I was urged to post anything here. By our host. And I’m taking him at his word. Plus, this post has come into existence in large part due to his words. It’s a crosspost:
Nailed to the Sacrament of the Present Moment
This blog is following allusions. Taking side turns to consider turns of phrase and words that provided linkages from one thing to another, thus gradually deepening understanding of all of them. Thus the circuitous route I am taking in tackling these subjects here.
Allusions to the title above: I got the idea for this title from Pima Chödrön because of a comment by another trope, which was very helpful. So I took the book off my shelf and started to read. Pretty soon she mentioned, with regard to insight meditation (being aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, while accepting them), the words: “nailed to the present moment”. That set off a lot of thoughts for me: One blog. Now this one. Nailed, of course, made me think of Jesus. The cross. Suffering. Redemption. Lifting up, as prayer. And the words “present moment” reminded me of a French spiritual writer, a very helpful one actually, whose book, published long after his death I think, is called: Sacrament of the Present Moment. That title relates to the genesis of my new blogs and the reason for this post. Sacrament. Priesthood of the Faithful. Our task in order to grow into that priesthood.
First, let me say right here and now how much I love Buddhism. And how much I revere the Buddha. Eastern traditions, and that includes the Orthodox, have long delved into the psychology of the spiritual path. They’ve nailed it! In my book. Indeed the part of the early church that most interests me is the church that developed in northwestern Iraq. Yes! Where East meets West. Lots of similarities in some ways between insight meditation and what the Orthodox call “guarding the heart”. It’s practically the same thing – to me. Though I find the word “guarding” to be a mistranslation. Or maybe I’ve been too much influenced by Buddhism. To be honest my interest in Buddhism seems never to have dissuaded God from radically breaking into my life. So I take that as a comfort. Unless the inbreakings have some other meaning… which I am missing.
Just like about everybody else on this planet, I am at the very least thoroughly disgusted by Pastor Terry Jones and his followers. Now there seems to another in Tennessee who thinks burning Korans is an idea whose time has come. I have to remind myself that these whackjobs don’t represent our country, or even the region in which they live. Yet for every one that actually carries out or talks about carrying out such hatred, there are probably another six or seven, if not more, who feel exactly the same way.
In the performance of Swimming to Cambodia, Spaulding Grey discusses the conditions and events that led to descending of the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge upon the people of Cambodia. Spaulding ends the scene with this:
So five years of bombing, a diet of bark, bugs, lizards and leaves up in the Cambodian jungles, an education in Paris environs in a strict Maoist doctrine with a touch of Rousseau, and other things that we will probably never know about in our lifetime. Including perhaps an invisible cloud of evil that circles the Earth and lands at random in places like Iran, Beirut, Germany, Cambodia, America, set the Khmer Rouge out to commit the worst auto-homeo genocide in modern history.
It would seem that we in the U.S. has had that invisible cloud of evil land here, stirring up religious bigotry and racial hatreds that were just beneath the surface.
From today’s Huffington Post comes a very thoughtful piece by Deepak Chopra on the way our country perceives Islam. The poll numbers he cites are upsetting, to say the least.
But it his closing statement that gave me much to ponder today: “…emotions cannot be entirely separated from reason. So our duty isn’t to join right think — however abhorrent wrong think is — but to be self-aware and honest. Being able to hold mixed feelings at the same time is known as the capacity for ambivalence. Mature people have this ability; immature people don’t. Self-aware people speak openly about their ambivalence; people who prefer to be unconscious hide their prejudices until it is safe enough to haul them out. Which camp you belong to is your choice.”
From the book on Islam that Hesham A. Hassaballa co-authored, there is this line, describing Muhammad, “In the eyes of Muslims the Prophet’s life exemplifies a combination of qualities that include sanctity, wisdom, faith, integrity, strength, justice, generosity, magnanimity, nobility, humanity, and modesty.”
What are Americans so afraid of?