Saint Romuald of Ravenna

Today we celebrate the life Saint Romuald, I lift up his memory for one reason in particular, and that is this:

The man was a realist and he encouraged a sense of realism among his followers.

He was an outspoken critic of the way the lives of the saints were written about and disseminated, he could not tolerate the popular tradition of the hagiography, replete with their embellishments, miracle stories which he flatly called out for the lies that they were.

His criticism of the tradition merits our respect.

Romuald was a member of an aristocratic family, he lived between the mid tenth and early eleventh century CE. He was the founder of the Camaldolese order, in the Benedictine tradition.

He had a wild youth and was said to have given himself over to the sins of the flesh, but later he became credited for breathing new life into eremitical and aesthetic monasticism.

He became a hermit.

He is said to have founded and or reformed many monastic institutions, though not all of his work was successful.

Through the promulgation of his rule he encouraged monks under his care to lead solitary lives, engaged in mediation and the interior reflection on the self. He was interested in the process of a person’s inner thoughts. He encouraged his followers to watch and be mindful of their thoughts as if they were watching fish in a stream.

In this way he was like a Zen master.

Romuald was heavily influenced by the Orthodox practice of hesychasm, which has also been associated with quietism, both of which highlight the long standing practice of deep mediation in the Christian tradition, which puts it his teaching on par with the practices of Buddhist monks in the Himalayas and Japan.

Tell no lies about him, he was an ordinary man.

Romuald

A Homily – The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 8, 10, 12-13 ©
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23
Alternative Acclamation – 1 John 2:5
The Gospel According to Matthew – 5:38 – 48 ©

(NJB)

The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)
Listen to the word of God and know that there is no justice without mercy.

Give thanks to God, the creator of the universe. Give thanks for the peace of God’s blessing, the blessing of life, and of freedom, of self-determination and every other aspect of our being that allows us to be persons.

Give thanks to those who are loving, to the peacemakers and bless them as you are able.

Bless all of God’s children, as God does, love them all, both the good and the bad, the helpful and the harmful, the just and the unjust.

Remember this, God is not a king, God is not a Lord. God does not favor one group over another. God does not intervene in the affairs of human beings.

God has made everyone free.

The living God dwells within the living you, and in the living I. God, the creator of the universe dwells in everyone, in all beings, at all times, in all places.

God dwells in you, and I, and your enemy (whoever that might be), and where God is present, God is present fully.

Be mindful!

Wisdom is wisdom, and folly is folly, and you are not special except insofar as you are loved.

You are loved no-more and no-less than any other.

You are no-more and no-less wise.

You are no-more and no-less a fool.

We are all journeying in the way, and the way leads to God.

Be Mindful!

The grace of God is not transactional.

Love fosters love, but there is always love and God is always with you.

God dwells in all people, regardless of their character and the quality of the life they have lived.

Some people bear witness through the quality of their lives the love that Jesus showed us and asked us to emulate. In others we are confronted with the need to be merciful, and to demonstrate through our own choices the qualities of mercy and forgiveness Jesus asked us to show.

Remember this!

God is present in every person. Some express the love of God, while others call for a loving response.

Consider the Gospel for today, and be mindful.

The old law was the law of retribution. In it, there was no room for mercy. Under the old law it was thought that whether you do good deeds or bad deeds you are paid back in kind, and you are paid back in equal measure.

Most of the religious systems in the world adhere to a view of justice based on this concept. The laws of Karma articulated in Hinduism, are the most succinctly articulated and concisely conceptualized.

Every religion that points its believers to some kind of afterlife, has some variant of a mythology that shows the individual being weighed or measured on the scales of justice, before receiving their eternal reward, or punishment, as the case might be.

In the aforementioned Hindu system of beliefs, the individual remains on the wheel of life until the scales are balanced, and then they are released.

The Jains, the Sikhs and the Baha’i, all imagine something very much the same. They imagine that the soul enters the world in a state of purity and light, but life in the flesh entangles them in the dirty business of existence.

They become soiled.

The task then is to move toward the light, avoiding all things that contaminate the soul. Until, at the end they are once again burning pure and bright.

The old law was a law of retribution.

It was only one stage better than the law of terror which read:

Not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but a head for an eye and a tribe for a head.

Jesus instructed us in the divine law, and the divine law is reflected in the way of mercy; to sacrifice is to forgive, and this is the path to holiness.

Jesus taught us to go beyond what is ordinary, surpass the conventions, teach love and mercy, by being loving and merciful, even to those you would shun or fear.

This is the way and there is no other.

Both Jesus and the Buddha believed that a person could balance the scales in a moment. It did not take lifetimes, we are not in bondage to our past, to our history, to our station, or to our ancestors.

We are good when we are doing good, we burn brightly when we are on fire with compassion.
First Reading – Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18 ©

You Must Love Your Neighbour as Yourself

The Lord spoke to Moses; he said: ‘Speak to the whole community of the sons of Israel and say to them:

‘“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.

‘“You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You must openly tell him, your neighbour, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.”’
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 8, 10, 12-13 ©

The Lord is compassion and love.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord is compassion and love.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,
who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is compassion and love.

The Lord is compassion and love,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins
nor repay us according to our faults.

The Lord is compassion and love.

As far as the east is from the west
so far does he remove our sins.
As a father has compassion on his sons,
the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

The Lord is compassion and love.
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 ©

You Belong to Christ and Christ Belongs to God

Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.

Make no mistake about it: if any one of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise. Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are; or again: God is not convinced by the arguments of the wise. So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 1 John 2:5

Alleluia, alleluia!

Whenever anyone obeys what Christ has said,
God’s love comes to perfection in him.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to Matthew – 5:38 – 48 ©

Love Your Enemies

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

A Homily

2019.03.03 – (The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time) C

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:5-8 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 91(92):2-3,13-16 ©
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – Philadelphians 2:15-16
The Gospel of Luke – 6:39-45 ©
(NJB)
This is the way of things.

Our words go out from us like seeds, and return bearing fruit. They are the product of our thoughts, they reflect what is in our hearts. Even when we try to use our words to conceal our feelings, they tell the story without our consent.

The truth will out; like fractal geometry, the pattern will carry forward.

The things we say matter as much as the things we do. Our words are actions, they can move mountains.

Discretion is the hallmark of wisdom, and circumspection, is its ally.

Be mindful!

How you speak matters as much as what you say.

Listen to the psalmist.

It is good to give thanks to the creator, and to be mindful of God’s eternal mercy.

God is merciful to everyone; to those who have God’s name on their lips, to those who speak no word of God at all, even to those who curse God.

God loves each and every one of us, both in our humility and in our folly, the wise and the ignorant alike; God loves us.

If you sing praises to God in recognition of all God’s works, and give thanks for them as the psalmist does, know this; among God’s works are all of those with whom we quarrel.

God does not have any favorite children, nor does God love any one person above another.

Be mindful.

When you are reaping the rewards of the blessed, it is not because you have been blessed. There is no guarantee that that the just will flourish, and no guarantee that the unjust will perish. God does not interfere in our lives, the rain fall on the just and the unjust alike.

Though God does not intervene in the course of human events, not directly, God does promise to right all wrongs and to do so with justice in one hand and mercy in the other.

God’s correction comes in the spirit of love, and never to the detriment of any of God’s children.

The works of the wicked will pass away, but the wicked themselves (by that I mean all of us) we will be reborn as servants of God; as brothers and sisters in Christ.

No one is lost.

Listen!

Sin is not the cause of death. The death of our bodies is a part of God’s plan.

God is the author of death. God made us mortal and death is a natural part of life. Do not fear death. Fear of death is a function of a lack of faith.

The apostle blames the law as the cause of sin. He is wrong. It is not laws that cause us to sin, it is desire. We sin on account of our brokenness, we sin because we fear.

Be mindful of what the apostle teaches, he is often wrong, and he is wrong on this.

Though we cannot see into the next world, we feel it. We know the next world is there, we were made for it, we continue in it according to the will God.

Everyone continues.

The death of our bodies is not the death of ourselves. There is no finality in it, there is no judgement that leads to our destruction. It is a passage, like a mist, we pierce the veil and find ourselves renewed.

Never forget; God hears you, God will make the journey with you.

Having set aside fear, take joy in the work that is in front of you. Be content that you have found purpose today; purpose in carrying out the mission of divine love, in fulfilling the ministry of Jesus, following in his way.

If the service you give the world, is not a service to your sisters and brothers, to the widow and the orphan, or to the stranger among you, then it is not God’s work you are doing, it is an exercise in vanity.

God’s work is always in the service of the living.

Listen to the words Luke ascribes to Jesus, and know this: the blind can lead the blind that is what we do hear earth. We are all walking in the dark. Be humble, the truth eludes us all, teacher and disciple alike.

None of us are the equal to Jesus the Messiah, to Moses the Lawgiver, to Mohammed the Prophet, none of us are equal to Gottama the enlightened one.

Our stories cannot match theirs. We are ordinary women and men, they are figures of myth, the archetypes we aspire to, our stories will never equal theirs, we are not meant to live up to their epic example.

They are meant to lead us, we are meant to hear their call. All of us will fail at some point or another, most of will fail many times over, even daily through the course of our lives, that does not mean we are meant to stop trying,

Do not shun the hypocrite as much as your own hypocrisy.

Be mindful.

If it falls to you to correct your sisters or brothers, do so with a spirit of love, and humility in full cognizance of your own errors.

Listen!

Luke recalls the teaching of Ecclesiasticus.

Our words go out from us like seeds, and return bearing fruit.

Our words are the product of our thoughts, they reflect what is in our hearts. Even when we try to use our words to conceal our feelings.

The truth will out; like fractal geometry, the pattern of our words, both what we hoped they would reveal and what we hoped they would conceal will carry forward.

Discretion is the hallmark of wisdom, and circumspection, is its ally.

Be mindful!

How you speak matters just as much as much as what you say.
First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:5-8 ©

The Test Of a Man is in His Conversation

In a shaken sieve the rubbish is left behind, so too the defects of a man appear in his talk.

The kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a man is in his conversation.

The orchard where a tree grows is judged on the quality of its fruit, similarly a man’s words betray what he feels.

Do not praise a man before he has spoken, since this is the test of men.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 91(92):2-3,13-16 ©

It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your truth in the watches of the night.

It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.

The just will flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a Lebanon cedar.

It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.

Planted in the house of the Lord
they will flourish in the courts of our God,
still bearing fruit when they are old,
still full of sap, still green,
to proclaim that the Lord is just.
In him, my rock, there is no wrong.

It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 ©

Death is Swallowed Up in Victory

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Never give in then, my dear brothers, never admit defeat; keep on working at the Lord’s work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be labouring in vain.
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.

Alleluia!
Alternative Acclamation – Philadelphians 2:15-16

Alleluia, alleluia!

You will shine in the world like bright stars
because you are offering it the word of life.

Alleluia!
The Gospel of Luke – 6:39-45 ©

Can the Blind Lead the Blind?

Jesus told a parable to his disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.

‘There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.’
The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lost

Silver in moonlight

The still sea reflects the stars

Hope, love’s bright mirror

 

Keeper of dreams, witch

Calypso whispers softly

Come sleep on my shore

 

Eat the wild fruit, live

Drink the lotus nectar, rest

In the sweet perfume

 

Step into heaven

The deep green horizon, pure

Beneath the banyan

 

While Penelope

Waits, and the light slips away

Crashing on the shoals

Cycles

Have no anxiety about the future, it will always be there.

Seize the moment, and you will have it in your hand.

Reflect on your experience at every turn.

Put your feelings before the analysis.

Analyze, and adapt.

Listen.

Look.

Breath.

Prepare for change.

Change is inevitable, the only constant.

Foresight is a mirage, a vision of potentials.

Portents of probability churning in the trough.

Look into the crest, tension becomes meaningless.

The rolling foam and the spray, fly free from the main.

Loosed from the curling body of the rolling wave.

Launched into weightlessness, and empty space.

Born like the Atman, of the Universal Spirit.

Each ascending in its natural arch.

Each falling just the same.

The Question that Matters

Q: What is the most significant dimension of your life?

A: My Relationships,
Shared Experience

 

We are relational beings.

We are…beings in relationship.

I am not, without you.

Our relationships with all people, whether they are known to us, or unknown, no matter distant from us in space and time, these relationships form the most significant dimension of our lives.

Our relationships are significant because they touch on who we are, not what we are doing, or where we are going, they concern our personhood.

Think of Adam, who was just an object made from clay prior to the coming of Eve. He was merely adamah, the one who comes from soil, a sad and lonely thing.

He awoke one day to find himself face to face with Eve, a woman, at that point Adam becomes man, a being in relationship, his status is exalted, and before her coming he was nothing more than animated soil.

It is relationality that confers dignity on the human person.

Remember the Zulu word Ubuntu, meaning; I am because you are. Without you I am not, not the same person.

Whoever you are, wherever you might be, you have contributed to the fullness of my being, like the pattern that ensues from the beating of a butterfly’s wings, it reaches everything, and we are tied together like an infinitude of strings, connected beyond space and time.

Our relationships are diagrammable, as complex and vast as a Mandelbrot Set.

Between any one point in time and space, and every other point in time and space there is a relationship that can be distinguished, a line of continuity that may be drawn.

Relationality is a dimension of our lives, properly speaking, of our ontological structure; like the dimensions of space and time, and mass.

We must be cognizant of this, our wholeness depends on it.

Bad relationships ulcerate within us, good relationships are like a healing balm.

Good and bad relationships are not a zero-sum game, the good and the bad can exist in the same relationship at the same time. The presence of the good does not eliminate the bad, neither does the bad obviate the good.

We are called to mindfulness when considering our relationships, because relationality is complex, multi-valenced and it is the fundamental ground of our being.

The Nature of Reality and the Purpose of Existence

Jesus and the Tao

 

I am the way; I am the truth and the life, and no one comes to God save through me.
~ Jesus of Nazareth

 

This statement is attributed to Joshua bin Joseph, also known as Jesus of Nazareth, and it is one of the most often cited phrases in the Christian cannon.

But what is the meaning of this formula, of these words?

Could it be as simple as the Church suggests, that this is a concrete articulation from the founder of the Christian Church that a person must be a Christian to go to heaven?

That there is a single catalyst for the salvation of the individual, the reception of the sacrament of baptism, a ritual of water purification administered by a duly appointed officiant of the church, along with the conscious and cognizant assent to the words spoken in the right, indicating faith and belief in the Trinitarian God; the father and the son and the holy spirit?

Is that what Jesus meant when he uttered these words, if he uttered these words, in the era before the instantiation of the church, when Jesus himself was just a Jew, an itinerant Rabbi, a Pharisee and critic of the prevailing social order. Do these words mean that?

Do these words tell us anything about what it means to be a Christian, about the way, of Jesus; its connection to truth, to the lived experience of the faith, the life of the believer, and their relationship to the ultimate arbiter of all that is, to God, the creator of the universe?

These words do not tell us anything about those things, and for many they never will.

I am the way; I am the truth and the life, and no one comes to God save through me.

For most people this will always be a simple message relating a simple belief; that there is one path to God and salvation, and it runs through the Church founded in the first century of the common-era.

That is the end of it, but there is more, much more
For those who want to understand more, you must be willing to immerse yourself in the mystery of Christ Consciousness, the truth concerning who Jesus is, and what it means for a man to self-identify as the way toward an understanding of, or even a personal-existential convergence with the ultimate reality that is God.

Let us examine this expression in its parts, and let us not be afraid to draw from the entire scope of human wisdom to discern their meaning.

I am the way; I am the truth and the life, and no one comes to God save through me.

The Way
The Truth
The Life

The Way:

Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism wrote of the way in 500 B.C.E., in his tractate, the I Ching, this is called the path of least resistance.

To live in the way means living in harmony with the tune of the Universe, which is the will of God, the creator and sustainer of all that is; God the infinite, God the eternal, God the fount of all being.

God who loves everyone, blesses everything, and harms nothing.
God who calls everything into existence, and in whom all things exist.
God whose being is co-terminus with our own.
God the omnipresent, the omniscient, the omnipotent.
God who is not, not present in any space.
God who understands our experience, even as we experience it ourselves.
God who has the perfect ability to accomplish the divine will.
God who called forth the light, and called it good.

To live in the way is to begin like a block of stone, whose edges and corners are rounded and smoothed through its encounter in the world with the presence of the divine, in the spirit of the infinite that dwells in each and every one of us, through our relationships with our neighbors; our friends and family, the stranger, our enemies.

The divine current is like water, it seeks us out, even in the lowest places, going lower than any other thing will go, it shapes us there until we become a like a rounded smooth and rolling ball, freed from the edges that drag us.

 

The Truth:

The truth is recognizable by these basic characteristics.

The truth will never lead you astray.

When you are in possession of the truth you are in possession of what is, independent of any other thing concerning it.

When you have arrived at the truth you have discovered the foundation of all understanding.

The truth is like a seed within you, as you nurture it your understanding will grow, it will fill you.

We are dynamic creatures, called on to do things in the world, to do and to be in relation to every other doer, creator-creature, co-actor; who is, ever was, and ever will be. Even if we lead the simplest of lives, we are invested with great power, and therefore must take great care of our desires and the choices that we make.

When we plant the seeds of our ambition in the soil of what is real and true, they will germinate, sprout and shoot, stretching their roots into the well that nurtures them, reaching for the light that calls them, bringing them to the end they were intended for.

This is not to say that truth guarantees success, nothing is guaranteed, but the good soil, the pure water, and the clear light provide the conditions by which we may thrive along the way to the infinite.

The truth reveals who we are.

The truth is the firmament on which we come to know ourselves, not merely as individuals, but as beings in relationship, in relationship to each and every other, and in relationship to the whole.

Knowing that there is truth is not the same as knowing the truth.

In order to fathom the difference between what is truth and what is false we require a discriminating perspective, and a sensitivity to the laws of consequence, like the rules of Karma that govern us.

We are each of us an Arjuna, born into a field of conflict and sickness, of debilitating illusions, called upon to wield wisdom like a surgeon wields a scalpel, to excise doubt and ignorance like a surgeon would a cancer, and with a habit of discipline rise above the clinging ground that would trap us.

As Marcus Aurelius said, what we do echoes in eternity. Our lives have significance, each and every one of us matters, the things we say and do to one another matter.

As Jesus put forward in his recapitulation of the Shema:

Hear O’ People, God is one, the infinite is one.

Love God with all your strength and all your heart and all your mind

Love your neighbor as your self

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you, be proactive, share with the starving a morsel of your own food, share with the naked a piece of your own clothing, share with the burdened a part of their suffering.

Where two people are gathered, there is God, not as a third person in their company but present in the relationship that exists between them.

To serve God means serving the other, to receive from god means that we accept the aid of another. God is in the other, as God is in us, the living-breathing, seeing-feeling God.

This is the truth of the human condition and our relationship to the divine.

If any system of beliefs claims to be true and does not engender certainty regarding these existential questions, does not promote growth toward these ideals, this understanding of who we are, then we may assume one of two things, that the system of belief as a whole, or some set of claims within it is false (and must be rejected), or the problem lies within us, that we are unwilling or have not properly understood the teaching in question and so have not properly enacted those beliefs in our lives.

Truth is the light that directs us along the way of life. Bask in it.
The Life:

This is the sum of our existential experience. The things we have done and said are fixed, even while the consequences of those things flow out from us on trajectories of their own, and beyond our control.

The content of our lives is always changing, updating with each and every moment, intersecting both actively and passively with the lives and choices of others, with the consequences of their actions and our own at disparate points in time and space.

This life is a journey, we are on a forward trajectory and there is no return, there is no going backward.

Only the living approach to the divine, not just any life, but the life of a sentient being, self-cognizant, aware and free.

Every person who has ever lived is blazing a trail into the unknown.

No one comes to God save through these ~ Jesus

Let us parse this statement.

Only the living come to God, this is not to say that God is not present at all times in all places, we re-affirm the basic proposition that God the infinite is one, the creator and sustainer of all being.

This is a qualified statement, only the living come to the knowledge and understanding of God, come into a relationship with God as free, sentient, and self-purposive agents.

Only the living are able to discern the truth, only the living are able to choose the way, the way of God, the way to God, the ultimate foundation of reality.

Reality itself constant change, it is the continuous progression of infinite potentiality. We are each of us an expression of that.

The universe is, always has been, and forever shall be in a state of flux.

This is chaos, it is the permanent state of what is, this is order.

Chaos and order, though they are syntactically opposed to one other, they are at-one-and-the-same-time able to be predicated of the same subject, reality.

This is harmony.

The universe is always moving outward-moving forward, it is forever expanding, transforming potentialities into actualities.

Knowing the truth does not bring peace, finding the way does not bring happiness, the experience of life is not bliss.

As human beings we are faced with inherent limitations, the conditions of our existence in time and space mean that we only ever know partially, we walk along the way intermittently, and life itself is beset with pain and suffering.

We are imperfect and prone to fear and doubt, to anger and resentment, we are impatient, short sighted and self-serving.

We are stubborn and oftentimes intractable. We exist in a continuum that is in a state of constant flux and change, and yet we all to often attempt to demand from it permanence and stability.

We want to hang on to what we have even as the world changes all around us.

To stand still in the continuum requires a great effort of will.

To deny the natural progression of the continuum requires an incredible degree of deliberate belligerence. This is difficult, but it is not impossible, and once fixed because we are relational beings, that which has become unyielding is able to draw others into its sphere of influence, like a stone in the river, the unyielding and belligerent draw others to them themselves in a current of opposition.

They separate themselves from one another, through dogmas and creeds, by ritual and doctrine into categories of us and them.

This generates friction between the unyielding individual(s) and the way, it blinds them to the truth, and distorts their lives.

Friction, like desire, manifests itself as fear and anxiety, it causes pain and suffering in both the self and others.

When we see these manifested in our own lives we should question the way that we have taken.

Are pain and suffering, fear and anxiety the way of Christ? Do they represent the truth of the human condition, is that the life Jesus would lead us to?

While we may at times experience them, they are not the ultimate reality we are directed toward. And the good news is faith in the hope that there is life beyond them.

The life awaits us beyond the vicissitudes of time and space, this is the firm content of Christian hope. We may also have it now, fully realized in the normal course of our own lives.

All that we are, all that we may aspire to already exist within us as potential.

We are the uncarved block.

Our dreams of doing, our ambitions, in the first part they are dependent on our personal efforts for their actualization, in the second part they depend on the co-operation of our fellows, our sisters and brothers, whose competing and complimentary ambitions should always concern us.

Every action, once committed alters the range of what is possible, of what is probable, and of the scope of our potential. We must be mindful of the consequences of our actions if we are to reach the limits of our capabilities; and ride crest of that potential.

The only things that happen are the things we make happen, or allow to happen through our intention and will, whether we are passive or active.

All actualities are realized potentialities.

To do anything well and enduring, we must be aware of and appreciate the context within which our ambitions dwell, we must grounded it a well-founded understanding of everything that connects to it. We must see things in the light of truth, for what they are.

The locus of our attention must be singular, and at-one-and-the-same-time relational. You must see the thing itself, the thing that you have done, and its effect on the world around you, together.

This is the direction of consciousness, it must be guided by truth and integrity if it is to keep you on the way to life.

This will fulfill the purpose of existence:

To grow
To understand
To progress

To exist, always in a state of becoming…more, seeking harmony in the will of God, finding the infinite in our potential, germinating the seed God has planted within us.

The Mirror of Truth

The unexamined life is not worth living.
~Socrates

 

To the extent that any person has a genuine desire to know themselves and the world they live in, each person has a duty to extrapolate from their own experience the truth concerning the nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the purpose of existence.

There is no other source, it must be experiential, and it cannot be arrived at alone.

The individual must take their own measure and judge for themselves who they are, their nature, and the value of what they do in the world, of how they behave in universe, how they act in relationship to every person living therein. They must measure for themselves who they are in relation to the totality of what is.

That is a lot to consider, do not get vertigo.

Take things as they come.

Take them one step at a time.

Be mindful.

There are limitations as to how much we can discover on our own…by ourselves, isolated and alone.

We face these limitations because we are not solitary creatures, we are relational and our relationships are a vital component of who we are. They are constituent elements of our being.

All of our relationships, whether we characterize them as good or bad, whether we are active participants in them, or are completely oblivious to them, those relationships matter, both the near and far, in both time and space, the relationships that are closest to us, as well as those beyond the possibility of knowing.

Together, in the light of one-another we are able to examine our experience, check it, and discover who we are, and thereby we are able to do more for the betterment of the world, and ourselves.

When we are in dialogue with one-another, listening to each other, the reflections we need to make for the sake of self-awareness, reflection we need to make so that we may understand who are, these reflections become clear.

When we see ourselves reflected in the face of the other, then and only then are we able to know the truth. Then and only then, with the veil of the ego removed, then we are able to see who we truly are.

The Fallacy of Illusion

There is a strain of thought, a strain of thought like a lethal bacteria, one that has permeated all the great philosophical and religious traditions since the advent of writing, and the composition of dogma; this pathogen suggests that everything we think of as real and true, that life and selfhood are merely illusions, that everything we experience is Maya, that we are steeped in the illusion of the floating world.

This is false. The world is real, and we in it. It is only our perception that is at times misconstrued.

While it is wise to consider with care the notion that there are some things (most things) that we can never know with certainty, that there are questions we cannot answer fully, that there are circumstances whose antecedents we cannot completely fathom, and that there are choices we make whose consequences we cannot accurately project or predict, nevertheless, the world we live in is real, our experience of it is real, we are, each of us alive, self-purposive agents operating in the eternal and infinite field of being.

This is true, we may be acting in the dark, without the full knowledge of who and what we are, but the dark is real.

Why would we want to believe otherwise?

The claim that all things are illusion is fundamentally flawed, it is beyond the pale of logic. It may be a comforting way of setting aside anguish, pain and disappointment, or even a convenient was to justify our transgressions, but the claim is false.

If the real nature of all things is in fact, that all things are illusions, the nature of things not according to our perception of them, but on the level of their ontology, of their being, if they are illusory in a manner that is independent of how any person perceives it, then we would not be talking about illusion at all, which is un-reality masking itself as reality, we would be talking about reality itself, not its masking, but its real nature, the fundamental essence of what is.

This would be the true state of our affairs and therefore not illusory at all, but actual.

It would serve no purpose to speak about the conditions of our existence in any other terms, than to speak of them as real.

At the foundation of our experience there is always a true state of affairs. The true state of affairs includes the experiential set of things, together with their inherent values, which include the antecedents by which the true state of affairs obtained the condition of reality, things we can never fully know, and because of that they are conditions which may easily be labelled as illusory but are really just manifestations of the unknown.

The experiential set includes the phenomenon of mystery, it includes the reality that things can appear to our thoughts and senses in ways that are illusory, that a thing, or a set of things may appear to be-other than they are.

When we approach our experience with the assumption that there is no truth in it whatsoever, then we are living in a place of perpetual uncertainty.

In such a system of beliefs, a person could never come to know their own-self, because the self does not exist, it is deemed an illusion, an unreliable referent.

The consequence of this is grave.

Without knowledge of self we have no means of knowing any other and all of our relationships become void of meaning.

In such a system of beliefs we stumble through life, blind and unfeeling, with the value of our experience subject only to the capricious appetites of the human will, when everything is seen as an illusion, then nothing matters, because nothing is real.

By cleaving to the truth that we ourselves are real, occupy space in a real world, are living in a real time, by cleaving to this we remain grounded, and the mystery of life begins to unfold through our experience of it.