the following day "bred worms and stank": the exception being the day before Shabbat (Preparation Day).
The name manna is said to derive from the question "man hu?", meaning "What is it?" According to the Talmud, manna was found near the homes of those with strong belief in Yahweh, and far from the homes of those with doubts.
There are many ideas about what manna really was, but what is the bigger picture? We know that manna nourished the Israelites, they lived on it for 40 years while they wandered. It came at night like the dew and had to be gathered and used within the same day, lest it spoil. Manna seemed to have both a substantial nature and an esoteric nature. Sometimes you just could not put your finger on it's essence. “What is it?” was a substance found in abundance near those who trust God.
Wilderness is the place of reversal, where things die and new issues forth, where the suffering find themselves helpless, save for the grace and power of God who strengthens them from within in order to "save" them from without. And for this to happen they must trust.
In Mark 1, we hear reiterated, the words of Isaiah,"...the voice of one crying out in the wilderness – prepare the way. Make a straight path" in the context of John the Baptist, who lived in and exemplified wilderness. This wilderness is a place of proclaimation. But whose voice is heard in the wilderness, who is crying out and what is the message? The voice in Isaiah was "a voice." In Mark, the message, the expression is Jesus, the Word (God's voice), coming from the wild area seeking to proclaim the gospel from the wilderness to domesticated places. Why do civilized people need to hear the voice of the wilderness?
Because civilization allows us to live with a false sense of security and control. Because our wilderness is always near and will overcome us each time we perceive ourselves as separate from source. When we despair without hope, when we compromise our divine integrity under a false assumption that we are not of or with God, when we rely on our own ego devices to secure our esteem/acceptance, power/control, security we will ultimately find ourselves in the wilderness over and over again, crying out for saving or liberation from the forces that got us there. When we have nothing to lose, when we are totally vulnerable, when all our defenses are stripped away and all we have to rely on is ourself, THAT is wilderness and THAT is when we are forced to acknowledge God with us.
We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone, but if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. Walter Anderson
In this paradoxical reality of essence and form, of thought and action, despair and hope reside together. Passion is to suffer for joy. The passion of Christ was to suffer for the hope of humankind. This is Love. Love suffers because Love is vulnerable. But Love perseveres; Love never gives up, but endures all. Love stands in the tension of paradox and prevails. God is Love and we are made in God’s image. In the wilderness we are forced to remember who we are.
©Peggy Beatty 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
It is the human creative agony,
Though but to hold an empty cup
Or tighten on the team the rigid rein.
Many will rather lie among the slain
Than creep through narrow ways the light to gain--
Than wake the will, and be born bitterly.
But he who would be born again indeed,
Must wake his soul unnumbered times a day,
And urge himself to life with holy greed;
Now ope his bosom to the Wind's free play;
And now, with patience forceful hard, lie still,
Submiss and ready to the making will,
Athirst and empty, for God's breath to fill.
From Diary of an Old Soul, by George MacDonald
I encountered this poem while reading the Sacred Romance, by John Eldrige and Brent Curtis, years ago. It was in that book study that my mind realized religion was about emotionality and not just a literal dogma one had to accept or reject. And I wondered, why this was never made clear to me before. I have always been inuitive, always spiritual, but not always able to understand the "heart" in religious story. I was in my 30s at that time. Good heavens, why did it take so long for religion to speak to my heart?! I have vowed now to try to speak very clearly to other's hearts about the deep truth of religious story and practice. Some are not ready to hear what I have to say. But I have found that the younger people are when they hear me, the more readily they understand; the more "ope and ready for the Wind's free play." Perhaps it is because they are still hopeful, still objective, still open to new ways of thinking and being. Still full of wonder.
Listen to this paragraph from the book, the Sacred Romance: We all, to some extent, take that shining something in us that felt magical and passionate as children, that longing for heart intimacy and push it through the loneliness, ache, and turmoil of life - through various stages of disconnection and hardness to another abiding place: resignation.There is something inside of us that says, "This is the way it is. I had better learn to deal with it."
CS Lewis tell us: [Sacred love/romance] is not in other people, it comes through them. They are the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.