Alice

Alice

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Letter to All of You







 My Dearest Ladies,

It’s Advent 2015 and the world is in such confusion, I want to take all of you up to some far away mountain and keep you safe, but I cannot. So I must do my best to let you all know what love is and what love can do to change a world in such confusion. I must let you know that even though love cannot protect us, love can sustain us.

It seems so naïve to suggest that “love” can do the things that so desperately need to be done in our world at this moment.

But I’m not talking about a love that is naïve. I am talking about a love that cost everything. I am talking about a love that must die to self and open to and trust this great mystery we call God, the God whom Jesus pointed to as his Abba, Papa.

Our sacred text says that this God is love.
Our sacred text says that this love:
Feeds the hungry
Clothes the naked
Love’s its enemy
Visits the sick
Visits the imprisoned
Rains on the just and unjust

Our sacred text says that “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship this Love in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers this love seeks. This love is spirit, and this Love’s worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

This LOVE is not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist. 

This Love is LOVE.

A poem I have shared with all of you at some time by Rumi seems to me to be the perfect prayer for this Advent season of 2015:


“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”


― Rumi


Where is that field?

I believe that field is in the deepest part of us. 

Thomas Merton spoke of it this way:

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak his name written in us…like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of live vanish completely”

Merton says this place is not accessible to us, but that would seem to suggest that we have no hope of changing this confused world but to wait on God.

But maybe what he is saying is revealed in the next sentence. This place is not accessible by our ego, our false-self, that self that wants to win, be the better than, have more...inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.

Could it be that God is waiting on us?

But how can I, You change the WORLD?

We begin just where we are. We begin with our own hearts and pray that change ripples out beyond us –

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”


It’s an act of kenosis. Self-emptying…a self-emptying of our ideas of what is right, what is wrong…
It’s to become aware of our oneness with that which we call LOVE. That place of “pure truth”…that place where “…ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make sense anymore.”

It's that place where we realize we are all one.

It is called that place of non-duality.

It’s really not a place we go to but a place we realize.

And we realize it by taking the time to be silent, to be in solitude, to breathe and to wait for the grace to be given by the Mystery we call Love.

Yes,
God is waiting on us.
Waiting on us to wait...to wait for the realization that we are one with Love,  just as Jesus was.

And Christ again is born into this world…


Merry Christmas Ladies!
Love,
Papa 

Addendum:
There will always be wars and some which are necessary for the sake of the innocent but war is not the answer and war will not resolve the confusion

Saturday, October 3, 2015






"…I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope, that first, there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk. And among these people, if they are faithful to their own calling, to their own vocation, and to their own message from God, communication on the deepest level is possible. And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech and beyond concept."

The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton




May you be free, 
May you hear God's call,
And not humankind's.
May you be willing
To risk being yourself
And find God 
In finding your
True self.


Love,
Papa

Monday, August 10, 2015

MY NEXT GREAT SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE

Dear Lovely Ladies,
This month I am writing the same thing to all of you. Right now Papa is pondering his retirement from his present vocation. There is much to consider in this kind of decision. Mostly, the decision surrounds the AMOUNT OF MONEY ONE WILL HAVE TO LIVE ON.

How much is enough? What does it mean to live?

Regarding the "how much?" question:

Not as much as one would think if we have our spirits aligned with the truth regarding the second question.

Many see this major decision as a financial decision, especially those of us who have been saturated in Capitalism.

What do I mean by that?

In her chapter titled The Emptiness of Accumalation, Joan Chittister writes:

In a capitalist society consumption is a national virtue. It is its backbone, its engine, the mainframe at the very center of the society. We measure our society’s well-being by keeping precise records of the amount of consumption we do. We use percentages to signal how much better or worse we were at buying things this year than we were last. We celebrate our gross national product when we never even consider calculating our gross national distribution of goods, and we define buying as a sign of national health. It’s buying, after all, that sustains the economy. And sustaining the economy is what a capitalist system is all about. “The chief business of the American people,” President Calvin Coolidge said, “is business.” 
At the height of the worst national tragedy in U.S. history, the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, President Bush ended his first television message to the American public by telling them that the most important thing they could do in the face of such a devastating attack was to “keep our economy going … to go shopping more.” The whole world must have drawn breath on that one. 

In the face of the first foreign attack on U.S. soil since the War of 1812, in the middle of the smoking rubble that carried the ashes of over three thousand civilians, there was something about the message that rang hollow, that broke the heart, that lacked soul. No talk of 
discovering reasons for such an attack. No talk of reaching out to allies in the Middle East. No talk of bringing the height of U.S. justice to this devastating situation. No talk about being our spiritual best at such a time as this. No, the god who would save us from this disaster, Bush was clear, was the god of the free market.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

I wish I could say my spirit is perfectly alligned with the "truth" but I am one of those people who likes to shop, confusing what I "need" with what I "want". I have been, like you, saturated in the virture of consumption.

Chittister continues:

And yet, why wouldn’t we be a society of consumers? What other basic value do we learn in a world where developing excess want is more important than meeting basic needs? In societies such as these the people who manage to accumulate the most things are considered the most successful. So we sell and we buy and we buy and we sell, all of us trying to catch up and keep up and get more tomorrow than we had yesterday. We live in a whirlwind of exchange where we market to three-year-olds on the television sets in their playrooms and begrudge retirement monies to those who spent their whole lives making the very things we want everybody else to buy. The problem, of course, is that the never-ending marathon of marketing that is required to maintain such a system is now sucking the rest of the world into it, as well. Poor societies, which cannot afford the goods we buy, make the goods wealthy societies consume at lesser pay and great cost to the quality of their own lives. At the same time, the quality of our own lives, drowned in adult toys and public playthings, are just as surely being smothered by them, too. Judging from the front page of every newspaper we print, every television program we watch, every deteriorating school and bombed-out neighborhood and pitted road and overloaded electrical grid and homeless family in the nation— in a nation awash in the flotsam and jetsam of things— there’s something missing that is far more important than the gadgets we have chosen in its stead. We are bartering our souls for the sake of what will be tomorrow’s refuse.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

So what is the answer? How does one make this decision in a responsible way, knowing we still have to "live", pay our bills and eat? Is there a different kind of "retirement planning" That can make this decision easier?

Chittister ends her discussion this way:

...The price we pay for the accumulation of things is a high one. For the rest of our lives we are condemned to fear the loss of them and to live forever with the taste of continual insecurity in our mouths, unending neediness in our hearts and the inability of soul to enjoy what we have and be grateful for what we love. 

The things of the soul— the joy of life, the love of beauty, the gift of friendship, the integration into nature, the pursuit of truth and the depth of the spirit— grow in open land, bare of the baubles of life, free of frenzy and devoid of the chaos of accumulation. Then we are rich. Then we are strong. Then no one can take anything away from us because we have already relinquished it. Or, as the philosopher Epictetus wrote: “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

Chittister helps me to see what a great "spiritual adventure", not a "financial adventure" I have before me now.

What a great risk it is to feed the spirit and not the ego!

It is the Gospel!

It is dying and rising!

MAY ALL OF YOU GATHER THE THINGS OF THE SOUL IN YOUR LIVES. MAYBE THEN YOU WON'T HAVE TO RETIRE FROM ANYTHING.

LOVE,
PAPA

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I often point out to students that they come to a university not to learn the answers, but to discover the right questions.

Wright, N. T. (2011-10-25). Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters (p. 2). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

Alice,
May it be so for you in your spiritual journey, which is your very life.


Love,
Papa

Sunday, June 28, 2015

LOVE







Alice,
I was reading a commentary on a poem by Mary Oliver today and in that commentary the question was asked:

Your live as a whole: is its overall movement one
of love or one of alienation?

What a profound question!

What a profound spiritual practice question!

Love,
Papa

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Your Original Face Before Your Parents Were Born






Alice,
Happy May, 2015.
Spring has sprung!
All the life that was sleeping during the winter has taken a deep breath and inhaled the goodness of God and now there are blossoms all around.
There is a life in you that over time can be put to sleep through all kinds of conditioning but it is always there, waiting for you to realize it.
Thomas Merton talks about it this way:
There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves. —T HOMAS MERTON
I wonder when your spring of becoming your true self will happen? It is never too early for your personal spring. 
Seek it now Alice and you will have a peace that passes understanding.
Love,
Papa

Monday, April 27, 2015

April is National Poetry month, so I thought I would make an attempt to offer you lovely ladies some words from my heart.



LOVE!,
Thanks for helping me understand what that word really means.




Papa

Sunday, March 29, 2015

CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT?



ALICE,

I don't know if curiosity killed the cat, but when it comes to our spiritual journeys, curiosity only kills our illusions.

Don't be afraid to look around in unfamiliar places.

Exploration is a big part of the spiritual journey.

God is so much bigger than our "ideas" about God.

And sometimes you can find God's presence even in that little bee you are checking out under the table.

BUZZ, BUZZ!,

Papa



Saturday, February 28, 2015

MEMORIES



Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of the only Being. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. 

RUMI


LOVE,

PAPA

Saturday, January 31, 2015

God and Lipstick


"Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true."
—Thomas Merton, born 100 years ago today. #‎Shalem



Alice,
To such as you belongs the kingdom of God.

Love,
Papa