This Bitter Cup II

•03/02/2013 • Leave a Comment

God did not respond to Jesus when in the garden he pleaded that his Father remove from his mind the deeply set image of the suffering of man. It was not that God would not intervene, but that God does not. To do so is to limit the absolute, unmitigated freedom of his creations, of his children – of Jesus’ freedom as an unrestricted being within eternity.

Jesus already knew this. Yet, being a brother to every human, he lamented all the same. Thus, the image of suffering remained, even to the point upon the cross wherein it is purported that Jesus begged to understand why his Father had forsaken him. Then, in a shining moment, he understood. The image was there because Jesus, himself, had placed it there, believed in it, nurtured it, responded to it and, now, had grown beyond it. Through sweat stained eyes, swollen to slits, he looked upon the murderous throng, smiled in his heart, then offered his final sermon, “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.” What goes unspoken to this day are the last two words of that infamous sermon, ” . . . to themselves.”

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Enduring

•12/30/2012 • Leave a Comment

Still here.

The world did not end on 12/21/12. Nor on 12/22/12.

It did not end.

Still here.

A mixed blessing, perhaps. Now I must do all that I had projected to do, attempting to follow His guidance along the way, being willing to dodge and shift with His direction, serving in a world not my own.

A world my own. How I wish I really knew what that meant. It is said that such a world is indescribable, hence no picture of it can be made or shared. Thus, from here, such a world has little meaning; that is, little incentive. I can only imagine this world as not being painful or demanding. Then again, should I choose peace at every instant, irregardless of circumstance, indeed, the world is neither painful nor demanding. I recognize this as the final truth. But am I a blinded smiling idiot, to stand amidst the squall with a subtle smile upon my face? Am I to maintain a simpleton countenance as the world crumbles around me? Surely this is not the impression I am to get from the Course axiom, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?”

eruption.jpgTo be anything but peaceful, though, is to welcome suffering. It is one thing to endure suffering for the sake of realizing its reciprocate. It is another thing to suffer blindly. It is another thing, still, to suffer and act as though it is a satisfying experience. The doofus smile of peace while being wrenched and wrung simply impresses me as being little more than dumb.

This, yet, I know it must be true. It is the middle way. To shriek and moan during the deluge is to invite darkness. To find exhilaration in the same is to rejoice in disaster. The middle way finds a detached peace; deluge, darkness or disaster – making, perhaps, or as the Course saw states, making these verbose events as false in the mind as they are in the world.

This must be the upcoming year for me. There is much that has befallen me. This includes many blessings as well. Mostly blessings, as I dwell upon of it. And as the world I imagine shifts under a long-warranted sea change, I must stay with my peace. For it is my purpose to give this peace away at every instant, at every turn. If I am to have it, I must share. And I cannot share what I do not have.

Yet, I do have it. Peace is my base. It is my foundation. It is the well from which I’m sprung. It is the fountainhead whose waters spill over to flood and cleanse darkness from the heart of the world.

Though I toil in a garden and wrestle in a shop, though I tussle with an often errant child, both myself and my son, and the whole of this jagged world threatens to cut and bruise, when the upheavals break from out of the barren, heaving ground, I will see in them the wonder, the sustenance . . . peace. And I will hand it over gladly knowing the more I give, the more will appear, despite its form or flavor.

Thank you Holy Spirit,
For not abandoning me,
In my darkened hour.

Sunset Breathlessness

•10/16/2012 • Leave a Comment

Twas the most pure sunset last Sunday evening at the park-n-bark. Not a particle of haze in the sky to sully the golden blaze of sun that slowly dipped into the tree line about a half mile from my vantage point at the top of a set of long rolling, deeply green hills.

More than once, as I gazed at the beauty, I found myself catching my breath, gasping for some measure of understanding as to how this sight could be so stunning, so mesmerizing, so wondrous!

Holy Spirit bursts forth from just such scenery. I think He lies in wait for someone like myself, in the right place, at precisely the perfect and most holy instant, to pop out and surprise, arresting one’s processes and forcing him to stand silent and take stock. It is a deliberate connecting. Deliberate and lasting. It will stay with me. As will He.

Atta Boy!

•09/16/2012 • Leave a Comment

Amidst conversation during a recent award luncheon in Nashville, Calvin, my boss’s boss, questioned me as to where I hailed from. I told him that I was from Memphis then asked him why his curiosity. Kim, my boss, joined him in the pronouncement of his suspicions that I was from elsewhere because I was too laid back for Memphis. I stated that I was once considered by a friend to be a “California” type personality. They agreed.

Yet, considering it further, I have arrived at a much better answer. Thanks to my practicing the Course, in whatever small capacity I do, I tend to live more in my faith than in some plan, and forgive more readily than condemn.

Don’t be mistaken. I’ve still plenty of issues. But, I must also take stock of my comrade’s noticing as, perhaps, Holy Spirit offering a gentle pat on the back. I can teach peace while learning peace.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the encouragement. And thank you, too, Kim and Calvin for being open enough to be urged to speak His Word.

All Is Well

•08/25/2012 • Leave a Comment

Conflict is born of the misbegotten belief that something has gone wrong.

Jesus’ Final Sermon

•03/10/2012 • Leave a Comment

Bleeding to death, broken and hanging from a splinter-laden wooden cross, Jesus delivered his final sermon. Terse and to the point, but all-encompassing in its splendorous revelation, it tells the whole story of humanity while also supplying the antidote to all human suffering.

“Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Lost amid self-loathing and bitter resentment, striking out so as to purge the constant pain of living, of surviving; coveting power in an futile attempt to prevent self-suffering and death, most people of that time were oblivious to fact that the horrors they experienced were endemic to the patterns of their thoughts, manifest through a constant fear of loss, and indicative of their insistence on being divorced from themselves and from their unity in Spirit. Oblivious. They did not know.

Still do they not know. Thus each is sacrificed unnecessarily, personally crucified within one’s own being. Peace and love, whose dominance could proliferate, on earth, as it is in heaven, is but a moments acknowledgment away. It lies in forgiveness. To acknowledge one’s rightful place within the heart of the Father, within Spirit, as Spirit; a whole, complete, undivided, graceful, beloved Child of God; acknowledgement – Atonement – is the essence of forgiveness.

Christ, Jesus arisen, as our ever-constant internal guide, by whatever name you give Him, awaits to celebrate in the following final agreement with Spirit.

“Father, we thank you. We know now ourselves within you!”

My Life Is A Listening

•02/07/2012 • Leave a Comment

In a chapter wherein he describes the value and benefits of inner silence, Thomas Merton, in his meditative Thoughts in Solitude, speaks of his underlying goal to become truly quiet so that he might hear, not the continual clatter and chiding of the mind’s ceaseless needling, but rather, the guidance of God. To get to this inner place, he invokes a renewed view of his life.

“My life is a listening,” he reveals, “His is a speaking.”Thomas Merton

According to this invocation, Merton is able to dispel the constant inner nagging that plagues the soul and drives the body to weariness, thereafter finding himself standing free within the heart of God, ready to see and live Truth.

For my part, I, too, have discovered that not one thought I offer truly serves. To think one thing, according to my mental addiction of thence generating impression after impression after impression, attempting to solve some convoluted problem that likely does not even exist, is to elicit its opposite. Then there is but inner conflict that goes unresolved, producing nothing beyond inner turmoil.

The only thing worth seeking is peace. Not fulfillment. Not satisfaction. Neither thrill nor dullardness offers peace. The only way to peace is love. Love, as corroborated in Merton’s essay, in fact, in his experience, is found in silence.

My thoughts, however, do not know love. They are mine. Being mine, these thoughts are separated from God’s thoughts. Being mine, they lead only away from God and into fear, the only thing that seems to exist divorced from God. Thus, the move away from God brings only emptiness, only heartache. I may attempt to cover it over with thrill or dullardness. But never does this invoke peace.

So, perhaps it is best I do not think. Rather, I might vow to seek and master silence. Perhaps then my life, too, will become a listening. Listening, that is, to God’s thoughts, which are never heard amidst my own convolved imaginings.

God is peace. God is love. To know God is to know sweet silence.