8 of 10. Bam. On point.

grief, sad,hurt

In general, highly sensitive people tend:

  1. To be more sensitive to sights, smells, sounds, tastes and smells
  2. To be philosophical and more in touch with their spirituality
  3. To feel highly uncomfortable when being observed (e.g. by a teacher, a boss, during recitals and performances etc.)
  4. To have vivid dreams which they remember in great detail
  5. To have a deep appreciation for beauty, art and nature
  6. To be good readers of others, and of non-verbal cues
  7. To experience very powerful and intense emotions
  8. To find it difficult to rebound from strong feelings and emotions
  9. To be highly empathic and sensitive to others’ feelings
  10. To be hard on themselves, and unforgiving of mistakes.

~ Online Counseling College: “Qualities of Highly Sensitive People


Credits: Quote Source: Onlinecounsellingcollege. Photograph: Maeve:: To See You Like I Do by Reuben Wilson via Preciously Me.

Lighting a little dark as I go

falling-star
“The temptation is to make an idol of our own experience, to assume our pain is more singular than it is. Even here, in some of the entries above, I see that I have fallen prey to it. In truth, experience means nothing if it does not mean beyond itself: we mean nothing unless and until our hard-won meanings are internalized and catalyzed within the lives of others. There is something I am meant to see, something for which my own situation and suffering are the lens, but the cost of such seeing — I am just beginning to realize — may very well be any final clarity or perspective on my own life, my own faith. That would not be a bad fate, to burn up like the booster engine that falls aways from the throttling rocket, lighting a little dark as I go.”

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

On the afternoon of his 39th birthday, less than a year after his wedding day, poet Christian Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable cancer of the blood. Wiman had long ago drifted away from the Southern Baptist beliefs of his upbringing. But the shock of staring death in the face gradually revived a faith that had gone dormant. Wiman’s book of essays, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer took shape in the wake of his diagnosis, when he believed death could be fast approaching. These writings come from someone who is less a cautious theologian than a pilgrim crying out from the depths. They divulge the God-ward hopes (and doubts) of an artist still piecing together a spiritual puzzle. San Francisco-based lawyer and author Josh Jeter corresponded with Wiman about his new book, his precarious health, and the ongoing challenge of belief in God. (Source: CT)


Notes:

 

Sunday Sermon

photography,Montana,black and white
I always have this sense that something is going to resolve my spiritual anxieties once and for all, that one day I’ll just relax and be a believer. I read book after book. I seek out intense experiences in art, in nature, or in conversations with people I respect and who seem to rest more securely in their faith than I do. Sometimes it seems that gains are made, for these things can and do provide relief and instruction. But always the anxiety comes back, is the norm from which faith deviates, if faith is even what you would call these intense but somehow vague and fleeting experiences of God. I keep forgetting, or perhaps simply will not let myself see, what true faith is, its active and outward nature. I should never pray to be at peace in my belief. I should pray only that my anxiety be given peaceful outlets, that I might be the means to a peace that I myself do not feel.

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer


Notes:

 

Something is off

blood-drop-red
Something is off. Life passes and we do not recognize it. The past streams through us like molecules we can’t perceive…They are not so much remembered as resurrected in us, little stitches of ordinary time that suddenly —a prick in the existential skin, a little dot of Being’s blood— aren’t. Is it merely certain temperaments—inclined to solitude and absence, feasting on distances —that are at once susceptible to these little epiphanies and yet slow to recognize them for what they are? Or is it a symptom of the times— distracted, busy, forward-rushing— that we are in? Or a symptom of time itself as we have come to understand it:

We have constructed an environment in which we live a uniform, univocal secular time, which we try to measure and control in order to get things done. This “time frame” deserves, perhaps more than any other facet of modernity, Weber’s famous description of a “stahlhartes Gehäuse” (iron cage).

—Charles Taylor, A Secular Age

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)

 


Notes:

One gets the sense they are trying to armor up

graduation

Excerpt from David Brooks in the NY Times: The Streamlined Life

In 1985, only 18 percent of freshmen said that they felt overwhelmed by all they had to do. By 2013, 33 percent said they felt overwhelmed. In 1985, 64 percent of students said they ranked in the top 10 percent or at least above average in terms of mental health. But today, students admit to being much more emotionally vulnerable. They also declare low levels of spiritual self-confidence.

At the same time, one gets the sense they are trying to armor up, in preparation for the rigors to come. They assert their talents. They rate themselves much more highly than past generations on leadership skills, writing abilities, social self-confidence and so on. For example, in 2009, roughly 75 percent of freshmen said they had a stronger drive to achieve than their average peers.

Human nature hasn’t changed much. The surveys still reveal generations driven by curiosity, a desire to have a good family, a good community and good values. But people clearly feel besieged. There is the perception that life is harder. Certainly their parents think it is harder. The result is that you get a group hardened for battle, more focused on the hard utilitarian things and less focused on spiritual or philosophic things; feeling emotionally vulnerable, but also filled with résumé assertiveness. The inner world wanes; professional intensity waxes.

Read full article:  The Streamlined Life


Photograph by Mutaz Albar

Doubt

photography, black and white, bird, hand, bird in hand

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand, and flies, just before it flies,

the moment the rivers seem to still and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm,

as when a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop,

very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin,

like the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say, it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only all the time.

- Marie Howe, “Part of Eve’s Discussion” from The Good Thief

[Read more…]

Shinto

dandelion-art-color-orange

When misfortune confounds us
in an instant we are saved
by the humblest actions
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
that face returned to us in dream,
the first jasmine flowers of November,
the infinite yearning of the compass,
a book we thought forever lost,
the pulsing of a hexameter,
the little key that opens a house,
the smell of sandalwood or library,
the ancient name of a street,
the colourations of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date that we were searching for,
counting the twelve dark bell-strokes,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million the deities of Shinto
who travel the earth, secretly.
Those modest divinities touch us,
touch us, and pass on by.

– Jorge Luis Borges


‘Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. In general, Shinto is more than a religion and encompasses the ideas, attitudes, and ways of doing things that have become an integral part of the Japanese people for the better part of 2000 years. The ancient Japanese never divided spiritual and material existence, but considered that both were inseparable, seeing everything in a spiritual sense. Shinto, unlike other major religions, does not have a founder, nor does it possess sacred scriptures or texts. Shinto practices can be roughly summed up by the four affirmations:

  1. Tradition and family
  2. Love of nature – The kami are an integral part of nature.
  3. Physical cleanliness – Purification rites are an important part of Shinto
  4. Festivals and ceremonies – Dedicated to honoring and amusing the kami”

Credits: Poem Source: Mystic Medusa.  Image: Mme Scherzo. Shinto Definition: About.com, Jinja Honcho


 

Sheryl goes home. Buys a church on the Internet.

Sheryl-Crow

“Sheryl Crow, 51, has sold over 50 million pop and rock albums.  She moved across the country from Los Angeles to Nashville, a place that, according to the title of her new album, “Feel’s Like Home.”…Today, Ms. Crow’s own home consists of a spacious stone mansion, a two-story barn and a church that she bought online for $5,000…

…Ms. Crow’s new songs reveal the singer’s search for a home of her own. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was kind of a soul-searching time for me, and I realized the one thing that I didn’t have in my life was roots.”…For the past seven years Ms. Crow has been in Nashville, where she says there are no paparazzi. Her two adopted sons, Levi and Wyatt, aged 3 and 6, can finally go to school without being photographed.

….Her parents, who have been married for nearly 60 years, raised her in a small town of “churchgoing, hardworking people.” Ms. Crow considers herself a Christian, but she doesn’t subscribe to specific religious rules. That didn’t stop her from buying a dilapidated church on the Internet, which she had shipped to her house and restored near the stables on her property, for her personal use. “Since I was 21, I’ve always had a strong relationship and an everyday, ongoing dialogue with a higher power,” she says. “He or She seems to be most evident in nature, which I guess is why I’m so environmentally driven to preserve what we have around here…”

~ Sheryl Crow.  Read full interview in wsj.com: Sheryl Crow Goes Country


Image Credit; Sheryl Crow’s new album “Feel’s Like Home” can be found here.


Cherub

costa rica

His name tag said Antonio.  He wore creaseless khaki shorts.  An olive green polo shirt.  Spotless white shoes.  The hotel staff uniform.  And, I’m guessing he was in his early 30’s.

Cherub.  That’s the word that immediately came to mind.  I looked it up after returning home from vacation.  “A chubby, healthy-looking child with wings.  A cherub is a type of spiritual being usually associated with the presence of God.”  A message to me?  A message from “Above” to the Believer of Convenience?

From late morning until late afternoon, he’d walk the beach with a wooden tray offering complimentary plastic shot glasses of mango smoothies, cappuccino ice cream coffee shots and strawberry shakes.  Every few hours, he would offer to clean your sunglasses – – and would do so with such care you would think he was holding a caterpillar.

He offered a perma-smile.  The man radiated Light. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning: Amazing Grace

It’s an Amazing Grace feeling-kind-of-morning.  Here’s Rodney Britt and friends with 53-second clip, which I wished kept going and going.


And from a simple, spiritual, soulful version – – we move to the soul stirring pipes.  Amazing Grace hits a crescendo after 4:00 minutes.   [Read more…]

Unstoppable

Lorne - unstoppable - bone marrow transplant

This is my youngest brother Lorne.  This photo was taken one year ago yesterday after his successful bone marrow transplant.  He celebrates another year of a remarkable life.  This man, my Brother, carries himself with such grace, with such gentleness, with such kindness and with such optimism – – I shake my head in wonder.  It makes me believe that he was “selected” because of his indomitable spirit and strength.

[Read more…]

Witness a profoundly inextricable connection with all living things…

As we traversed rural India at the speed of a couple of miles per hour, it became clear how much we could learn simply by bearing witness to the villagers’ way of life. Their entire mental model is different—the multiplication of wants is replaced by the basic fulfillment of human needs. When you are no longer preoccupied with asking for more and more stuff, then you just take what is given and give what is taken. Life is simple again. A farmer explained it to us this way: “You cannot make the clouds rain more, you cannot make the sun shine less. They are just nature’s gifts—take it or leave it.”

When the things around you are seen as gifts, they are no longer a means to an end; they are the means and the end. And thus, a cow-herder will tend to his animals with the compassion of a father, a village woman will wait three hours for a delayed bus without a trace of anger, a child will spend countless hours fascinated by stars in the galaxy, and finding his place in the vast cosmos.

So with today’s modernized tools at your ready disposal, don’t let yourself zoom obliviously from point A to point B on the highways of life; try walking the back roads of the world, where you will witness a profoundly inextricable connection with all living things.

Nipun MehtaPATHS ARE MADE FOR WALKING: Four steps to take on the road of life, Parabola, Fall 2012.

Thank you crashinglybeautiful from parabola-magazine.


Related Posts:

I believe that whatever we need is at hand…

canoeing down river in fog

“He wanted to drift on the river not so much to see where it went as to be one with it, to go with it as virtually a part of it. He wished perhaps to live out a kind of parable. One cannot drift by intention – or at least, in intending to drift and in drifting, one must accept a severe limitation upon one’s intentions. But in giving oneself to the currents, in thus subordinating one’s intentions, one becomes eligible for unintended goods, unwished – for gifts – and often these goods and gifts surpass those that one has intended or wished for. And so a drifter subscribes necessarily to a kind of faith that is identical both to the absolute trust of migrating birds and to the scripture that bids us to lose our lives in order to find them. Harlan stated it in 1932 with characteristic simplicity:

‘I believe that whatever we need is at hand.’”

~ Wendell Berry


Quote Source: dhammanovice.  Wendell Berry from “Harlan Hubbard – Life and Work” via the beauty we love: He wanted to drift

Eat. Pray. Work. Love.

eat pray work love

Tanmay Vora @ QAspire wrote an excellent post titled: 8 Life Lessons From Yoga Workshop where he shares 8 lessons from a renowned spiritual teacher and a Yogi.  Here’s 2 excerpts:

Discipline is a pre-requisite for greatness….Yoga is about persistent practice. Whatever we decide to do, we need to do it everyday. Religiously. Regularly. Systematically. Thoughtfully. Discipline beats resistance we encounter while attempting difficult stuff.

Eat. Pray. Work. Love. In one of the sessions, our teacher asked us to recite the following words: “Eat half, Double the intake of water, exercise three times more, laugh four times more (remain happy), work five times more and pray ten times more”. It is a simple, yet very powerful advice for health and happiness.

Hit this link 8 Life Lessons From Yoga Workshop to read the entire post.


Source:  Thank you Michael Wade @ Execupundit for pointing me to the post.

Related Posts:

You are not your body. You are not your mind.

Swami Vivekananda

 

WSJ Magazine: What Did J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt Have in CommonThe surprising—and continuing—influence of Swami Vivekananda, the pied piper of the global yoga movement. 

Fascinating article worth reading in its entirety on this man’s influence on Henry & William James, Leo Tolstoy, Salinger, Carl Jung and many others.  A few of my favorite excerpts:

“By the late 1960s, the most famous writer in America had become a recluse, having forsaken his dazzling career…While he no longer visited with his editors, he was keen to spend time with his spiritual teacher, Swami Nikhilananda…”

“Though the iconic author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ published his last story in 1965, he did not stop writing.  From the early 1950’s onward, he maintained a lively correspondence with several Vedanta monks and fellow devotees.  After all, the central guiding light of Salinger’s spiritual quest was the teachings of Vivekananda, the Calcutta born Monk who popularized Vedanta and yoga in the West at the end of the 19th century.

“These days yoga is offered up in classes and studios that have become as ubiquitous as Starbucks.  Vivekananda would have been puzzled, if not somewhat alarmed.  ‘As soon as I think of myself as a little body,’ he warned, ‘I want to preserve it, protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies.  Then you and I become separate.’ For Vivekananda, yoga meant just one thing: “the realization of God.”

[Read more…]