Today was one of those days. I allowed myself one meeting (only one, because of my ankle’s recovery), with our area interfaith group. The meeting got into some deep, subtle and difficult issues, and ended up lasting three hours, whereas it usually ends after about an hour and a half. Conversations like this are very important, but we don’t often make the time for them.
On another (but also interfaith) topic, this evening, I engaged in some interfaith planning for the upcoming event The Energy Transition: Cultural and Religious Perspectives, sponsored by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. It is my responsibility to invite people to lead the evening Chapel Services for that week-long event; this year the services will have a multifaith focus. This is a new way of planning these traditional evening services; it will be interesting to see how the idea is received.
The more I am involved in this work, the more I see how difficult it can be for us to understand one another, especially with respect to “belief.” Can we stretch our religious understanding beyond “beliefs?” Beyond “ideas?” What is at the heart of the matter?
There’s the familiar Jalal ad-Din Rumi quote: “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”
Because I was suffering from a serious case of cabin fever, this afternoon Ankle and I bravely (and gingerly) stepped out to attend brother-in-law Cliff’s retirement party. It was exactly what I needed to regain my perspective, bask in the love and companionship of family, and savor my watermelon dipped in my cup of wine. Yum.
Being with fun, kind, musical, playful, laughing, thoughtful and intelligent adults and children reminded me of the goodness in the world. What a blessing!
Now I’m rejuvenated, ready for the week ahead.
Trying out a new theme. Reminds me of 1969. What a year!
Last night Ankle swelled up and became very tender.
This morning, Ankle spoke.
“You aren’t listening to me!” said Ankle. “I need to heal, and you are making me worse by running hither and thither, acting as though the pain doesn’t bother you!”
“I need to heal,” Ankle insisted. “So you need to rest. Empty your calendar!!”
“Now that you’re finally paying attention, I’ll say it again,” Ankle said, a bit more quietly. “Clear your schedule. Heal.”
Ankle is right.
I spent today with my foot up, rearranging my schedule so that I’ll have time to rest, to listen carefully to Ankle, and respond appropriately. So you may not be seeing much of me.
I am still able to blog, however.
Still glowing from the Sanctuary Without Walls gathering this afternoon, which focused on the Summer Solstice.
A restful, peaceful time that included meditation, laughter, talk of spiritual practices and their relationship to light and dark, the warmth of friendship ~ and the sweet, solar glow of mead.
Our mead communion included first fruits: cherries and strawberries.
Blessings of peace, friendship, sustenance, summer, and sunlight to all!
Reached the 4000 hit mark sometime during the night.
At the moment I’m reading a book which was mentioned on the blog called Urban Mystic (thanks, Tim). The title of the book is Beyond Religion: 8 Alternative Paths to the Sacred, by David N. Elkins. Because I haven’t finished it, I’ve not decided whether to add it to my list of recommended books.
“Buried deep in the heart of every adult is a longing for a life that matters. We want to drink deeply from the stream of existence and know the passion of being truly alive. The purpose of this book is to say that such a life is possible, and that it all begins by learning how to nurture and care for the soul.”
OK. Nurturing the soul is what Elkins considers the spiritual life to be about. But I’m trying to understand exactly what he means by soul, since it is basic to what he is putting forth. He does claim that one doesn’t need religion in order to nurture one’s soul. Should be interesting to see what moves he makes to define soul in non-religious ways. More after I’ve read more.
Meanwhile, some of the ideas I’ve already come across in this book may be fun to play with at the Sanctuary Without Walls monthly gathering tomorrow. Please come if you are interested! 4 PM.
By the way, the eight paths are: The Feminine, The Arts, The Body, Psychology, Mythology, Nature, Relationships, and Dark Nights of the Soul.