Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thoughts from a Christian Mystic

As I continue to read more from Catherine Doherty, I find myself continually blown away by what she has to say. In particular, I love how universally resonating her message is; how, stripped of its Christian phraseology, it actually sounds like it could belong to any tradition's mystical experience:

ONE: "When you enter the poustinia (inner desert) you enter the orbit of God. You hold on to his coat. A thousand hands try to pull his coat out of your hands. You are free to give in to the temptation, to flee from the poustinia, or to resist. It's because of this freedom that a poustinik has no rules. There is nothing to guide yourself by except what is within. This is where discernment comes in. Among the variety of things that people want you to do , you have to discern from your heart what to do. Your life ought to be a life of service to the community. There is only one thing you do not do: satisfy your own ego."

TWO: "Christianity moves into 'nothingness' and finds God. There comes a moment in this movement toward nothingness which seems to be a moment of nonexistence. It appears idiotic, positively idiotic to say such a thing. But it's true. It's a moment when you are nonexistent as far as being a person is concerned. Everything has disappeared. You are not even cognizant that 'you are.' You are only cognizant of darkness. Whether you are in depths or heights is unimportant; you are not even cognizant of that. But there is a moment of nonexistence out of which you come. And when you come out, prayer begins."

...and finally...

THREE: "The desert is an altar on which moment by moment you bring the offering of yourself. For self-will is the obstacle that eternaly stands between me and God. We decide that we are going to do such and such a thing. God comes along and says, 'No, do this.' It's a matter of doing what he wants us to do, not because we are afraid of him, or afraid of dying, but because we are in love with him, and because we enter the poustinia to really do his will and not ours. The poustinia is there to form that attitude in you. The poustinik must finally come to understand that he has to become as empty as God became for him."

[all selections from Catherine de Hueck Doherty's book POUSTINIA]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Happy (Late) Birthday...

Happy (late) Birthday to my awesome wife who turned 27 on Monday. Swing over to her blog and give her a virtual pat on the butt...

... or just say "Happy Birthday."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Song of Peace

The band led this song Sunday at church... the lyrics are great:

This is my song, oh God of all nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, my country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine,
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But the other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all nations,
a song of peace for other lands and mine.

Friday, September 22, 2006

One more, comin' at ya...

Since I already varied off the "spiritual" topic this week, lets just go all the way. My buddy sent this to me today and I laughed my arse off. Of course, it's mainly because I am a huge old-school Nintendo fan and because "Kung Fu" was the first game I ever had.


Yay - there is now compatability between Blogger and Blogger Beta... which means you can now comment on my blog and I on yours.

Now if I only had something interesting to write about this week.

And since I don't have anything, here's Weird Al's newest parody of the rap song "Ridin' Dirty" by Chamillionaire - titled (what else?) "White and Nerdy."

So... there's that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Daddy's Little Cheerleader

See a couple more by clicking here.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Movie Suggestion

Amy and I just finished watching "Match Point" (which, despite the title and the first few minutes of the movie, actually has very little to do about Tennis).

I had no idea what the story was or what I was getting in to... but as the credits rolled, I had a chuckle and made the comment that that was one of the best movies I've seen in some time.

Yes, the story was enticing, but it was the subtleties that made this a good film. I wish to say no more about the plot so as not to spoil it for the rest of you - but do yourself a favor and pick it up at the movie store...

...and then let me know what you think.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006


A few of us bloggers (Andrew and Julie in particular) have been discussing ways to still find our home in our native Christianity, while not feeling trapped in exclusive language and also having the freedom to have unorthodox experiences and conversations. If the many religions, paths, and traditions are like wells that lead to the mighty underground river, we can either choose to make many and varied shallow wells or follow one or two very deeply.

I know I've mentioned this before, but this is one site that ya'll may want to check out: The Center for Progressive Christianity.

Also, I was reading a little Catherine Doherty this morning with my coffee and thought I'd share:

"When I say 'God begins to speak,' I mean that the mind is purified, the heart is at peace, and out of the depths of both come forth the gifts or the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Quietly, imperceptibly, out of this overshadowing of the Holy Spirit comes a word, a thought, a sentence, as the case may be. Someone might say, 'All this sounds very mystical.' There is a difference between what the East means by mystical and what the West means. I think the East would call normal many things that the West might term mystical. If you are in the poustinia (internal "desert" or solitude) and God knocks on your door and speaks to you, that doesn't sound mystical to me; it sounds quite normal."

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reflections from the Zen Center

As I posted Friday, I took my first trip to the Indianapolis Zen Center on Saturday for their Introduction course.

The center is an old two-story house with the first floor being mainly an entrance, a kitchen and the meditation "hall." The upstairs has living quarters and meeting rooms - and of course, a Zen cat. (This picture is not the Indy Zen Center)

Attending this class was only one other participant and we were led by two dharma teachers-in-training: Crysta and John. The first few hours were spent upstairs on couches, where we were presented with the history and philosophy of Zen - from Gautama/Shakyamuni all the way to the present. This portion wasn't all that helpful to me since I'm a bookhound and already had an understanding of what they were presenting. What was helpful was the explaination of their tradition - which is the Kwan Um School of Zen, a Korean lineage brought to the US by Zen Master Seung Sahn. It is therefore neither the Soto nor Rinzai schools that one so readily reads about in Zen texts - particularly those by Alan Watts.

We had a light lunch prepared by one of the teachers, then spent the second half of the class in the meditation hall where we learned the practice ritual such as how and when to bow, how to participate in the liturgy and proper meditation procedures and postures. This, of course, was very helpful for now I feel comfortable joining them for practice during the week without feeling like a fish out of water.

All in all it was a good afternoon, although I'll be able to reflect more when I am actually able to attend one of their weekly practice times.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Beginner's Mind

I'm making my first trip down to the Indianapolis Zen Center tomorrow for their "Introduction" course. Expect a full report in a couple of days.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is that on purpose?

Ok, so he's probably getting dogged a lot for this, but why does John Mayer's new single "Waiting on the World to Change" sound A LOT like "Sexual Healing" (or some other really familiar song)?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of his songwriting (for the most part), but please tell me there's a story behind this...

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Well Damnit

Well damnit. I thought I'd "get a leg up" and upgrade to the new version of Blogger - which is in its testing/beta version - only to find out that it's still totally incompatible with the old version.

Which means I can't leave comments on your blogs and you can't leave comments on mine. (Although I think you can leave "Anonymous" comments)

And I can't switch back to the "old version." So much for eagerness.

Until they fix this blunder, feel free to email me at

Also in the meantime, if you log on to my page and it looks funny it's because I'm currently screwing w/ the new template format.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Being sick - even having a cold - and then coming out of my illness makes me appreciate the state of HEALTH. Being whole and well allows so much more freedom and peace of mind. Some dis-ease is natural and there's nothing I can (or should) do about it, but it does make me wonder why I ever intentionally do things (or ingest things) that pollute my natural well-being.

Friday, September 01, 2006

She's TWO!

My little girl is two today! Happy Birthday Kalli! To quote Stevie Wonder: "Isn't she lovely?"