Thirty Days of Love – Day 7
In David Abrams fascinating book “The Spell of the Sensuous” (one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read), the author attempts to show us how we’ve become disconnected from the natural world – a natural world consisting of land, air, water. He discusses how what we think of as “spirit,” usually a non-bodied presence, originated in the body’s “breath.” For example, the word “spirit” is related etymologically to “respiration”. The word “psyche,” is one that we typically associate with the mind (e.g. psychology, psychiatry, etc.) yet the Greek word psyche also meant “breath” or “gust of wind.”
Many of us have lost this connection to the air. We often take it for granted; yet the wind is there at the very beginning in the Hebrew Bible. “When God began to create heaven and earth – the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind [ruach] from God sweeping over the water…(Genesis 1 1-2)”
According to the Navajo: “Wind existed first…and when the Earth began its existence Wind took care of it.” When a Navajo baby is born, it is said that its internal wind unfolds it and then it begins to mingle with the wind of this world.
A Navajo Blessingway ceremony: “With everything having life, with everything having the power of speech, with everything having the power to breathe, with everything having the power to teach and guide, with that, in blessing we will live.
Thirty Days of Love – Day 8
Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh passed away today (Jan 22, 2022). It was his writings that first introduced me to Buddhism. It also opened the doorway to Taoism, Zen and Eastern philosophy in general – a completely different way of seeing the world.
Some of his writings:
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.”
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help.”
“Relatively speaking, there are right views and there are wrong views. But if we look more deeply, we see that all views are wrong views. No view can ever be the truth. It is just from one point; that is why it is called a “point of view”. If we go to another point, we will see things differently and realize that our first view was not entirely right.”
“We know very well that airplanes, guns and bombs cannot remove wrong perceptions. Only loving speech and compassionate listening can help people correct wrong perceptions. But our leaders are not trained in that discipline, and they rely only on the armed forces to remove terrorism.”
Thich Nhat Hanh – a great sage.
Thirty Days of Love – Day 9
Yesterday we received a refund check from our trash collection service. We must have overpaid our bill. Although we’ve received checks like this from time to time, this one was different. We received this check not from our current trash collection service but from our previous service in Pennsylvania – where we moved from six years ago!!!
The Lord works in mysterious ways – that She does!!!
Yet, one may be surprised just how often the Hebrew Bible mentions weights and measures. Weights and measures???? Really??? “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but an accurate weight is his delight (Proverbs 11-1).”
“Just scales, just weights, just dry measures, and just liquid measures you shall have” (Leviticus 19:35-36).”
Maybe it’s not that mysterious. Portions of the Hebrew Bible were meant to help the Israelites establish the laws by which their society would be governed. Although I don’t particularly agree with all the laws outlined in the Hebrew Bible, and often the context of the setting is lost to us, the purpose of the law is to establish justice.
The purpose of law is not to serve the interests of any particular group of people…but to establish justice.
Do we ever think about our “laws”? What is being served by a particular statute? Is it being used to serve the interests of a particular group? Is it being used to establish justice? Or its opposite?
…more to come on this.