02 May 2016

You will already know

The spiritual quest plunges us into the depth of all being.
It is better to free your mind of all those negative words like
Can't, won't, didn't, impossible, sad, angry, stupid, and stinky.
Open your big mouth and let them all fly away forever.
Forget nonsensical words like mine and yours, us and them,
Race and religion, man and woman (or significantly other) and
Child and adult, youngster and oldster, smart or not smart.
As a Spirit you won't have to ask, "What am I doing here?"
You will already know.

25 April 2016

Pure and Simple

Oh for the happy hours of carefree childhood again!
There was no past and the future was far away.
The hours of endless play were an eternity.
We lived in a space where time began,
Where every empty box was a toy,
And life was pure and simple.
I would like to go home!
Please release me,
And let me go.
Thank you,
Amen.


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19 April 2016

Forgive my mess!

I gaze at the moon and drink its reflection.
How far in the future does my life extend?
Oh where and when does my night begin?
My soul worn down and my mind tired,
They both sit helpless in a broken vehicle.
Neither of the two knows how to fix it.
My heart is like a donkey stuck in mud,
The more that it struggles the deeper it sinks,
But wait; I see the faint glimmering of hope
Floating, floating high above me. God is good.
Oh Lord, Please don't give up on me yet,
And before we are scheduled to meet,
I beg of Thee to forgive my mess. Amen.

04 April 2016

Nothing to fear

On Resurrection Day our bodies will testify against us.
Our hands will say, "I held a lot of money, clean and unclean".
Our mouths will say, "I ate too much and talked too much."
Our feet will say, "I went where I shouldn't have gone."
And our genitals will agree, and say, "Me too!"
They will all testify that we have been hypocrites,
And our prayers are mostly just parroted words,
That will never be worth as much as our deeds.
My gaze is already upon the hill, the sunlit one.
The path to the summit grows steeper and steeper,
There is a headwind and many brambles with thorns.
Nevertheless, my Lord and Savior beckons me on.
Onward ever, backward never, everything to gain,
And with the grace of God, nothing at all to fear.

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30 March 2016

Ad Mejorem Dei Gloriam

Every day in the book of life there is a bright new page.
Hey feet it's time to dance! Don't think about getting old.
Springtime is like a victorious Christ rising from the dead,
And calling forth martyred plants from their winter shrouds.
The Holy Spirit is in the gentle breeze and the warm rain,
And Mother Mary is a blue sky, resplendent in the sunshine.
Upon a watchtower I stand my post, by day and by night,
Awaiting my eventual death and my hoped for resurrection.
Someone is calling to me. "Watchman, what time of night?"
"Morning comes", I answer him, "and also the night."
"Ah how the time goes" he says, but that's not always so.
Perhaps the time stands still for us when it's our time to go.
I stop those along the way who don't heed the signs and say,
"Consider the possibility that you are going the wrong way."
And for those of you whose duty it is to warn the unwary ones,
Wake up and get out of bed. Let's go! This is a workday.
I am but another passing shadow and so are you.
Let your life's passing shadow serve our Father's will.
Every day, in every way, "Ad Mejorem Dei Gloriam."
Every day, in every way, "for the greater glory of God."

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22 March 2016

Join me!

I am made from the dust of a million stars.
I am the silvery moon shining up above.
I am a wandering disciple of the Lord.
The entire world exists within me.
My eyes are the windows that let in light.
I graze with beasts and sing with the birds,
And I make my rounds with the busy bees
To carry messages among the flowers.
I carry my heavy load like the humble ant,
And swim with the fish in a sea of tranquility.
I am one with the Universe. Join me.

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15 March 2016

Count on it!

How to explain God, life, and the nature of time and space?

There are some things that we already know.
But there are many more things that we do not know yet.

Imagine trying to explain the world to an infant still in the womb.

You whisper to the unborn child that the world is big,

And that it has mountains and plains and rivers and forests.

You say that there are are fields of flowers and vegetables,

And waving grain and orchards with all kinds of fruits.

That there are oceans and lakes full of fish and frogs,

And all kinds of strange creatures of the deep.
You describe animals of all sorts both wild and domestic,

And birds of the air and butterflies and bees making honey.

Don't forget spiders and snakes and those nasty mosquitoes.

What about the four seasons and snow and ice?
How do you describe a rainbow and deserts and jungles?

Don't forget night, dark but for a million stars and the moon.

Also the clear bright days except for clouds, yes, and clouds too.

You must describe people, living, loving, laughing, and crying,

And birth and death...yes, that too, the dying.
You urge the baby to leave the womb and the baby replies,

"Go away! There is no other world but the world I know.

You must be daft or else you are dreaming".
Thus it is from birth to life, the same from life to death.

You can't really explain it well until you get there,
And there is no "how" or "who" or "what" with God,
You can't define God, or picture Him or put Him in a box,

But you will know Him when you are judged.
You can count on it.

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23 January 2016

Rud Hud Hooray!

In my literary wanderings I recently came across a poem named "Hudibras" written by Samuel Butler in the 1660's. The name of his poem was taken from the name of "Rud Hud Hudibras", a legendary king of the ancient Britons who came to power after a period of great turmoil and "made his country great again". Samuel Butler's poem was written as a satire on the various religious and political factions involved in the the English civil war of the mid-17th century. In general, Hudibras is directed against religious sectarianism.

The epic poem relates the story of Sir Hudibras, an English knight who values his own esteem so highly that his conceit and arrogance readily shine through to reveal a shameless self-promoter beneath. The following lines describe his religion which sounds uncannily like that of one of our current political candidates for U.S. president.

"For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly thorough reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended." 

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15 January 2016

Cuckoo Time



Last night I watched the Republican Presidential Primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina. I must say it was an eye opener. I was expecting a lot better from these people who want to guide the United States of America into the future. It was more like a bunch of high school sophomores fighting in a schoolyard and as is usually is the case in such circumstances, the biggest bully declares himself the winner in a loud and angry voice. As South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley remarked in the Republican response to the State of the Union Speech, "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices."

This made me think that instead of making such an ass out of itself the party might consider changing its mascot from that of the noble and dignified Elephant into a more fitting image like that of the boisterous Cuckoo. You, know, the type of bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and that has a call that sounds like its name. In Greek mythology Zeus transformed himself into a cuckoo so that he could seduce Hera, a very jealous female. In modern British slang, a Cuckoo is an inexperienced slacker who full of outlandish ideas. This idea put me in mind of a story which I just can't help myself from repeating here.

Once upon a time and long ago in a far away city, there ruled a king who was both powerful and wise. And he was feared by his people for his power and loved by them for his wisdom. Now, in the heart of that city there was a deep well, whose water was cool and crystal clear, from which all the people of the city drank, even the king and his retinue, because there was no other source of clean water. One night, when everyone was asleep, a political operative of a rival king entered the city, and poured a dozen drops of strange liquid into the well, and said, “From now on, whoever drinks this water will become cuckoo.” The next morning all of the inhabitants except for the king and his right hand man drank from the well and became cuckoo, just like the hired evildoer had predicted, but they didn't realize it. They thought that the king had gone cuckoo instead of them. That day the people in the streets and in the market place did nothing but gossip with one another saying, “The king must be cuckoo. Our king and his main man have lost their reason. Now what are we going to do? We can't be ruled by a king who is cuckoo. We must get rid of the king.” That evening, the king ordered his golden chalice to be filled with water from the well. When the chalice with the water was brought to him he took a big swig, and then gave it to his right hand man to drink. And there was great rejoicing in that far away city on that day, because its king and his main man had regained their reason. Moral of the story...I haven't got one. I must be going cuckoo and I'm not even a Republican!
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30 December 2015

A Good Intention

Every year about this time I choose a theme for a New Year's resolution that I can put a one word label on and just concentrate on that one thing for a whole year until it becomes an ingrained habit. I am pleased to report that this system has worked for me very well, especially since I can place this label unobtrusively on many everyday objects as a positive and constant reminder. Here is a partial list from years past:

2011 "Ideate" ("to form an idea of", "think of", "imagine", "conceive of","envision", "visualize")

2012 "Update" ("improve", "correct", "renew", "revise", "upgrade", "amend", "overhaul", "modernize", "contemporize")

2013 "Motivate" ("prompt", "drive", "move", "inspire", "stimulate", "influence", "activate", "impel", "push", "propel"

2014 "Ataraxia" ("Tranquillity", a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety)

2015 "Contemplate" (Know Thyself, "examine", "inspect", "observe", "survey", "study", "scrutinize")

My theme for 2016 is a bit more complex than the previous themes which are fairly straightforward. My decision was influenced by the fact that 2016 is an election year in the U.S. and the political situation is becoming quite bewildering. This is due in part to worldwide concerns of extremist terrorism, global warming, racial prejudice, human rights, economic hardship, food and water shortages, new diseases, epidemics, etc. It is becoming more clear than ever that the whole world is in the same "boat"  as we are, as it were.

My resolution theme word for 2016 is "Intentionality" and so what do I mean by that? Intentionality is a key word that I borrowed from the realm of Philosophy and in particular the Philosophy of "Phenomenology" which is the study of experience and consciousness. All of the information that comes to us from the outside world from birth onward, we receive through our five senses; sound, sight, touch, smell, and taste. However, in actuality there is really only one sense, the sense of touch. Whenever we touch an object with our fingers, in many cases we are acting deliberately and directly on the object. With sound, sight, smell, and taste, however the object is acting indirectly on us through electro-magnetic vibrations. In fact we are constantly being bombarded by electro-magnetic signals from the space that surrounds us. Every signal that we perceive must first pass through the filter of our intellect before we are conscious of it. We call this "experience".

Once we experience an object we use our intellect to process it. There are several tools for this at our disposal such as instinct, memory, intuition, imagination, and logic plus "a priori" metaphysics. I won't go into metaphysics here other than to say that I believe wholeheartedly in the existence of the immortal soul and the Holy Spirit. The "intentionality" is the connection between our conscious mind and the object we are thinking about. It is the quality of our thoughts and beliefs that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.

Let me give an example. For an object we have a rock sitting on a bare patch of ground. One person is sitting at a distance from the rock and he sees the rock at eye level with the sun behind the rock and he pictures the object as dark grey in color and rectangular. There is another person who is sitting on the opposite side of the rock with the sun behind her. She pictures the object as a pinkish shade of grey and thinks it might be oval. There is another person sitting off to the side up in a tree and he sees the object as light grey but to him it is definitely round in shape and it has a whole in the middle like a donut. Now, the only thing that connects these people so far is the "intentionality" that they are looking at the same object but each has a different perception and conception. It is obvious that in order to form a true consensus about the real nature of the object there needs to be some further investigation and discussion to bring the three perceptions in line to form a conceptual agreement as to its nature. However, this all too often never happens or doesn't happen soon enough.

Intentionality without consensus is like encountering an elephant in the dark. The 13th century Persian Sufi mystic poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi ("Rumi" for short) talks about "An Elephant in the Dark":

Some Hindus have an elephant to show.
No one here has ever seen an elephant.
They bring it at night to a dark room.

One by one we go into the dark and come out
Saying how we experienced the animal.
One happens to touch the trunk.
A water pipe kind of creature.

Another, the ear. A very strong, always moving
Back and forth, fan animal.
Another, the leg.
I find it still, like a column on a temple.

Another touches the curved back.
A leathery throne. Another, the cleverest,
Feels the tusk. A rounded sword made of porcelain.
He is proud of his description.

Each of us touches one place
And understands the whole in that way.
The palm and the fingers feeling in the dark
Are how the senses explore the reality of the elephant.

If each of us held a candle there,
And if we went in together, we could see it.

The people who went in to see the elephant had the same intentionality in that they were all focused on the elephant but in the end their conception of the animal was different for each person. Why? Because they had no way to shine a light on the subject. By the way, if this doesn't remind you of the GOP presidential nominating process, raise your hand.

There are two points to be made about intentionality in regard to discussing things with others. The first is to make sure that at least there is a consensus about the intentionality of the subject and that you are all talking about the same thing. The second thing is to make sure that each party has access to more than one view before they entrench themselves in dogma. Whenever I go to a meeting I intend to carry the stub of a candle with me that I will place on the table in front of me. When someone asks me what it is for (and there will always be someone), I intend to tell them that it is for examining the elephant, because there is an elephant in the room at every meeting.


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.