My Soul Is My Soul

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I was recently introduced to a children’s song about respect for body. These lines caught my attention:

“My body’s nobody’s body but mine.
You run your body, let me run mine.”

Peter Alsop, entertainer, counselor, psychologist

I am taken aback by its stark, bold truth. It carries a wake-up power that summons us to respect. What if we paraphrased these lines to read:

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

Thoughts translated into words are an energy that either affirms or negates its intended target. Yet, we pass easy judgment on the process of one another’s spiritual development as though we have that right and as though we actually know the heart of someone else.

In their book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald describe their study which concluded that every human being fills in what we don’t know with what we think we know. We develop Mindbugs which keep us from seeing reality clearly. E. Adelson defines them as “ingrained habits of thoughts that lead to errors in how we perceive, remember, reason, and make decisions.” Banaji and Greenwald point out that mindbugs can be so powerful that they can cause us to more often remember things that didn’t happen than things that did happen. Given this research, I ask, Who has the moral authority to judge the status of someone’s soul? Is it not deserving of as much respect as our body?

There is a place for professional discernment, even for nonprofessional discernment for the sake of protecting our souls from intrusion. However, we must always be aware that we have mindbugs and try to get out of their way as we discern. Otherwise, discernment becomes judgment of motives and choices .To pass on judgments made out of our mindbugs is not only irresponsible, it is often just an act of self-aggrandizement. If the other is down, I am up.

Isn’t the task of running my own soul monumental enough without trying to run other’s souls? Leave it, I say.

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

A Spiritual Practice

My spiritual practice comes in the form of a pause. I try to pause before I judge. I breathe in respect and release fear. I breathe in love and release judgment. Once in a while it works. Our human instinct is to protect our ego, but the pause interrupts the knee-jerk impulse to insert our ego into the unknown spaces of the other. The pause lets in the Spirit who sees reality as it is.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay.com

 

Being Light

light in eye

 

Recently I introduced the newly published book of spiritual poetry, Rose Petals Floating Downstream by Anita Neilson (  https://anitaneilson.com/ )

I picked up the book in an in-between time today and opened to the poem below, “If Thine Eye be Single.”  Here it is, accompanied by what it evoked from me.

If Thine Eye be Single

“The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Matthew 6:22

 

Eyes twinkling
like headlamps dipping
o’er the brow of a hill;
silent messengers
through the mists of time.

Windows on the world
but also to the soul
if we look deeper.

Codeless truths blink
to those who seek
meaning en route.

An eternal clignoter
Clic, clic, clic.

If thine eye be single
a million stars
Will diffuse into one
and every twist and turn
a delight will be
on this path to eternity.

Anita Neilson

 

Response

The eye with which god
sees me is the same eye
with which I see god.

One seeing
knowing
loving.

My eye and god’s eye
are one.

Meister Eckhart

∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞

The light with which god
sees me is the same light
with which I see god.

One seeing
knowing
loving
One  Light.

God’s light and my light
are one light.

rita h kowats

 

 

 

 

 

Advent God

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The Innerness of All Things

You create yourself in
ever-changing shapes
that rise from the stuff
of our days-
unsung, unmourned,
undescribed,
like a forest we never knew.

You are the deep
innerness of all things,
the last word that can
never be spoken.
To each of us you
reveal yourself
differently:
to the ship as a
coastline, to the shore
as a ship.

from The Book of Hours II, 22

in A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
by Rainer Maria RilkeAnita Barrows (Editor)Joanna Macy (Editor)

 

Response

 

Advent God .png

 

 

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Advent

Light from Light Holy Night 2

Darkness is a gathering time, a state set apart from the glare of light in which we can see what is real.

In the dark we sit with the energy generated in the light and try to make sense of it. We sift through, “clinging to what is luminous in ourselves, in others, and in life itself,” and releasing unwanted ego energy.  We brood our way through the darkness back into light, illuminating the way for fellow pilgrims, each bound for their own Bethlehem.

So we begin.  Advent 2018.  See you on the way.

 

I Will Lay Me Down

there is another world

I took comfort here as news of multiple  pipe bombs mailed to Democrats rolled in.

 

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Songwriters: Paul Simon
Bridge over Troubled Water lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 

 

Let Not Swollen Cities Suffocate

 

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Like a Metal That Hasn’t Been Mined

by Rainer Maria Rilke

You, mountain, here since mountains began,
slopes where nothing is built, peaks that no one has named,
eternal snows littered with stars,
valleys in flower offering fragrances of earth….

Do I move inside you now?
Am I within the rock
like a metal that hasn’t been mined?
Your hardness encloses me everywhere….

Or is it fear I am caught in?
The tightening fear of the swollen cities in which I suffocate….

The Book of Hours III, 2

in A Year with Rilke: Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

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Call me a pantheist. I don’t mind. I am one with my cat, so why not with a mountain? Sherlock just jumped onto the table and has boldly pushed his way into my arms. I lay my head on him and feel the deep resonant purring. Our breaths synchronize and for that moment all is well. It isn’t enough that I observe momentarily. To become one with nature takes time. Time enough to blend breathing.

When I feel suffocated in the city, and all the politics that come with it, I need to immerse myself in nature to the point of saturation. Only then can I return to the city strong enough not to lose my self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: diana_robinson <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62501682@N00/41437040220″>Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, Seattle, Washington</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/40223073965″>Mount Hood – Oregon – USA</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Sway With the Wind

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The black wrought iron bench was toasty-warm today where I sat watching lakeside trees sway against the gentle autumn wind. Against the wind. I hear Bob Seeger singing in my ear,”…we were running against the wind.” The wind today was coming from the Fraser River Valley in Canada. Normally wind comes from the south around here in the Puget Sound area and our trees know that. They are genetically disposed to sway with the southern winds. When those winds howl down from Canada in winter accompanied by cold temperatures, we can be in trouble. It happened one winter when I lived in a rural wood. I woke up to eighteen trees uprooted on the road behind me. They can’t handle seventy-mile-an-hour sustained northern winds.

I saw the lesson in the trees gently swaying today. I’ve been feeling a bit off lately, an underlying dis-ease in response to an impending hip replacement. The surgery itself doesn’t make me uneasy…I’m a pro, having already had both knees replaced! It’s all the preparations and doctors’ appointments and constant questions and questionnaires that unnerve me. The trees reminded me to be flexible, to sway with the wind rather than against it. Much easier. Much healthier spirituality and physically. Of course, sometimes justice demands that we run against the prevailing wind hanging on tightly, but not this time.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

 

 

 

photo credit: KarinKarin2 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/123747563@N07/32265204954″>Sylt</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Circling the White Elephant

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The Carousel (I)
Jardin du Luxembourg

Under its canopy, in the shade it casts,
turns a world with painted horses,
all from a land that lingers a while before it disappears.
Some, it’s true, are harnessed to a wagon,
but all have valor in their eyes.
A fierce red lion leaps among them,
and here comes ’round a snow-white elephant.
Even a stag appears, straight from the forest,
except for the saddle he wears, and, buckled on it, a small boy in blue. And a boy in white rides the lion,
gripping it with small clenched hands,
while the lion flashes teeth and tongue.
And here comes ’round a snow-white elephant.
And riding past on charging horses come girls,
bright-eyed, almost too old now for this children’s play.
With the horses rising under them, they are looking
up and off to what awaits.
And here comes ’round a snow-white elephant.

New Poems
in A Year with Rilke: Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

The Carousel (II)

It goes on and hurries to some end,
just circling and turning without a goal.
Flashes of red, of green, of grey whirl past,
solid shapes barely glimpsed.
Sometimes a smile comes toward us, and, like a blessing,
shines and is gone in this dizzying parade with no destination.
New Poems

in A Year with Rilke: Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

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Lately, many of us have been feeling like passengers on a carousel, circling around a snow-white elephant in the room of our battered psyches. Whether the elephant is elections, confirmation hearings, Brexit, hurricanes or earthquakes, we can’t seem to step out of the fray.

Rilke offers a way out.  Let’s give the elephants their just due, then turn our attention to the smiles, the blessings we see as we circle.  This carousel of life has no destination.  It is how we ride the horse that matters.

I see a smile today in the example of a friend who is circling her third and possible final encounter with cancer. Her honest, intentional living is a blessing to me.  I am choosing to live in that light today and invite you to also bask in it.  I extend the merits of this meditation to you and to all sentient beings.

May it be so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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