On this day in 1941, Virginia Woolf committed suicide by drowning in the river behind her house. She was feeling the return of massive depression. She wrote a love letter/suicide note to her husband. Her writing was often controversial and, so it might be expected, that even her suicide note would be misquoted, misinterpreted and misjudged.
Today’s senryu: Those vs. These Terrible Times
life can be cruel
inside and outside our mind
stop judging – be kind
There’s an excellent piece by Maria Popova on The Marginalian website that provides an explanation of how “self-righteousness is the enemy of compassion.” And, as might be expected, the “self-righteous” ones include so called “Christians” and “journalists.” This piece also recommends the book, Afterwords – Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf, edited by Sybil Oldfield, (c) 2005, Rutgers University Press
The percentage of Americans without religious affiliation, often labeled as “Nones”, is around 20-29% – with people who identify as “nothing in particular” accounting for the growing majority of this demographic … (See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States)
Alain de Botton’s TED talk Atheism 2.0 (see text at docs.google.com/document/d/1usIBKFP9SMqH922EYsTkt9gABxVyT-SRR3mMub0wnio/)
Re-reading Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., (c) 2012 Author’s Official Authoritative Edition, I was reminded that it was time to “raise my sights” from choosing joy to choosing enlightenment.
While both joy and enlightenment are in the “extraordinary outcomes” pinnacle, why stop at joy when there are still two higher vibrations levels available?
Today’s senryu: Levels of Consciousness
getting past my self
we perceive a greater truth:
May we all be happy, productive, without stress and synchronistically extraordinary.
“Anam Cara is a phrase that refers to the Celtic concept of the “soul friend” in religion and spirituality. The phrase is an anglicization of the Irish word anamchara, anam meaning “soul” and cara meaning “friend”. The term was popularized by Irish authorJohn O’Donohue in his 1997 book Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom about Celtic spirituality. In the Celtic tradition “soul friends” are considered an essential and integral part of spiritual development. The Martyrology of Óengus recounts an incident where Brigid of Kildare counseled a young cleric that “…anyone without a soul friend is like a body without a head.” A similar concept is found in the Welshperiglour.
The Anam Cara involves a friendship that psychotherapist William P. Ryan describes as “compassionate presence”. According to O’Donohue, the word anamchara originates in Irish monasticism, where it was applied to a monk’s teacher, companion, or spiritual guide. However, Edward C. Sellner traces its origin to the early Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers: “This capacity for friendship and ability to read other people’s hearts became the basis of the desert elders’ effectiveness as spiritual guides.” Their teachings were preserved and passed on by the Christian monk John Cassian, who explained that the soul friend could be clerical or lay, male or female.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anam_Cara
The Divine Joy. Did you ever consider that maybe the “Big Bang” was a Big Laugh? Or a Big Shout of Joy? That the Trinity could not take it any more—that is the joy of being, the joy of existence, the joy that is the joie d’vivere, the celebration of a universe where “existence itself is the miracle.” (Rilke). Or—even more likely because scientists tell us there was no sound at all when the universe began–a big, quiet smile of mischief when the Creator came up with the crazy idea to birth a universe (and put homo sapiens into it)?
Why is there a universe? In order to share the joy, of course! A new and unheard of surprise to launch a universe smaller than a zygote that would expand over 14 billion years into two trillion galaxies? Each with hundreds of billions of stars? And would include giraffes and hippos and forests and oceans, mountains and rivers, fishes and birds, flowers, plants and human beings—all born from 13.8 billion years of birthing from the time of the Big Laugh, Big Smile, overflowing exuberance, playfulness and the bubbling over of divine Joy?
Thomas Aquinas had such an idea when he proposed that “Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” The purpose of the universe is Joy. Ours and the Creator’s. Joy does not want to be contained, it demands to be shared, like fire or like a laugh. It wants company and nurtures community. Which was very dear to the Trinity which ultimately birthed all of creation. And the beauty and original blessing of it all started things off with, as we say, a big bang, a big laugh, a bursting joy, a twinkling and mischievous smile matched only by unbounded beauty and wonder.
For this reason, “joy is the human’s noblest act” and “God is supremely joyful and therefore supremely conscious.” (Aquinas) If Joy—ours and God’s—renders us ever more conscious, can we spread the joy?
Welcome aboard! Welcome to existence, to creation, to the universe, your home.
Wouldn’t it be good to teach this to our children very early and before and instead of teaching them about divine wrath or a place called hell or original sin or guilt or shame or despair?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 33-40.
And Fox, In the Beginning there Was Joy: A Celebration of Creation for Children of All Ages. (Coming soon!)
“Parker J. Palmer is an American author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He has published ten books and numerous essays and poems and is founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage and Renewal.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer
Only 117 pages, Palmer’s small book, Let Your Life Speak, (c) 2000 by Jossey-Bass, is filled with candor and wisdom about his (and our) search for right livelihood, for a meaningful vocation.
A couple of quotes from this book inspired by his Quaker practice are:
“there is much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.” p.39
“If I try to be or do something noble that has nothing to do with who I am, I may look good to others and to myself for a while. But the fact that I am exceeding my limits will eventually have consequences. I will distort myself, the other, and our relationship – and may end up doing more damage than if I had never set out to do this particular ‘good’. … It took me a long time to understand that although everyone needs to be loved, I cannot be the source of that gift to everyone who asks me for it. There are some relations in which I am capable of love and others in which I am not. To pretend otherwise, to put out promissory notes I am unable to honor, is to damage my own integrity and that of the person in need.” pp.47-48
“We can make choices about what we are going to project, and with those choices we help grow the world … Our complicity in world making is a source of awesome and sometimes painful responsibility – and a source of profound hope for change.” p.78
“Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility, for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger’s act of kindness that make the world seem hospitable again. … if you receive a gift, you keep it alive not by clinging to it but by passing it along.” pp.104-105
In his book Living Between Worlds, (c) 2020 Sounds True, Dr. James Hollis, asks:
“What betrayal of the soul transpires when we collude with our debilitating fears? And who, besides us, will pay those debts of unlived life – our children, our partners, our colleagues, our society? Do we not see the best thing we can do for others is really to bring our best, most nearly authentic selves to engage them?” (p. 42)
“‘Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.‘
The search for true identity requires an honest self-love. Love of self is not selfishness but a humble recognition of our lives as true, good and beautiful. Without real love of self, all other loves are distorted. “
“If we rely on stories to drive behavior, we can’t accomplish anything, and relationships deteriorate … Teams can only grow and flourish from the hunger and drive of each individual … Team success isn’t always about what the group does but how each member contributes.“