Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12/30/08--The Structure of Spiritual Reality, Part III

62) What are we trying to make happen? What can happen? What needs to happen? What is happening? How can we assist what is happening in the direction of what needs to happen?

63) In any situation, 10,000 futures are possible. How we live reduces the likelihood of some possibilities and increases the likelihood of others.

64) One things doing is another things undoing. One things ordered grace is another things traumatic disruption. Dinner for the lion is not something the antelope would bless.

65) Live without worrying about succeeding or failing, gaining or losing. Let come what’s coming and let go what’s going. Enjoy what is to be enjoyed. Grieve what is to be grieved. Do what needs to be done. Come to terms with how things are. Let your life be your life. Your options your options. Your choices your choices. Your futures your futures.

66) Cleverness knows how to manipulate means to achieve its ends. Simplicity observes what is happening, perceives what is trying to happen, and assists what needs to happen. Offering the right help in the right way at the right time is the essence of wisdom. You can’t be wiser than that.

67) Cleverness does this so that will happen. Simplicity does this so this will happen, because this needs to happen, whether that happens or not.

68) What is done is what can be done, which is not the same as what has always been done. It takes the vision of a sage to see what can be done in any situation in order to do the work of redemption and transformation and bring the new into existence out of the old.

69) In remaining below, the sage receives what the situation has to offer and brings for the baby struggling to be born.

70) In any moment, the sage simply offers what the moment needs out of what she, what he, has to give.

71) The sage does not calculate, strategize, manipulate, control. The sage observes what is happening, asks what needs to happen, and how she, how he, might assist what needs to happen. You wouldn’t want a sage running your business, or hire one as a CEO.

72) We have to know what we are trying to do and whether it can actually be done, and whether it really needs to be done.

73) Of what does life consist? Where is life to be found? What brings us to life, makes us alive? What do we need in order to be alive? What’s with all this other stuff in our lives?

74) Some things are clearly better than others. Every living thing prefers one thing over another. The lion’s life is the antelope’s death. There is no happy state in which everyone has exactly what is needed at no one’s expense. But, compassion keeps things reasonably tolerable much of the time.

75) Compassion lets things be, and lets things become what they might be, and says, “No!” to what should not be.

76) To see what needs to be done and to do it. To be right about what is important to serve it. That’s all there is to it. Anything else is just talk.

77) Fighting is forcing. The resistance can come from without or from within. Don’t let your principles keep you from doing what is important, what needs to be done!

78) We want more than we can have, more than we have any business having, and cannot adjust ourselves to living within the limits of our lives, within what our situation in life allows. “Our reach must exceed our grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” “You’ll never keep them on the farm once they’ve seen gay Paree!”

79) The meaning of life is to be alive in the time and place of our living. What does it mean to be alive in the time and place of our living? Answer that question correctly and you have it made.

80) What is our life asking of us? What does the moment require? At times, our life is at odds with the moment. The flow is not always smooth. Disruption and chaos are also part of how things are. We take it all into account, and do what needs to be done. Are we right about what needs to be done? Time will tell. We may be wrong. Maybe something else needs to be done. We may blow it. Life is like that. We can blow it.

81) Sometimes, we are punished for doing it the way we do it. Sometimes, there is a price to be paid for doing it our way. And a price to be paid for not doing it our way. Whose way is going to be the way for us? Whose way is going to be the way we do it? Who is going to live our life? If not us, who?

82) Trusting the inner knowing and letting things have their own mind is the essential act of faith. If you are going to believe in anything, believe in the power of things to become what they need to be, particularly when assisted by those who do nothing to force their will on the way things are, but constantly look for what needs to happen and help it come forth in the right kind of way.

83) What is to be gained by being favored? What is to be lost by being not-favored?

84) People are not afraid of dying either because life has no value and they do not care if they live or die, or because they know what is truly important and are willing to sacrifice their lives in the service of that good.

85) You have to carve wood the way you carve wood, not the way someone else carves would. We have to live our lives the way we would live our lives, not the way we think our lives ought to be lived—not the way we think someone else would live our lives, or have us live them. We see the photo WE see, not the photo someone else sees.

86) With nothing to live for, there is no reason to live. Therefore, finding value in life is the foundation of life. The spiritual quest is the search for what is important, for what counts, matters, makes a difference in our lives, if no one else’s.

87) How much can we put up with and still be us? Where do we draw the line? I don’t know how much time you think you have left to live, but how much of it are you willing to spend being not-you, doing what is not-you, associating with those who are not your kind of people? Where and how and how often are you drawing lines, saying “No,” giving yourself to the things that have your name on them?

88) We have to know when who we are is running afoul of who we must (pretend to) be. We have to play parts, assume roles, do what must be done, AND we have to be true to ourselves. We have to be who we are. We have to know when something is a role, a part, and not-us, and we have to compensate ourselves for all of our not-me roles by stepping out of the part as often as possible and giving ourselves to the things that are us all the way.

89) Who knows why? Why this and not that? It doesn’t matter why. We have to step into the What and deal with the way things are regardless of why they are that way, or of why we have to deal with it, or of why we have to live with all that we have to live with, or of why this and not that… What is required, here and now? What is being asked of us? What needs to be done? What next? What now? It is enough that we answer these questions without being lost in the questions that cannot be answered. Choosing the right questions to answer is the path of wisdom and life even before we answer them.

90) Creating intentional communities of practice—where we practice “the things that make for peace,” the things that enable us to have what it takes to do what needs to be done, the things that enable us to live the life that is ours to live within the context and circumstances of our lives—is the work of the church. The work of the church is creating the atmosphere, the environment, the space, the place, in which the real work of the church—being alive in the time and place of our living—might be done.

91) We begin the process of bringing ourselves to life by finding the things that bring us to life. Where are we most alive? How often do we do the things that bring us to life? What prevents us from doing those things more often? How do we experience the difference between death and life? What are the inhibitions, the blocks, to life? In what ways do we resist being alive—doing the things that bring us to life? Where do our pleasures lie? How often do we engage in the things that please us? How conscious are we of being pleased when we are being pleased? How often do we deliberately give ourselves the gift of life, the pleasure of being alive?

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