Thursday, May 28, 2009

Expanding One's Horizon

In “Rain, Rain Go Away” I spoke of getting out of myself and turning outward toward others. When I do that the sense of who I am, the experience of self, does not go away. I do not get lost in that process at all.

I served in the Navy. When one is standing on the deck of a ship the horizon is seven miles away. As you climb up into the superstructure of the ship the horizon recedes farther and farther into the distance; the amount of the universe that is within the scope of your vision expands. At the top of the periscope sheers the horizon is twenty-two miles away and the area of your visible world has gone from 38 square miles to 380. You are no less aware of the ship beneath you, you are just more aware of the ocean upon which that ship rides.

That’s what getting out of one’s self is like. As my journey continued my sense of who I am grew to embrace an ever wider scope of my community; of everything, everyone, who “is” but is not “me.”

“No man is an island” indeed.

The needs of that community are no longer in conflict with my needs, even when those needs differ, because that community is part of me. When I put aside my wants for the good of my community I do not feel any sense of loss, for I am serving the needs of something of which I am a part. I can do that with a very real sense of peace.

Climb up and expand your world. Yes, there are some storm clouds on that expanding horizon, but there are some exciting new worlds to explore, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Important Words

words matterIn a segment regarding objections to President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, Keith Olbermann asked Dr. Whelan about the motives of the bishops who were voicing objection to the event.

"I think we have to be careful to pass judgement on the individuals who have spoken out," was the way he began his response.

A kind and thoughtful man, willing to listen to the words of another, not judgementally but with an open mind even in the midst of political discourse. Would that the arena of public debate contained more such men.

Words to live by in all aspects of daily life. "Be careful to pass judgement."

Friday, May 08, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain is a bad thing if you are having a parade or a picnic; it’s a good thing if you are a farmer. Reality is that rain is just rain; intrinsically neutral. The “good” and “bad” are value judgements that we apply to rain, and we apply those labels based on how rain affects us. The value, then, is on how the rain touches our self interest, not on the rain itself.

When I can look at life without looking through the lens of self interest then I am freed of the need to judge things as being good or bad.

Getting out of myself is central to what this journey is all about. Turning outward from self, toward others and toward a larger world. Being able to see things as being neither more nor less than life happening.

Discarding the need for judgement is a tangible and very real freedom. It simplifies my life. It leads me to see things differently. It helps me to accept things and to integrate those things into my life. It helps me to integrate my life into the greater sphere of life as a whole. Everything is life happening and that includes me; all part of life, all flowing in the same direction.

I am not going to try to convince you that the severe emphysema which I experience today is a good thing, nor the heart problem, nor the Parkinson’s Disease. These things are just “things,” though, they are life happening. They are not happening “to me.” They are happening globally and I am experiencing them; as are many other people. I am not alone.

The degree to which these things are “good” or “bad” is in part the degree to which they affect me and that, in significant measure, is something which is within my power to determine. To the degree which I can make that determination I will do so. As to those things which I cannot change, I will bear and be strengthened by them, because I can choose to do that.

In a larger sense the degree to which these things are “good” or “bad” is the degree to which they touch upon my self interest and when my vision is not clouded by the lens of self interest, then the terms simply have no meaning and I am freed from the need to even make that judgement.

And that, dear friends, is a truly liberating experience.

I'm Back

I'm not really sure why I have not been active on this blog for such a long while. It's not that I'm not thinking on subjects related to the journey, since I still meditate in a formal sense at least once daily, and informally throughout the day as much as ever. I guess, I have just sort of gotten caught up in other writing efforts and let this one slide. I'm going to try to be more attentive to writing thoughts on the Journey, although it still will not be particularly frequent.