Ever since I was a child I’ve had repeated dreams where I can fly. I literally just bend my legs and lean upward and I fly. At first there is a bit of an unsure feeling, but I quickly get the hang of it and delight in my ability to fly!
A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to attend a day long retreat/teaching with the Dalai Lama. He spoke of meditation within our current frenzied cultural context as a source of peace, focus and something that engenders compassion. He also spoke about the endless chatter that we all have going on in our minds, whether or not we are aware of it. He said: “Who wouldn’t want a break from all that every now and then!”
The other night I had another dream that I was able to fly. As always I woke up feeling sad that it was a dream and that I really can’t fly. Yet, for some reason, this particular dream of flying began to get connected with my meditation. Meditation is a way to fly on this side of life; it’s a taste of the total freedom and total weightlessness that we will experience – both a psychological weightlessness and a physical weightlessness. When one meditates, the deeper we go, the more unaware of our body and mind we are and, in a sense, we begin to fly! Some even say we get more in contact and at one with everything that is around us – because, as physicists say, everything that exists is simply wave energy vibrating at a certain frequency. This creates matter. When we meditate I believe we are in touch with this Energy (capital intentional, i.e., God) at more fundamental levels and so we begin to experience a freedom from this particular body and a unity with all that exists, all Energy – and in this sense, we fly!
Jesus said “the kingdom is at hand,” it’s here! What a blessing and what a relief that we can begin to experience the kingdom right here and now. I believe I can fly!
What one of us is not? Constrained by society, family, church. My mouth is taped shut – but my spirit here finds wings and a way. I once heard that “God makes a way out of no way.” I am at a point where I feel there is no way – no bright promise of a free future, even though I have held on. Although I would love to use my gifts of speaking to help, to free, to connect it is doubtful that I will be able in this lifetime. Perhaps this is the only way – reaching you who read this. Although I so desire to speak freely, I am grateful for this “way” and pray it helps someone along their way.
In Catholic circles the dedication of a church building is celebrated today – the dedication of the Cathedral church of Rome – St. John Lateran.
Such a feast strikes me as very bizarre! Why have a feast celebrating a building? After all, buildings will crumble, buildings come and go. Yet on the other hand, there is something to be said for “sacred space.” That space could be within a building for some, and in the Cathedrals of forests and mountains for others. The fact is, in the noisy, frenzied society in which we live, the need for sacred space becomes paramount. We all need a place to go where we can be silent, renewed and refreshed, whether that be within the walls of a building, our homes or in nature.
What’s curious to me in this feast is that the readings suggested don’t so much point to the building of a temple. In the end, does God really care about all these temples and monuments built to Her/His name?? I don’t think so. The Scripture readings speak of the temple that you and I are and the importance of caring for that temple and building up the body that we are as humans. It is about building bridges of forgiveness and love between peoples and nations. It is about caring for our own body temples and our minds. It is about building up one other in love, reaching beyond our comfort zones at times to care for the lonely, the lost, the hurting. This is what it means to building a temple pleasing to God.
So, how well am I caring for the temple that is my body? How am I contributing to the building up of those who are in need?
2Timothy 1: 1-3, 5-12
“The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise.”
Strong. Loving. Wise.
These are three personal qualities worth striving after. They stand in contrast to what our culture tells us is worth striving after: money, fame and instant gratification. If someone described me as being a person that is strong, loving and wise, that would be a compliment indeed. I’ve got a ways to go though!
Frances de Sales said: “Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” Strength, it seems to me, is born of adversity. It is in the weathering life’s storms that one proves one’s strength. And the truly strong are those who are firmly rooted, but do not seek to dominate. The truly strong are those who are also loving and wise and who do not walk all over people to get what they want in life. They are the ones who are able to sacrifice for the good of another and who keep loving even when they don’t want to. It strikes me that the wise are those who know when to speak and when not to speak. They are those who are able to accept life where it’s at and not force something to happen. All unfolds in its time. They do not get swept up in emotional drama, but are able to step back, reflect and then act appropriately. Strength is proven in self control.
Yesterday I found myself reacting to some drama. I quickly found myself getting swept up into it and, had I done that, I would have reacted in the same dramatic fashion that I was reacting to in the first place! Gratefully, I was able to step back, pause and see what I was doing, and in so doing I was able to detach from the drama and then act appropriately and have a good evening. This was a small moment of strength, love and wisdom. 12 Step programs say this: when I am agitated, I pause. . . . I pause. . . . It’s amazing what can happen when I don’t react, but pause, step back and then act appropriately and wisely to the situation at hand.
Am I strong enough to pause when I am agitated today? Am I loving enough to think before I speak or react? Am I wise enough to know an appropriate course of action?