Usually when we suffer we think we’re the only person who suffers, and that the other person is very happy. But in fact, it’s likely that the person who hurts us also has a lot of pain and doesn’t know how to handle his strong emotions. Breathing with awareness, we generate our energy of mindfulness, and we can have insight into how to handle our suffering and that of the other person’s suffering with compassion.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Richard Rohr –
We are all addicts. Human beings are addictive by nature. Addiction is a modern name and description for what the biblical tradition calls “sin” and the medieval Christians called “passions” or “attachments.” They both recognized that serious measures, or practices, were needed to break us out of these illusions and entrapments; in fact, the New Testament calls them in some cases “exorcisms!” They knew they were dealing with non-rational evil or “demons.”
Substance addictions are merely the most visible form of addiction, but actually we are all addicted to our own habitual way of doing anything, our own defenses, and most especially our patterned way of thinking, or how we process our reality. By definition you can never see or handle what you are addicted to. It is always “hidden” and disguised as something else. As Jesus did with the demon at Gerasa, someone must say, “What is your name?” (Luke 8:30). You cannot heal what you do not first acknowledge.
Not that I must undertake a special project of self-transformation or that I must “work on myself.” In that regard, it would be better to forget it. Just go for walks, live in peace, let change come quietly and invisibly on the inside.
But I do have a past to break, with an accumulation of inertia, waste, wrong, foolishness, rot, junk, a great need of clarification, of mindfulness, or rather of no mind – a return to genuine practice, right effort, need to push on to the great doubt. Need for the spirit.
Hang on to the clear light!
– Thomas Merton, Journal entry, May 30, 1968
Many will Come – Rachel Srubas
(Photo: somewhere on The Airline Road, sometime 2008)
Today, may I walk in right paths, in God’s light. May peace prosper the steps of my family and friends, in city streets and buildings, and among all nations.
Today, may people stream from east and west to converge in God’s neighborhood. May nations labor to dismantle barricades. May our city be a just, peaceable center, united and vibrant. May my friends and relations strive for the good of each other, and may I remember I am neither higher nor lower than a servant.
Today, may east and west meet in my right and left hands, complementing, comprehending one another.
In my body, may north and south correspond, lifting my mind above worry, grounding my feet on the earth.
Today may I know what I am: created, not self-made, instructed to walk and work in God’s ways.
May I hammer old knives into new spoons, old enmities into love.
May I respect the least functional part of myself as surely as Jesus cherishes a paralytic slave and saves him with a word.
May the shriveled and disused part of my heart be bathed in God’s mercy today, that I might see sunlight for what it is: the gaze that beholds and heals us all.
In a banquet hall spacious enough for a whole world of nations, may I rest among neighbors and strangers, friends and relations.
May we feast among prophets on food grown in plowed mountain soil, reaped with weapons repurposed as tools.
12 of them.
Photo: Savannah, GA, March 2016
We come to God much more by doing things wrong than by doing things right. – Richard Rohr
…give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. – Luke 6:38