In a break from soccer we watched the news.  ALWAYS A MISTAKE if you want to keep your halfway decent mood intact.  And, even though things have been a bit tense at the round blue house, the Partner did offer up an interesting question, as is his custom.

We both pretty much feel that organized religion….well, is not a Helpful Force in the world.  (HE was actually disinvited from Catholic school at the critical high school juncture.  I find that surprising in a way because he can be more than a bit of a Jesuit.   Anyway, they lost their grasp on him.) (All to the good.)  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about “religion” being a force of authority, and not of spirit, and for the most part I think this is the case.  People use religion as a set of rules and paradigms for opinions, exertion of control- not awareness.  So when the Partner, after having expressed this opinion once again while looking at a film of the Hagia Sophia (a picture of which hangs on our refrigerator as it happens), said, Heck.  If there’s only one God, what difference does the Prophet make?  Incendiary to some no doubt, but I thought about it.  My thought is that when the Prophet assumes such importance, the focus is on authority held by the religion, not the possibility of ascension to a higher spiritual level through an actual personal practice.  Up to now this has not appeared to get us all very far, if I may say so.

There was another thing he’d seen too.  I have no idea where *I* was, but anyway there was a program about a Buddhist meditation center in Tennessee.  They are building a huge, huge space so that some incredibly large number of people can all meditate at the same time.    A monk was interviewed and said he thought this went counter to the concept of Buddhism, which of course in a way it does.  ON the other hand?  If many people were to meditate in concert, all present in the same space, some pretty astonishing things might happen.   And certainly we need some things that are astonishing in a good way to happen.  There are plenty of stories about what it’s like being in a room where one person consciously focuses on meditation and everyone else finds themselves much calmer- I’ve experienced this phenomenon myself more than once.

Then I woke up today with a rather odd thought.  Which was this:  Actually, truly, at any point in our lives, our days, whatever unit you choose, the options for actions are many.  We may feel constrained but in actual fact, if you change your thinking about things you do sooner or later change the results of your actions.  You can be at cause, as they say, and not always at effect.   This means that as long as one holds to some portion of clarity and big picture, things can be brought to safe harbor one by one.  All the potential roads before us, while they may not lead to a specific sameness of place or stereotypical “happy ending”, do all lead us where we need to go.  Perhaps this means that struggles with decision making and choices should be viewed a bit differently.  We’re not in charge but we have a level of ability to act in concert with what is, and we must do this or, essentially, perish.  Far from being a limiting pattern, such as what is installed in our heads by, say, Catholic school or a Madrassa or what somebody said when you were ten, this ability to connect with a larger flow is actually what sets us free to do what we need to be doing.   I guess this means something like aligning oneself with what moves forward, what breathes, rather than with what confines you in one place no matter where you are.  This means that no matter what your circumstance, you can in fact progress.  It’s hard, to be sure.  But progress really is not defined by what you own or how much money you have or how shiny the office building is.  It is defined by how functional you can be in your own life as it happens in all its messy grandeur.

Also? COLOMBIA WON THEIR MATCH TODAY!!!!!!!!!! Yeehaw, for sure.

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