What does it mean?

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I am instructed to love my enemies. I have been giving this quite a bit of consideration lately. We of course find it easy to love those that we’re attracted to in one way or another. Shared values, interests, mindset, world view, etc. The list goes on. The challenge becomes how to love those who’s attributes are not aligned with my own. As a human with an ego my initial response is immediate and happens without much consideration.

I do know and admit that, often, what irritates me about others is a characteristic that I posses. It has been offered as insight to me that, one cannot identify in others what I do not have. So first I must understand myself. Thomas Merton describes this exquisitely.

“To live well myself means for me to know and appreciate something of the secret, the mystery in myself: that which incommunicable, which is at once myself and not myself, at once in me and above me. From this sanctuary I must seek humbly and patiently to ward off all the intrusions of violence and self-assertion. These intrusions cannot really penetrate the sanctuary, but they can draw me forth from it and slay me before the secret doorway.

“If I can understand something of myself and something of others, I can begin to share with them the work of building the foundations for spiritual unity. But first we must work together at dissipating the more absurd fictions which make unity impossible.

Clearly or maybe not, what Merton is doing here is considering carefully in solitude. This I believe is a bit of a stumbling block among those whom are not of my tribe. You know who you are.

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Now comes the more difficult part. I must acknowledge, accept and even embrace the less palatable of my traits. This isn’t possible without knowing of God’s Love for me. Which I eventually discovered, after having my self-will crushed, by a series of experiments which were disastrous or maybe beautifully successful as they have led me, by Grace to what I know to be the Truth. So, God knows my heart and Loves me. There is my example.

Supernatural

How is it that I can overlook or not see the less appealing parts of the ones which I love easily? That, I believe, is the key. We tend to focus more on the parts of them that we like. It is afterall a choice isn’t it?

Extrapolate that out to ones whom I revile. Here’s the easy part, imho, God Loves them too. Now the not so easy, find in them something I admire as worthy of praise and acknowledgment. Focus on that and as I would for my more easily loved ones. I have to take an interest. I can now do my best to accept them as they are.

Voila

Now carry on, oh wait, one more thing. I must do this without want of reciprocation. MKay? Chew on that!

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What’s really frightening


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The high tech equivalent of book burning is happening today, well yesterday actually. The censoring of relevant information being disseminated on the two most popular social media platforms.

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What are Jack and Mark so afraid of? I have an idea. It is that they are afraid that people can actually think for themselves, and don’t need to be spoon-fed exactly what they’re expected to do, think and feel about a myriad of subjects and ideas, If that were to happen, people might figure out how they’re being manipulated into a state of panic over the actions of their neighbors, friends and families. The result of this realization would offer the opportunity to see the common good inherent in all of us instead of the abhorrent, which is driving us apart.

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The last thing it appears that Jack and Mark want is the free exchange of ideas and opinions. They seem to believe they know what is best. Could they be more arrogant? Me thinks not! Trying to figure out their motivation is, in my opinion, quite simply, money and influence. “Bless their hearts.”

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What a lonely terrible feeling it must be, to have amassed such incredible wealth, and are so utterly bored with your life as it is that you believe it’s necessary to meddle in the affairs of us poor foolish peasants. With the objective being to, maintain your position of influence, thereby gaining opportunity to get more money.

Please do me a favor. GTFO and let me have all the relevant facts and information and decide for myself what is best for me.

Irrevocable Freedom

You can’t take this image from my mind

The kind of freedom I’m referring to is the kind that is the result of my faith in something greater than my natural existence. It lives in me and I dwell there. This also allows me to let others be free. If I object to the way they are, I am no longer free and am in bondage to the idea that I somehow know better.

I am at peace admitting that I know nothing of what anyone’s experience, conditioning or indoctrination are, or have been. We all behave from those influences. I have forgiven myself and can forgive others. I also do my best to see the parts of others that are to be loved about them.

At one time I subjected myself to the horrible prison of addiction. I was unable to be set free until I surrendered to the help which I resisted due to contempt prior to investigation. I wanted to be filled, to be satisfied, to be thrilled, to have all my desires fulfilled. I could not see the truth that if I could not have these things in the precise way I wanted them, I would destroy myself in pursuit of my satisfaction.

Self incarceration

Today I will gladly submit to being hauled off to re-education camp if the tyrannical state deems it necessary. I will still be free no matter the conditions of my imprisonment. I am a danger to the thought police and those who look askance at the faithful. I’m ready to leave this realm, but not until the work is done and the fruits of my labor are deemed ripe for harvest. I love you all.

Is there any chance for unity?

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Or is any attempt an exercise in futility? I for one have hope, it’s not going to be easy mind you, I just know from experience that reflecting on our error and finding redeeming qualities in our adversary is going to be uncomfortable. That is in my opinion and the reflections of others is a way forward.

Thomas Merton

I am at it again, reading from one from my favorite teachers. This time it is a book which contains a series of notes, opinions, experiences and reflections. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander . I have found a piece here in the chapter called Truth and Violence: An Interesting Era.

“We are living under a tyranny of untruth which confirms itself in power and establishes a more and more total control over men in proportion as they convince themselves they are resisting error.

Our submission to plausible and useful lies involves us in greater and more obvious contradictions, and to hide these from ourselves we need greater and ever less plausible lies. The basic falsehood is the lie that we are totally dedicated to truth and that we can remain dedicated to truth in a manner is at the same time honest and exclusive: that we have a monopoly of all truth, just as our adversary of the moment has the monopoly of all error.

“We then convince ourselves that we cannot preserve our purity of vision and our inner sincerity if we enter into dialogue with the enemy, for he will corrupt us with his error. We believe, finally, that truth cannot be preserved except by destruction of the enemy–for, we have identified him with error, to destroy him is to destroy error. The adversary, of course, has exactly the same thoughts about us and exactly the same basic policy by which he defends the “truth”. He has identified us with dishonesty, insincerity and untruth. He believes that, if we are destroyed, nothing will be left but truth.

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This is what my perception is from my perspective. That we’re ignoring our own error, focusing on the error in our adversary and claiming to be virtuous in our position. Merton writes earlier on that we really don’t want the truth, we just want enough evidence to prove we’re right discounting all evidence to the contrary. He continues with a way to reconcile, however unlikely it seems to me that in today’s environment, this will even be given consideration.

If we really sought truth we would begin slowly and laboriously to divest ourselves one by one of all our coverings of fiction and delusion: or at least we would desire to do so, for mere willing cannot enable us to effect it. On the contrary, the one who can best point out our error, and help us to see it, is the adversary whom we wish to destroy. This is perhaps why we wish to destroy him. So, too, we can help him to see his error and that is why he wants to destroy us.”

In the long run, no one can show another the error that is within him, unless the other is convinced that his critic first sees and loves the good that is within him. So while we are perfectly willing to tell our adversary he is wrong, we will never be able to do so effectively until we ourselves can appreciate where he is right. And we can never accept his judgment on our errors until he gives evidence that he really appreciates our own peculiar truth. Love, love only, love of our deluded fellow man as he he actually is, in his delusion and in his sin: this alone can open the door to truth. As long as we do not have this love, as long as this love is not active and effective in our lives (for words and good wishes will never suffice) we have no real access to the truth. At least not to moral truth.”

I am astounded and thrilled at the same time how incredibly poignant Thomas Merton’s words are today. It saddens me though that the truth may be that demolition precedes renovation and that we’re indeed headed for even more tumultuous days ahead. I am at peace though because I abide in the ultimate Love.

Jesus

I myself as I am naturally am not capable of such love. I have found though that such love is readily available to me and all who wish to be captivated by it can find if you have exhausted all your human will and are ready to surrender to the greatest news in history.

Fractured Reality

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Imagine if you will a glitch in your character so horrendous, so appaling, so completely terrible that you can’t even conceive that is a part of the you that is delicately curated. It is hidden so deeply that without deliberate, careful examination would go un-attended to.

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What would the consequences be, of ignoring such a characteristic? I have good news and some bad. First the good news. I have read of and have experience with just such. I feel lucky to have summoned the courage to take a detailed look into my being and found it terribly UGLY! In so doing and left with no other option, aside from self-destruction. I wrote it all down. I then admitted it, confidentially to one who had my best interests at heart. I was liberated from it, I have encountered, embraced and accepted it as part of my perfectly flawed nature.

Shafts of Light

Now the bad news. More from what I have read and have experienced. If you can’t see it, refuse to look at it, deny its presence, it will gain power over you. Because you’re not conscious of this toxic trait, your reliance on the assurance that you’re flawless and are not capable of such reprehensible traits, you only seem to be able to find and point out the flaws in others. It consumes you, you’re obsessed with it. Thankfully to you, there are hoards of others so afflicted. So you commiserate with your tribe and come to the collective conclusion that perfection is the answer and set about righting the wrongs you perceive.

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Humanity, in my opinion isn’t capable of perfection, either individually or collectively. There is hope though which is the result of honest self-examination and admission of Sin. You are able to understand and accept it in others. If you refuse or fight it suffering ensues, name calling and finger pointing result, which doesn’t solve anything and really only makes you feel a teeny bit better.

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If you are okay with it and think that chaos, destruction, mayhem and death are needed to achieve your idea of utopia, I feel sorry for you and am praying for your awakening. I am merely suggesting that you’re responsible, not the one’s you’re blaming.

Expect the unexpected!

Fall 2020 Minneapolis from Saint Paul

Entering the fourth quarter of 2020 I am astonished at the inconceivable peace at my core. I can only attribute this to my submission to Love. That love that resides within all of us, though, from my perspective, not all submit to. Caught up in the tumultuous currents of fear, doubt and chaos, many resort to what is trending, where their natural doubts are vanquished by false exhibitions of virtue, guided by appealing premises which are not what they seem, and only wish to manipulate all of us into bitter division.

I don’t believe we’re so different, just as my photo demonstrates. We really just want to live our lives and help those that can’t of their own volition make their way without help. The impassable chasm, it seems, is how to best arrive there. On one side is the oh so “benevolent” tribe that wants us to surrender all of our efforts to the state so they can distribute those resources as they see fit, all the while taking care of their own, no matter how corrupt. Then there are the “greedy” ones that want to choose how their resources are used and have the choice to save or give to whom they choose.

Naturally scared

Fear or Love

Do you fear your opponent more than love them? Would you willingly do for them what you would wish them to do for you? Or would you celebrate them being beaten or killed?

I am on the side of Love, please join me, refuse to allow the perpetrators of division rule the outcome…or not

“Providence to whom we are infinitely more indebted than we are to our own wisdom, or our own exertions, has always displayed its power and goodness, when clouds and thick darkness seemed ready to overwhelm us. The hour is now come when we stand much in need of another manifestation of its bounty however little we deserve it.” George Washington

“I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor. But I should be false to the earlierst sentiments of my soul, if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.” Fredrick Douglass

“In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.” Viktor Frankl

How we respond to the the stimulus we’re attentive to and believe to be the Truth will have consequences on all of us!

I was inspired to compose this bit of conjecture by my dear blogging friend insanitybytes and her latest https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/10/01/the-desire-for-power/

Why am I doing it?

As I am continuing down this path to better serve God’s will and my dedication to serving my fellows. I find in self examination, that I am confronted with a question, what is it I hope to gain or lose. Is it a feeling of being superior in my spiritual fitness? Maybe to be relieved from the remorse of the wretchedness I deeply feel from honest reflection in just being human.

Finding myself completely baffled at my ineptitude, I find some relief that this is in-fact a fortuitous starting point. To be absolutely empty and impotent to affect change upon how I naturally am. To enter into utter obscurity and a “Dark Night” in relation to my faith and my very being isn’t so much frightening as it is confounding.

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It is here where I recollect the disconcerting, yet comforting unfathomable and pure mystery of entering into communion with Jesus and the Gift of The Holy Spirit. Participating in services, praying, reading scripture, all are indications or pointers to but not quite complete representations of the miracle that takes place within.

Rock cairn trail marker Photograph by Alexandre Rotenberg

Any idea I have or concept that has been presented to me in my endeavor to find what “it is all about” leads to the same error which is I am finding “our faulty nature”. I am going out on a limb here but I count you all as fellow travelers and seekers of Truth and reason in these tumultuous times. The only thing that seems to work for me is a reverent observation of what is happening outside. The sky, the things growing and the creatures attending to their assigned roles.

Busy

I still have no idea what my role here is. I want terribly to help but find I make poor decisions when I want anything too much.

I need God’s help in attaining true humility as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, responding with love and kindness to all I am presented with and bear in mind that it is His will not mine.