Monday, December 15, 2014



My Dear Lovely Ladies,

It’s December 15 , 2014. 
I don’t know when you might be reading this, but I pray you take it to heart in the spiritual journey you are on.


I believe Father Rohr has offered in this short piece below a very true path, one no different than the path of Jesus himself.



Jesus has given us a path to follow in this life we have been given, always pointing to the path and not so much to himself.


We are one with God, just as Jesus was, but many things in this life compete with this profound mystery.

Jesus said if we want to follow him we must also take up OUR CROSS. Something must die!

Might our cross be our willingness to die to our ego and realize what has been given to us from the day of our birth :

WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD and that image is our True Self not that self which has been conditioned by all of these competing forces in our lives

Merry Christmas!

And may you all discover this great gift, freely given to all, but you must do the spiritual work of unwrapping this profound gift.

Love Papa

December 15, 2014







Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation




Sunday, December 14, 2014 

Feast of St. John of the Cross

The Spiritual Journey in a Nutshell



Throughout this year of Daily Meditations we have been basically following the stages of spiritual development. (St. John of the Cross, whose feast day it is, charted this journey much better than I ever can!) We begin with the original blessing of being created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) who is Love (1 John 4:8). But early in life we seem to forget our origin and who we really are. We leave our original innocence and the proverbial “Garden” to begin the task of the first half of life, which involves building a container, a False Self, and an ego. Dualistic thinking takes over, especially in the Western world, as education emphasizes the left side of the brain, competition, and success. Boundaries, group-think, and exclusion thrive. The shadow self hides whatever is considered unacceptable. Even our True Self becomes hidden beneath the False Self we have constructed to meet our needs for security, control, and esteem. The goal is personal individuation, and the emphasis is on the individual, and his or her positive self-image. This is fine as far as it goes, which is not very far, I am afraid; but it is all that a secular culture knows.

God’s goal is always union. “God comes disguised as our life,” as Paula D’Arcy puts it. Life lived fully and honestly inevitably involves both joy and suffering, a path of descent, doubt, and lots of little deaths that teach us to let go of our False Self and to live in the simple joy of divine union—which is exactly the passion and desire of the True Self. Our carefully constructed ego container must gradually crack open, as we realize that we are not separate from God, from others, or from our true selves. Now the ego is seen for the partial but limiting gift that it is. Now it is ready to become the servant of the soul, and is even willing to “die” for the sake of the Spirit.

We now know that God is in us and we are in God. Through grace, contemplation, and experiencing our experiences, our consciousness is transformed. We overcome the splits created in the first half of life. Now we are capable of non-dual thinking and we can forgive and accept our imperfections and those of others. We no longer have anything to prove or protect, so we can let go and surrender to Reality/God, which are now experienced as the same thing. As St. Francis said, “I am who I am in the eyes of God—nothing more and nothing less.” We may appear foolish, or even naïve, to those at earlier levels of development, but we are finally free and alive. This is the second naiveté, our return to an almost childlike simplicity and serenity. It is the primary goal and purpose of our maturing years.


"I am who I am in the eyes of God, nothing more and nothing less."



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Gift You Already Are










WORD FOR THE DAY
Tuesday, Nov. 4
Love is...like a spring coming up out of the ground of our own depths. "I am gift." All that I am is something that's given, and given freely. Being doesn't cost anything. There's no price tag, no strings attached.
Thomas Merton
The Springs of Contemplation: A Retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani


Did you know  you were "gift" Eleanor?

A gift that cost nothing but is worth so much!

You just are.

So just be.

That is enough.

And that is one of the hardest lessons in this life.


I love you ,

Papa

Monday, September 29, 2014

Eleanor,
As I write this right now I am having a conversation with a Quaker friend of mine about “evil” and how it is people of faith are to address evil. At this moment in history there is much (what I would call) evil taking place. As a follower of Jesus I stand very confused about what actions should be taken. As a father and grandfather I want to eradicate them off the face of the earth. 
I fear for your generation if by the time you are able to read this and understand it the world has not become a more inclusive place.
Eleanor attempt to understand those you might not agree with or those who seem so different.  Make an attempt to communicate with them. Listen to their concerns, their pains and fears. You might just find they are no different than all of your concerns, pains and fears.
In the end Eleanor, we are all just trying to find out what it means to be a human being.
But in the mean time there are those who let their needs, fears and pain push them to the point of evil.
May God have mercy on their souls and restore them to wholeness in the next life. And may you know peace on earth in your life in some way.
Love,



 Papa 

Thursday, August 21, 2014



?


Eleanor,
In his book, Riding the Ox Home: Stages on the Path of Enlightenment, John Daido Loori says:
“…the spiritual journey is a ceaseless process of investigating ourselves, of digging through the layers of our conditioning to reach the ground of our being (by the way, Paul Tillich described God as the ground of our being). Conditioning is unavoidable. It begins at birth and continues throughout our lives, perpetuated by our culture, parents, teachers (and I will add grandparents), religions, peers, and society. We all define ourselves through it. When we reach adulthood we find ourselves living our lives out of this deeply ingrained script. At some point, we may sense that something is not quite right. Feeling unreal, meaningless, or perpetually dissatisfied despite plenty of material goods and good experiences, we become aware of a undercurrent of suffering that permeates our lives. Questions (my emphasis) begin to arise, and with them the impetus to find our true humanity and to become completely free.”

Eleanor,
Please listen to your questions, even the ones with no answers. Never quit questioning Eleanor.

I love you Eleanor.

You never have to question that.

Love,
Papa

Saturday, July 5, 2014

FALLING DOWN 10 TIMES AND GETTING BACK UP 11 TIMES



Dear Ladies,
I want to apologize, again, for being remiss in my sharing my thoughts with all of you on a monthly basis. Seems that knitting has taken over my life during my quiet times of thinking these days. So Papa needs to reshape his sacred time again. So please bare with me as I recommit to my writing to all of you.

This “recommitting”  reminds me of a story about one of my significant spiritual mentors. I know I have probably mentioned his name to all of you in some way in all these writings I have done. His name is Thomas Merton. He was a Trappist monk and prolific writer in the 1960’s. And he had a great influence on my spiritual life.

Seems one day someone was interviewing him about living the life of a monk and discussing how difficult it must be to maintain the disciplines required of such a life. 

I don't remember exactly how he asked the question...

The interviewer asked  Thomas Merton, “How do you maintain such a disciplined life?”

Thomas Merton’s answer was, “We fall down and we get back up”.

Do you see the grace in that ladies?

No judgement.

There another way that is stated in the Buddhist tradition. It goes like this:

If you fall down seven times, the most important things is that you get back up eight.

Well Papa has fallen down and is getting back up .
I’m sure I will fall down again.
And if I fall down 10 more times, the most important thing is not to judge myself but to simply get back up the eleventh time.

Be kind to yourself ladies.
You will fall down.
Just get back up.

Love,
Papa

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

URGINGS

Eleanor,
Happy June, 2014!
Here's a long quote from what I am reading right now. I thought it so important that I wanted to share it with you. Your daddy knows something about this kind of pull in his own life. When you get older, ask him to tell you his story and how it relates to what this lady is saying.

I love you,
Papa

I had found living so dear that I wanted to do it full time. How is one to act as if? Start with what you know. What are your deepest instincts? What have you long denied? Over and over, through the years, I had denied the deep peace that came to me in a barn full of animals. I think that, to the extent we’re well socialized, we habitually ignore impulses in our lives that don’t fit the cultural script. Yet people frequently tell me about longings that arise as though from nowhere— the stock analyst who wants to write film scripts, the lawyer with a dream of building houses for the poor. When my friends tell me these things, I feel that I’ve been put in the presence of a tender mystery, yet they often reveal their hearts with a sad, dismissive laugh: “Oh, I know it’s just a crazy fantasy.” We fear these impulses because they have the potential to disrupt our social house of cards, our livelihood, our families. A fellow teacher who longed to sing opera made fun of herself this way: “It’s as crazy as Zelda Fitzgerald wanting to dance ballet.” Cultural wisdom says, “Don’t quit your day job.” Yet I think these desires represent our psyche’s stretch toward wholeness. And to be whole, as many religious traditions teach, is to make manifest a unique face of God in the world. We don’t want to be irresponsible, yet for every accountant who deserts his family and sails for Tahiti, ten American men have heart attacks at their desks, after hours. And so I usually say to people who bring their longings to me, “Is there a way you can incorporate this need into your daily life, on a kind of trial basis, to see where it leads you? Take singing lessons, learn Italian?”
O'Reilley, Mary Rose (2014-02-28). The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd (The World As Home) (pp. 16-17). Milkweed Editions. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ONE SOURCE BUT MANY FORMS




Eleanor,
What might I share with you this month?
I'm sure it may seem that I say the same things over and over again but just in a different way. But this goes back to my very last thoughts to you.
Truth is truth no matter what form it takes. It's essence remains the same.

What about the Truth of you Eleanor?

What form or forms will you take over the years of your life?

Does it matter?

Maybe what matters is the essence. Maybe what matters is the ground, the soil from which the seeds of Truth are germinated.

Look at all the beautiful flowers blooming in the spring. Look at all the different colors, forms.

They all are giving birth from this same earth, yet look at the diversity of their forms and colors.

In Genesis, Moses ask God,
"Whom shall I say sent me?"

God's answer is:

"I am"

One translation of that is:

"I will be what I will be"

How many forms is this "I AM"?

May your being be rooted in the Great I Am and may your  forms bloom with the many colors of spring!

Love,
Papa





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Maybe Ignorance is Bliss









I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place.

Taylor, Barbara Brown (2009-10-13). Leaving Church (p. 224). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 


Eleanor,

There's an old Zen story that goes like this:



The monk Fayan visited Master Dizang who asked the young student of the way, “Where have you come from?” Fayen replied, “I wander from here to there on my pilgrimage.” The master asked, “What is the point of your pilgrimage?” Fayan answered, “I don’t know.” Master Dizang replied, “Not knowing is most intimate.”



Seems to me the old monk Fayan could have been a good companion of Barbara Brown Taylor.

Truth is truth, no matter where you find it.

Love,
Papa












Friday, February 28, 2014

ONE YEAR OLD - HAPPY "B" DAY


2-23-14

Dear Eleanor,

H- Hold your thoughts a few seconds before they become verbal words

A- Allow others to help you

P- Pay attention to what is directly in front of you, because that’s where your life is actually happening

P- Play every chance you get. You will have plenty of time to work in your life

Y- You are loved

B- Be who you are not who you think people want you to be

I- Involve yourself in some kind of daily spiritual discipline

R- Raise your hand if you have a question. There is nothing wrong with not knowing

T- Try YOUR best and that is enough

H- Hold on to things loosely, nothing is permanent 

D- Don’t just believe, try to find the way to know

A- Acknowledge when you are wrong, it can be freeing

Y- You are loved 

Sorry I missed your “Park Party” but it looks as though everyone had a lot of fun!

Love,
Papa

Monday, February 3, 2014

SEEING YOUR SHADOW



ELEANOR,
Yesterday was Groundhog Day. As the story goes, when the groundhog comes out of his hole on this day and sees his shadow, he retreats back into his hole and we will have six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, the spring is just around the corner.

It seems the groundhog is scared of his own shadow. Too bad he doesn't understand that the shadow exist because there is light somewhere.

I am reminded of Psalm 23, where it says "…even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me".

"Shadow" is an important metaphor in the spiritual life. Some call it our "dark side", some call it part of the "false-self", some call it the unhealthy part of our ego. Some call it sin.

I tend to believe our shadow side is that part of our behavior that is rooted in our brokenness.  And we can miss the mark because of our brokenness. These are places of fear, low self-esteem, our need to conrol, to feel we are right, better than others.  

I also believe our shadow side can be our teacher. So, unlike the groundhog, who runs from his shadow, I think we need to sit down and listen to the shadow, get to know the shadow, understand it's parts and what those parts might be rooted in.

If we get to know it, we can come to see what it looks like, sounds like and acts like. And then maybe it will not control us so much as it will inform us when we are living  out of our brokenness instead of our wholeness (true-self)


So get to know your shadow Eleanor. It's not going away. You can't run from it. Turn and face it. And let the light of your spirit expose to you it's truths and lies.



Raising our awareness of our shadow brings it into the Light. 
And it that we are transformed.

By the way, the ground hog saw his shadow yesterday, so keep your coat and hat out for a while.
Looks like six more weeks of winter.

Love,
Papa