Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 10, 2009

The Contemplative Journey

Personal development, spiritual growth, enlightenment, awareness. This is the foundation of the contemplative journey. It’s not just catholicism, or taoism, or buddhism, or hinduism. It’s a synthesis of all these as we lay a decoder onto the jumble of chaos. Move it this way, and the cut out holes display the doctrine of the church. Move it that way, and we see the flow and wisdom of wu wei of tai chi and taoism. Move it up or down, and you get another message. Remove it, and you are tempted to become an absurdist because all you’ll see is a big square of letters spelling nothing.

But there are truths. Truths revealed to us in contemplation, in prayer, in silence, in tai chi movement. We know, intuitively, in our heart, that there is a divine spark in all of creation, including us. Stop there. Once we start to go beyond that and create philosophies and religions extrspolated from that one revelation, we start to go down a slippery slope. Not that we may actually have extrapolated it correctly, but…

We know that we have a mind, that we can think, that we have consciousness, and intuitively we know that this mind is a reflection of, an image of, a mind source, a universal mind, a wellspring of mind. Stop there.

We know that we are meant to be aware of something more important, something more holy and sacred, that we are holy and sacred. We are aware of a brokenness in this life, an alienation, a separation by virture of our being manifest physically. There is chaos and order. In my current reading of Thomas a Kempis, I am seeing the emphasis on seeing the miseries of this life and an exhortation to put your sights on Christ and Christ alone, and on the life in the hereafter. The theology of Kempis is purely and emphatically eschatological.

Acceptance and patience are virtues of the catholic and the taoist. The taoist knows that life is yin and yang, up and down, coming and going, chaos and order. Tai chi, and the I Ching help us to discern when to act and how to act during the changes. Reliance on Christ, reliance on the Sage of the I Ching. We fret and worry so much in this world, because we feel we have to take responsibility for everything and do everything we can to protect ourselves and others from misery, from adversity, from chaos, from attack. It is a misguided desire, no matter which matrix you are approaching it from. Wu wei, non-action in the sense of not acting out of the motivations of the ego. Acting in the context of right action, of pure action.

If you listen, you will become aware of the seriousness of the endeavor. This life is fun and joyful despite the adversities, but it’s also serious. It’s school. It’s not to be wasted. People watching can be fun but it can be scary too. How many people are oblivious, walking through life like zombies, with no enlightenment, no awareness?

What would be the concept of sin to a taoist? Not using proper principles. Not being in harmony with the tao. Not developing taoist virtues as discussed in the I Ching:humility, simplicity, patience, perseverence, not acting out of the ego, greed, pride, and on and on.

Being in a state of grace is that experience in tai chi in doing the forms, in doing push hands, of a sense of oneness and completeness, the zen experience, the sitting in meditation experience. I was watching an interview of a modern day catholic exorcist. He was extrememly humble, didn’t play up the fear factor the way the movies try to glorify evil and make it more powerful than it is, but when you listen, you realize people are much more willing to believe in the power and existence of Satan and demons, but doubt God. But if you believe in one, you must believe in the other…I’ll leave it at that, I know I’m rambling a bit…but you realize it’s serious business, this spiritual journey of ours. There’s work to be done, disciplined, practice.

As you become more aware of the higher things, the more spiritual things, the more mundane things can be seen in much better perspective. A funny experience was today, on my day off, I received several somewhat frantic phonecalls from work, all about seemingly important stuff. Yes they were important, but it was more about calming people down and letting them know it was under control and we could handle it tomorrow. But what would have once caused alot of fretting and worrying on my part, I perceived in a moment as puppies nipping at my heels. It’s a funny perspective, no disrespect intended for the people who called today, including my boss.

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