Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora CO and Deep Sorrow

At the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, a shooter fired into the audience and so-far we know 15 young people are dead and 35 more are injured. This movie attracts teens, especially at the midnight launching. The shooter is in custody.

This is roughly what the press is reporting as I write this. Words like "audience" and even "shooter" make this a palatable event. Cops will tell you that one of the first things they do to emotionally handle a situation like his is to give less human titles to the individuals involved. So, we have words like victims, perpetrators, collateral damage, the body, terrorists, innocent others, and so on.

Right after I posted my condolences and prayers on Facebook, I saw a posting from stating:

May I be the doctor
and the medicine

and may I be the nurse
for all sick beings in the world.

Whenever something horrific happens, I make an effort to remember that each person in the event no matter what his or her category is on a spiritual journey and is a child of the universe. Like so many, I am of two minds: I'm furious and want to punish the "shooter" and I'm sorrowful for the human condition and I want to make the world a better place.

I always wonder how many of us are carrying rage and anger in our hearts creating the critical mass underlying those individuals who themselves are victims of individual and collective cultural rage. Those who carry the hidden and expressed rage of the multitude sometimes become the perpetrators of unspeakable acts against others. What do I carry, hidden, in the disquiet of my heart, that contributes to the violent fabric of our nation and the world? Peace. Roxie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Walking the Dog as Spiritual Practice

Supposedly, it's good to do two things a day that you don't want to do. This builds your spiritual muscle. With an aching knee, walking the dog fits into that category for me. So, I set off with a spiritual mindset instead of my usual resentful one. "This is for my spiritual growth," say I.

I put my sweet but intense terrier on its leash, slipping her a treat as I do so ensuring that she will sit nicely instead of leaping up and taking skin off my bare legs with her doggy-clawed enthusiasm. We set off into the enormous field next to my home. The field being empty, I let her off the leash and she immediately tears off in the wrong direction. Staying spiritual, I look at the path and the trees and the sky. I feel the heat of the morning beginning to rise. Eventually, I look back and there is the doggie chomping on something she found in the grass. I call her nicely. I call her less nicely. I clap my hands several times. She looks up laconically, perceives there might be a treat in the offing and races towards me, her feet barely touching the ground. She gets to me and immediately sits as she's trained to do and looks at me all innocent and dewy-eyed, "Aren't I the best dog?" her eyes say. I give her a treat.

She tears away again, ripping towards a big tree in the middle of the field. Lots of good smells there. Do you see what an amazing spiritual practice this dog is having during this walk? She's totally in the moment. She's using all her senses to take in the scene. I, on the other hand, am in in for the spiritual discipline, right? I'm limping along. Step, pain, step, pain. I'm worrying that I'll have to have my knee replaced.

We get around the field to a "road less travelled" and I decide to go that way which, as Frost says, makes all the difference. Suddenly, I notice a swarm of butterflies. I see purple clover blossoms lining the trail. OMG, there's a buttercup straight from my childhood ramblings in the woods. Sumac stands straight as sentinels and nameless flowers grace my way.

I forget about my knee. I'm in the moment with Nature, my personal higher power. Hmph! Roxie

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who or What is "God"?

Who or what is your god? This is a question that has plagued humans from earliest recorded history. God-ness seems to be an experience as well as a concept. Some of us experience god as having a human face, some as a kind of wind, some as the lifting of a veil, some as a sudden awareness of the immediate moment, and some find god in multiple situations.

What is the experience behind the concept or name that we give divine moments? Skeptics like Karl Marx believe that we would invent god if we didn't already believe; he believes the human race needs the idea of a god almost as we need medication for pain. The Buddhists have an interesting take. They start with the idea that life is intrinsically suffering. We only see beyond our suffering through enlightenment, a kind of waking up. Christians see god in the face of Christ.

I wonder what draws ninety readers to a blog that names god a "Big Dude"? Share, if you would, in the comments field why you're here and what your concept of god or spirituality looks like. I'd be so interested.

In my own case, I have struggled since I was young with the god question. I couldn't believe in a god who invented hell so I parted with my parents' Catholic faith at about age 20. Since then, I've reinvented my concept of god hundreds of times.

This week, I was meditating and after several minutes of silent breathing, I raised my eyes and saw the trees and woods behind my house. Just like that I knew the face of my higher power or spiritual being: nature. Even as a pre-schooler, I spent hours and even entire days in the woods behind my house. I would look up at the trees making a "green cathedral" above me and I felt comfort and inspiration. I stumble over "god" at the ocean, in the mountains, in the feeling of wind on my face, in the night sky, and in the tops of trees. I can't comprehend the force or being behind the various forms that come to humans. It's my belief that the Big Dude comes to each of us in the form that we can most receive whether that is an organized religion, a newborn, a sudden hush, or the wind in the trees.

I am so grateful for the voice of the great spirit that comes to me as a wash of peace usually when I am close to nature. How does "god" come to you? Roxie

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Child of the Universe

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. This quote by Max Ehrmann often used by Gestalt psychologist, Fritz Perls in the early 70s can help us feel worthy. For those of us who were not accepted or even wanted as chilren, this affirmation can be an antidote.

If our childhood foundations were solid, the chances are we have a loving parental voice inside of us. That loving voice sometimes becomes the basis for our image of God as an adult. When we don't have that loving parent and, indeed, have a very hostile or rejecting parental voice inside us, then we need some kind of magic to undo that negative spell. Hence, we need an antidote, an elixir like the statement above.

When self-criticism is running rampant inside of me, I've taken to saying: "I am a chld of the universe." Who can debate that? Not even my mother or brothers. On the quest for self-love, I recommend frequent doses of this powerful, gentle statement. I AM a child of the universe. Roxie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

As Myself

Why is it so hard to love ourselves? The great spiritual traditions all insist that we love and accept ourselves almost as a prerequisite to "entering the kingdom" or achieving enlightenment. Psychologists concur that self-love is pretty much the root of all goodness. Twelve-step literature believes that self-love is the primary task of recovery.

So, if we "know" that self-love is the answer, why is it so impossible to achieve? I heard someone say the other night: "It takes 100 positive encounters or thoughts to unseat a single negative one." Certainly, that appears to be true. If someone slights us or appears to slight us, we ruminate on that slight for a long time and increase its power over us. Seriously, how many of us go straight to a mirror and say to our own image, "You're good enough! You're beautiful and smart."

A question that I'm trying to ask myself when I feel slighted or discouraged is: What would I say or do for a child that I know if he/she was feeling this way? I had an experience this week where a three-year-old came up to me and seemed a little downcast. I asked what was wrong and he said something happened at preschool. I pursued it and he told me a girl had told him to "Go away." I told him that wasn't very nice. He went on to say that she said it in a mean tone. I asked him how that made him feel. In the end, the girl apologized to him. He understood that she apologized and yet the sting of that "mean" tone and the words "go away" were with him. I hugged him and told him I'd never tell him to go away.

How interesting that he took the negative from the exchange and fretted over it! How true for grown-ups as well! If I have an intense exchange with someone, I hear the point in the exchange where that person called me a name and I don't think about all the problems we solved in the conversation. I don't think about the time we both took to spend with each other and talk this through. I think about the one moment where the person slipped and acted like a three-year old calling names.

Self-love, if I follow the example of the little boy, would tell a friend the feelings and seek comfort. It's that simple and that difficult. If it takes a hundred postives to undo at one hurt, then the first step is to share the burden with someone else. I can talk to myself positively as well, but I once was a little girl who was hurt and had no one to share the hurt with. Today, I need to practice sharing that hurt with a friend and with the Big Dude.

It's been four days since I was hurt and I haven't shared it with one person. I have a lot to learn. If I'm going to love my neighbor "as myself," I'd better get cracking. Roxie