Monday, May 17, 2010

Thanks to those who are responding to this effort. . .

Working with this space is a developing discipline for me. But I'm apprehensive also. The cyberworld is a virtual reality far removed from my experience. It's an invention of culture meant to keep me busy so that my real spiritual work of emptiness never gets done. At least, that's how I experience it. The endless "weapons of mass distraction" are meant keep my body busy so that my attention is hijacked. I could spend all day doing research on this machine? But I'm not here to live someone else's ideas any longer. That's not what Solitude offers me.

Where did all these TV sets come from in public places? Who is playing all the recorded saxophone music in the stores and restaurants? I have to breathe with careful attention just to stay in my body and not be overwhelmed by all the stimulation.

Socrates said something about the distraction of handwriting. He saw it as an enemy of oral presentation. I got an email from a friend this week talking about how college students using laptops were at least four degrees removed from anything real. It's virtual, invented, made up. They sit in a classroom but parts of themselves and their attention are somewhere else. And I wonder where they really are. I see only their physical forms. And here am I in all of this? How can I keep from raging pointlessly?

Handwriting is still my tool for most things - with fountain pens that I have to fill myself out of an ink bottle. I'm stickin' with this because it invites me to stop and pay attention to an act that is essentially meaningless. It's part of my preparation for something else. The act of journal writing is part of my spiritual practice -- 3,000 words a day. I've been doing it since 1983. I breathe, light a candle, give thanks as best I can (something I learned from a Jewish prayer book) and try to show up "here" -- wherever that is on any given day or in any given moment. Just listening deeply is still so difficult for me. It's taken years to stop all the doing. And the Holy Silence awaits my attention. I need receive the gift.

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