Musing Thoughts: random concepts explored
I think personal integrity is the cornerstone requisite for fine human-hood! We are in integrity when we are compassionate and mindful; when we use our intellect, deductive reasoning and discernment to take actions on positions that reflect our world view and morality.
I believe there is an Essence within our mind, body, and spirit that knows when we are, and when we are not, in integrity. It is that still small voice, the one that whispers and reminds us of our innate wisdom.
I love the Hindu sentiment of Namaste: I bow and relate to the Divine within you from the Divine within me. It correlates nicely to the 1st Unitarian Universalist Principle of “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and the 7th Principle of “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
It's New Year's Eve, 2018, transitioning into a new calendar year and the realm of possibilities. It is a phenomena of sorts, this celebration of ringing in a new year with such fanfare! Even when we as a country are in challenging times, we agree that there is hope in the future 12 months ahead.
I wonder, what are you hopeful for?
In my New Year's Eve meditations I mused on what keeps humanity from living peacefully and in relative harmony with each other.
Several obvious points came forward, some of them ending with "ism" (racism, sexism), others ending with "phobia" (homophobia, Islamophobia), many relating to "centric" (self-centric, Ameri-centric, religio-centric, ethno-centric), but the one term that narrowed all of this down to a fine point is a belief in superiority or supremacy.
It is my opinion and observation that the most problematic human behavior, one that allows a person to believe them-self more deserving, viable, worthy, entitled, is a belief that they are superior to another, thereby giving them permission, justification, or contempt to exploit, belittle, and hold unfounded prejudices against another.
The balance to superiority is Mutuality. Think about that for a minute...
Synonyms for Mutuality are collaborative, collective, combined, common, communal, concerted, conjoint, conjunct, cooperative, multiple, pooled, public, shared, united (Merriam-Webster.com)
On New Years Eve, I set a energetic request in motion. Earlier in the day I created collaged cards and tacked them to the walls of the room where we were celebrating, in the four directions of North, East, South, West. At 8:50pm PST I invoked the corresponding seasons and elements (North, Winter, Earth; East, Spring, Air; South, Summer, Fire; West, Autumn, Water) along with further identifiers that would aid in my request that mutuality transform superiority in 2019.
Then, on the East Coast, 12am struck and the wave of celebration across the whole country began! Imagine all that energy erupting across the continent going towards mutuality! I did just that!!
I will keep my fingers on the pulse of what comes and will post it here as the year unfolds. May the people of Earth celebrate with collaboration, cooperation, shared and united ways of relating to each other.
Blessed be this possibility!
On FaceBook Posts
The following is copied and pasted from my FaceBook page. I am using one asterisk (*) to designate the initial post, two (**) for the replies, three (***) for replies to the reply with indentations that hopefully show the progression.
I am sharing these sentiments in an honest and forthright way, not because I agree or disagree with them but that I respect the differences and am willing to have differences reside side by side.
*What does “being in integrity” mean to you? How do you see yourself acting with integrity? And how does it feel? I am exploring integrity as a way of striving towards a true and sustainable peace on Earth. High ideals, I know!!
**To me it means being consistent and fair, treating all beings with the same love and kindness. The old saying "A rising tide lifts all boats" is a good motto for someone with integrity.
** I used to consider Integrity one of my values.
Now I see it as the container within which my (sometimes conflicting) values coexist, become meaningful and useful.
**Being in integrity, to me, means not acting out of selfishness. Doing what I know to be right, even when it is an unpopular course of action. Great question!
**Great Inquiry! Integrity to me is speaking my truth, staying true to my word, respecting agreements and boundaries, showing up and doing my best. Admitting when I am wrong with a willingness to grow from my mistakes. Choosing what is right for humanity rather than what is supportive of worldly gain. I feel like I could go on and on...
***Oh please do... loving these words.
*Is It possible to disagree with someone and not think that they are also wrong?
Is it possible to hold the opinion that someone else’s behavior is tremendously harmful and not criticize them for it?
How do we bridge differences when our differences are how we define ourselves?
Are we so attached to our identity that any cultural difference is perceived as a threat?
**As a Christian, my identity is defined by my faith not politics or opinions, so I think I am able to have intelligent discussion of differing opinions and still love the individual with whom I am speaking because I don’t place their identity in their opinions.
**I can’t help thinking someone is wrong when I believe that my opinion aligns logically with facts and theirs doesn’t. I can still listen respectfully if they respect me. If they don’t my commitment to nonviolent communication goes out the window. That’s the weather report about that for today. Tomorrow the climate may change for the better.
***Hmmmm...that is a very interesting statement. You can talk with someone you don't respect if they respect you . Did i get that right? What, in your opinion are the qualities that deserve respect when cultures are different? And what makes a culture?
****But I respect everyone. Their stupidity, ignorance, stubbornness, or lack of critical thinking may make me mad. I may not be comfortable talking to them. “Hate the sin and love the sinner.” I must still respect their inherent human worth. If we could but get to common ground we could communicate and agree to disagree, but ideologies prevent that from happening. Being human deserves respect, but respect doesn’t require me to be a victim to anyone, either.
**I wish I were better at it all. Right now FURY has a large voice in my world. And I am not contributing to greater peace, I am channeling the collective anger of all women abused and silenced. My voice is loud right now, not prone to structure, still blowing out the rusty pipes of my throat chakra to disrupt the culturally enforced silence of anger. I have a very developed sense around racism, fascism and gender injustice. What I am seeking is the right and effective use of my voice. And I just got to trust that my Kind Loving Heart will catch up and temper FURY. I deeply appreciate those of you who are currently able to love the person and not their dangerous opinions. I really do.
(Yep, IMO. Your mileage may vary...)
***Honesty is imperative.
On Transitions and
Rites of Passage
As I write, is am sitting at the Tara Home with a woman in hospice whom I have sat with for the past several months as she navigated her life into death. Today I sit with her spiritless body.
It is the Buddhist tradition to let the body reside for 3 full days so the Spirit can transition peacefully, unhurried or bothered. We, the volunteers of Tara Home, agree to participate in this tradition.
Sitting with her now is as tender as sitting with her through her pain, her sleep, her wakeful and restless moments. It is still a time for prayer, to sing to her and recite scripture that soothes her Soul and brings Grace to this liminal time. In this time her spirit will prepare for rebirth after 49 days.
As I write, I am also mindful of the transition I am embarking upon; a death of sorts and a rebirth of sorts. On October 13, I will be ordained into Reverend-hood. A significant transition from lay-leadership to professional-leadership; a rite of passage.
The metaphoric death of this process is for me to step out of a casual relationship with ministry. My process thus far has afforded me a lot of wiggle-room for trial and error, of experimenting with qualities of what this call is to be. And I have greatly enjoyed the circuitous route of my education. To quote the Desiderata, "... and trust that the Universe is unfolding as it should."
My rebirth, at ordination, is to step over the threshold into a ministerial relationship of greater responsibility and accountability; into actuating what all of these lessons and processes have taught me; to apply myself more seriously, professionally, and be one who shows up with the mantel of Reverend as my credentials.
"V" and I have journeyed together in our own ways, through tremendous transitions of pain and restlessness, soothed by song and prayer, and into a significant rite of passage that marks the end of one aspect of life and into another.
Blessed be these transitions and the journeys we take through them into the next realm of being.
*From The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
On Getting Recognition
When I was a kid in Texas people would say "I'm tooting my own horn" when they wanted to share something they were particularly proud of. I am all for letting people know what it is I am proud of in myself and toot my horn often.
But it just occurred to me that"tooting my own horn" has an underlying assumption that my achievements or service may go unrecognized if "I don't say anything".
And ya know, sometimes this is true. There are times when we must share our accomplishments with people we respect and hear their praise.
Other times, ones own horn-tooting preempts an opportunity for someone else to offer praise, attention, and acknowledgement of what we have done well.
So where is the balance between these common situations? I guess we just intuit it at the time it is happening.
And really, neither one is necessarily better or worse then the other (to use dualistic language); there are just the just as they are with the results as they turn out.
Yet at the same time, being witnessed and recognized for our service and achievements in the family, community of friends, and work associates is vital to our sense of our self-worth. And the satisfaction of being recognized for doing well is just a bit sweeter when someone else notices and says, "Hey, well done, thank you!"
Let's do this for each other! Toot, toot!!
Thinking about history -- or his-story -- I realize that, in the abstract, my-story is actually everything I say. Our-story is what we tell each other about our culture and what we choose to say in the grand scheme of things. It is and how we respond through our perceptions. (I did say that this is abstract ;-)
The stories we teach and tell over again, like the stories of his-story, invoke a certain amount of importance. They are referenced and repeated as viable evidence to do something similar again. (IE: anything repeated 3 times or more are thought to be "truth". It is a psychological phenomena.
Anything we say out-loud generally expresses what we value or think is important. I know this seems obvious, but what we say has great power to bring about what we have said!
Our spoken words -- our-stories told to others -- are also like prayers. They are an energetic signature that radiates outward from our mouths and quite possibly influences what it touches.
When a person or group express a strong conviction or belief, it is similar to a declaration, a constitution, a provocation, and a covenant, like a spell cast into the Universe for it to be heard and acted upon by Listening Spirit.
And of course, people love to be right and actively seek self-fulfilled-prophecy. We will gladly take actions and listen for that which will prove our point. In a term, Confirmation Bias. Yup, this is also obvious, and a totally human, hardwired thing to do!
Here’s the ask: Listen to yourself, carefully, pause for a moment and evaluate if what you say aligns with your values, aligns with your world view. Check and see what you project into the future.
Our individual and collective beliefs and behaviors, essentially our actions upon what we think will happen are instrumental in creating and making them happen.
We are that powerful.
(This perspective is derived using Process Theological thought. Here's a video that explains it nicely.
God is co-creative;
always creating out of a sense of relationality
And this one, too.
Dictionary.com defines theology as a “study of Divine things...”
--I love that!--
and, “an analysis of God’s attributes and relations to the Universe...”
--I love this, too!
What a wonderful thing to do; to give attention to things we think are Divine and contemplate how this Divinity is in Relationship with the Universe.
The Sacred Relationship is the most fundamental aspect of Life on Earth and theology strives to articulate it by putting it into words that we can read, reflect upon, and reference; words that we can learn and follow the teachings of, giving structure, morality, and guidance to our lives. By learning the lessons offered by Ancestry we can be informed by the perspective of Ancient Wisdom, like tools or insights that guide us through our days and experiences.
BTW: I capitalize words as a way of making them a proper noun, using them as context for defining or describing God. The word God is a familiar term that most people have their own definition for. In fact, it is in my opinion that there are as many definitions of God as there are beings on Earth!
And this is a perfect segue into offering my theological definition of God... the word of countless definitions.
God is the Essence that animates matter into Life. It is “the Divine Spark within each heart,” a term credited to the Vedanta scholars. As Kahlil Gibran so eloquently put it, this Essence is “Life’s longing for Itself.”
When I use the word God, I intend to speak a name for an Infinite Source, Life Force, Essence, Phenomena, and Universal Life Spirit...all of that and more!
I appreciate that cultures around the world use some sort of utterance, a vocally spoken and recognizable name for what is held as Divine, Precious, Sacred, Whole, Imminent and Immanence, Most High and Most Holy; for what a lover and believer holds in Awe. These words are an invocation.
When I pray, my preferred sound is Ah...
because this Existence is Ah-mazing!
The fact of birth, life, and death,
of survival, of geologic time, of
All the ways of being, of
diversity, shape, and density,
location, mass, constitutional elements,
dry, moist, temperatures galore!
Earth, the Sun, Solar System,
the Universe, and Cosmos,
macro and micro, into Infinity is...
an incredibly awe-inspiring thing, indeed!
A Journey Inward
Vista Point, Bear Tooth Pass, near Redlodge, Montana