Friday, November 30, 2007

An Answer

So I may have stumbled across an answer to the questions I was struggling with a few days ago, about how to somehow live simply a life that seems too hurried for simplicity, or even thought. In an article given me by my environmental Ffriend Don C, "Fire in the Bones," in Tikkun Magazine, Alastair McIntosh shares the question he asks himself, to stay spiritually centered in his activism. McIntosh speaks of "sitting down briefly each day and simply asking,"What does the deep Spirit of Life seek of me now?"

Maybe it's OK if my life seems insane and cyclonic, if I can just keep enough of a still space to sit with that question. What is the deep Spirit of Life seeking of me now?

Even if I have trouble sitting with the question on a daily basis--and I'm going to try to create it, somehow--I know I can listen for the answer in Meeting on First Days. I think perhaps it is enough, whether I am too tired for words or not. I think perhaps it is enough of an answer for now.

Blessed be.


david m said...

This is an area that I'm working on, although not in terms of simplicity. Relationship to Spirit is like any other relationship in that there is an exchange. We often know what we receive, although it sometimes sneaks up on us and is surprising. What gifts to give in return are a lot harder to understand. The DIY religions, like UUism, the Friends and the various flavors of pagans often have less guidance. It seems a sacrifice of some sort is required, the nature of which changes and is sometimes elusive.
peace and health,

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Sacrifice... I know it has been an important concept in many religions, but it honestly is not how I experience either my relationships with Spirit or those I love. In my relationships with the Pagan gods (especially Herne) I am often aware of offerings as being of personal importance in how I relate to them. But sometimes it gives me the same feeling I imagine a savvy kindergartener gets when they give their non-smoking parent a clay ashtray they made themselves. Yes, the gesture is appreciated, but it's the love and the growth of a generous spirit that the parent delights in, not the thing itself--and probably not the artistic talent!

And in my relationship with my husband, and with the Spirit I experience in Meeting for Worship, "sacrifice" really doesn't seem to be the relevant concept. I do put my immediate wishes aside for Peter at times, but probably less than I should, were I faithful to myself, and my own deeper, stronger feelings of love for him. Those times when I heave myself off the couch to let in the dogs, because I can see he's really beat, it's not so much a sacrifice of my ease as a Right Honoring of the truth of my feelings for him; the man deserves not merely care, but cherishing. (I'd say Peter is definitely better at this kind of faithfulness to me than I am to him, by the way--there is no doubt that I am the luckier of the two of us in our marriage, though I try to live up to his love for me better as we grow older!)

And with Spirit... I'm sure I do a pretty crappy job really honoring the truth of that relationship, too. But, as in a marriage, the setting aside of a short term wish is really an honoring of the deepest desires of my heart and soul. It's about communion, not sacrifice in the sense that word is normally used. It's honoring a truth, living fully and being fully Present to the Beloved.

All of which is wordy, and sounds faintly pompous, I think because I'm aware of the times that I tune out love, whether of Spirit or of flesh and blood, caught up in some superficial folly (the latest computer game, blog toy, or video, for starters). And I think that's where offerings come in--reminders of what we truly care about.

Sorry--that is pompous! I'm not saying it well... but it is something I think about with at least a little less bombast than is probably coming through here.

david m said...

What I was getting at first, was the surrender of ego - the letting go of that which separates each of us from Spirit. Christian prayers for humility are part of that pattern, but so are pagan rituals, like RJ Stewart's Dark Goddess meditation (in Earthlight). So at the core, its the Big "I" giving up the pretense of being in control or in charge. Islam supposedly means surrender.
But simple things have unexpected outcomes. What does it really mean to surrender to Spirit? The outcomes are not necessarily predictable. The extent of that surrender might be viewed as a sacrifice, willing or unwilling. Sacrifice,at its root means making sacred. For myself, its approach avoidance all the way.

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