Purpose Statement

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

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Meditations

I went to Ash Wednesday mass yesterday. Lent is a dark season of descent into grief and ashes.

Remember: From dust you came, to dust you shall return.

Heavy stuff. A clear thinking, insightful friend observed that being reminded of our impermanence is depressing, but Lent has the opposite effect on me. I am filled with wonder and awe when I contemplate that I am made of star dust that was made from nuclear fusion of hydrogen that came from the big bang that came from ???

A deeply spiritual agnostic's explanation.

Comet Lulin from my backyard in Tucson, February 2009.

It all comes down to one's ego attachment. If you ask people, “Who are you?” the answer inevitably comes from their ego: “I’m a successful electrical engineer with a beautiful house and truck and girlfriend …” The ego self is the source of much suffering.

Lent is a call to transcend the ego and recognize the self’s role in the big process:

From an indefinable void, empty but full of potential, comes the big bang, a singularity, one unified undifferentiated thing, that expands and differentiates into individual forms – space, time, matter, energy, life, consciousness.

My self, your self, our enemy’s self; we are transient forms that have emerged from star dust, the big bang, the indefinable void, and we will collapse back into that beautiful process and be recycled into other, perhaps more evolved, forms. Authentic religion calls the beautiful process “God.” Lent is about putting one's self right with God. Am I living ego-centric, fearful and anxious of God? Or do I live with “the strength and courage to love and serve you [God] with gladness and singleness of heart?” Am I embracing my role in the beautiful process?

At least, that is the meaning I choose to assign to Lent. I have little use for the guilt/shame/repentance-for-sin Lenten preoccupations of most of Christendom.

1 comment:

aspyre said...

I think suffering can exist without guilt/shame. Lent for me is the 40 days Jesus went into the wilderness, and we are called to give up something we take for granted so we notice the absence and join his struggle, while trying to live more authentically.