Category Archives: The Meaning of Life

THE MOST AWESOME ORGASM!

NOTE: I AM FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO POST EVERYDAY, LET ALONE A FEW TIMES A WEEK. FOR THOSE WHO READ THIS BLOG, I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY, THEN PERHAPS SOME DAY OR DAYS DURING THE WEEK, BUT AT THE MINIMUM I WILL TRY TO POST EVERY SUNDAY. Enjoy the journey!

We all chase after it, in one way or another. We somehow expect that in this life we will find total fulfillment and happiness whether it be through our spouse/partner, that “perfect someone,” through our work, our house, our car, friends, our children, our church, synagogue, temple or mosque, our guru – our favorite self help writer, our minister, priest and the like. Somehow all of us expect perfect happiness on this side of life, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Think about it. We place high expectations on our boyfriend/girlfriend, our spouse, friends, spiritual path, church and even ourselves to bring us happiness and fulfillment. Somehow we expect that one day we will arrive, we will find perfect serenity, perfect consummation, perfect happiness – the perfect orgasm through one of these means.

We all feel a fundamental sense of disconnection – from our Source and from one another.. And this very incompletion makes us continually reach beyond ourselves to find completion, be it in a person, place, thing or philosophy/spirituality. And this is good. But the sooner we realize that none of this will EVER make us FULLY complete, connected, happy, etc – the more peaceful we will ultimately be. Our expectations of one another, our spouses, of possessions and even of our spiritual path become realistic.

Ronald Rolheiser, in his book The Holy Longing: The Search for A Christian Spirituality, has a great chapter on sexuality – this Divine energy which drives us to seek completion and fulfillment outside of ourselves because we all feel a sense of incompletion. Yet, he says, the truth is, we all live with the “frustration of a lifelong, unfinished symphony” (c.f. p.205ff). On this side of life we will never find the perfect orgasm, the perfect person, or constantly live in a state of total fulfillment. The good news is, the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will stop expecting people or things to bring us the total fulfillment that only Divine fulfillment can. And, consequently, the happier we will be. Much pain and sadness in life comes from disappointment born of dashed expectations that this person or thing will completely fulfill us.

So face it, we’re never going to have the perfect orgasm. Ironically, when we realize this, the more connected and fulfilled we will feel.

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SEDUCED

The other day I was made aware of a movie called “Into Great Silence.” It is a documentary film directed by Phillip Groning which portrays the lives of the Carthusian Monks of the Grande Charteuse Monastery high in the French Alps. It’s known to be one of the most austere monasteries. I imagine that many people might be bored out of their minds by this movie, as it definitely takes one “into great silence,” as its title suggests. The movie is around two and a half hours long and most of it is silence. It simply shows the monks in their day to day lives – without offering commentary or explanation. These monks do not talk, except when they are in common prayer and once a week after a meal on Sundays. So it’s quiet! Disturbingly so! Yet, . . . Refreshingly so. Talk about counter-cultural!

After watching this movie I wondered how much we may all be seduced away from the silence by the incessant, and sometimes, unnoticeable noise all around us. I wonder if all the noise that surrounds us, or that we choose to be surrounded by – lulls us into a dull sense of living, and ultimately – in our society – a crisis of meaning.

When I enter into the silence, which is initially disturbing, I am lead to a greater sense of myself, a more peaceful place and, in the process, I become a more compassionate presence in the world. It is nothing short of hard work to stay with silence, but I am becoming more and more conscious of the tremendous difference it makes in my life and work. I feel as if I am slowly being seduced by it. In entering the silence I give up control to a Higher Power, which is initially disturbing. But now I am intrigued by it, curious and interested to see what happens. And something is happening. I don’t quite know what it is, but I know it’s good.


Born Again

(Sitting in a coffee house window seat – watching people at holiday event strolling by.)

Light snow, a cold evening. Crowds of people walk the streets. The perfect setting for a night like this. All kinds of people. Straight and gay, young and old, richer and poorer, various races and, I imagine, creeds.. All here because of the season. All here because of a primal desire to connect with Life.

Whenever I’m around a crowd of people I wonder at the diversity of souls that exist; not one exactly like another, not only now, but ever since the dawn of time! Talk about awesome Mystery!. How did we all awaken to be the person that we are? Why am I not him, instead of who I am? Why am I not straight, instead of gay? What is it that makes me so aware of myself in this body, with my unique history, with my thoughts, my inner voice as it were? What is it that made me suddenly so aware of myself now, so aware of “me” that I know that one day I will have to die. I never remember this before – being alive and dying. What is it that creates our individual consciousness? Why did I “wake up” in the 20th century, in this body, into this family, at this place?

Questions that cannot be answered. Questions that lead me to silent awe of the Mystery of it all. How can one but be lead to silence?

What a wondrous thing this life is! And what a pain in the butt at times! The very thing that brings us to delight and joy, can become that which brings us to our knees in pain. And this pain then can become the very place where we are hollowed out, our thoughts given focused vision, where incidentals that once seemed so important simply fall away. And we are born again.


Fear

How very much fear can rule our lives – and we are unaware. We calculate what we say, how we say it, to whom we say it. We fear losing the respect of others, or get caught up in what they think of us. We fear losing our position, our job, or a friend. As a result the light that we are is held back; our unique way of being and flavoring our world is diminished. Not to mention that fear is death dealing to the spirit.

I am saint and sinner. I fly to the heights and I sink to the depths – and both are my teachers. Although I write, preach, speak and sing I am by no means a guru and far from perfect – simply a fellow traveler, expressing what is within and trying to make sense of it all.

Be who you are.
Say what you believe.
And let the chips fall where they will.
At least you’ll be living!


Supernova

Like a dying star
Convulsing – trying to hold on
The heat – intense as gravity folds in on itself and energy ceases
Unable to escape the intensity – I collapse inward and finally explode

Will I fall into the inescapable darkness?

Or find myself thrust outward in a burst of creative energy
Forced and forged by this seeming death
Exploding into newness – Supernova my name?

Elements strong and bright
Silver and gold are forged in this heat
Gravity’s intense pressure – beauty’s unlikely birthplace


Thy Kingdom Come

I have, of late, been extremely focused on and busy about the details of selling a house, buying a house, moving and all that entails. 

 

Today, I, along with a large community of people, lay to rest a bright, compassionate young man who was killed in an auto accident. 

 

In the presence of such an event I am again reminded that the building of our “kingdoms” here don’t matter a great deal.  What matters is the building of hearts, the building up of people.  This is true wealth, the creation of true beauty – and it is only this that gives joy and meaning to life. 

 

I realize that this is one of those seasons of transition in life; yet it begs me to ask the question:  How much time do I give to the care of “things?”  Conversely, how much time do I give to the care of people? 

 

Thy kingdom come.


Learning to Fly

Last night I was reading the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Shack:  Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by Wm. Paul Young.  The jury is still out on what I think of the novel, but I find parts of it intriguing so far.  If you read it, I recommend getting through the first third of the book.  After that it begins to get intriguing and plays with questions of images of God, religious assumptions, suffering, relationships and new life.

One line from the book struck me.  As the main character and God are conversing about various things, God says:  “This isn’t Sunday School.  This is a flying lesson” (p.98).  What an image!  What if we could view all religion, all spirituality, all relationships from the point of view of this metaphor?  They’re all about flying!  They’re all about being lifted up beyond the pain that sometimes befalls us in life and learning to fly again.  Our relationship with God is NOT about following this or that rule it’s about learning to fly!  It’s about learning to live well!  Of course, any pilot will tell you that there are things you have to learn and do if you are to fly.  But that is not about rigid adherence to rules.  It’s about learning to live well, making good choices so that I feel as if I take flight.  It is about calling on the power of God within and trusting it, trusting that it is with us and will carry us through anything.  Now, we’re not going to “feel” it all the time, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there.

Some of my friends know that I have gone through a bit of a difficult time the past couple of years.  I have struggled much.  A few weeks ago, I sat down and tried to meditate, having “felt” no connection with God, or others for that matter, in quite a while.  I felt that this was such a waste of time.  I didn’t feel any better.  But I kept going back to meditation anyway, if even sporadically.  One day, wondering about the pain and difficulty of the past couple of years, wondering why I was even doing this and if there was any Power out there to help, I softly heard these words:  “It was then that I carried you.”  I look back now . . . and indeed I see only one set of footprints in the sand.  Indeed, I was still flying, still being lifted up, even though I didn’t feel it.

What strikes me is this:  if I had not meditated, if even sporadically, I never would have heard those gentle words, which were the catalyst which is giving me some thrust, some wind, as it were, as I slowly stretch out my wings again and learn to fly.

In the book, God says to the main character who has been deeply wounded:  “Mack, pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly. . . .And if left unresolved for very long, you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place” (p.97).

I pray that we all know that we were created to fly; that we have the courage to slowly spread our wings again.  And even when life is difficult may we know that “it was then that I carried you.”