reflection: spirituality and faith

Reflection: on our personal experience of spiritual emergence, the dark night of the soul, and transpersonal experience

Reflection: on our personal experience of spiritual emergence, the dark night of the soul, and transpersonal experience

I have sensed recently that some of my FB friends are undergoing spiritual awakenings. This is something we can all share in common in our becoming whole human beings. Sometimes these spiritual experiences can seem confusing, painful, and like a bad thing.

Let me share two perspectives I find very useful in processing such experiences.

First a quote from the poet Christian Wiman on our need to talk honestly of God:
“It is a strange thing how sometimes merely to talk honestly of God, even if it is only to articulate our feelings of separation and confusion, can bring peace to our spirits. You thought you were unhappy because this or that was off in your relationship, this or that was wrong in your job, but the reality is that your sadness stemmed from your aversion to, your stalwart avoidance of, God. The other problems may very well be true, and you will have to address them, but what you feel when releasing yourself to speak of the deepest needs of your spirit is the fact that no other needs could be spoken of outside of that context. You cannot work on the structure of your life if the ground of your being in unsure.”
― Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

And secondly a quote from the psychiatrist, Gerald Mays, on how spiritual liberation takes place in hidden ways which is profoundly good:
“The dark night is a profoundly good thing. It is an ongoing spiritual process in which we are liberated from attachments and compulsions and empowered to live and love more freely. Sometimes this letting go of old ways is painful, occasionally even devastating. But this is not why the night is called ‘dark.’ The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding. It happens mysteriously, in secret, and beyond our conscious control. For that reason it can be disturbing or even scary, but in the end it always works to our benefit.”
Let us embrace our wholeness of mind/body/spirit

poem: thinking of God as compared to knowing God (a repost of my original poem from September 2019)

Poem: Thinking of God as Compared to Knowing God
Sitting in church on Sunday
the great gathering of believers:
the woman with a pistol in her purse,
the espoused white supremacist family man,
the patriarchal church elder who fears gays
All believing Jesus is their personal savior,
who looks like them,
likes and dislikes the same people as they,
and judges all as to the meritocracy of heaven
which is not here and not now
What bad theology,
what past dogma or creed,
what misreading and poor preaching,
what age-old council of churchmen
has brought them all to this small, limited God
Yes these gathered souls
think of God rather than experience God
distracted by the ten million things that separate us
many of which have been elevated to idolatry
including personal power, control, and violence
How have we reduced God to being so small and limited
how has God’s awe inspiring presence and love
escaped our experience of each moment,
this God who is as close as our next breath
and limitless as the great Cosmos spinning about
Creator of the Cosmos, breath of our lives,
our Beloved and beloved of God,
the Universal Christ of grace, love, and our only true hope
for authentic community in our true diversity
in the anti-empire, anti-dominant system of kin-dom
Unless and until one turns out towards and enters into
the Universal Christ mystery and opens to its’ radical
consciousness that rewires each of us on the physical, cellular,
neurological, and spiritual levels, Christianity will remain

a personal cerebral exercise rather than Eternal Life together as Beloveds

Herb Stone
here & now working poetry
September, 2019
images “Eye of the Universe” from Hubble Telescope
and “Guns in Church” unattributed

Reflection: the alternative neighborly community vis-a-vis the world as we have been taught

Reflection: Creator God come down to us and walked this Earth prophesying, resisting, and teaching about our world and providing us the alternative neighborly community of the kin-dom plan grounded in diversity and inclusivity of live together in grace, love, and peace

we must understand that while Jesus was a person of grace, peace, and love, and a healer, he also was an anti-Imperialist who protested, resisted, and acted against the dominate political and religious systems of oppression and their power, control, and violence

let us walk each other to this true home, authentically belonging together 💓

Richard Rohr says this well in his quote:

Reflection: Spiritually transforming practice

Reflection: Spiritually transforming practice
We must practice to transform our being personally and collectively Spiritual practice, undertaken according to principles of spirituality, and mindfully followed with purpose and intent, is capable of powerful personal, relational, social, and cultural transformation.
Some of these spiritual principles are:
– cultivate a loving heart for all beings
– develop an altruistic, sustaining spirit and share what you have with others
– be a good ally of the earth and its resources
– identify with your own suffering and that of others and be a healer
– measure progress and growth according to non-materialistic and non-economic factors such as sustainability and peace
– support democratic forms of government and the liberties they guarantee for all peoples
– speak out against, non-violently resist, and work to change social injustice and evil in the world
– develop unitive consciousness that envelopes paradox and
creative tension
-value diversity in creation and community
Creator God awaken in us a dedication to spiritually transforming practice that we may be collaborators and co-creators in your kin-dom of the alternative neighborly community for the good of all humankind and all creation.

photo by Cathey Stone
‘meditating in the estuary at Draper Lake’
Gulfview Heights Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Reflection: Richard Rohr on our apocalyptic times and our need for a stabilizing spiritual practice over the next four months (and always)

Reflection: Richard Rohr on our apocalyptic times and our need for a stabilizing spiritual practice over the next four months (and always)

(with thanks and respect to my patron saint, Gertrud Nelson for sharing Richard’s words with me)

“We are without doubt in an apocalyptic time (the Latin word apocalypsis refers to an urgent unveiling of an ultimate state of affairs). Yeats’ oft-quoted poem “The Second Coming” then feels like a direct prophecy. See if you do not agree:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

……..

Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.

If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the “really deep well” that Etty Hillesum (Dutch author of the Nazi persecution of Jews in Amsterdam and who was killed in Auschwitz) returned to so often and that held so much vitality and freedom for her.

If you will allow, I recommend for your spiritual practice for the next four months that you impose a moratorium on exactly how much news you are subject to—hopefully not more than an hour a day of television, social media, internet news, magazine and newspaper commentary, and/or political discussions. It will only tear you apart and pull you into the dualistic world of opinion and counter-opinion, not Divine Truth, which is always found in a bigger place.

Instead, I suggest that you use this time for some form of public service, volunteerism, mystical reading from the masters, prayer—or, preferably, all of the above.

You have much to gain now and nothing to lose. Nothing at all.
And the world—with you as a stable center—has nothing to lose.”

photos: Gertrud Nelson, my patron saint
Richard Rohr (who I read widely) with my dear, late friend and spiritual teacher Jeff Blake

Thank you God for friends and teachers like these💓