Minister's Post, Fri Oct 14

Dear Ones,

On Sunday, I'll be reflecting on what we deserve -- and what roll notions of deservingness or merit should play in our lives and in our pursuit of justice.

If you have a few minutes this weekend, may I recommend you give a look to this essay in Atlantic Magazine from a few years ago. Titled, "How Life Became an Endless, Terrible Competition," by Daniel Markovits, the article argues that, "Meritocracy prizes achievement above all else, making everyone — even the rich — miserable. Maybe there’s a way out." You can find it HERE.

Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Oct 9 Service, "Getting Better" (Columbus/Indigenous Peoples' Day)

The Oct 2 Service, "What Praying Is"

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Maintain Joy and Humor

From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion, adapted from medieval Tibetan teachings called “Lojong,” our 23rd slogan to live by is: Maintain joy and humor. Yes, joy and humor are spiritual needs, and spiritual imperatives. You may ask: Can I DECIDE to make myself joyful when I’m in a bad mood? Well, that’s why this one comes 23rd.

If you’ve been paying heed to the first 22, then you’ve probably learned to trust yourself more, to be honest about your shortcomings without condemning yourself for them. Maybe you've gotten the hang of how to practice with difficulty, and can face difficult emotions without denial or avoidance. If you’ve been working on "Determination," "Repetition," "Owning Your Nobility," "Reproaching Your Demons," "Aspiring to the Impossible,” -- and so on – you may be in a better mood more of the time than you have ever been, and a feeling of joy and gratitude isn't so foreign as it used to be.

In fact, joy is never very far away. As we continue to train, we have more and more choice about how we respond to what happens to us. The boundless nature of things is always close at hand, and, if you’ve been doing your practice, then this is something that you think about, that you're aware of.

Working with this slogan is not a matter of pressuring ourselves to feel joy all the time. When we're depressed or bitter, we need to know that we feel that way, not cover it up with a fake veneer of joy. The point is simply to notice when we have joy and humor and when we don't. When we don't, then investigate that – and inquire: which of the trainings I’ve learned would be relevant right now?

Please read the full post: "Maintain Joy and Humor"

Here it is, your...
#131: The Void

The void is not the void? Try this. Think of something that you imagine to be not a void. A rock, say. A bell, a tree, a person. All of these things are also void -- void, that is, of permanent and independent existence. They are always changing -- becoming what they are not -- and always giving to and taking from the world around them.

One evening Woodpecker asked, "What's the void?"
Raven said, "Not the void."
Woodpecker asked, "It's not really empty?"
Raven said, "The truth is, I really don't know."

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process ze does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." -Nietzsche
The abyss looking into you:
No cause for concern --
An abyss looking into an abyss.

The abyss looking out from you,
See to that and:
No more monsters to fight.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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