Something much easier to preach these days, than to practice, is the art of not adding to the fear and the fury of the tumultuous social and political events of our day. We seem to have lost the gift and the blessing of restraint, and the ability to harness rather than share anger and/or outrage.
Not as trite as it sounds, what comes to mind is Dr. Phil’s question… how’s that working for you? Does sharing wrath make your day a better day? Are you fit or even civil company? Does staying glued to news outlets help you share a sense of peace and joy with those around you? So my answer to these questions is obvious: No. Spewing makes my stomach churn, my blood pressure rise. My anger makes me more likely to cut others to the quick. It makes me anxious. How about you?
People I both love and respect who in other circumstances would be taking the high road, in this current untenable situation of our nation, on an hourly, daily or weekly basis are taking the low road. And this is my own fear, in doing this we are becoming like what/who we hate. We are acting like what/who we despise. We have lost some the objectivity to reflect on what we are saying or doing. And in the deeps within we know this to be true.
For me, it’s a matter of time. Yes, minutes and hours. How much time do I spend each day burrowing in the darkness? And how much time do I spend in soaking up and sharing light? And when I’m in the downward spiral–can I simply walk away? What is my trigger to tell me to ‘take the nearest exit’ for my own safety? What can I do, where can I go, what can pull me out? And what is it that brings me back to neutral, or even better sets my feet on high places?
We all find our own way, don’t we, in troubled times. I spent all of 2017 (Yikes!) and part of 2018 angry, disgruntled and disgusted. Nothing that I saw as the root of that has changed…but at an unknown time and in a secret place inside a lever was thrown, some thing shifted in my inner being. It was not that simple and I do not know the day or the hour, but my awareness became just this: what if I spent even half the time and energy I was spending in the dark and instead use it for the purposeful spread of light? Is it possible that the world would already begin to become a different place–a place of which I would be proud to be a part.
There is no single book, no sacred writing, no favorite author or speaker that I can point to for this new thought, revived hope and beckoning practice. It just came. It just dawned, slowly and gently. My conviction is that it is the fruit of my practice of sitting meditation with the words of Augustine as my mantra: “Noverim Te, noverim me” — I look at God, I look at myself. It is a gift that I am still growing into in fits and starts.
It is also a truth that is branching out into my whole life–personally and professionally. What would it look like for you to “bless those who curse you?” I don’t mean who literally curse you, but those whose actions are a curse to you, whose words and plans curse the meaning of life you hold dear? What would it take for you to bless them.
Let me be the first to confess the difficulty of this blessing thing. I could give you a long list of people for whom it would be insincere of me to verbally bless. But what if my thoughts and actions were those of blessing–when their actions enraged me? What if instead of cursing, railing, and blathering; what if instead, on their behalf and in their name, I blessed someone in my sphere of influence with goodness, with kindness, with generosity. What if I determined to became a cosmic counterpoint?
These are my hopes and dreams friends, for myself and for you. That we all would find a way to live moment by moment in such light, that the whole earth might begin to sense that there is healing light growing in the darkness. That there is healing light in me. That there is healing light in you.
In brightness, Kathleen — the celtic monk