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Faith

Ten Thousand Days

The Light in the Fire

June 1, 2020

Photo: Logan Weaver

Day 2112 – Day 2116

Black Lives Matter.

I’m not a preacher and I’ve got no answers to the world’s problems but if you don’t agree that black lives matter, then this probably isn’t the site for you.  You might want to find another.

When I saw the photos a week ago, I was sick.  I’m sure that if you’re still reading, it sickened you as well.

I have been purposely undertaking a Covid news blackout for my mental heath, aside from a daily scan of headlines.  Last Monday, I looked at the news.

Around the world, inequality is killing millions of people.  In India, the migrant workers are STILL not home.  Sheltered under bridges, on the side of the road, or rounded up and detained in crowded conditions, their situation, in a pandemic, is a death sentence.  I know these people.  They are poor villagers who went to the city in hopes of earning some money to send home to support their families.  When India suddenly locked down the country with only a few hours’ notice, they were stranded without shelter, food or money.  Even those who can make it to their state by walking across the continent are being turned back at state borders.  The poor are being left to die.

In Colombia, government funds to help fight Covid-19 and to support the people have been embezzled, and widespread corruption means that World Bank funds have again been funnelled into the Swiss bank accounts of the elite, while the poor hang out red cloths from their windows, a symbol that they are in desperate need and are facing starvation.  Venezuelan refugees, caught in Colombia, like the migrant workers of India, without a home in which to shelter, are facing starvation in similar inhumane conditions as those in India.

And a friend in Brazil is looking forward to the birth of her first child.  I reached out to her this week to see how she was faring – fearful for her, in a country that is run by a dictator who refuses to lockdown the country or make any provisions for the pandemic.  Widespread deaths are needlessly occurring as grave diggers have to be creative and create high-rise vertical grave sites to keep up with the need.

Inequality is killing millions around the world.

In the country that is my neighbour, 40 cities are under curfew tonight and the leader is nowhere to be found.  For days I have been unable to sleep.  I’m sure you’re not resting easily, either.

I question the narrative that the media is piecing together.  People burning down their own neighbourhoods?  No, this doesn’t seem right.  But who will get the blame? The black man.  Same as it ever was.  And who will die, if there is a spike in Covid cases from a justifiable and righteous anger that has not been quelled by a compassionate leader?  Same as it ever was.

When journalists are being targeted, arrested and shot by the police – despite identifying themselves as press – and when peaceful protesters, with their hands in the air, are approached by police and have their pandemic mask ripped from their face so they can be pepper sprayed, I have to wonder how anyone can doubt that police brutality is an overstated phenomenon.  Institutions have lost the trust of the population and when this happens, historically, coups follow.

I fear that martial law will come next and if so, I challenge my readers to pay careful attention to which citizen’s militia are allowed to join the forces that are restraining the population.  The time has come again for the privileged to form a resistance to help protect and empower targeted populations.  It feels like we, as a human race, have been here too many times even in this century.  Oh Lord, same as it ever was.

In my Sufi lineage, we have been warned of the darkening of the world for as long as I’ve been sitting with the teacher (15 years).  In my Christian tradition, we are warned of the worsening of life on earth that signals the End Times.  Are we in the End Times?  I don’t know.  It has been pretty bad in Rwanda and the Congo, in Central America and in the Soviet Union in my lifetime.  To think it is End Times just because it impacts me is a bit of white, Western, privilege.  But, End Times may have been upon us for a long, long time.  I do not know.  What I do know is that I have been feeling the darkening of the world for at least as long as I’ve been sitting with the Sufis in meditation.  The job of the mystic and of the Christian – in good times and bad – is to hold and build their spiritual light and to encourage others to do the same.  It does not have to be the same as it ever was.

Hold your light, my friends.  Have faith.  God has not forsaken the world.  If you don’t believe in God, then look around you for the helpers.  Goodness has not left the world.  There is so much goodness in the hearts of humankind.  It is our job to stand up, show up and speak up.  It is also our job to meditate, pray and fortify the soul.  Only by building the light in our own souls can we vanquish the darkness in the world.  Without our light by which to read our moral compass, all our works are easily corrupted.

I’ve done all the studies in strategy, politics and economics.  I’ve worked with governments and corporations around the world.  I have no answers but to build the light and be the light that the world needs.

I am grateful for my ability to listen with an open heart and bear witness to the pain of those who are not as privileged as I am.  I am grateful for all the resources that are available to me to support those seeking justice and to unlearn my privileged view of the world.  I am grateful to my spiritual communities around the world with whom I can connect as we do our individual prayer and meditation and I am grateful that our work benefits the collective.  I am grateful for the activists – friends and strangers – who remind me to walk the walk of my values at times like these.  I am grateful for this platform where I can say to you that I feel, in one sense, as helpless as you may feel, in the face of the world on fire.  And I am grateful that perhaps you trust me enough, now, to join me in building spiritual strength to combat the darkness.  What each of us does is no longer for our own salvation.  It is for the collective soul that we must do our spiritual work. Let us rise to the spiritual battle of our lifetimes, even as we fight to end inequality and injustice in the material world.

Have faith.  The good shall prevail.  Be the light in the world on fire.  Stay well, stay safe.

Photo: Austrian National Library

For what are you most grateful, today?

Happiness, Meditation, Nature, Ten Thousand Days

Sail on Silver Girl

February 26, 2020

Photo: Vidar Nordii Mathisen

Day 2015 – Day 2020

One of my favourite YouTubers has a habit of quoting lines from songs of the 1960s when he’s vlogging.  I’ve noticed, over the years on my blog, that I do this too, sometimes.

I have a weekend of fabulousness ahead!  I’m heading over to Vancouver Island and then onward to the Gulf Islands, for a meditation retreat with my old spiritual group.  I’m first going to spend the day singing with Moira Smiley and maybe I’ll have a chance to hit one of the museums in Victoria before or afterward.  I’m not sure whether I will intersect with my long-time friend TCBC this time or not, but I am hoping to get to see the Natural History Museum (of London)’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at some point.  If I don’t see it this time, I’ll be making another trip back.

I am really most excited to be seeing my spiritual group again.  We are silent sitters and so, excited is probably not the best feeling to be bringing into lots of silent meditation.  But, I’ve missed them so.  There is truly something magical that happens when we sit together in silence.  When I left London, my great consolation was that there was a long time group in this tradition that meets in Vancouver.  Alas, when I finally made the decision to request to join the tradition, my teacher retired and then the meditation group leader retired and closed the group, within months of one another.

Well.  If you’ve finally decided to take spiritual maturity seriously, there is nothing like being cast out of the circle and being left on your own, to test you.  It is within the parameters of this tradition to cast out a seeker in order to deepen their practice.  But, I can’t take this personally.  It happened to many of us, all at once.  Over the roughly two years that our group has been apart, I’ve been through quite a lot.  The period from end of 2016 till now has been the hardest in my memory, though you might not know it, to look at me.

I’m looking forward to sitting together, to extreme attentiveness and presence, to discussing dream symbolism a la Jung, and to being in the company of one another in the name of the Divine.  I’ve had many dreams but now that we’re coming together again, I have nothing I can bring to the group.  About 4 months ago, I dreamed that a YouTuber that I follow was sort of flirting with me but I don’t think that qualifies as anything worthy of deep reflection…unless the guy is a representation of my animus….and now…come to think of it, he probably really, really is.  I love him dearly for showing up when I needed him.  He arose from the ocean of the collective unconsciousness to bring life-giving rain to my desert.

Oh I’ve missed the depths to which we go, in the group!  I’m so grateful that the group leader has decided to reconvene the group as a kind of retreat, and that I will be sitting together with them all, again.  I’m also grateful that even in the relatively isolated life that I live right now, the archetypes still know how to find me.

The weather forecast is for reasonable skies and hopefully reasonable tides.  There is something about a journey by sea that is a beckoning of the subconscious.  I did a year of writing school on the island and the sea was a strong motif in much of my writing both then and when I returned to the mainland.  Some people find their peace in the forest.  Some find it at the top of the mountain.  For me, I find myself called to sea.  How appropriate for this work that we do.

I’m looking forward to my journey almost as much as the events planned at my destination(s).  I think that is a pretty great thing and I wish I lived my life with that mindset more often.  I’ve tried to keep my blog a place that is welcoming to people of all faiths and those who ascribe to no particular faith, but I’m starting to think that the time for evading writing about my own faith – for fear that it will turn people off – is coming to an end.  I welcome everyone and I’ve vowed to serve people of all faiths (and I include agnostics and atheists in that group), but writing about my experience is really superficial without writing about my spiritual life.  I’ve had a pretty crap run of it these past few years but it has been my faith that has carried me through, like a bridge over such troubled waters.

The sun has begun to come out, the flowers are sprouting in the ground and my strength is slowly returning.  It is good that we will be gathering again to pray and listen, in love, to light the darkness of the world.  I believe my time has come to shine.  Maybe all my dreams are on their way.

 

 

For what are you most grateful, today?