Marionettes

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Public discourse has become a cacophony of discord and disarray; a tower of Babel. Everyone has an agenda, everyone has special rights, everyone is offended, and everyone thinks it is freedom. Some want a structureless anarchy, some want a soft utopia, while others want an order of brutality and sameness. It is a world of armchair philosophers. I can only assume this reflects the inner lives of people.

Distraught people will ask, “How did it get this way?” Perhaps it is reasonable to consider that we have no official social and educational formation in the ability to reason. Instead, we are largely influenced by television, marketing, and social media. That is the defacto education for many. Consequently, we have a severely limited awareness of what we are doing, so we react to feelings instead of truth and we turn and rend one another.

I can’t help suspecting this is of benefit to certain interests and is encouraged and orchestrated to some degree. Divided people fight one another, instead of uniting for the common good, and unhappy people buy more stuff. The zeitgeist of the moment is not immune to manipulation, and in some respects is the result of it.

Awake

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(3:45 a.m.)  I wake with moonlight streaming across my face. The moon crests over the peak of the garage roof and sends its light through the open window next to my bed. I hear frogs and crickets, and a few night birds. There is a brisk wind blowing through the trees. The house is still and dark. My family rests securely in their sleep. I lie there, still, listening, alert, peaceful, and not tired. Suddenly an abrupt and stark awareness rises to consciousness: I am happy. It is not the pleasure of taking comfort in this peaceful moment; it is something deeper, something that has been beneath the surface for a long time, and only in this moment have I become acutely aware of it in this visceral way. I am happy, but not because of any particular situation or circumstance except one: I am loved and I know it. I am loved by the people around me, yes, but it is more than that. I am also loved by the moonlight coming in through the window, the frogs singing in the pond, the crickets chirping in the tall grass, the wind quickly rustling through the trees, the trees themselves, breathing in the dark and purifying the night air, and the entire living liturgy of creation given by the One who loves me through them, with them, and in them,…right now. I realize I have always been loved this way and just refused to see it, and my blindness was the cause of an awful lot of wasted time and trouble, for me and for the people who love me. But not anymore. Now I am home. It is 3:45 a.m. and I am happy, loved, and completely awake. There isn’t anything else to know.

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The Spirit of Truth

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(John 14:15-21)

The Sabbath.

God sends an Advocate to be with us and guide us in this life: the Spirit of Truth. The worldly mind cannot accept this because it neither sees nor knows Truth; it is busy fabricating its own lesser truths.

“Those who have Truth should devote themselves only to its practice. Disputes and ambitions are not in accordance with Truth.” – T’an Ching, Hui Neng

“Renouncing all worldly activity and attachment, all fear, all greed, all care….without care for reputation, without being known.” – Bhagavad Gita

The most forgotten of the Ten Commandments is Sabbath Rest; God’s prescription for a return to the center and the Spirit of Truth.

In This Garden

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Germination, photosynthesis, cell division, respiration, nutrient fixation…natural processes are at work and at play in this garden. The miracle of real food. There is no need to re-order what developed perfectly over millennia to give life.

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The vegetables here are not part-fish DNA, they are not pesticide and herbicide resistant (for no pesticides or herbicides are sprayed on them), and they are not harmful to bees and butterflies. They grow just fine, as they are, and nourish my family without causing harm to anyone or anything. It is not difficult to grow food this way.

In this garden, I do not mind co-operating with the natural world to bring forth food and it does not mind giving me what I need to live.

First, do no harm.

 

Universe

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(The term universe comes from the Latin universum, which means “turned toward unity.”)

The universe, including life on earth, displays a unity in diversity. The infinite variations in nature are infinite aspects of a unified whole governed by a few simple mathematical laws. The fact that the universe is coherent, unified, and intelligible makes it possible for us to study it and discover its patterns. We must never forget that we arise from nature and are subject to its patterns and laws. We are part of the unity in diversity written into the fabric of reality itself. If we try to build a culture based on anything opposed to this natural law, which is God’s law, we will doom ourselves to ultimate failure.

The Mary Life

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“Martha, Martha,” the Lord said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

I am a contemplative by nature. To be very honest about it, I am truly only myself (as God intended) when I am free of the insidious demands and annoyances of this ridiculous economic and cultural slavery we’ve invented for ourselves. I did not always see it this way, but I certainly do now. I guess getting old can include this realization.

Although I willingly engage in what is required of me to make my way in the world, my soul no longer has any desire to be immersed in it. Over the course of years of ambitious pursuits, my orientation has turned increasingly toward home. Here, where we have chosen to live, our land is beautiful. Such an abundance of life! Things not made with hands. A wisdom different from ours.

To set it all in perspective, then…the so-called “vagaries of existence”, the annoyances and hardships, have always existed and always will, but truth persists more deeply and outlasts all else. Nonsense demands my life but love returns it to me, transformed and redeemed.

So here I am alone on this day off from work, with the dog; one vacation day at home. One perfect day free of demands and work. One precious moment of eternity in time. Home. The world goes on its way without me in it, and thank God for that.

I harvested arugula from the garden for a salad to go with my wife’s home-cooked (by me) meal this evening. Birthday appreciation. I baked a cake, too. Such acts of attention and kindness and gratitude and love spontaneously flourish when I am not crushed by the obligations that ultimately lead to nothing but a paycheck.

After washing the dishes, I sit on the deck and observe the wind playing across the prairie and in the treetops. Birds are singing. Nature is a love story. How often I have forgotten this. A spontaneous prayer rises: Lord, set me apart in this peace forever. Let me never forget your kindness.

I’ve had enough of the Martha life; it’s time for the Mary life.

This Fine Day

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The Sabbath day has come. One day in seven. All things made by mortal hand or love or ambition or fear come to their natural limits and are absorbed into the order of reality we are least often aware of. The tools rest in the garden and the garden rests from meddling. I rest and refrain from all that I had planned to do and be and become. Plans will go unmet. Good. What is done is done. What is not done is not done. I ease into the deeper current beneath all of my doings and rest there, and all is well on this fine day.

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