Friday, November 20, 2015

Intimacy. Identity. Life is Sacred Relationship - Love Yourself In Order to Love Others

Lee Kerttu
More thoughts on the Daily Meditation from Fr Rohr today, on the 12-Step program. 

Father Rohr's meditation refers to this step:

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Having had experience with addiction, I can say with all certainty: addiction is always related to an unmet need for love - not from others, from yourself. Remember, when we say "love" we refer in a deep, emotional way, to RELATIONSHIP. 

Addicts, whether blatant substance abuse, sex, gambling, etc., or more subtle, critical, negative, judgmental, distracted, anxious, or otherwise at the mercy of the ego and emotions, all fall seriously into the first category of "Why we suffer" per Buddhist reasoning:

We do not know who we are.

We cannot give our self what we need if we do not know who we are. BEING balanced and peaceful within, being in "union with God," is primary to DOING balanced and peaceful or unitive. I cannot stress how subtle and continuous this work is!

Rohr makes 2 statements in his meditation today that I find ultimately important:

"...addiction emerges out of a lack of inner experience of intimacy with oneself, with God, with life, and with the moment."

"If something is really working for you, then less and less will be required to satisfy you."

Knowing who you are is more than taking a moral inventory. Its making the realization that YOU ARE/HAVE ALL YOU THINK YOU NEED and living into that truth. 

You may like the notion that you are partnered with a Higher Power in this case. It certainly helps to believe so. In fact, it is this relationship that is the foundation for all others. This trust, this confidence, this forgiveness, this compassion - self love lays the groundwork for all our outward expressions of love. So, as Mother Teresa's beautiful prayer says, "In the end, its between you and God." Its always only between you and God. The real, true, authentic you (not the one you are hiding or denying) and God. If you get that part right, everything else seems to fall into place, just as Rohr implies in the second quote above.

Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The first statement in Matthew's quote is about loving yourself or, in others words, loving yourself through a deep, continuously cultivated spiritual relationship with your higher power, whatever name that goes by.

Here is Fr Rohr's second meditation on the 12 Step Program and Intimacy: Experiencing Intimacy

May you realize now that you are a perfect child of the Sacred Universe. "no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here." (Desiderata) May you know yourself as LOVE, the most sacred relationship of life - whole and wisely balanced within, giving expression to whole and wisely balanced without. This is the example of Jesus the Christ, the enlightened one. This is the example of Buddha, the awakened one...and all the wise ones who impart their stories to us so that we may grow into possibility and potential. So that we may "Go placidly amid the noise and haste..." (Desiderata)
Anna Valle

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Emotional Maturity….The Practical Kingdom of God Within Us

This blog is a response to the excellent Daily Meditation on Emotional Sobriety

and the 12-Step Program offered today by Fr Richard Rohr. He refers to the 11th step.

Step 11
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Emotional maturity needs to be learned. I am not talking about having a bit of restraint, I am talking about quieting that inner critic, letting go of the niggling fear and anxiety about stuff, changing the perception from a glass half empty to a glass half full, moving beyond the need to control everything and everyone in your life, reducing your reactivity to cultivated responsiveness. Do you know that psychologists use meditation in therapy? Some use spiritual direction also as a nonjudgmental method of reflecting you to yourself. Here is why.

Religion is all about re-ligare, “binding back” to your highest (best) self we call “God.” Religion uses ritual and liturgy and practice of prayer to encourage you to be aware of the Spirit of Love that integrates the Mind- body on the very levels (see programs for happiness) that Fr Rohr describes below. Before there was psychology, there was religious practice. But the goals are the same: a healthy, balanced, integrated mind body; a subtly aware, emotionally mature individual, who is balanced and fair to herself and to others.  This is Union with God. This is the Kingdom of God within you.  We cannot help someone else be any more emotionally mature than we are, in the same way we can’t teach concepts that we don’t know our self. We must be the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi). This is where it begins….with “me.”

The 11th step on the 12 step program is important for all of us! We are all “addicted” to our entitlement to be negative and judgmental, to our pain and anxiety, to our “suffering” as Buddha would say. We are blindly addicted to our immature emotionality. And it takes a long gentle process of waking up and being with our self to heal. We would often rather suffer, leaving things as they are (certain and predictable), than change! That’s addiction.

The way we feel and act follows the evolution of the human brain. So here is Rohr’s explanation from a scientific/evolutionary perspective, simplified: Our reactions result from our primitive needs for: 1. survival/safety (oldest part of the brain – reptilian) 2. power and control (next oldest part of brain – limbic-frontal cortex) 3. esteem/ affection (Frontal cortex – limbic). Check out the graphic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This developmental process not only takes place across humanity, but it is the way we each develop as individuals. The body responds with sympathetic flight/fright first (vagal tone), then the emotions follow reactively, and finally, our mind becomes aware of the situation and either reacts or holds. The rational mind is the last to kick in! This is why we need to cultivate a delay and a more subtle awareness between the mind and body. The body physiology “remembers” responses we needed when we were more primitive and the mind – capable of objectivity – must mature into a capable, skillful master of compassion. That is emotional maturity. Not denying or repressing your emotions, but learning to be gentle with them so that you can also be gentle toward others’.

Meditative prayer is the time-tested way to hold space – indeed, it anatomically and physiologically changes the brain wiring and neurotransmitting to downplay emotional and egoic reactivity and stimulate skillful rationale. The answer has been right in front of us all this time. We must learn to BE with ourselves. We must learn to be Mary and not so much Martha. We must learn to Be Still and Know that we are. What are we? Made in the image of God, vessels of the Kingdom, Love incarnate. We can only know who we are if we are quiet enough to listen to our selves.

For the excellent blog that spurred my thoughts read Fr Richard Rohr's November 19, 2015 Daily Meditation Emotional Sobriety by Fr Richard Rohr  

I leave you with the message in this meme - I cannot state it any better than that!! Love and peace to all of you!!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Energy of Prayer and Mindsight

Sometimes when prayers are not answered we hear, “It’s the will of God.” In Buddhism, the “will of God” is identical to the “retribution of karma.” Cause and effect is real, but sometimes the effect doesn’t seem to reflect the cause. If prayer cannot change these apparently wrong circumstances, then why pray?

Let’s consider what we think of as reality. Our physical reality is impermanent. All religions, and science as well, attest to the fragile and fleeting, temporary nature of the physical universe. Matter, and everything concerning matter, from carefully constructed mental plans to the lives of the stars, is constantly changing from its current energy state to another; from what our eye construes as solid to dissipated energy. The physicists notion of atomic particles is just a representation of a particular behavior of energy. The only thing that is the same, changing and unchanging simultaneously, is energy, always. So what if we deal with prayer on an energetic level? How does that look?

The mind is not the same as the brain. The mind (subject) is a regulator for the flow of energy and information (energy with meaning). (1) The brain (object), including all nervous systems, autonomic and central, is like a transistor. The brain is also essentially energy, but we can see it, unlike the mind. The brain is system of cells and pathways that carry, amplify and integrate the minds attention. Psychiatrist, neuro-researcher, and author of the Mindsight concept books, Dan Siegle defines mind as, “an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” (1) The mind is in dynamic relationship with the brain. What the mind focuses attention on literally changes the neural pathways of the brain. So, as we look at a person or object or have a thought, our embodied energy and information regulator (mind) is in dynamic relationship with the flow of universal energy (all energies we produce and encounter) in each and every moment. The way we train our attention to our relationship with,

1. our own thoughts and emotions and,
2. their relationship with worldly energies

determines the way we wire and rewire our neural pathways.

The process of prayer, or mindful meditation, or contemplation (the deep and repeated observance of an object) directs energies in ways that create and embed neural circuitry directed toward the attributes of the object. The object our mind creates. If we pray to God, our brain wires toward the attributes we ascribe to Godliness. But we don’t have to pray TO anyone, because what we are really asking for is to embody and express the attributes of such Divinity. And, truly, we are already Divine. Divinity is, like an atomic particle, a representation that we give to a particular notion of information (energy with meaning). We are "made in the image of God." Full of Godly possibility! So, always keep an open mind. As we allow this mental regulator of the flow of energy and information to be aware without attachment and bias, unity becomes the organic nature of our perception.

The relationship between the one who creates and the created are one and the same, the subject (mind) creates the object (God) and the object (God) creates the subject (mind). Stated another way, the artist creates the art, but the art creates the artist. The creator and the created are in dynamic relationship. Each is changed toward a new expression of what they are by the other. In reality, there is no separation. The only reality is in both subject and object.

This is clearly stated in the following scripture:
John 17:20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, The Energy of Prayer, states, “We and God are not two separate existences; therefore the will of God is also our own will. If we want to change, then God will not stop us from changing…. The energy of mindfulness is a real energy, and whenever energy is applied there is a change.

When we sit down to practice unifying our body and mind [through prayer], and we bring our energy of love to our grandmother, to an elder sister, or a younger brother, then we are producing a new energy. That energy immediately opens our heart. When we have the nectar of compassion and have established communication between the one who is praying and the one being prayed to, then the distance between us does not have any meaning. This connection can’t be estimated or described in words; time and space cannot present any obstacles.

In prayer, the electric current [energy] is love, mindfulness and right concentration. Mindfulness is the real presence of our body and our mind, directed toward one point, the present moment. When you have this, you have concentration that leads to prajna, Sanskrit for insight and transcendent wisdom. Without that, our prayer is just superstition.” (2)

The benefits of prayer/meditation are well-documented over many years of study. With the advent of neuroimaging and advanced EEG technologies, we are able to locate activity associated with certain behaviors in the brain and measure subtle changes in activity resulting from external stimuli. Most importantly, we are learning that interdisciplinary collaboration and study massively increases our understanding of the human mind-body experience.

May your mind-body experience be expanded and enhanced by the reading of this article. May your prayer open your mind to the beautiful Divinity of Life and lead you forward with wisdom and compassion for the world.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus


  1. Dan Siegle, Practicing Mindsight, (Sounds True, Boulder, 2015).
  2. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Energy of Prayer, (Parallax Press, Berkley, 2006)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Unified Field Theory and Oneness

Physicists and Oneness~

Have I piqued your interest with the sexy words, "Unified Field Theory?" Good! Then lets talk about the way things are, and have been for a long, long time...and all our sacred texts tell us about it! The key to "getting it" is changing your perception.

Let me re-emphasize this at the get-go: this is not new. This is not secret. The seeming convergence of quantum physics and spiritual subjectivity only allows us to realize what has been said in different ways by different human cultures, many, many times before. Listen with open mind and heart. "Let those who hear, let them hear," says Jesus repeatedly in the Gospels. Even the Old Testament the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10) writes: 

"You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears."

In fact, these will be the words of any prophet you read/hear, because a prophet (or intuitively-biased person) can perceive many meanings in one idea/circumstance. This is "seeing" with the third eye - the ajna chakra, the mind of Christ, enlightened, nondual perceiving. All humans use this inner intuition daily, but most are unaware of it. On the Myers-Briggs Personality Types Inventory, only 27% of the population is biased toward intuition, which means only 27% of us use intuition as our primary perceiving mechanism. Seventy-three percent of us use our outward sensing capabilities (these include sight, hearing etc., and logical, analytical thinking) in a more primary way than our intuition.

So moving on, with this quote from physicist, Lothar Schafer's  in mind (from the video below)...

"Unified field theory proves everything is interdependent. If you harm another, you harm yourself." Lothar Schafer

Photosynthesis and O2 respiration are an example of co-dependence. We dont really have to understand nonlocal particle physics to know it, although the notion that there would be no form (particles) without the reality of formlessness (waves/potential) is well-understood through quantum understanding.
What we should know, however, is this: Co-dependence of life on ALL levels has been understood (perhaps not quantified) from ancient times. All religions speak about our interdependence and Oneness.
The concept of Trinity celebrates this paradigm. Buddhists have been talking about co-dependent arising for millenia. Many Eastern religions practice ahimsa - cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings - including all animals - according to Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism.
Yet, in the materiaiistic West, we have been encultured right out of touch with this way of thinking. This is a sociololgical fact. The advent of discrete disciplines: science, philosophy, theology, linguisitics etc during the late 18thC encouraged our mechanistic and separationist worldveiw.
However, it is still within us, this ancient is the way humans used to use the mind. A former, more holistic awareness of our subjective AND objective experience. And, as Dr Schafer states here, when I know you and I are one and the same, morality is common sense: what I do to you, I do to myself. That is the [ancient] golden rule.

Treat others as you would treat yourself. Learn to treat yourself with honesty and compassion and you will express that in the world. Ancient wisdom. Science, philosophy, religion....all understand this and have for a very long time.
But each of us hears, sees, learns, understands, believes what we want to believe, see, hear, understand. Perception is everything! Open your filters. Listen to others, but dont believe everything you hear. If it expands your ideas or is outside of your box - allow it, but hold it. If it diminishes your ideas or feels like a box, let it GO! Stay open, stay supple, stay flexible with your mind. Be what you want to see in the world...if its more love, then be more loving, if its more peace, then be more peaceful. You will have to make sacrifices - of pride, of time, of power, of control, of takes work to be humble but maintain integrity. Ask the trees about that this time of year.
Anyway, as Ghandi said, "Be the Change."
Change what you want to love and unity. Change how you roll to generosity and compassion. Change who you think you are to humility and patience and tolerance and mercy. Change your need to be right to a bigger need to be kind. Unity is about similarities, not differences. Differences are so beautiful when they are expressions of unity, but they can cause mighty conflict when we oppose them and give them power by status.
We are one. Our pain, our gain, our lives....ONE, sacred LIFE. Treat each other the way you want to be treated. And work on treating yourself well first.

With love, _/\_Peggy @ @ecumenicus

Friday, November 6, 2015

Metanoia, Mindfulness and The Universe in a Table

COOL Lake Design

The Latin translation of the Greek, metanoeō/μετανοέω (metanoia) to poenitentiam agite.(repentance) during the 2nd century lent an unfortunate tone of remorse or contrition to the word, vastly misinterpreting its original intent. In fact, the Greek, metanoia, metá, meaning "beyond" or "after" and noeō,” meaning "perception" or "understanding" or "mind," is a change of holistic perception.

In biblical Greek, metanoeō/μετανοέω and metanoia/μετάνοια signify a "change of Mind, a change in the trend and action of the whole inner nature, intellectual, affectional and moral." This meaning of metanoia as a "transmutation" of consciousness is even in contrast to classical Greek in which the word expressed a superficial change of mind. (1) It was in its use in the New Testament and in writings grounded in the New Testament that the depth of metanoia increased until it came "to express that mighty change in mind, heart, and life wrought by the Spirit of God." (2)

This kind of perception change, or expanding awareness, can be most readily attained through contemplation, the lingering observation of an object or action that allows for all subjective possibility to inform objective discernment. It is important to remember that perception is always changing, consciousness is fluid, with ideas and thoughts full of meaning and understanding emerging and fading constantly. Experiencing this is encountering the nondual and interdependent nature of reality as yang and yin, as material and energetic, as formed and formless, as active and receptive...simultaneously.

Laura Spector Rustic Designs
From Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness (3) ~

Recall a simple and ancient truth: the subject of knowledge cannot exist independently from the object of knowledge. To see is to see something. To hear is to hear something.

The practitioner meditates on mind and, by so doing, is able to see the interdependence of the subject of knowledge and the object of knowledge. When we practice mindfulness of breath, then the knowledge of breath is mind. When we practice mindfulness of the body, then the knowledge of body is mind. When we practice mindfulness of objects outside ourselves, then the knowledge of these objects is also mind. Therefore the contemplation of the nature of interdependence of all objects is also the contemplation of the mind. Every object of the mind is itself mind. In Buddhism, we call the objects of mind the dharmas. Dharmas are usually grouped into five categories:

1. bodily and physical forms
2. feelings
3. perceptions
4. mental functionings
5. consciousness

These five categories are called the five aggregates. The fifth category, consciousness, however, contains all the other categories and is the basis of their existence. Contemplation on interdependence is a deep looking into all dharmas in order to pierce through to their real nature, in order to see them as part of the great body of reality and in order to see that the great body of reality is indivisible. It cannot be cut into pieces with separate existences of their own.

The first object of contemplation is our own person, the assembly of the five aggregates in ourselves. You contemplate right here and now on the five aggregates which make up yourself.

You are conscious of the presence of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental functionings, and consciousness. You observe these "objects" until you see that each of them has intimate connection with the world outside yourself: if the world did not exist then the assembly of the five aggregates could not exist either. Consider the example of a table. The table's existence is possible due to the existence of things which we might call "the non-table world": the forest where the wood grew and was cut, the carpenter, the iron ore which became the nails and screws, and countless other things which have relation to the table, the parents and ancestors of the carpenter, the sun and rain which made it possible for the trees to grow.

If you grasp the table's reality then you see that in the table itself are present all those things which we normally think of as the nontable world. If you took away any of those nontable elements and returned them to their sources-the nails back to the iron ore, the wood to the forest, the carpenter to his parents-the table would no longer exist.

Michael Dreeben

A person who looks at the table and can see the universe is a person who can see the way. You meditate on the assembly of the five aggregates in yourself in the same manner. You meditate on them until you are able to see the presence of the reality of one-ness in your own self, and can see that your own life and the life of the universe are one. If the five aggregates return to their sources, the self no longer exists. Each second, the world nourishes the five aggregates. The self is no different from the assembly of the five aggregates themselves. The assembly of the five aggregates plays, as well, a crucial role in the formation, creation, and destruction of all things in the universe.

Be Still and Know that I Am.  Be Still and Know. Be Still. Be.   This is the Way.

Blessings on the journey, Peggy @ Ecumenicus

1. Treadwell Walden, The Great Meaning of the Word Metanoia: Lost in the Old Version, Unrecovered in the New. (Thomas Whittaker, 1896) 4, 9.
2. Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Macmillan, 1880, 9th edition) 255-261.
3. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Trans. Mobi Ho (Beacon Press, 1975) 45-54.