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So when I look into the eyes of chaos, it is certainly disconcerting. But I also, upon reflection, now know that what really scares me the most is that I need to jump somewhat into that maelstrom � or at least dip a toe into it. I need to let go and let the currents of life take me as opposed to staying in this absolute rigid and stifling (but relatively safe) control that I have on myself due to a number of conceptions, habits, beliefs, etc.
FWIW, I think that's healthy. If I couldn't experience chaos every now and again, I think I'd suffocate. It's almost like a freedom. Yet it's not a state I could live in...hmmm....maybe release is the word I'm looking for rather than freedom.

Oh, and yeah, The Neverending Story is one of the worn tapes we have in our collection. It was actually on TV yesterday..lol. What a coinkydink.

Blessings,
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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FWIW, I think that's healthy. If I couldn't experience chaos every now and again, I think I'd suffocate. It's almost like a freedom. Yet it's not a state I could live in...hmmm....maybe release is the word I'm looking for rather than freedom.

I agree, Terri. And I wonder if it�s your experience too that you notice people who seem to thrive on chaos. They seem to like the challenge of bringing order to things. And who doesn�t to some extent? The first thing any pioneer does when settling a new land is to hack down the wild growth, plant some neat rows of corn or wheat, pile up the wood for burning in a stove, neatly fence his or her property, and proceed with a lifetime of enjoying this order and fending off the chaos. But surely we enjoy the chaos too, even if we don�t think of it in those terms. If life wasn�t full of a string of surprising and unpredictable little things, we�d be bored to death. But perhaps most of us prefer the smaller, more controlled and non-threatening bits of chaos that add spice to life rather than threaten the major pillars of our order. A little wind storm can be fun, even comforting. But a wind that blows down our crops and our house is most definitely not. But chaos being chaos, it seems we don�t get to pick and choose.

Yeah, what a "coinkydink" (never heard that word before�I like it). And if one likes kid�s movies, be sure to check out The Last Starfighter, Explorers, and Flight of the Navigator.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The power of love in overcoming the face of chaos

Love is reckless, not reason,
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong
consuming herself, unabashed.

Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone, hard surfaced and straightforward.

Having died of self-interest
she risks everything and asks nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows
Without cause God gave us being
without cause, give it back again.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just had a good laugh Smiler I could not believe nor understand Brad's eagerness in dipping his feet into chaos, nor Terri's welcoming chaos and its promised changes. It dawned on me that we are not talking about the same chaos of unpredictability.

I talked about a chaos, that is not appreciated by anyone. In centigrees my experience with the level of chaos was to consume me into ash. Yes, chaos has many definitions and the one that I encountered is not of a casual kind. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I talked about a chaos, that is not appreciated by anyone. In centigrees my experience with the level of chaos was to consume me into ash. Yes, chaos has many definitions and the one that I encountered is not of a casual kind.

Hmmm. Not you�ve got me re-thinking what I said, Freebird. But I think if I were to add to what I said, I would said that the chaos we are talking about could be the same chaos. Sometimes it is dangerous and threatening because it is dangerous and threatening. Sometimes it only appears dangerous and threatening and it is often a subjective thing. Our willingness or ability to dip our toes into chaos is going to wax or wane depending on where we are in life. And some people, I think, have a higher tolerance for chaos than others. Does that thought bind all of our conceptions of chaos together a little better?
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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� and it is often a subjective thing.

Which is to say that chaos could be considered subjective because we may be in a state at that moment when we are unprepared for it (or for a certain type or amount of it) and therefore the chaos might indeed consume us . Other times we might think the chaos will consume us but it would just be one of those "tempered and strengthened by the trial" sort of things.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If not, I'll accept that you're talking about a different type of chaos. Gee, these negotiations can get long and drawn out. Big Grin
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of jk1962
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In centigrees my experience with the level of chaos was to consume me into ash.
In reading your post about when you experienced the chaos, I understand the difference. I completely relate to the experience you describe.

I call it the abyss. A type of road to madness if not rescued from it. And yes, that experience is one I hope never to repeat, but I certainly have no assurance that I never will.

I guess I'd call that a different level of chaos or different "power" of chaos than what I was responding to Brad about.

Sorry to have totally blown off course there Smiler
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Phil:

Note how, in your experience, there is also an "observer" standing outside the turmoil, to some extent . . . able to report back on it: the "I" that I am going on and on about in another thread on Ego and Self. This "I" is also always "there," and you can learn to tune into it and withdraw your attention thus from the swirling energies within. The "I" is also innately alert for the presence of Spirit/love. I think your experience shared above is a good example of this. [/QB]
Thanks, Phil for that discernment. The observer is sometimes called the "witness". And, yes, it is outside the turmoil, or pleasure or whatever energy experiences that may be going on.

In my meditation practice these days, I'm cultivating, on one hand, inner silence, and on the other, inner energy conductivity. The �witness� is in the silence.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil and Ryan's observations are right on re the silent witness, Spirit/love Smiler

The Spirit of God is an unconditional self-giving love of the most tender kindness permeating and flowing in and through all. Spirit coordinates, or narrates our inner lives, acting as inner witness and guardian. The Spirit empowers us to meet situations with Divine skills. The Spirt/love guards and protects us.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

God's Spirit/love is the silent witness to our spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man, except the man's spirit within him 1 Corinthians 2: 10-16.
------------------------------

Thank you Terri, you certainly understand the chaos I was speaking about. Yes, a good name for it is the abyss, a road to madness is a very good description for same. Bless you!.
-------------------------------

Brad, I got the Neverending story and also the continuation of part 2 and 3, have you seen those?.


Smiler Smiler Smiler Two of these smileys are for Terri.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, I got the Neverending story and also the continuation of part 2 and 3, have you seen those?.

I think I've seen 2, and maybe part of 3 on TV one time. I confess I wasn't that fond of the sequels, Freebird. But the first one was so outstanding that it didn't really matter.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Freebird:

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

God's Spirit/love is the silent witness to our spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man, except the man's spirit within him 1 Corinthians 2: 10-16.

Thanks Freebird for those well chosen scripture references!
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think two of the biggest obstacles to get to where we need to go are anger and the desire to increase ourselves. The anger is probably mostly in the form of resentment, and the desire to increase ourselves can be expressed in a number of ways, including the desire to fix and control.

I don't think we can ever intrinsically increase ourselves. That's not possible for us to do. We may learn a second language or get a degree in engineering and thus increase our marketable selves. But our intrinsic selves, our souls, the most mysterious thatness of our being, is beyond our ability to increase. And if our goal is to do so we're going to be chasing ghosts. We're going to be courting anguish, dissatisfaction, and despair. But what we can do is head down a better path, no matter whether a path feels like an increase or a decrease. A path may make us President of the United States or a pauper, but that is irrelevant. The path may have us earning degrees or puttering in the garden. Whatever it is, our job is to discern the true and best path using some dynamic or method that I don't know how to describe because I don't know if I know how to do it, but I do believe it exists. And learning how to discern that path is worthy of a very long discussion, but that's another subject.

But I think that a basic element of choosing the right path is disentangling ourselves from our own narrow and semi-blind wills and listening to a wider and more visionary Will. And this is where and why the bad stuff we do comes into play. The bad stuff we do leaves an after-image, an affect, a cloud. And our cynicism, our bitterness, our judgmentalism, and I think especially our anger, cloud our vision as well. We become easily deluded that some narrow desire of our own is the prompting of a wider Will, even if we sincerely want to follow that wider Will. But I thoroughly believe that discerning such differences is quite difficult when we are steeped in egoism, and we can be steeped in much egoism without even knowing it. I think our deepest reflexive bursts of self-righteousness come from our sense of our ego being threatened, and it may feel threatened by pressure from outside or by that feeling that there is nothing to cling to, including ourselves. We may fixate on this feeling of being threatened and diminished even while literally and unambiguously doing things that threaten our lives, our minds, our spirits, and our bodies whether they are addictive behaviors or some other self-destructive behavior. We may bemoan the fact that we are so lost, weak, and vulnerable even while unambiguously and directly doing things to make us just that. What we likely desire instead is retribution, revenge, vengeance, satisfaction, justice (as we see it), accolades, power, control, or prestige. We desire some metaphysical or non-material attribute be added to us � by our own hand or the hand of another. But such things that can be given can always be taken away, so these things are never real, they are never intrinsic, they are never permanent. But such a craving might indeed show that we are on the right track of at least thinking there is something more that has to be added. But our rather tight and narrow framework of what those things must be has us missing the true thing that can fill it.

I think the path of progress always contains the element of moving to a wider perspective. But I sometimes think it's likely that we only wink at such notions as Divine Will. When push comes to shove, we figure it's our butts that are on the line and that only by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps are we going to get anywhere, are we going to have any immediate and real effect. After all, they say that god helps those who help themselves. Faith may be a wonderful thing but it doesn't help much when being chased by a hungry lion. Things like faith and discerning Divine Will often seem like a luxury in this fast-paced and hostile world. Discerning the path that is right for us, that reflects and is coherent with our deepest yearnings, and that is not merely a fear-based machination of the ego, is difficult. I like a couple things that Thomas Merton has to say from his book, No Man is an Island:

quote:
The man of impure intentions may not clearly realize that he is deceiving himself. Blinded by his own selfishness, he cannot even see that he is blinded. The hesitation that divides him between God's will and his own is by no means clear. It does not involve a practical choice between two clearly seen alternatives. It plunges him into a confusion of doubtful choices, a welter of possibilities. If he had enough interior peace to listen to his own conscience, he would hear it telling him that he does not really know what he is doing. He realizes obscurely that if he knew himself better he would be less likely to deceive himself. He knows that he is blindly following his own selfish ideas, under cover of motives he has not taken time to examine. But he does not really want to examine them, because if he did so he might find out that his will and the will of God were directly opposed to one another. He might discover that there was no alternative for him but to do the will of God, which he does not really want to do.
quote:
The secret of pure intention is not to be sought in the renunciation of all advantage for ourselves. Our intentions are pure when we identify our advantage with God's glory, and see that our happiness consists in doing His will because His will is right and good. In order to make our intentions pure, we do not give up all idea of seeking our own good, we simply seek it where it can really be found: in a good that is beyond and above ourselves. Pure intention identifies our own happiness with the common good of all those who are loved by God. It seeks its joy in God's own will to do good to all men in order that He may be glorified in them.

And, therefore, a pure intention is actually the most efficacious way of seeking our own advantage and our own happiness.
I think for the first time in my life I'm starting to get an inkling of that Will. And believe me, it isn't steering me toward the presidency. And that will is seriously working on someone else I know in real life, to the point of messing physically with his heart and having him on the verge of quitting his job. And as I look around me, I notice the panicked stare in most people's eyes. It seems everyone is working so hard at staying out of the abyss, at staying ahead of the maelstrom. And who is to say that they aren't doing so, that they aren't achieving exactly what they should be achieving? At times I wonder if people were to lose their imbalance if it might not take away their forward momentum, if it might not take away their life. Even if many of us don't overtly wonder about such a thing, I think a good many of us unconsciously live that thought. There is much noise like this in our head, but can we really discard it as just noise? Might not such "noise" be our true calling? How can we trust these other inklings and promptings that we get if they do not fit into the overall rigid framework that we have laid out already for how it is we must be in order to be right and to advance correctly? How can we trust these other promptings especially when they seem so weak, na�ve, and peculiar, especially if we compare with what everyone else is doing.

I think the life toward sanctity is ultimate going to take us into a few deserts. And the main attribute of a desert is not that they are hot or dry but that they are lonely. They take us away from other people. We become somewhat isolated. And we become less. Rather than gorging on food, we thirst. Rather than adding layers of stuff, we empty ourselves. I think life is both an additive process and sometimes a subtractive process. We would do well to quell our anger and our manic sense that we need more stature. But can we really ever do so without a good heapin' spoonful of trust? Probably not. Surely not, I would think. And trust is one of those major components that must be added. We don't get there my mere subtraction. But trust in what? The sign of our times is cynicism and distrust, both which supposedly go to show how pure rationality alone is sufficient. All one needs to do then is cite a few (well, many) of the faith-based excesses of the past (or present) and it's case closed. But to my mind, there is a baby bear "just right" place in between these extremes, in between the extreme of blind religious zealotry and cynical atheism. And the test for that place is to note whether our beliefs, our faith, is making us more loving, more tolerant, kinder, gentler, humbler, and more patient.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Brad

Merton's quote:

Pure intention identifies our own happiness with the common good of all those who are loved by God. It seeks its joy in God's own will to do good for all men in order that He may be glorified in them.
----------------------------------

How wonderful these words of thoughts written by Merton. The greatest happiness experienced is to do good for others knowing there is no gain within our intentions, just in the awareness of doing good because it is within the will of God. This takes a higher level of spiritual awareness in our daily lives being at all times centered in knowing ourselves. How often do we act on insticts alone, or are seeking some kind of gain and reward in our service to others.

Clarity of intention is the first step in the meeting of minds between two people, may it be a new lover and friend. Why are you choosing a relationship with another; for example may it be boredom, lonelieness or do you just want to belong to a certain group or organization?. As more and more of humanity awakens to the life and love of God, more of us will rejoice in His glorification in all.

I like your expression of the baby bear between the extremes, I would label it a teddy bear, that both sides could share and find a unity through love.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I didn't know it was first a book.

Here�s Michael Ende�s translation of "The Neverending Story" originally written by German author, Ralph Manheim. Below is an excerpt from an Amazon.com review.

quote:
Furthermore, the book as mentioned above works on many levels and ultimately the message is that doing what we want, is not doing as we please. For what we truly want and what is essential is not what is closest and mostly covered up by false wishes and ways in which we would like to elevate our own picture of ourselves or simply to prove our power and status��The Neverending Story� is about how we lose our fantasy in a world that is denying us to have any. In the Chapter where Atreyu meets Gmork, Gmork tells him, that if he was to be taken by the Nothing he would become a lie in the human world �maybe one that would make a human feel the urge to buy things they are not in need of� which is quite forwardly mentioning the short-lived capitalist moments of brief joy most of us have fall prey to at some point.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brad:
Discerning the path that is right for us, that reflects and is coherent with our deepest yearnings, and that is not merely a fear-based machination of the ego, is difficult.

Thanks Brad,

You got me remembering how I'm drawn to complete poverty, homelessness. Maybe not for a whole life, but for a time. I love the way Jesus sent out disciples with nothing but the clothes on their back and the intention to knock on a door, find a welcome, eat what is set before them, heal the sick and proclaim, "The kingdom of God is at hand." Francis of Assisi heard the story and he did it. I love him for that.

I called a circle of friends years back to help me discern if I'm called to do likewise, at least for a phase as short as a few days: In faith, walk with nothing but the clothes on my back and respond to the will of God from there.

We noticed that the disciples of Jesus went two by two. I was encouraged to find a partner to accompany me. I found no one to do the radical form of dire poverty journey. So I didn't do it.

Still, I feel the inner longing. Currently it is more a longing for a kind of cave retreat from the world for a time, maybe a year. If I live simply, how long could I live without some of the things I thrive on now: Internet, TV/videos, fine food, electricity�
And how long could I live in solitude and have it be spiritually fruitful and without violating my marriage? Maybe much less than a year. A day, a week, a month, a season�

This home, this yard, these birds � today I saw a rufous-sided towhee and we communed and some neighbors came by and they saw it too, and we talked about bright red cardinals and fat robins� this life partner -- today I made breakfast for my wife that included fresh bread of dough I brought home from work and she was so sweet� On days like today this place is enchanted.

I wish we were less addicted to electricity. So much polution caused in the production of it. Maybe it is time for a break from Internet� Except, I need email for the people who assume I check it. And if email, why not a forum? And so it goes. Our lives follow patterns.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What a stupendous post, Ryan. Honest. Searching. Dignified. Poetic. Important. You've given me some wonderful things to think about on my evening walk. Thank you.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Ryan, What joy to have you share from a higher place of being. It is the simple awareness of your treasured moment in time. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You got me remembering how I'm drawn to complete poverty, homelessness. Maybe not for a whole life, but for a time. I love the way Jesus sent out disciples with nothing but the clothes on their back and the intention to knock on a door, find a welcome, eat what is set before them, heal the sick and proclaim, "The kingdom of God is at hand." Francis of Assisi heard the story and he did it. I love him for that.
Ryan, I don�t think a person is sane unless, from time to time, they get the inkling to just chuck it all. I think this is so because the capacity and imagination of our souls far exceed the world�s ability to satisfy them. We see the life we are living now as trying to squeeze a round peg (our full soulful potential) into a square hole (the limited and restrained way we�re living now).

And whatever lifestyle we�re living, it takes a constant effort to beat back the forces of chaos just to hold onto where we are now. And that�s another way of saying that where we are now is somewhat contrived and artificial. Rather than flowing effortlessly into life, we stack things up precariously. We order and structure and have our lives in such a way that the only thing that will likely happen is that something will fall apart. We�ve arranged things in such a way that there may be little time or energy left for actually adding carefree and joyful things. It�s all about maintenance and repair, about plugging holes in the dike. So that�s why I say it�s the sane thing to have the desire to chuck it all and to be free from the things we weigh ourselves down with, that virtually enslave us and take away life�s joy and spontaneity. Life is about living, not about being the equivalent of a completely instinctive animal, such as a beaver, whose compulsive life is centered around forever damming a river and keeping it dammed.

And maybe some of us are afraid to just chuck everything and start down that Franciscan path, not because it is hard, but because with that path left untrodden, and therefore indeterminate, we can still hang onto the idea that there is some greener path that we could always go down at any time. So we therefore feel better about the sacrifices that we make to stay on the path we�re on now. The path that we�re on now is necessarily imperfect and hard�and there�s a reason. We�ve made sacrifices. This path is not supposed to be light, free, and Franciscan-like. And thus that Franciscan image remains an outlet. A safety valve -- even if we never go down that path. This psychological self-trickery may work for a while, especially if we hit a rough spot in the road. But those other paths still beckon. We can�t completely silence their call, and we suspect that if we did it would be the equivalent of silencing ourselves, of killing the dearest and most creative part of us. That part must stay alive, even if it hurts. We must keep the dream alive.

I certainly would like to help other people. But I must admit too that I would first and foremost like to escape my life�or at least to energize it and renew it by doing something that is creative and important. But I wonder if I have any kind of calling for the St. Francis path. Things can always change in the future, of course, but when I was thinking about all this, Ryan, the thing that popped into my head is that what I most desire is peace (just above a host of other things�LOTS of other things!) And I remember the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: Hell is other people. I think there�s too much truth in that. As much as I may intellectually want to help other people, other people are often a gigantic pain in the ass. I think one really, sincerely and truly has to have a calling to do the work of a St. Francis or Mother Teresa. I think we could do a lot of damage to ourselves and to others if something like that was heavily tinged with escapism or just the desire for adventure or because one is bored. I ascribe none of these motivations to you, but suspect all of them are in me when such notions as chucking it all and hitting the St. Francis road have occurred to me.

But doing just what you described could be the perfect fit for you. I don�t know. But I think in saying what you so eloquently said you touched on something that is intrinsic to all of us: We have the hope, or the feeling, that there is some path we should be walking that we are not treading now. I know I certainly feel that way. And we can become very frustrated with ourselves for not walking at least some significant path, even if we�re not sure which path it is yet. We feel hemmed in by our prior commitments, our fears, our lack of motivation, our lack of clarity of vision, or a number of other things. That untrodden path that beckons us is a reminder of how much deep emotional and spiritual energy in us remains unused and untapped. And we long to have these energies spill out into humanity for the benefit of ourselves and others. And we sense that, although much hard work would be involved, it wouldn�t be a burden at all.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, We have a profound connection, you and I, a connection that ranges from the absurd to the sublime.

You wrote:

"It�s all about maintenance and repair, about plugging holes in the dike."

And, as for the absurd, at about that time (allowing for the different time zones) I was at work accidentally poking a hole in a fifty pound bag of sugar on the bottom of a pallet of bags. As the sugar poured out and I went to get some tape, I asked my coworker if she would plug the hole "like the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dike." She plugged the hole but I got a funny feeling she didn't get the Dutch boy reference. Maybe she didn�t BUT it seems you did.

As for the sublime, you also wrote:

��you touched on something that is intrinsic to all of us: We have the hope, or the feeling, that there is some path we should be walking that we are not treading now. I know I certainly feel that way. And we can become very frustrated with ourselves for not walking at least some significant path, even if we�re not sure which path it is yet. We feel hemmed in by our prior commitments, our fears, our lack of motivation, our lack of clarity of vision, or a number of other things. That untrodden path that beckons us is a reminder of how much deep emotional and spiritual energy in us remains unused and untapped. And we long to have these energies spill out into humanity for the benefit of ourselves and others. And we sense that, although much hard work would be involved, it wouldn�t be a burden at all. �

So well said, my friend, so well understood.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ryan, have you considered making a retreat? Sometimes our inner yearnings for solitude and silence can be projected in highly idealized ways that are impossible or impractical to fulfill. I've had similar longings for an eremitic lifestyle, for example, but found that taking an hour for prayer and meditation every morning and a half hour every evening meets the need being expressed. So do occasional retreats away for three or more days.

Just a thought . . .
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ryan, have you considered making a retreat?

A retreat sounds like a great idea. I know a young father in real life who, for various reasons, is feeling overwhelmed. My advice to him was not to think that his overwhelmedness could be overcome by a lot of rational problem solving. I told him that he needed to get away for a few days by himself or with a couple of his friends. He didn't need time to figure anything out. He just needed time to decompress. He needed an angle from which to gain a perspective on his life. He needed a little peace and quiet to recharge the batteries.

But for various reasons (myself included), we tend to resist sensible ideas such as a retreat, even if that retreat is just for a couple of hours. As Mystic's Maze said elsewhere: We tend to not look very deeply because of our sense of some vague unfixableness. I think people are often afraid of lifting the lid on their lives, as if to look inside would be to open a Pandora's box, as if to look inside they would interrupt the momentum of their well-oiled habit engines and expose how much of their lives has become reflex and how relatively little is soulful living. And I think that a little-appreciated factor is that we assume that recognizing our full potential is some joyous, liberating occasion. But it is often the opposite. Seeing our full potential (which is often achieved by seeing how much we may be in a rut in our lives now), can be a threatening burden. Realizing our full potential is not a retreat into safety and security. It is a full-on charge into risk and vulnerability.

I think there's the general sense out there that becoming our true selves, following Divine Providence, or fulfilling our innate potential is a light, easy process. Once we're on the right track, things will go relatively smoothly. Oh, there will be problems, for sure, but they will be overcome because of the momentum of our passion, because reality ultimately will open up to accommodate us being on the right track. And I often wonder if the Type A hard-charging personalities are the ones who foster these expectations. These might even be good expectations for many to have. But I wonder if the manual has been written yet for the rest of us.

But I think it should be noted that those who have climbed Mt. Everest, who have sung on Broadway, who have married movie stars, who have become millionaires and cruise the Caribbean in their 150 foot yachts, may be as unfulfilled inside as you or me. They also may be happy, of course, and one would certainly hope so. But if there is one truth in life it is that having is not the same as happiness. Everyone, right now, has it within themselves to just chuck all those expectations of what they need to do and what they must have, and to live life much more on their terms. And that should not be understand as simply trying to rationalize where we are now and calling it paradise. I think I can tell the difference between Trump Tower and where I live now. The point isn't about places or things but attitude. Our attitudes are likely owned to a great extent by other people. These attitudes are instilled by parents and culture to a large extent. Living our own lives isn't about power, wealth, places, or things. Not that we don't have genuine yearnings for those things. We do. But what is natural and innate deep down is nowhere NEAR what the culture at large instills in us. The culture at large is like a big megaphone or echo chamber. The relatively mild, and good, inner inklings we have to "be somebody" or to be rich are ratcheted up until they are completely dysfunctional. They no longer bring us pleasure. They tend to bring only disappointment and despair. And we're so caught up in this loop that we generally do one of two things, and we usually do them both. We redouble our efforts at trying to succeed and to look good in the eyes of others, or we retreat into an inner despair knowing we can never measure up.

I think Phil's idea of a retreat is excellent. Most excellent. What we also might do in the meantime is take a retreat, right here and right now, from our attitudes. Take them on vacation away from the ugly, awful, and ever-present expectations of a culture that denies that there is any intrinsic value in people except for the kind of value implicit in "What have you done for me lately?" Such a retreat is not necessarily a matter of changing jobs, houses, wives, husbands, or clothes. To think that our attitude depends on these things is to expose the very attitude we need a retreat away from. Strange as it sounds, and as hard as this is to believe, it is actually possible to be at peace with what you're doing now and with who you are now.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Ryan,

your quote:

This home, this yard, these birds--today I saw a rufous-sided towhee and we communed and some neighbors came by and they saw it too, and we talked about bright red cardinals and fat robbins. This life-partner----today I made breakfast for my wife that included fresh bread of dough and brought home from work and she was so sweet-----. On days like today this place is enchanted.
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Can you see what I see Ryan, pure joy in the moment and happiness just in your being, which includes your wife and nature.

The rest of the post from where I took this quote from describes a state of being that most of humanity experiences at one time or another. How many within our universe would give so much just to be able to feel your moment of time, joy!.

Check the internet or with your local Church for retreat places to attend. My late father found peace and contentment on retreats at a Monastery that he went to several times a year. Most of these Monasteries have beautiful serene grounds, and I do suggest a silent retreat. These times to be by yourself and nature communing with God will uplift your spirit and give you a drink of water. You are within a good place with your wife and it was a delight for me to here about your breakfast treat for her.

Brad's quote:

Strange as it sounds, and as hard as this is to believe, it is actually possible to be at peace with what you're doing now and with who you are now.
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Absolutely, Brad. There is a contentment and inner peace within that we need to get in touch with without always running, seeking, or thinking there is something or someone else that could fill and complete us. Be here now with joy in this very moment.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Be here now with joy in this very moment.

It need not be any more complicated than that. So why is it? Why is it so complicated? Why is joy so elusive?
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
It need not be any more complicated than that. So why is it? Why is it so complicated? Why is joy so elusive?
Because it's too simple?

Because we don't recognize it?

Because we don't want to recognize it?

Because it's right in front of us, but we're moving so fast we miss it?
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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