Saturday, January 27, 2007

On keeping on

When you think that your walk is profitless and a failure, and you can hardly persuade yourself not to return, it is on the point of being a success, for then you are in that subdued and knocking mood to which Nature never fails to open. - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Searchers - 2007

There seem to [be] two kinds of searchers: those who seek to make their ego something other than it is, i.e. holy, happy, unselfish (as though you could make a fish unfish), and those who understand that all such attempts are just gesticulation and play-acting, that there is only one thing that can be done, which is to disidentify themselves with the ego, by realizing its unreality, and by becoming aware of their eternal identity with pure being. -- Fingers Pointing Toward the Moon by Wei Wu Wei

I saw this quote today from Wei Wu Wei (I have no clue who that is...but it's worth investigating) via a site that feeds me daily Buddhist wisdom and thoughts. I had three thoughts:

1. I am guilty of searching for that Mt. Everest experience (MEE) when I meditate. MEE is a feeling that doesn't come along very often, but it's a moment of supreme awareness, when I detect energy in and around me that is of another world. MEE is a glorious moment of resting in the now. (Come to think of it, perhaps MEE is very ordinary -- but unrecognizable for most of my 16 hours of daily consciousness.) This is my ego-seeking that Wei Wu Wei talks about in the above quote.

As a Catholic, I have had plenty of practice summoning up the bravery to confess. So, I confess that I search for a glorified ego. And I must also confess, it occurs to me that, by confessing this, am I not still searching for a glorified ego?

2. I am not always guilty of seeking star-status through attaining a MEE during meditation. Sometimes I can grasp some mindfulness to remember to accept what is -- as simply that, nothing more, nothing less. I'm happy to say that I can sometimes remember this as I sit in Vipassana, and then it is possible to simply be and allow. Attaining a fleeting moment of enlightenment is no more virtuous than moments of distraction...moments of bravely refocusing on breath...moments of listening...and of feeling. There is something very beautiful in acceptance of all that arises. Yes?

3. My third thought? "The Searchers," the 1956 western starring John Wayne. It's a masterpiece, and I highly recommend seeing it. I like it because of its glorious color, the majestic scenes of the western United States, the story line...and a little known fact that associates Buddy Holly with the movie. In the picture, John Wayne, in his tough, dry if to match the searing landscape...utters this line: "That'll be The Day." In a smoky movie theater in Texas sat Buddy Holly, listening. The next year, '57, "That'll be The Day" shot to No. 1 on the charts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Doomsday Clock -- Help Turn it Back

The folks who keep the metaphorical "Doomsday Clock" recently moved the minute hand two minutes closer to midnight -- that is, the destruction of civilization. Now we've only got five minutes left. Seems that they've added global warming to our self-destruct mechanism, along with the growing nuclear threat.

When I read about this scary development, I immediately began thinking about what I'd do if I knew we really only had five minutes left to exist. I came up with a few -- and they involve sex and booze
and God.

But then I thought that I'd rather live...and it'd be better for me to take those five minutes and meditate every day.

I truly believe that if, every day, we meditate or pray or just sit still for five minutes (alright -- six, four, three, two...whatever), we could save the world.

To read how inner calmness can save the planet, and to check out what debauchery I'd engage in if a mushroom cloud was about to erupt, read my latest United Press International commentary.

Oh, and don't forget to give me your top five end-of-the-world activities!

Tick, tick, tick...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Self-love first

Are you brave enough to give your compassion when you see suffering -- like Jesus did when he saved the adulterous woman from stoning...or when he healed on the Sabbath, drawing the wrath of the high priests?

Yes, it takes bravery to step out of ourselves and help others...not just ignore their plight. And I think it takes the same kind of bravery to give compassion to ourselves when we're hurting -- because it involves taking an honest look at our emotional pain...being with it.

Please read my latest United Press International column at the link below, and let me know your views.

Self-love first

And while you're reading, here's a question to think about: When do you feel the most compassionate?