Posted tagged ‘spirituality’

What I Believe

April 8, 2018

This is a very personal post, a product of working the first three steps of Al-Anon again with a friend.   I wanted to capture my spiritual beliefs at this moment in time.   Over the years, I have learned that talking about God in public often leads to being evangelized, both by true believers and non-believers.   Hence, I have elected not to allow comments on this post.

park sunriseI believe in God. Since I spent a substantial portion of my adult life as an agnostic, searching for a God I had trouble believing in, that is remarkable. I believe that without God, nothing else exists. One of my favorite spiritual authors, Rabbi David Rubin, says that God is unknowable. Everything we think we know about God is a metaphor.  So, I choose this one: Reality exists in the mind of God. That notion could, I suppose, reduce God to being the clockwork of the universe or even the master clock-smith tending that clockwork. But I also believe man is linked to God because each of us has a soul, a spark of the divine, that places God in us and us, collectively, in God. We are not God, either individually or collectively, but we have a direct connection and divinity within us. That gives us a purpose. I believe that purpose is to continue the act of creation. In the Kabbalah, it says that God has already experienced being perfect but it is through us, imperfect beings with his divine spark, canyon5that God can experience becoming perfect. When we make the world a better place, we are acting in accordance with God’s purpose, but we have free will do do otherwise and, just as importantly, to serve God’s purpose in our own unique way. I believe that our unique creativity as a species is evidence of our role in creation. I believe that God works in the world primarily through our actions, but I don’t discount the possibility of miracles directly from God, though I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen one, unless you want to count the Grand Canyon at dusk or a Maui sunset. (more…)

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Goodbye … Again

March 16, 2018

Muri_JackieLast week, we said goodbye to our dear friend, Jackie, who passed away after an extended hospital stay.   We had been visiting her twice a week at the hospital, both to enjoy her company and to give her daughters (who both have their own children to care for) some time off.   We watched and waited for signs of improvement but at least to our eyes, they never really materialized.   Jackie was tired and somewhat groggy much of the time but as we sat and talked about our almost fifty years as friends, the Jackie we knew would make regular appearances, the radiant smile and her laugh lighting up her hospital room.   Last Wednesday morning her daughter called us to say, You’d best come down and say goodbye, she’s not going to make it.  She was unconscious when we arrived but we took turns sitting beside her, talking to her, saying our goodbyes.  Late in the afternoon, after the family had arrived, she was taken off life support and quietly passed. (more…)

Metaphorically Speaking

August 6, 2017

park sunrise

In 12-Step programs, we spend a lot of time talking about God because they are spiritual programs based on no particular form of religion.  God first appears in the 2nd step as a power greater than ourselves (who) could return our life to sanity … or, more simply, a Higher Power.   For some reason, in men’s meetings, some guys choose to abbreviate this to HP, as in, I’m better off if I turn my problems over to HP.   Because I’m an engineer, HP has always meant Hewlett Packard and there’s no way I’m turning my problems over to them … or to Dell or Lenovo for that matter.   But then again, turning things over to God under any name has always been a challenge to me.  12-Step people often say that when they turn things over to God, God does for them what they couldn’t do for themselves.   People tell stories of difficulties turned over to God that resolve themselves miraculously  … often sounding as if that’s how the world always works.  With these cynical eyes God gave me, sad or tragic outcomes are as likely as good ones whether I turn my problems over to God or Hewlett Packard or no one at all.  Cliches like, Sometimes things that initially appear bad turn out to be good, and Everything happens for a reason, don’t help much, even though both have been true in my life sometimes.  But for twenty plus years I have been turning someone I love over to God and that someone continues to struggle.  I don’t blame God for his problems but I do wonder why God’s help doesn’t help.  Likely something to do with free will.  There are those who tell me I should banish this person from my life as a way of getting out of God’s way.  That doesn’t feel right but I’m certainly not certain. (more…)

Life … in Session

April 25, 2017

thermoThe first time I heard the saying, Life is in Session, was about 24 years ago in a 12-Step meeting for families and friends of alcoholics.   Someone was going through a crisis and after they shared about it, they closed with, I guess life is just in session.   I’ve probably heard the phrase thousands of times since then and it has never been used in reference to a pleasant or exciting event in life.   It has always been associated with a difficult stretch of time, probably because families and friends of alcoholics seem to have more than their share of those.   It is not so much a complaint as an acceptance that life is not always easy and that we are probably best off trying to learn something from what we are going through instead of just complaining.  The notion that life is a classroom offering lessons we are intended to learn appeals to me philosophically … it even fits with what my Mom taught me about life … that it’s for growing.   As somewhat of a lifelong student, it’s a notion that helps keep me going if I can see the value of the lessons I’m learning.   But I’ve never done well in required course if I can’t see their purpose. (more…)

Angels

April 2, 2017

This is a repost of something I posted at the end of 2009, the year I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog.  I don’t remember what was going on but obviously I was looking for guidance.  This has been a difficult few months and I find myself looking again.   The same thoughts apply.

Years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.    When she went through surgery and the subsequent radiation, my son’s cat, Mr. B, was staying with us.   Mr. B was an affectionate people-loving cat to start with but when my wife came home from the hospital, he became her constant companion.   He’d curl up next to her on her pillow whenever she was in bed and drape himself over her neck when she came home exhausted from radiation treatments.   A genuine bond formed between them.   After the twelve weeks of radiation were over, we made plans to go back east and visit our families.   The morning we were leaving, Mr. B was killed by a coyote in our front yard which was devastating to both of us.    I don’t remember which of us it was that suggested that he was an angel who’d been called home because his job looking after my wife was done.    Interestingly, when I told my sister what had happened, she suggested the same thing.  Of course, we aren’t the first to suggest that our felines might be angels … Allen and Linda Anderson’s book, Angel Cats – Divine Messengers of Comfort, is full of similar stories. (more…)

The Committee in My Head

September 18, 2016

entertainHave you ever heard someone speak of The Committee in My Head as a way of describing the assortment of thoughts that can seem to appear out of nowhere in your mind, especially in difficult situations?  As you’ve tried to reason your way though such a situation, have you been surprised by the unproductive and sometimes downright nasty  thoughts that turn up?  According to Barry Gordon in an article in Scientific American, We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. And if that isn’t bad enough news for those of us who would like to be clear and rational thinkers, Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner says that vigilantly struggling not to think about something or someone forces part of your brain to be on guard for that thought. Holding it there, even subconsciously, keeps the thought alive, and sometimes it escapes out of the prison it’s being kept in and erupts into your active thoughts. This is mostly likely to happen when you’re under stress, mentally overwhelmed or just plain exhausted.   So, if we can’t control our thoughts … and trying can actually make doing so harder … what is an over-thinker to do? (more…)

Good. Bad. Indifferent.

July 10, 2016

park sunset1I will tell you that this post could be a ramble.  It addresses a topic that’s been rattling around in my head for months and unless I write it out, it won’t stop.  It might not anyway.  I am fortunate to be part of several men’s meeting where guys talk about life and how they live it in a much more intimate way than I have ever known before.  Sometimes, I get to see our similarities, how we all do our best to deal what life deals us and how we can learn from each other’s struggles.   Other times, I get to see differences in the way we view the world … and the way we deal with it.  In those instances, it would be nice if I could just say to myself, This is what I do … that’s what they do.  But sometimes, their way looks easier if I could only mange to follow suit and I need to articulate my beliefs … to myself. (more…)