Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mansion, Castle and Matter? Not Sure.

This Swallow made much noise at me today.
Last summer I picked-up the book The Wisdom Jesus:  Transforming Heart and Mind - A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Cynthia Bourgeault). A couple of weeks ago I began reading it again after hearing an excellent homily that referenced the author. The thing that I enjoy about the book is that Jesus is made to come to life in the reading in ways that were not clear before. Today's reading dealt with resurrection, ascension and Pentecost. I offer a quote from the book, "What Jesus does so profoundly demonstrate to us in his passage from death to life is that the walls between the realms are paper thin. Along the entire ray of creation, the 'mansions' are interpenetrating and mutually permeable by love." 

Now, this excites me as a reference to the house of God as having many rooms. I have always wondered what that meant. Of course, I know the jokes about the different Christian denominations and religions having rooms in heaven with the one group that has their own room because they believe they would be the only group saved by God's love. And, there are so many other references to this mansion that I have come across over the years. I think of St. Teresa of Avila and the journey through the Interior Castle (another of my favorite reads). It was only today that I put the mansion and the castle in the same place as I reflected on what it means to have paper-thin walls separating the realms. Basically this is also tying into some thoughts I have been having about quantum mechanics and the illusion of the material world as being composed of solids. Oh my goodness...I do not have any intention of pulling all of this material together. So, basically when I think of the mansion, castle and the material world as being interconnected the only thing I know is that we live in this moment connected to all that has gone before and will come in the future. It is right now that all of it comes together in harmony (this is also influenced from my sangha meeting yesterday--we discussed the topic of now). Jesus' living in the first century of this Common Era is as alive today as ever if we are attentive to the realms, and what I usually consider a veil more than paper-thin walls. I am struggling to articulate anything coherent, yet somehow the quote created an experience of mystery this afternoon. Have a good w

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Space Between

Centering prayer is something that always catches me by surprise. It is focused on the internal repetition of a verse or mantra for a set period of time. So, I was attending centering prayer in a group and focused on listening to a reading that had some really great material. Whoa, as soon as the bell rang and it was time to center my mind spun-out all over the place for a few minutes. When I returned from this little excursion I could not remember any of the verses and the only mantra type thing I had in my head was the melody of a song. This experience was somewhat disordered (as it always seems to be) so the next day I tried it again. Attentively listening to scripture in order to remember it for the prayer period. And, there was a verse that came for a couple of minutes until I forgot the context and was distracted in an attempt to recall the message of the reading. Ultimately in the end of both of these accounts I went back to counting my breath. One of the biggest distractions for me during meditation and centering prayer is what other people are thinking, or how many other people in the world are doing this very thing at this very time. As if the answers will arise out of the ashes of my mind. I don't think so. What I do experience in this is the fluidity of the present moment as I marvel at how many thoughts must travel through our mind at any given time. Okay, well ramble-on. The song melody that came to me was "Space Between" by Dave Matthews and I offer the video to you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another Musical Memory

Ascension Sunday is here! So, we continue in good faith while also celebrating Mom's throughout the world today. Happy Mother's day! First thing I received this morning was a text from my Mom at 5:30 a.m. thanking each of us girls for what we do and speaking of her pride. This started my day off with a smile! Tonight we went for dinner and that was a delight. Thanks Mom for being who you are and encouraging us to do the same.

Arlo Guthrie's Instruments and Stage Set-up
Last night Arlo Guthrie was in Oshkosh after acquiring two free tickets (thanks to Jon Nicoud). It was great listening to the music and story. So, my friend Barb (who joined me for the John Denver impersonator a few weeks ago) joined me again. The night was fantastic. When we sat down I looked around the theater and saw two of my community members a few rows back. He sang a song of his father's (Woody), "Deportee," that told the story of 28 migrant workers and the 4 U.S. citizens accompanying them back to Mexico in a deportation process. The plane crashed in Los Gatos Canyon (this was in 1948) while being deported. Guthrie was angered that the migrants who died were not given a name in the newspaper and were referred to only as deportees. Eventually twelve of them were named and they are still buried in a common grave near the crash site. It was moving to hear the story and song last night, and as pointed out by Arlo it could have been written today and have the same feel and meaning.

Today has been filled with preparation for the online class I'm teaching for summer school. It seems the technology is working and things should start out well from that end. Have a good week!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Old Friends

Meeting Doodles
This week had some accomplishments, nothing grandiose, just the things that had to get done. Today finished off another weekend of Chapter Planning as we prepare to set our agenda for the next four years and elect new leaders this summer. We will gather for nine days at the end of June and this experience of planning has stretched me in many ways. Have I mentioned that meetings are not my favorite? And yet, I find myself in them often enough. So, it might be time to change my anti-meeting mantra to something more soothing like, "I learn so much form meetings." And, indeed this is true. The cool thing is that the group gathered seems to be a fair representation of the community and we seem to come from a variety of perspectives. My hope is that this time will provide a solid foundation for what will take place this summer.

Debbie Slamming the Board
Simon and Garfunkel always have a way of putting things into perspective. In January I had the fortune of reconnecting with my best friend from childhood. There is something comforting about catching-up with someone and getting to know one another as adults. Today we met for lunch at the Mineshaft in Hartford, WI. They have this huge game room that mixes a theme park with Vegas for little kids -- no roller coasters though). So, we grabbed a couple of games of air hockey, ending in a tie. You must know I was kickin' it until we got a better puck, then I sank in misery with the loss of the day. However, the winning touch was in the fun together. Today's video is a reflection for our time.