Archive for the ‘ Philosophy and Religion ’ Category

Know Thyself

Knowing others, one is learned;
Knowing thyself, one is enlightened.
Conquering others requires force;
Conquering oneself requires strength.
Knowing contentment, one is rich;
Having perseverance, one is firm;
Abiding in the center, one endures;
Even in dying, one enjoys eternal life.

-Lao Tzu
(As seen on People for Others)

Frederick Buechner

I happened randomly on this author today through a Jesuit blog. I saw a quote of his on the sidebar and had to investigate. I read through more of his quotes and I quite like them. I love it when someone sees the personal significance behind what we claim to believe, and when someone finds beauty without dismissing the bad things in life.

“Many an atheist is a believer without knowing it just as many a believer is an atheist without knowing it. You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is. You can sincerely believe there is a God and live as though there isn’t.”

and

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

And then, after reading all these quotes, I found one by someone I greatly respect.

Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) says: “Frederick Buechner is one of our finest writers.”

Looks like I may have to read some of his books.

Process

Life is a process,
You have to go through it.

You can avoid it as long as you can,
But it will simmer under the surface
Until it gains enough strength
To tear your world apart.

Don’t avoid it.
Go through it.
Be brave,
Have trust.

One moment
Will not dominate your life
Unless you avoid it.

Tax Payers Right to Vote Act

Have you noticed the number of ads promoting this proposition? Have you noticed who is the number one supporter?

Yep, PG&E. Doesn’t that make you just a little bit suspicious? They have quite the special interest in effectively eliminating their competition. The proposition is a constitutional amendment that will require a two-thirds majority for a local government to either take over OR buy blocks of power to sell in competition. As we know, competition keeps prices and quality in line.

If this passes, it will be very difficult for local government to have any hand in utilities. Two-thirds is quite a lot. Then there is the cost of running the election and fighting the big pockets that will fund opposition ads.

The only reason I’m coming out against this is because it sounds fishy and there are no ads against it. The right to vote is something people will rally around. It’s a shiny pretty picture for the public…but it’s suspicious if you look any deeper.

Repetition of Concepts

It’s very easy to hear something and immediately dismiss it as something already known. If you’ve heard it before, what’s the value in listening again.

I find that sentiment springing up in me now and again when I read books about spirituality and psychology.

It is times like these that I need to step back and think about what part of myself is listening. Why am I reading this? Is it to expand the banks of knowledge in my head? Is it to attempt to find and then accumulate some new way of thinking?

Or is it the heart that should listen? Am I taking the words as inspiration to look deeper within myself?

I may have heard words about outer masks and inner authenticity countless times, but do they prompt me to reflect on the new ways I may be deceiving myself? Or do I dismiss the concept as known?

If I truly want to be authentic, I must take these words into my heart, into my very being, and not just into my head.

Listening

“To communicate with one another, even if we know each other very well, is extremely difficult. I may use words that may have to you a significance different from mine. Understanding comes as we, you and I, meet on the same level at the same time. That happens only when there is real affection between people, between husband and wife, between intimate friends. That is real communion. Instantaneous understanding comes when we meet on the same level at the same time.

“It is very difficult to commune with one another easily, effectively and with definitive action. I am using words which are simple, which are not technical, because I do not think that any technical type of expression is going to help us solve our difficult problems; so I am not going to sue any technical terms, either of psychology or of science. I have not read any books on psychology or any religious books, fortunately. I would like to convey, by the very simple words which we use in our daily life, a deeper significance; but that is very difficult if you do not know how to listen.

“There is an art of listening. To be able really to listen, one should abandon or put aside wall prejudices, pre-formulations and daily activities. When you are in a receptive state of mind, things can be easily understood; you are listening when your real attention is given to something. But unfortunately most of us listen through a screen of resistance. We are screened with prejudices, whether religious or spiritual, psychological or scientific; or with our daily worries, desires and fears. And with these for a screen, we listen. Therefore we listen really to our own noise, to our own sound, not to what is being said. It is extremely difficult to put aside our training, our prejudices, our inclination, our resistance, and reaching beyond the verbal expression, to listen so that we understand instantaneously. That is going to be one of our difficulties.

“If, during this discourse, anything is said which is opposed to your way of thinking and belief, just listen; do not resist. You may be right, and I may be wrong; but by listening and considering together we are going to find out what is the truth. Truth cannot be given to you by somebody. You have to discover it; and to discover, there must be a state of mind in which there is direct perception. There is no direct perception when there is resistance, a safeguard, a protection.”

-J Krishnamurti

Bible In Five Statements Meme

I was tagged by Laura

Summarize the Bible in five statements (fifteen words).  The first statement – one word long, the second two, the third three, the fourth four and the last five words long. Or possibly you could do this in descending order. Tag five people.

Well, to be honest I feel a bit pretentious doing this.  Oh well.  Here goes:

Paradox.
Look inward.
Pour yourself out.
Embrace suffering, remain open.
There’s no reason to fear.

I thought about putting something in there about how the Bible is not an historical document.  But then I figured if I stuck to the message, that would be implicit. 🙂

I don’t really know anyone here on WordPress, so I guess I just tag John, since his answer will probably be funny. 🙂