Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

Rod Dreher on evil as a spiritual force

January 22, 2017

Rod Dreher, a traditional Christian, summed up his beliefs about evil:

  1.  The world is not what we think it is. What is unseen is as real as what’s seen.
  2.  People are not who we think they are; they are not even who they think they are. People will go to extraordinary lengths — including telling themselves outlandish lies, accepting what ought to be unacceptable and making their own lives and the lives of others miserable — to avoid facing truths that would compromise the worldview upon which they’ve settled.
  3.  The battle lines between good and evil, and between order and chaos, are not drawn where we would like them to be. The front is everywhere, most particularly within our own hearts.
  4.  Be wary of the treachery of the good man who believes in his own goodness.
  5.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Source: The American Conservative

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The tale of Science and his pal, Spirituality

December 6, 2015

I pulled this off the Wait But Why web log.  Exact links are below.
Religion-CartoonHow Religion Got in the Way by Tim Urban for Wait But Why.

Religion for the Nonreligious by Tim Urban for Wait But Why

Cultivating a gratitude practice

September 7, 2014

This is from A Way in the Woods: awakening and mindfulness

In all my years of following the Buddhist path, there has been only one teaching that made me cringe.  Whenever I heard it, my reaction was, “Are you kidding me?!”  Here’s the story:

Buddha is approached by a monk, who asks for advice regarding desire.  It is distracting him from his spiritual practice, not to mention his life.  What should he do? 

quote Buddha unknown source by H.Koppdelaney on Flickr 7758674308_ba9df335eaBuddha’s response is to tell him that it is important to remember that seeing our desires fulfilled always leads to suffering.  Once we get what we want, we’re afraid we’ll lose it—which, when you think about it, we always will in the end.  Better to know that the less we pursue our desires, the less we’ll suffer.  So far, so good.

The monk thanks him for his advice, then mentions that he will be heading out for the village of Sunaparanta. 

Buddha is taken aback.  He asks the monk if he knows that the place is known for its “fierce roughness”—what will he do if they abuse and threaten him?

The monk responds, “Then I shall think these people are truly kind in that they did not give me a blow with a fist.”

But Buddha can’t leave this alone. What if they do punch you?

The monk says, then he will think that they are truly kind because they didn’t hit him with a clod.

Well, what if they hit him with a clod?

He’ll be grateful that it wasn’t a stick.

What if it was a stick?

They were truly kind to not stab him.

And if they did stab him?

Well, at least they didn’t kill him.

What if they did kill him?

The monk’s response is to tell Buddha that he knows that there are some monks who, “being humiliated by the body and by life, sought death.”  He would consider himself lucky to find death without seeking it.

Are you kidding me?!

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The self-actuating tape recorder of my mind

December 2, 2012
memory

Double click to enlarge.

I’m prone to what I call playing “tapes” in my mind—going over conversations in the past in which I failed to respond to someone who insulted me or insulted someone else or said something vicious or stupid that ought to be contradicted, and editing the “tape” so that I responded the way I would like to have.  Unlike the person described above, I am able (or think I am able) to keep separate what happened and what I would have liked to happen.  But at the same time, it is important to me to turn these tapes off.

  • Going over these conversations does me no good, and it does neither good nor harm to the other party in the conversation.
  • My anger is not really directed at the other person.  It is directed at myself for failing to respond adequately.
  • My failure to respond adequately is at least partly and maybe mainly due to my being preoccupied with myself and not fully engaged with what is going on around me.

I can’t help feeling whatever negative emotion I happen to feel — anger, regret, self-recrimination — but I have a choice as to whether I rationalize, justify and cultivate these feelings, or let them go.  The same is true of positive emotions — love, aesthetic pleasure, mastery.

Since these feelings and thoughts come into my mind seemingly by themselves and not by my decision, then “I” am something different from my feelings and thoughts.  What is that something?

I found the graphic above on Ido Lanuel’s To Be Aware web log.