Opening the present

Several weeks ago, I came into a new frame of mind, in which numerous profound insights have come, and I have seen doors open in my prayer life and elsewhere.  In particular, even though I frankly regard myself as spiritually advanced, one door has opened to a course offering far deeper spiritual growth that may make it possible for me to be happy practically all the time.  I copy pertinent diary entries here below, with commentary.

On reflection, I see that these diary entries assume the reader is well familiar with (1) “silence” and “presence,” which are technical terms referring to specific spiritual practices, and (2) those practices’ effects, especially the ability to choose and change one’s emotional feelings at will.  Accordingly, in the near future I will need to post explanations of meditation, contemplation, awakening the will, and how essential these are for anyone who would follow Jesus.

Until then, one would do well to consult three of Ambrose Worrall’s essays in the Library: “Essay on Prayer,” “Meditation and Contemplation,” and “Silentium Altum (Deep Silence).”

This may not be the best presentation.  But to have these thoughts available for later use, I need to record them now.  My frame of mind is sure to change, at which time, without this record, I am sure to forget these concepts indefinitely.

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* The power of presence

[Note, 08/15/13: Releasing this now as I will have another post on similar topics in the very near future.]

Wednesday afternoon 07/03/13 I stepped into the shower and said, “OK, what will I think about?” The answer came, “Think about nothing. Give yourself completely to this activity, this experience.”

And at once, for the first time in weeks, I felt the boost that comes from conserving one’s energies, when they are no longer being drained by attention to things distant from here and now and what I myself can do.

This is the power of presence.

[Notes to follow up on in the future:
– Scott Morrison
– Brother Lawrence: silence; feelings
– Forgive us our trespasses
– Take no thought
– The needle’s eye
– Just for today
– Serenity prayer
———
– Be here now
– Wherever you go, there you are
Conspiracy Theorists:  America’s Lost Sheep?
Was There a Jesus? If So, What Was He Like?]

(Reblogged 05/21/14.)

The Zimmerman Verdict: Get Over It

Zimmerman protesters raid Wal-Mart, stop freeway

The world will not turn itself upside down to please you.

Neither will the law.

Neither will the facts.

Neither will the fact that the law is what it is.

Nor the fact that, under American law, a jury verdict is prima facie (Go ahead, look it up!) correct.

Under the rules of due process, the lawful evidence was presented to a competent jury. This was not so with TV news or radio talk shows.

Moreover, in civil suits, the standard of proof is “a preponderance of the evidence,” but in criminal trials — all criminal trials — it is much higher, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This standard is so high I wonder that any criminal conviction is ever obtained. Thus in a very similar local case here in Baltimore, an off-duty police officer was recently acquitted in the strangling death of a black teen.
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* When you can’t get what you want

There is a song from The Sound of Music that relates; it concludes, “… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Wednesday morning I stood outside McDonald’s having my last smoke before leaving.  I considered that as soon as I got to the library, I’d need to count my pennies and plan spending for the rest of the week.  I pondered whether or not to buy a soda on my way there.  I’d had some unusual spending earlier in the week, and faced some more unusual spending in connection with the 4th of July (The library’s closed.).  The wisdom of having bought or not bought a soda at this time would depend on the outcome of that planning.

I decided not to buy a soda at this time.  If I had enough cash left, according to the plan, I could enjoy a soda later in the week.

This isn’t sacrifice; that’s a topic I must discuss in later posts.  It’s a matter instead of delaying gratification; a decision to forego a pleasure now for the sake of possibly having the pleasure later.  This is an important strategy in learning stewardship (right management of one’s resources) and in improving one’s lot in life.

It still leaves me without a soda, when I want a soda.  What to do?
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* Job search status: Pep talk

A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store.  There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made.  In the days since, there have been some communications glitches.  Meanwhile, time goes on.

This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.

I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.

Was the class a waste of time?  Continue reading

* Keep the focus on you

Teddy is an old man.  He wears a rosary around his neck, and never fails to “testify” in chapel.  “I talk to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost every day,” he says.  Every time there’s an altar call, he runs right up there to get born-again — again.  Five times a week, he’ll do that.

He got barred out a year ago for selling someone oxycontin.

Friday night 09/07/12, he came back.  He insists to everyone that he’s never been here before, and said he wants to get into the program.

Aside from those things, he hasn’t changed at all.  Still all the same empty religious talk.

Sunday night he said he changed his mind about the program.  They require you to sign over all your benefits, and he’s not willing to do that.  That tells me you don’t want to get well.

I get bad feelings every time I see him.

———— ♦ ————

Sitting outside waiting to be let in, Wednesday 08/29/12 Fallon and a couple other guys I don’t like too much got into reminiscing about how this shelter used to be, years ago, before the renovation.  This upset me.

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* Attitude …

… can make a hard situation easy, or make an easy situation hard.

To enter the shelter, you walk across this parking lot to an iron gate, and then down these steps to the “smoke pit,” an 8 x 20′ area with benches where we sit until they call us in, in groups of six, to register for this night.  One does this every day.

Sunday 07/01/12 about ten of us were sitting in the smoke pit when Perry saw Fallon at the top of the stairs.  Talking into the air, Perry said:  “Every day, it’s ‘Why am I coming in here?’  It’s ‘cuz you’ve got no place else to go.”

Fallon sat down and said, “Why am I coming in here?”

Fallon doesn’t say much, but what he does say is full of complaints about the shelter.  He never speculates about how he might improve his situation.  I first saw him a month or two ago, but from his knowledge of the inner workings of the mission, it’s clear he’s been coming here for years.

Years.

Attitude can make a hard situation easy, or an easy situation hard.

I rarely think about the fact I’m homeless.[*]  I think about marketing The William Tell Show, other ways I might find work, or good things I can do at church.  Seems to me this makes my situation easier — for me, and possibly everyone around me, too.


[*] In part this reflects the specific shelter that I’m in; about which, more in a later post.

(Reblogged 2014-04-16.)