Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Giver or Taker: Whose Generosity Is It Anyway?

In his Rule, Benedict says that monks do not bless the guests they receive and serve. It is the guests who bless the monks. This is especially true when the guest is poor, sick, or otherwise in need of care.

How un-capitalist! The one who "gives" - whether food, shelter, medicine, or instruction - is in actual fact the taker. The one who takes these things is the more generous giver. How our charity marketplace would be changed if givers gave in full knowledge that in doing so, they are the greater takers.

I was reminded of all this recently.

I don't see private clients much since I moved into the new house with my uncle. Not sure if it is the chronic pain and attendant lack of sleep, or that caring for my uncle absorbs so much energy and attention. But I will see an old client on occasion. A week ago one called.

Most of the time I perceive energy pulses in the body, or see colors and symbols that represent emotions & events. Once in a while, someone identifies what I see as a person or animal they know - living or dead.

For some reason, the visions flow freely with this client, and most of what I see are animals or people the client recognizes.

The client launched right in with little pause for centering breath. Soon my sixth chakra was buzzing and snapping - a sign that I've hooked into the larger, universal energy field. I think of it as my "spiritual reality check." It let's me know I'm in the presence of something spiritually true. 

Supposedly I was serving this person, but the greater service was the one I received.

My practice has been absolutely crappy lately. I'm swamped by the upwelling of old trauma. Insomnia scrambles my brain. I am lost in a choking miasma of longing for the spiritual connection I know is there, but can not feel.

A little nip at the spiritual source looms large to someone overwhelmed with thirst.

Yup. That guest definitely gave the blessing and this host received.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

More on Fear & Gratitude

There are lots of external reasons I might be having trouble finding a job - not least, Wisconsin's continued employment hemorrhage under Scott Walker that keeps us mired in the worst of the recession while other states begin recovery. And the one thing a writer must do to be published (or produced) is write & submit & write & submit & write & submit - letting the rejections wisp away like so much morning mist under the rising summer sun. So to greet job-seeking failure and play-submission failure with gratitude, as I talked about in my last post, does not mean I should stop applying for jobs or stop writing & submitting.

It is primarily a directive to release fear, be open to what is as it comes, and not to internalize social "failure" as a comment on the nature of the universe or my place in it.

Hard enough even without all the good reasons to fear. Such as being on the edge of not covering my bills. Or aging painfully in a country where, despite oodles of wealth, the only workers allowed access to good health care are fully employed professionals, politicians, and soldiers.

Still, fear is of no use. My conditions won't change if I greet them with fear. Worse, fear eats my creative energy while insisting I should quit.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" is one of the more useful Jesus sayings. Great teachers from other traditions similarly say to let go of fear. Forget insurance. Forget living your life in order to amass enough fortune to protect you through old age.

There is no guarantee, here, that bad things won't happen to you if you do not fear. It is not a magic prayer bullet that can bring you money & cars & a hunky guy or curvacious gal. Your health may crash. Your home may burn. Your loved one may die. You may be exhausted day after day by the struggle to get just enough to go on. However it happens, you will experience loss and will need to morn. But moving through loss and grief without fear is one way to get on the road to the greatest good - directly perceiving the delicious, brilliant, flowing energy in which we swim and of which we are all made.

Whatever my pains and difficulties, on that road the only things that make any sense are joy and gratitude.

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Fear and Gratitude

Say we really, really want something and work very, very hard to get it and... fail. If our first response was, "Thank you. I didn't realize that thing I wanted was bad for me" how would the world be different?

That's what fills my thoughts as I ponder months of job application and play submission with no success in either department.

I lost my present house twice before finally getting it - once when it was listed as a short sale & once in the bidding after the foreclosure. But I WANTED it. So I kept going back - pushing, pushing, pushing. And then, the first buyer of the foreclosure fell through & it was offered to me.

"Yay!" I thought, "Look what dogged persistence (+ some earth energy manipulation) can do."

Now I think someone or something or the general synchronicity energy of the universe was trying to get a message to me, "This is not your house." I refused to listen and so here I am struggling along in an unduly difficult house.

Unemployment or massive underemployment (as is my case) can be miserable. Not to mention lack of access to medical care in the medically medieval United State. The future looms fearful. Time gets lost in a numb parade of unmarked days. Sense of self drifts into strange space. If only I could get up every day and do work wanted by someone who was willing to give me a paycheck for it!

But what if I just don't realize that, for reasons incomprehensible from my little, earthly, human point of view, this is bad for me?

Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not fear.