Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dealing with Difficult People

I discovered a helpful prayer this week when I found myself dreading interacting with someone who "pushed my buttons." I noticed that my thoughts were going along the lines of, "Oh, I wish I didn't have to deal with him/her...I would like to bypass this part of things altogether...I wish he/she wouldn't be so pushy!"

When I realized that I was investing my thought energy in creating more of an obstacle with this person, I turned to God. My simple prayer was, "God, please teach me how you want me to relate to this person." And then I let it go.

Wonder of wonders, the whole situation resolved so well we were happy and in tune with each other by week's end. No kidding! It was a simple, powerful, prayer--and it worked miraculously. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

We're All Alchemists

Yesterday morning I heard an amazing story on NPR by Judy Woodruff, "Experiencing Other Faiths to Find One's Own." The story was about a 21-year-old college student who traveled around the globe to experience other peoples' faith traditions. The story is insightful and timely--and gives me so much hope for this generation! Here's a clip:

"Siple calls herself a Christian pluralist, open to the possibility of the validity of other religious traditions.

After her tour of Asia, she spent a week at the Taize monastery in France, a place that attracts young people from around the world. In a Taize service, there is chanting and reading from scripture. But there are also long moments where more than 1,000 young adults sit quietly together in silence — not being told what to do.

"You do what you feel is right for your religious practice," Siple says. "I think that is what our generation is screaming for right now. People want not to be told what they should do, but to figure it out for themselves."

It occurred to me as I listened to her sweet voice on the radio that we are each alchemists of our own souls; we each experience God in our own unique way. We take those experiences, mix them with understanding, questions, wonder, hope, doubt, and trust, and ultimately create something completely unique and wonderful that we give back to life, in our own words and our own way. What a miracle!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rediscovering Taoism

Years and years (and years) ago I read The Tao of Pooh and loved it. I realized that deep at heart, I do believe in a basic harmony at work in and through all creation. From that belief in harmony, many other beliefs spring--the belief in the inherent goodness of creation; the belief that our natural tendency is toward healing and growth (like flowers to the sun); the belief that calmness, quietness, and trust bring you to resolution much faster than struggle, resistance, and conflict.

Although the formal study of Taoism (or Daoism) is an ancient practice with roots both in Confucianism and Buddhism (Confucianism was first), I don't believe it has to be inconsistent with a 21st century practice that involves the basis of Christianity as well. If Taoism is the basic harmony and intelligence in which all being and nonbeing exists, Christ consciousness--whether you welcome that in the person of the Christ or as a spirit of transcendent communion--is the essence that delivers man from himself, freeing him from the restrictive world he creates before he recognizes his oneness with all being. (See Jung and A Course in Miracles for more about that.) That Oneness, to me, is being in God--our wholeness, where all are in and noone and nothing is out. God also has a persona to me--a real being--but on some level that "knowing" I experience when I am in God's presence is more like someone speaking in your language so you understand they are there and they care about you. The reality of their being goes far, far beyond those few words they speak in your language and in your presence. But the effort is made and the message is received, and the presence of the Christ consciousness within stays with us always, helping us recognizing the harmony (Tao) when we can get quiet enough to let it arise.