Ken Wilber shares with Beliefnet.com users a forward he wrote for a new book called 'Soulfully Gay.' If after reading this forward, you're not interested in checking out this book, there might be something wrong with ya.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Thanks to Darrell over at the Blog of the Grateful Bear, it has come to my attention that Matthew Fox (author, priest, theologian, etc.) now has his own blog. And on it, he has posted (in the footsteps of Martin Luther) a new 95 Theses for the Church. You can check out Matt's blog HERE. And you can check out his 95 Theses HERE.
Just for the record, I do not "intelluctually agree" with all of Matt's Theses, but do admire his courage, his heart for mysticsm and justice, and his call for transformation.
I've been blessed by Matthew over the last few years - both by his books - and because my pastor and I audited a class on Thomas Aquinas at Fox's University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland a few years ago. This blog will be a new view into what's happening in Fox's life and ministry - whether you "agree" with it or not! :)
at 1:39 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Have just finished the 100+ page introduction and am about 10 pages into "The Gospel of Ramakrishna."
What a life. What an example of burning love and devotion. Ramakrishna was indeed literally "God-intoxicated." His passion - his bhakti - for God is both profound and contagious, spilling over from the pages into the heart of the reader.
Here are a few portions of his biography from ramakrishna.org:
Sri Ramakrishna, who was born in 1836 and passed away in 1886, represents the very core of the spiritual realizations of the seers and sages of India. His whole life was literally an uninterrupted contemplation of God. He reached a depth of God-consciousness that transcends all time and place and has a universal appeal. Seekers of God of all religions feel irresistibly drawn to his life and teachings...
...Through his God-intoxicated life Sri Ramakrishna proved that the revelation of God takes place at all times and that God-realization is not the monopoly of any particular age, country, or people. In him, deepest spirituality and broadest catholicity stood side by side. The God-man of nineteenth-century India did not found any cult, nor did he show a new path to salvation. His message was his God-consciousness. When God-consciousness falls short, traditions become dogmatic and oppressive and religious teachings lose their transforming power. At a time when the very foundation of religion, faith in God, was crumbling under the relentless blows of materialism and skepticism, Sri Ramakrishna, through his burning spiritual realizations, demonstrated beyond doubt the reality of God and the validity of the time-honored teachings of all the prophets and saviors of the past, and thus restored the falling edifice of religion on a secure foundation...
...The greatest contribution of Sri Ramakrishna to the modern world is his message of the harmony of religions. To Sri Ramakrishna all religions are the revelation of God in His diverse aspects to satisfy the manifold demands of human minds. Like different photographs of a building taken from different angles, different religions give us the pictures of one truth from different standpoints. They are not contradictory but complementary. Sri Ramakrishna faithfully practiced the spiritual disciplines of different religions and came to the realization that all of them lead to the same goal. Thus he declared, "As many faiths, so many paths." The paths vary, but the goal remains the same. Harmony of religions is not uniformity; it is unity in diversity. It is not a fusion of religions, but a fellowship of religions based on their common goal -- communion with God...
at 9:28 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Once again, Big Money wins out...
Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes
"A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights. The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sanday Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex."
at 12:47 PM
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Lately, I have been studying the NONDUAL traditions. Nonduality is just that - "not two." In other words, there is only God - only Brahman - nothing else. There is no heaven/earth, Creator/Created, up/down, good/bad - there is just this. Perhaps most profoundly, there is no "I" looking out there at "not-I" (computer monitors, sunsets, 'other people'). There is only 100% Spirit, right now. Therefore, there is no real reason for spirituality, other than to realize that it is useless and you are already what you are seeking.
It will admit it's aburdity at first glance. It has taken me some time to really grasp where nondual proponents are coming from. And I don't believe that it is a logical stance as much as it is a "felt" stance.
(if you're interested in learning more, go to a bookstore, pick up Ken Wilber's "The Simple Feeling of Being" and read the last chapter)
But today a profound lesson in nonduality fell into my lap. I was researching a few teachers and came upon nondualist teacher Ramana Maharshi's website. I started to read an article on there, but was tired of sitting at the computer and so I decided to print it so I could go enjoy an article and some coffee. So I set the printer to "Print" and set it up so that it would print on both sides and do a double staple on the left of the page (making a book). The printer is not in my office so I went to grab my new "book" from the printer.
Upon picking it up, I saw that that it was 10 blank pages stapled together. Grr. So I went back to my computer and tried again.
Yup, 10 blank pages stapled together. And right as I was getting ready to throw it in the recycling bin, it hit me.
There is nothing to learn. There is nothing to attain. You are already it.
at 10:46 AM
Everyone becomes asian
as they observe their friends dying.
And even you begin to
resemble eastern sod as
you are lying:
A driverless chariot, abandoned-
your face, never before so candid.
Can you believe it?
Congregants gasp and sighing;
in the casket you are lying
(like you've lied to your
All, with their programs fanning:
some standing, others can't stand it.
And women at markets
chatter while buying
the lillies and daisies for
driverless chariots, abandoned-
some standing, others can't stand it.
at 10:32 AM
Sunday, June 19, 2005
We began a new worship series at our church today called "The Underdog." For the next few weeks we will see how the story of the Bible is the story of the little person. Not that God is a "person up there" that "takes sides" - I'm ardently opposed to that theology - but we are shown through the f0llowing stories that our judgements about worth and power are often short-sighted: David whoops Goliath. The tiny, insignificant nation of Israel escapes the Egyptian Empire. The long-awaited messiah/king Jesus is born in a dirty, backwoods manger. And remember? :"Blessed are the poor... the meek... the humble..."
And yet the world tells us it's the rich, powerful celebrities that are of the most worth. That you must compete, kill and crush others to get ahead. That there is only the survival of the fittest.
Similarly, it is said that Zen master Bodhidharma, when once asked who he was, said "Nobody special." Maybe the point of the spiritual life is becoming "nobody special." Not only is there hope for the Underdog, but maybe we're supposed to become the underdog. According to Henri Nouwen, Jesus' three temptations (in Matthew 4) were these: To be useful. To be important. And to be powerful. And he passed on all of them... and became greater than anyone could've imagined.
So what do you think?
- Why do we root for the underdog?
- ...are we to become the underdog? Shall we seek to become "nobody special"?
at 11:06 AM
Friday, June 17, 2005
Eknath Easwaran, in one of his books, made a very lofty claim: "I never get disappointed."
What an amazing - albeit seemingly difficult - way to approach living. What if we were so accepting of "What Is" that we welcome all circumstances and situations with equal tranquility? What if we were to say "YES!" to life in whatever forms it presents itself?
Let's say I'm driving to work and suddenly my car overheats ("Damn water pump!"). Naturally I begin to get frusterated (a form of disappointment) because this is not the way I thought my day should go (as if any of us can really see the BIG picture enough to know what is best). So I stew, cuss, and feel sorry for myself and while calling for help on the cellphone, I run mental movies about what I "could have done" in the past to prevent this.
But there I am. My car has overheated. It's not what I thought I had planned for the day, but that makes no matter. I have to accept that as my current situation, be fully present, enjoy the moment, try to learn something from it, and be confident that what has just happened is a part of Divine Order. No stewing. No feeling sorry for myself. No disppointment. It's just... THIS.
This is freedom. This is the only sane way to live.
at 6:56 AM
Thursday, June 16, 2005
The illusive one returns!
Thank you all for your emails and comments over the past month. Your concern and compassion have been very much appreciated. All that has been unfolding in our lives (trips to the ER, a surgery and recovery, dealing with the stacking medical bills, an increased difficulty in getting things done around the house due to these injuries, etc.) are trivial compared with the real crises and suffering that others endure. But it is because of all of these things that BLOGGING got put on the back burner.
But I have missed "hanging out" with you all (if even virtually). Look for a new post within the next day and I'll be sure to swing by some of ya'lls sites in the meantime to get caught up on how you're doing!
Om. Shanti, shanti, shanti...
at 6:45 AM
Friday, June 03, 2005
As it turns out, the list of ill-fated predicaments that occured with our family and friends over the weekend was not complete. Within the last 24 hours we have also...
1.) Recieved a phone call letting us know that when we were in the ER, someone in there had Measles, and we all needed to get our shots updated (including the baby).
2.) While racing to get the phone last night, my wife broke her arm trying to hurdle a baby gate.
And so it is.
I can't help but be reminded of the quote from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events:
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place. But believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact, be the first steps of a journey. "
On a side note: Sorry I have not been checking and commenting on all of your blogs lately. I'll get caught up as soon as things calm down. Cheers.
at 2:10 PM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
My post from last week was entitled "A little lightness for your weekend."
As it turns out, my weekend was anything but light... on the surface, anyway.
1.) We took my daughter, Kalli, to the emergency room twice between Friday and Monday. On Monday night she was admitted to the hospital where we stayed until Tuesday at 6 pm. It was nothing too serious, just a very bad stomach bug, but she was dehydrated and had to be connected to an IV. She's doing much, much better today.
2.) One of my best friends' dad died suddenly and unexpectedly.
3.) Another of my friends' brother's apartment caught fire - losing pretty much everything.
Please send prayers and love out all around. At the core of the universe is a great Silence and Peace - but out here on the periphery it sure gets ugly as hell sometimes.
at 9:54 AM