Friday, September 4, 2015

Lawn Sprinkler

The soul is like a lawn of grass.  Prayer is the water that sprinkles it.  We have a sprinkler system at our house in Boulder.  One of the sprinkler heads is out of commission.  The grass in that area has gone brown.  I reminds me of my need to pray on a daily basis.  My soul cannot survive without the watering of prayer.  I have to water my soul each day, early in the morning and again later in the day or in the evening.  Meditation is my sprinkler system and it is not on automatic.  No timer.  It is driven by willpower.  Sometimes my willpower is out of commission.  Then I dry up.  Then I pray out of desperation.  I try to keep my will power in good order, but I sometimes get "busy," or very important.  I have to do a lot of stuff.  I have my checkoff list.  Somehow prayer gets dropped from the list.  It is best not to have delusions of self-importance.  It makes for a better prayer life, and I am actually more functional for those around me when I water my soul.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jeremiah

There was this Old Testament prophet who warned the people that it was not enough to have faith in the correct God.  They actually had to do something.  Jeremiah said that they had to show mercy and justice.  This reminds me of Pope Francis who is not very popular with a few of the Vatican Cardinals and bishops.  Seems in Jeremiah's time there was a yawning gap between the rich and the poor.  Sound like anything we hear today?  I find that a lot of us have orthodox belief and worship on the Sabbath, but are not much for the action that Francis and ole Jeremiah calls for.  Jeremiah did not have too many friends and even had to go underground for awhile.  Sure enough, Jeremiah lived to see the Temple destroyed and Jerusalem burned down.  Stuff happens when all you have is catechism faith and worship.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Primary Purpose

Jesus knew that money and buildings would divert his followers from the message about the kingdom and how to avail ourselves of this kingdom in transformation.  A fellow named Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, also got this wisdom.  Unfortunately, my church did not quite hang on to the Jesus wisdom.  We got big into money and buildings.  This is one of the reasons that a lot of hierarchs are focused on money, property and prestige.  Bill Wilson, a spiritual neophyte, got it right.  The Sixth Tradition of AA states: An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.  Such wisdom, and it came from a drunk.  Sometimes AA acts more like a spiritual program than does my church!  Ironically, AA rents space from church buildings.  I hope those recovering drunks remember that the next time someone dumps on Christianity.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thoughts

Most bad behavior begins with a thought.  I may be going along just fine and serene and suddenly, something happens.  I have a thought about it.  I don't like what just happened for whatever reason or maybe no reason at all.  If I am going to continue with my good day, I note the thought but don't act on it.  Usually, I act on it.  I complain, whine, get angry and/or gossip.  Sometimes, nothing at all seems to be happening out there in my world, but I still have a thought, seemingly from nowhere.  It is probably from some childhood trauma or past event about which I have forgotten.  But something in me has not forgotten.  Anyway, the thought seems inviting.  To continue with my good day, I have to note the thought as a trick or temptation that looks good but is not.  Then do some things to get rid of it or at least its power to control my actions.  At times, being weak, I entertain the thought.  I got no chance to resist at this point.  I have learned to not be alone when dissembling thoughts come to mind.  Pray or call someone.  Anyway, it works for me.  My guess is that a lot of unhelpful thoughts come as a signal of feeling lonely.  Just a guess.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Car Wash

I think of meditation as akin to taking the car to a car wash.  You have to take the some place that washes cars and then know what you want to get.  Once you get inside the car wash, you sit there, do nothing and let the machines do what they do.  Follow directions.  In meditation, I have to go t some spot or place that is conducive for my goal, to meditate.  When I get to my spot, chair or whatever, I sit and let God do what God wants to do.  My action is all in stopping whatever I am doing and moving myself into a meditation ambiance.  God does the rest.  If I were to get out of the car inside the car wash and start to do it myself, there would be a big mess.  Don't do God's job.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

We Stink

My sister Maureen used to say to me that when I had something that I did not earn, and then did not appreciate it, "You Stink!"  I did not literally smell, but I was practicing bad behavior that showed non-appreciation of the "gift."  Toys were a gift, but I did not take care of them, or appreciate what I had.  "You Stink," was Maureen's way of cursing.  She is the only good Catholic I know who I believe is in purgatory.  But I digress.  In the Bible there is a story, a parable Jesus tells, where a fellow is invited to a wedding.  He was a fellow hanging around on the streets, not bathed, and never invited to any wedding.  He now gets a chance for a great meal to fill his empty belly.  Everyone invited had to be rid of their smelly street clothes and put on a clean wedding garment.  Everyone else did.  This fellow could not be bothered.  The King greeted him as "friend."  This guy never had it so good, but he could not give any answer as to why he did not do this simple thing that all the others did.  Put on a clean wedding garment.  He stinks.  So he got thrown out into the streets bound hand and foot in the dark.  His life is going downhill.  Being thoughtless, self-imploded or unappreciative is likely to do that.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Not That Bad

When people tell me that they are a little worried about their behavior, I try not to make them feel better by saying, "Oh, you are not that bad."  They might get worse.  If they feel that they are developing a bad, unhealthy or self-abusive habit, it will only get worse, never better.  It is the nature of bad habits.  The first step in ceasing a worrisome habit is to admit that you cannot stop on your own.  This is ego deflating and humiliating or at least humbling.  If I tell you that you are not all that bad, it pumps up your ego to think you still got things under control with a bit more effort, will power or whatever.  I am not in the "making you feel better" business.  Transformation is never down that road.