Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Get on your bike and ride!

Thus spake Freddie.

I did El Tour de Tucson last week; 9000 bicyclists, 112 miles, 6 1/2 hours. Great fun.


Yesterday I did a beautiful mountain bike ride up Reddington Pass with Special Ed and Anxious John.


Spectacular sunset and a lovely ride back to the car in the inky black night.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pay attention!

I was putzing around in the bedroom, heard the javalina knocking over my garbage can in the driveway, went out to chase them off, heard pigeons roosting under the eve of my roof, crawled up on the roof to see if they had found a way into my attic, and BAM! I was yanked right out of myopia.

Standing in my backyard, looking west, around 5:30 PM this evening:


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yenta, My Mother

Mom emailed me to tell me about Desiree, a hot single triathlete in Austin. I would be annoyed with the Yenta-like meddling, but mom is right; Desiree is HOT!

Desiree - call me.

Thanks Mom!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

From my own tradition

And yet another example, this one from the Bible.

Joseph has been through hell and he finds himself in a fabulous position of power and his traitorous brothers are at his mercy:

Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”

So all the shit that Joseph went through was part of God’s plan for him to become great and do wonderful things.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Al-Khidr


I’ve been wrestling some more with the idea of the shadow of God and I remembered this wonderful analysis by Marie Louise von Franz:

The ethical difficulties that arise when one meets one's shadow are well described in the 18th Book of the Koran. In this tale Moses meets Khidr ("the Green One" or "first angel of God") in the desert. They wander along together, and Khidr expresses his fear that Moses will not be able to witness his deeds without indignation. If Moses cannot bear with him and trust him, Khidr will have to leave.

Presently Khidr scuttles the fishing boat of some poor villagers. Then, before Moses' eyes, he kills a handsome young man, and finally he restores the fallen wall of a city of unbelievers. Moses cannot help expressing his indignation, and so Khidr has to leave him. Before his departure, however, he explains his reasons for his actions: By scuttling the boat he actually saved it for its owners because pirates were on their way to steal it. As it is, the fishermen can salvage it. The handsome young man was on his way to commit a crime, and by killing him, Khidr saved his pious parents from infamy. By restoring the wall, two pious young men were saved from ruin because their treasure was buried under it. Moses, who had been so morally indignant, saw now (too late) that his judgment had been too hasty. Khidr's doings had seemed to be totally evil, hut in fact they were not.

Looking at this story naïvely, one might assume that Khidr is the lawless, capricious, evil shadow of pious, law-abiding Moses. But this is not the case. Khidr is much more the personification of some secret creative actions of the Godhead.

So death and destruction, pain and suffering, plague and famine are secret creative actions of the Godhead that we witness with indignation because we do not understand the greater good that will ultimately result.

Everything is a blessing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scott's Creed


Have you ever said the Nicene Creed? I have a real problem with it. It is a statement of belief, but I don't believe any of it, at least not literally. Sure I can read it as myth and metaphor, in the historical context of the time it was written, but it does not describe what I believe or what I experience. So I wrote my own statement of belief.

Scott’s Creed
Originally Written 11/14/2004
Revised 11/7/2006
Guaranteed to Change
***
A Process exists that connects everything,
from before the beginning, to this moment.
The Process made me.
The Process made everything.
I am part of the Process.

I am human.
I am conscious and intelligent
and consequently self-aware and moral
with a talent for pattern recognition,
especially linear causality.

The Process that made me
is unconscious, amoral,
random and chaotic.
I struggle to understand the Process.

I project my conscious human nature
onto the unconscious Process.
The Process thus appears polarized and contradictory;
simultaneously positive - beautiful, nurturing, and creative -
and negative - horrible, devouring, and destructive.

My experience of the negative side of the Process is painful.
I am afraid and anxious of the negative side of the Process.
My fear and anxiety inhibit me
from fully engaging and participating in the Process.
I have failed to reach my potentialities.
I feel guilty and ashamed of my failure.

With an earnest desire to grow into my potentialities,
I relieve my guilt and my shame
by accepting my failures and the failures of humanity
and I relieve my fear and anxiety
by recognizing that the Process is indivisible;
the apparent duality of the Process
is a construction of my own consciousness.

With the Process reconciled
and relieved of my guilt, shame, fear and anxiety,
I am able to engage and participate in the Process.
I experience the positive side of the Process as Joy.
I experience the negative side of the Process as Grief.

Joy and Grief are two faces of the same feeling,
though Joy is inaccessible to me
unless the Process is reconciled.
It is wonderful to feel both Joy and Grief.
It reminds me that I am part of the Process.
***

Many folks would call the positive side of the Process "God" and the negative side of the process "Satan" or perhaps "Shit Happens."

Jung would have called the Process "God" because he reconciled the shadow and the light. His famous dream - At 12 he had a dream that left him in fear of eternal damnation until he realized that it was God who gave it to him. The vision was of a giant turd falling from under God's throne in the heavens on to the cathedral of Basel, shattering its roof and destroying the walls. The affectual response Jung reported from this vision is one of intense relief and an unutterable bliss. He says he wept with happiness and gratitude for the 'grace of the vision', but remained in fear as it showed him that there is a terrible side to God--an idea that reappeared throughout life. - and later his book, Answer to Job, explain that even God has a shadow.

I'm with Jung. When I say God, I mean the Process, both positive and negative. So God has a shadow side - cancer, suffering, death, pain, ... all that stuff.

God or Life or the Process or whatever you want to call it gives and takes both good and bad and we have no control over what we get and lose. All we can do is take responsibility for what we do with what we are given. Imagination and creativity are the keys to constructing a beautiful life. Most people would rather not take on the responsibility of creating a beautiful life and instead fall into the role of powerless victims. As such, they have mediocre, unfulfilled lives.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pitiful Sick Bastards






Pity the sick bastards. Yes, the hypocrisy is unbelievable. You would think that the humiliations and failures they each suffered would be enough that they would let go, but amazingly they hang on and come back. It’s unfortunate such sick people wield such power and influence over so many sheep.

Ted Haggard’s apology for his sensuality kills me:

Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his actions will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn’t violate you; I did.

I wish Ted the best of luck in eradicating all sensuality from his life. May he and his family and his whole bloody church congregation make it to their sterilized promised land.

As for me, I’m following Goldmund.

Joy and Grief

Joy and Grief are two faces of the same experience.
It is amazing how similar they feel.
It is wonderful to feel.
I used to be afraid.
Then the Damn of Grief broke and washed me to the Ocean of Feeling.
And now I experience Joy.
And it hurts as much as Grief, maybe more.
And it is wonderful.
I remember the fear, but I can’t remember what I was afraid of.

Paschal Metaphor


Something wonderful happens when you show your wounds to others, provided the others are capable of witnessing without being judgmental. By their witnessing, you are healed and by your vulnerability, they are drawn into greater life. I have seen it happen many times, several times just this weekend.

The story of the resurrected Christ appearing to the disciples and showing them his wounds, and later Thomas sticking his finger in the wounds, is for me a metaphor for this process. So the person who risks being vulnerable to others by showing his/her wounds, wears the face of the Christ.

After showing the disciples his wounds, the Christ breathed spirit into the disciples and sent them into the world. So too the witnesses are made more alive by seeing reflections of themselves in the one who has risked being vulnerable.

I wish I could show you the magic I saw this weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You're Ugly, Too

I can be witty. It's a good skill to have. When I make people laugh, I feel as though people like me.

My wit can be a weapon as well. Actually the humor goes beyond wit at that point. It is something more like caustic sarcasm. There is something pessimistic about it, something very negative, even hostile.

I try to be aware of what I am radiating out to the universe. Is it positive and affirming, like my friend Lee who is always laughing and smiling, or is it negative and humiliating? Am I confident and hospitable or insecure and hostile?

This evening I tore into someone with some nasty sarcasm. It came out of my mouth almost reflexively. Another part of my self was listening, and was surprised by the energy behind the words. Ten minutes later, I went back to the woman and apologized for being a smart ass. Fortunately she was very forgiving.

This cynicism weighed heavily on me this evening and as I was deconstructing my hostility, I remembered a wonderful short story I read several years ago, You're Ugly, Too by Lorrie Moore, about a cynical, bitter, insecure, over-educated woman who relates to life, the universe and everything with hostility. I remember when I read the story, thinking how tragic was the main character, Zoë. How upsetting to now see something of myself reflected by Zoë.

I read a book by Henri Nouwen a year ago called Reaching Out that discussed how we relate to ourselves, to other people and to God. People who are insecure experience those relationships as loneliness, hostility and illusion. People who are confident experience those relationships as solitude, hospitality and prayer.

So I have concluded that I was insecure this evening when I was hostile. And given the place and situation, that makes sense. So perhaps I shall do a little meditation every time I go back to that place, to center myself in security and confidence.