Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Relax, Just Say it: Part 1

I've written that I do daily passage meditation. It's now my spiritual practice. I haven't been doing it very long, but its power and sturdy compassion, make me think I will do it my whole life.

The passages I meditate on come from all the worlds great religious traditions: Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Earth-based. They don't always conform to my own beliefs. The old testament God is not my Lord really, but when I am meditating on Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd I say each word of that Psalm.

I'm meditating not evaluating. I say in my mind "the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." I try not to have side conversations in my mind or any kind of cross talk.

I remember that there were some rebellious thoughts generated at first, especially when I would meditate on the passage "He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies." What is that all about, why is the Lord concerned with my enemies? It reminded me of the irony of two football teams praying for victory from the same God. And more tragically about the war in Iraq with Christian and Islam soldiers praying in competing forums to the same compassionate Lord.

I'm uneasy with the idea of a personal God but the Sages are not. God weaves in and out of the passages I meditate on; sometimes He/She is very clearly a being to adore while in other passages They/He/She/It are portrayed as an intrinsic quality as austere as my pantheistic faith. The God talk makes me uneasy while at the same time I feel utterly at peace and at home.

It's what the soul wants really. It wants to adore, it wants to let go, it wants to fly into ecstasy. The soul, our psyche, understands the language of relationship intimately, and knows what it means to cleave, to bind, to connect with another. The soul is not a theologian! The soul is more like a drunken teenager dancing with a cute stranger on a Saturday night!

A friend of mine who maybe does, maybe doesn't, believe in God, told me "I started praying. It just works better if I talk to God as if he is there. I don't know if he is, but I calm right down. I pray regularly."

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