25 April 2013

In Dependence

In the beginning independence was thrust upon me. This was my birth family’s culture; I was steeped in it. I acted accordingly, often in ignorance for consequences that arose out of my actions. I was paddled; I learned to forget consequences. I grew and remained unconscious of the matrix of support that upheld me. I was confident. I had the 8 resources of abundance. I was accustomed to them and I put them to work.
For instance I lived in Manhattan for 13 years. Before that it was the destination my birth family sought for cultural and social aspiration. So my gravitating to study and live in New York City was natural. When I graduated from New York University I stayed in Manhattan. I began to make my life in the big city. I did not calculate odds or beliefs or means or effects. I was poor and proud and independent. I felt I could never be left behind. Rather I felt could leave what I had behind. I left my adopted home, and the real but small life I’d built, and I moved to Knoxville, TN. I did not calculate odds or means or effects or beliefs. I felt complete. I was confident.
I’d grown into my spiritual life in New York City too. I was initially a little off balance. I knew it was so, however. I took my spiritual life for granted. I didn’t believe my choices and actions would affect anyone, even me. In Knoxville, TN. now, and St. James my spiritual home, I realize the costs, the voids, and the empty spaces I left behind. I see with clarity. And I see with clarity the darkness in the empty spaces, the human spiritual costs others leave behind.
Do those who worship within St. James’ bricks & mortar achieve some spiritual clarity? I hope so. St. James is not just a club, some venue, any place for corporate worship. It’s a spiritual and religious community; people come together who engage and learn about one another, giving and receiving joy and pleasure in the similarities, diversity, and differences we find with and within The Spirit. We make friends at our spiritual crossroad. Each day many new folks are traveling to our crossroad. Some folks more older than younger, are leaving what was their crossroad. It’s their affirmation and denial as spiritual choice.
The Buddha professed his 5 Remembrances to ease human suffering. His 4th & 5th remembrances say,
4th All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. 5th My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.
I’m saddened by the separation from those whom I grew to know. I’m saddened by the separation from those from whom I received joy.
Did you know you gave joy? Did you know that? Did you know you received joy? I hope you felt it. Do you know in your spiritual life you depend on joy? We are not independent from joy; we need it.
I feel their absence, the void, within me. I suffer with it. 
Selfishly I ask, do those who consciously choose to leave what had been their spiritual home, do those who entered into the life of the church, my spiritual home, our spiritual home at one time, realize the effect they have on the people, who received joy and gave joy, when they leave?

15 April 2013

Taoist Tai Chi ~ 6

Parting Wild Horse's Mane
I value my balance and my center in my Taoist Tai Chi form.
I have natural weaknesses in my body, in my left legs joints, knee and ankle, and their accumulated scar tissues. I was born with weakness there and through time injuries aggravated those clefts.  My Tai Chi practice reveals them as imbalance in my practice. So achieving balance calls for my persistence and practice and persistence and practice. I just keep practicing gently moving through the form. My balance is exercised and seems to strengthen and relax simultaneously while I move up and down on one leg, then the other.
Taoist Tai Chi’s ‘parting wild horse’s mane’ is one Tai Chi movement where I gently raise and lower my torso, and rotate it with my spine, up and down on one leg at a time. I flex through my knees and ankles, while keeping balance on one leg while I rotate my torso to the right standing up on my right leg, and to the left standing up on my left leg, moving left and right and forward with my spine as my center, while I part the wild horse’s mane, first to the right and then to the left, slowly moving through the herd. It’s a serene movement and an especially peaceful motion.
Persevering in practice is the important factor to exercise balance in motion and to extend the spine. Remembering the 108 moves will come with time; just have some fun.

04 April 2013

10 Commandments FOR KIDS

Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass: Blue Virgin Window: Temptation on the Temple
I.    You may not love anyone or anything more than you love God.
II.   You may not worship, or put more importance on, any person or thing, other that God. You must worship only the Lord, not your parents, not a friend, not a movie star or sports hero, not a car or boat or skateboard. Nothing.
III.   You may not swear. Use God’s holy name only in a loving way, never to express anger or frustration.
IV.   One day of your week should be set aside for rest and the worship of God. Work six days of the week only. You need a special day set aside to relax and meet with other believers.
V.     Be respectful to your parents. Love them, and the Lord will reward you with a long life.
VI.    You may not hate other people; don’t ever think of hurting someone else in any way.
VII.   Keep your thoughts and actions pure. Sex is a gift of God to married couples.
VIII.  You may not take and keep anything that doesn’t belong to you.
IX.    You may not tell lies, especially when that lie will hurt someone else.
X.     You may not be jealous of what others have. You may not be jealous of your friend’s new toy or clothes or the big house your neighbor live in. Be satisfied with what you have.

I discovered this version when I was rearing my children. I probably got them in my church. They’re a simplification and so I like them. I just used them; they were an outward and visible sign of my intuitive words and deeds I modeled for my children. I didn’t ponder them. Now, for instance, my rector, Father John Mark Wiggers, of St. James Episcopal Church, tells me the 9th commandment means we’re not to bear “false witness.” A pressured parent might say, “Whatever.” The distinction remains though and is quite real. It would be lost on a child. And this example reaches to my point of this particular set. They are for parents, grown-ups, in our contemporary world. It’s not important they’re perfectly accurate. Your effort to teach and to do the 10 with your child is good enough.