Posts Tagged ‘One’

The presence of spiritual addiction

March 2, 2014

My addiction is no secret. Spirituality is my drug of life. My spiritual adventures are a relentless romp of reaching for the Divine in all that exists and they have this terminal quality to them: I have a singular devotion to the ultimate connection with God/Spirit/Jesus/the One/Universal Consciousness. I keep telling myself, once I am truly connected, I will no longer have the urge.

And, no, death does not count.

Just an aside here: yes, I know I have been a disappearing spirit ever since Christmas but I’ve been busy becoming a licensed counselor and setting up a practice. Feel free to explore at One Spirit Counseling.

Now back to that addiction thing. Contemplative Outreach has me on their mailing list. It is important that you understand that I want to BE contemplative outreach. The concept is much like the Jesuit’s contemplative in action: to be so in touch with God/Spirit that the communication is continuous, as if we are One, and I am transformed as a result, able to be that transformed soul seamlessly in the world, in action alone and with others.

Any time I see an invitation for a spiritual exercise or to learn a spiritual technique or engage in a spiritual lesson, my fingertips start tingling, my palms get sweaty, and my vision goes dark around the edges. The good guys at Contemplative Outreach have joined forces with the lovely people at Spirituality and Practice and they are offering a year-long series of online retreats. Those retreats call to me much like the street-drug vendor whispers to a junkie.

(C’mon . . . it doesn’t cost much. You know you want it.)
[but I’m on a budget]
(I’ll make you a deal. Buy all five at once and you’ll save twenty-five bucks)
[wow – that’s like getting half of one free]
(And I’ve all your favorites. Lectio Divina . . .)
[Oh!]
(Contemplative Living . . .)
[Stop it!]
(Forgiveness . . .)
[la la la la la la I can’t hear you la la la la]
(and a Practice Group)
[Sold]

Can one have too much spirituality? The shaman in me knows that Spirit is all that exists so the question is moot.

I would pray for willpower but that is feeding the oxymoron.

©2014 by Barbara L. Kass

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Kindness and the presence of strength

December 11, 2011

Some weeks ago, I was walking to a function in downtown Washington, DC. The directions I had been given were not entirely accurate, and it was 8:00 a.m. on a very chilly morning. I had not worn the warmest of jackets and was grumbling to myself about how inconvenient this journey was for me. While circling around to find my destination, I walked past the entrance to a store. The entrance was recessed within a short flight of stairs and at the bottom of the stairs were two men in sleeping bags.

They were not there for an early bird special.

It was an obvious fact that they were homeless and the sleeping bags were gifts (voluntary or otherwise). One or both of them might have been dead. One had his head buried deep within the bag. The other had his eyes open staring blankly past me.

The coldness I felt suddenly had nothing to do with temperature.

My perspective changed in that instant along with my knowledge of how totally helpless I was to change their situation. The kind thing to do would be to give them some money so that they could eat (I was presuming they would use the money for food, not drugs, but who knows?). Another kind action would have been to sit with them and talk about their situation, and I could offer them ideas about how to find shelter, food, jobs . . . but I can’t even write about that without seeing how totally inappropriate it is when I can’t provide any of those. It would be like driving past someone with a flat tire, stopping, getting out of my car, going to stand next to the person, and saying “Wow. You should change that tire.” And, then getting back into my car and driving away. The kind thing to do would be to help that person change the bleeping tire.

I do not have the personal resources to rescue or change those two men or the hundreds of thousands just like them. The best I can offer them is my kindness and prayers. I can support the shelters who support them . . . but then I think, are those shelters really kind to their situation or are the shelters simply an appeasement – a way for us to say “See? We ARE doing something about the homeless!” We are . . . but not really. I don’t know that we are being kind to the homeless in perpetuating a solution that simply makes life a little bit more endurable on the street.

I think true kindness requires strength — a strong sense of being one’s own person, a strong sense of boundaries, and a very strong sense of being One with the world. It is knowing when it is appropriate to be kind (i.e., is someone being harmed?) As children, we don’t always have this type of strength. We develop it through flexing those muscles in becoming our own person, recognizing boundaries, and knowing that the homeless person is a part of us. Kind acts are often invisible to others and not necessarily an outward display. Just taking good care of ourselves and accepting responsibility for our own well-being is an act of kindness. My real tests in the seeing world come with whether or not I can respond with kindness to someone who appears to be SO very undeserving of kindness. Kindness for me is a state of being and acting that respects all people, moves our relationship towards one of wholeness, and makes it easy for me to sleep at night. It is also a kindness to accept that people have the right to make decisions for themselves and it might not be the decision I would have chosen for them.

Kindness is not a solution to life’s troubles . . . it just makes the landing a little softer.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass