Friday, March 13, 2009

Lenten Bliss

The third Friday of Lent. Lent was dreary in the monastery except for the noon meal on Wednesdays and Fridays. In our penance we had soup and warm homemade bread and real butter. We listened to music and didn't have to talk. Then, Friday nights were lectio nights. We didn't have a common meal. You could go to your room after Vespers and quietly read and pray.


We humans want out of here. We look around at this world, see what a problem it is and hope for salvation, transcendence, enlightenment or a quick death. Quite often, we hope a savior will come: a lucky break, a rich husband, a lucrative financial deal, a career as a doctor or lawyer. Many of us don’t get the lucrative deal and turn to religion for safety; Jesus or Buddha, it is after this life that paradise lies. Maybe we will find a guru who will impart bliss. I myself hoped my religious life would earn me three hots and a cot for life; thus releasing me from worldly worries and giving my life validation from a rock solid religious institution. Yes, nuns have respect!

All of these salvation theories are taught by society. They may vary in different cultures, but essentially, we hate it here and we want out. I was taught the savior approach to salvation and it included teaching me that I am a sinner. I was taught that salvation is given by the church or a guru, but apart from them I am hopeless and helpless. All theories I’ve studied include the proposition that this theory will work, all the others are wrong and you are bad if you don’t commit to this theory for life. I feel threatened. I feel guilty and weak if I move on to another theory.

Today I find myself in solitude. I find myself de-programming and undoing my human mythology. I believe it is possible for me to think along different lines than what are social norms for assessing this world. I have the opportunity to step into an entirely different mindset, belief system and reality.

I ran 7 miles this morning. In the morning darkness, without traffic, I run around a hilly eight block loop about a mile from my house. I ran around it 4 times this morning. Scenery matters little in the darkness. In the darkness I can assess myself as a being without definition. I can direct my thought. I can spend the time thinking about work, or the next race, or food, or what others think of me. Instead I choose to stop the words and explore my concept and essence.

I don’t have a savior. I don’t have a religion. I don’t know who God is. In the darkness, I am un-adulterated life. I am filled with life and that is all I am. I am detached from labels and roles and ideologies. It is a place and time where nothing matters. In the darkness of the early morning run, place and time dissolve into the nothingness. Life breathing. Life moving. Solely existence. Solely essence. Unadulterated bliss.

To be clear: however you detach is up to you. I'm just sharing my morning impressions on my own life.

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