Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A New Year Resolution... Feed The Good Dog

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.” ― George Bernard Shaw

The ‘thing’ in us that gives rise to, and determines the quality of our actions is something called intention. It is the big WHY behind every action we execute. To have intention is to be able to determine at the most basic level what we want the desired outcome of an action to be. The good dog in us wants to act in a way that serves the common good. The bad dog’s intention is to serve self regardless of the consequences to others.

Every time we choose to act in the best interest of the other we are feeding that good dog and starving the mean evil dog. This is not always easy because it requires that we become more and more selfless in our behavior. It demands that we suppress our want of immediate self-gratification in the interest of perpetuating the common good. 

Acting unselfishly engenders a nobility that although uncommon, is essential to the building of viable communities. It is what we mean by "being in the world" but not "being of the world". Ultimately it is how we potentiate the possibilities of being Mankind’s "best friend".

Let us resolve to feed the good dog in us in this New Year.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Incarnation... Addressing the Frailties of Our Shared Humanity

Figs In Season Winter 2016 Divinity and Humanity... intersects in the middle.JPGFrazzled. Worn out. De-energized. Messed up. Discombobulated. Broken. Recognize any of these states of being in your own experience? You are not alone.

We live in a world where the experience of being overwhelmed with a sense of our vulnerability is shared. Winter, with its orientation of frigid discontentedness, brings home a very real sense of the shared frailties of our humanity. With the impact of these facts weighing on our consciousness, there is the fortuitous counterbalance that this is that season when multitudes around the world celebrate the Incarnation.

The beginning of Winter is when many around the world celebrate the coming of the Divine into the human experience in a way that is life-affirming and restorative. God, it is believed, becomes Man… and dwells in and among us. The Man-God comes to heal the breach initiated in Eden, and exacerbated in Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. The Savior comes to “rescue the perishing, and care for the dying”. He becomes “manna to the hungry soul… and to the weary, rest”.

There comes that moment in our experience when it is futile to deny the need for restoration and reconciliation. The many challenges that we face will eventually force us to pause, take a step back, sit down, and think about what we need to do in order to emerge from our frazzled-ness. By so doing, we give ourselves a needed reprieve from the discombobulation that is evident in our stumbling from one unfortunate circumstance to the other. If we are wise we voluntarily admit to the reality of the finiteness of our flesh. Wisdom makes us reflect on what it will take to move meaningfully forward, to regain our strength, and to correct our perspectives.

Much of what goes wrong within us, has to do with what is going wrong between us. The dysfunctions in us find expression in our various relationships. These relationships will include those that for one reason or other we have sought to ignore and to forget. Despite our best efforts to ignore them, they haunt us; they live daily in our conscious and subconscious behaviors. They thrive in the underworld created of and by our fears. This being the case, an examination of ourselves and the quality of our many relationships - present and past - is a good place to begin in our quest for a more fulfilling, more dynamic life experience. 

The re-filling that we need must begin within our own souls, and it must then necessarily find expression in the relationships that we engage in going forward. Let us make ourselves available to that which is Divine in and among us.

Wake Up!

Your life is yours. It is yours to lose. It is yours to save. It is yours to do something or nothing with. 

Ultimately no one else can occupy that space in eternity that you now inhabit. Accept that… know that this is true. Wake up from the slumber of unconsciousness that befalls so many. Open your eyes and train your senses for the challenges you must face as you become more and more aware of the circumstances that you now call your life. Is it what you want it to be? If not, why not? Be honest.

What are the aspirations that once energized you that have over time gone dormant? Where is the fire in your gut that once danced as a sparkle in your eyes? Like so many before you and around you, that fire may have been doused by the too many swallowed tears of mounting disappointments. Your primordial blaze may have succumbed to the many buckets of cold water poured on by those who seek to thrive by suppressing the aspirations of others. You may have gotten stuck in the mud of a sense of worthlessness cultivated by an overindulgence of your failings. You do not have to continue to wallow in that precarious existential state.

Your Moment Of Awakening comes, and when it does do not slight it as one more occasion of pipe-dreaming. Do not ignore your Epiphany by deferring the need to get up out of the bed of despair. Instead, adjust your position… determine to take up your bed and walk. 


Wake up, and set your face against the place that locks you up and shuts you down. Make up your mind to leave behind you every influence that binds you to a future of hopelessness.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

THIS SEASON OF GOODWILL


Around this time of year we celebrate a season of “goodwill toward men”. The general idea here is that we engage with those around us in a way that says we care about all those aspects of our lives together that make us better. It is a time when we pause to celebrate the better angels of our nature. We want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and uplift the spirits of our friends and neighbors through gift-giving.

This is a season when we pause to reflect on the foundational ideals of our civil society. The loud voices of religious conservatism among us call us to faith in their version of the Judeo-Christian value system. They call us to put and keep Christ in Christmas; even as they demonstrate either an ignorance of, or a total denial of the prophetic demands that have given life to this tradition throughout its history.

Inextricably bound with the coming of our Savior are the proclamations of the prophets who understood the undeniable relationship between God’s saving grace and the establishment of Justice in our midst. Can we meaningfully talk about Christ and Christmas in the absence of a real commitment to the proclamations of Amos or Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter? Have we not heard the admonition of the prophets echoing in Amos’ appeal to “let justice go rolling on like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream…”?

I speak with the prophets when I declare that we must not have our voices co-opted in what has become an orgy of commercial excess this time of year, while we ignore the political and economic culture that furthers the oppression and marginalization of the disadvantaged among us. Businesses and their political benefactors that deny a livable wage to workers can’t cleanse their consciences by the giving of gift baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In light of the fundamentalism which insists that we must give prominence to the Biblical foundations of our nation’s origins, it becomes imperative that we raise some fundamental questions about those foundations. What, we must ask, are the social ramifications of a belief system that assumes the “fatherhood” of “a common Creator”? Am I my brother’s keeper? Do I have the right to demand that I be treated as a “fellow person”?  

In the tradition of Martin Buber, a prominent twentieth century philosopher, religious thinker, political activist and educator; shall we cultivate amongst ourselves “I-thou” rather than “I-it” relationships? Do we truly believe that all persons are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights? Is the pursuit of happiness a birthright of all persons regardless of race, gender, or nationality?

This Season Of Goodwill is a time when we should take every opportunity to get better … If we are not sure how, we should take every opportunity to find out.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Becoming


WHEN I free myself of childhood dreams…
When I let go of adult schemes…
When naiveté no longer appeals to me…
And ambition is stored with other vanities…
Then…I will become

When fear no longer in me abides…
And I let id, ego, superego, slide…
And I no more need to fit the mold
And let my destiny unfold…
Then I will…my heart being still…become

I can only be
What God has purposed for my life…
And I will only see the tree
That bears the fruit
Which enrich my days…
When I am
What I am
And always was
And can be nothing else…

When I am…that I am…
I have become

From “In My Element” by Roy Alexander Graham
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-my-element/id574441227?mt=11
This material may be protected by copyright.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Witness


…And I awoke in the arena of my intrigue
To witness the dark tales of my surreal anticipation…
A lion embracing a bear
And littering reality with the offspring
Of an altogether illicit affair…
I saw the marriage of an old stumbling empire
As she fell in time
To the capricious wiles of an enticing romance…
Whore to whore wed locked
And vowing allegiance
Till death…
I saw the prophet led to his death in chains
While a bootlegging pharaoh and his klan*
Aspired to throne after throne
Dying death after death…but aspiring still
While young lions slept…
I saw the priests of an untenable union
Inwardly and outwardly frocked
In robes that hid them from the uncomfortable truths
Of a time when lions lay down with lambs
Having crushed the capricious existence
Of an abominable union…
…And I pinched myself
To confirm that I was not dreaming…
For all around me the earth shook
As whore ran to whore for shelter…
The rock of their convenience
Having been obliterated
And rising out of the earth like gods…
The prophet’s sons…
With sword and shield…advancing
I have witnessed the weeping and wailing
Of those who mocked and scorned
When righteous men told them
Behave.

[* Originally rendered ‘sons’]


From “In My Element” by Roy Alexander Graham
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-my-element/id574441227?mt=11
This material is protected by copyright

Monday, October 15, 2018

WHERE MY TEARS COME FROM

From ducts deep in my soul
where pains and joys
and compassions swell…

From confluences in the course of our experience
where we meet and mingle
and recognize our sharing of common ground…
And feel that certain rush
of our destination’s blue…

From our confessions
voluntarily or otherwise given…
verbally or otherwise spoken…
That now allows for the lifting
of that lid which suppresses
a certain internal commotion
in the swollen chambers of our hearts
that threatens to explode unless relieved…

For those who look on and wonder…
That is where my tears come from…


A New Year Resolution... Feed The Good Dog

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean a...