It’s midnight on Sunday 25th November. History has just been written in Australia, where John Howard has been defeated in his campaign to continue as Prime Minister of Australia. The reigns are now handed over to Kevin Rudd, leader of the Australian Labour Party. Howard had 11 years in the job; Rudd has only been leader for a year and became the man to turn the tide. It will be very interesting to see how this all pans out…..
As for what I came here to write, it’s time to pull the curtains on the idea for the group which will begin in my home. I’d like to call it Praxis, which refers to turning knowledge into action. I’d like us to work on the whole premise of cultivating modern spirituality in a plural context. What this means in simple terms is that, as modern people, we live in a multicultural society that gives us exposure to every religious expression under the sun. What has been discovered is that there is commonality between every one. Unfortunately, many dominant religious expressions exist which seek to show that they are supreme, and one must convert to their way to be acceptable to God. Our call is to show that while we can maintain a healthy relationship with our own individual faith expression, we can remain engaged with and connected to other unique expressions. Not only that, at the core our unique expression should give rise to a modern spirituality based upon values of compassion and justice, so that we might be agents of healing to a broken world.
Taking inspiration from the Buddhist meditation groups I’ve been attending, I’d like to have a small group at home start with some form of meditation and prayer, and then focus on a variety of values that are common to the best of spiritual expressions, although the Bible having the most prominent place simply due to my own faith and history. The intention is really to have the group associated to, but not exclusive to, Christianity. The aim is for core radical change through spiritual exercises that can be performed on a daily basis throughout the following week.
I hesitate to use the words spiritual growth or discipleship, or even Bible study as indicative of what the group is about. It’s really for those who find themselves a bit on the outer of other types of activities that tend to be exclusive, who want to effect radical change in themselves and the world, yet feel somewhat powerless to act alone. It’s to support a modern mysticism, encouragement for the radicals that increasingly find themselves distant from denominational forms. I would hope it would also be the kernel of the cafe idea previously posted.
Let’s see how we go……
There is just so much kindness in this world. I got to enjoy a pleasant cup of coffee as I strolled to the beautiful botanical gardens. There I gazed upon the gloriously maintained surroundings, and listened to the birds chirping away as I left the noise of the city behind. I enjoyed the blessing of having one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle, describe to me the concepts of ego role-playing. Along the way back home I stopped in the local library, where thousands of books are meticulously stored for our enjoyment. I browsed the shelves and found many titles of interest, all from kind people who decided to share their broad knowledge of the world. This knowledge will only add to and broaden my understanding of the nature of life and spirit, deepening my personal awareness of, and connection with, the divine. I am allowed to take these books home at no charge for a period of 4 weeks, which is such a lovely blessing.
Right now I am very hungry, and due to the kindness of those before me, I can access some healthy food in close proximity to my place. I am so very blessed, for such options are not available to all. In light of such kindness, what room is there for complaint?
Today I am feeling the desire to spend time with someone/people, and I usually fulfill that through my aforementioned friend. Today however, I have chosen to have a very simple day that involves none other than myself, doing whatever I feel is appropriate in the moment. I wish to create a sacred practice of presence for this entire day, watching my thoughts and bringing myself fully into the moment. As such, I am not seeking the typical weekend external entertainments, other than a fair bit of reading and enjoying the weather.
In my previous entry I mentioned having alternative social activities as opposed to the time I spend with this friend. That is an option I will put forward to another day. I am loving this simple day of nothingness, free from burdens and distractions. May it be a wonderful day of meditation and contemplation, with the breath of God flowing through. May it cultivate within me an attitude of stillness and presence.
I suffer when I lower my standards. I have just spent some time with my friend, and found it a mostly unpleasant experience. The entire time I felt resistance and aggravation to just about everything he had to say. And now, I hear his voice in my head. I think in terms of his idioms. I’m finding him taking the spiritual insights that I receive and share, and turning them around for his own gain in a little mind-game. Yet, I was drawn again to respond to his phone call and catch up for coffee and our ongoing discussions.
As mentioned earlier, my friend is full of lewd sexual talk. He has no concern with moral standards. I am not yet at the place where I can simply deflect or allow his words to pass through me like water without causing some harm. In light of this, the time has come for a degree of separation.
The best way to implement this is simply by constructing alternatives. Since my friend does not organize activities ahead of time, but acts in the spur of the moment, my best option is to busy myself at the times he makes himself available. Not in self-reflective activities, but rather social activities. There really are plenty of options, I just have to open my eyes.
I need a variety of friends as I mentioned previously. It is unhealthy for the both of us to be spending so much time together. I simply must open myself up to the opportunities without resistance.