Monday, November 06, 2006

My Religion Is Kindness

Outside my window, on this Saturday morning, the sun is shining brightly and it looks like a beautiful day. It is a bit of an illusion. It was very chilly when I came into my office today and I suspect there is still some coolness in the air. I often talk about my walk down the spiritual path. Lately I feel as though I have been stumbling along that path. Why? Do I need to get back to basics? Have I become too distracted? In my quest to be an "Awakened One" have I been falling sleep? I admit I have a difficult time being faithful to spiritual practices. I often begin a discipline with enthusiasm but then run out of gas. Spiritual practices are like dieting or exercising. You know they're good for you but eventually they become a chore or you're bored and you just get tired of them. Sometimes spiritual practices become empty for me, and once they lose meaning, they are difficult to maintain. In such moments I come face to face with the reality of how undisciplined I can be. On the other hand, in these days where I become more aware of my aging and the importance of living each day well, I feel I am living a new kind of spirituality. I call it the spirituality of my life. It involves paying attention to your life. It's being real and true to yourself. It's striving to live well and be present to all the special moments of your life. It's not necessarily about doing more. It's often about doing less but doing it better. The Dalai Lama has consolidated his entire belief system into four words. He says, "My religion is kindness". I agree with him. Why can't my spiritual practice be kindness? Kindness to myself and kindness to others. If I just did this one thing...all the time...would I not be living well? Timing is everything. Just when I was needing a B-12 shot of spirituality, it was time for my monthly trip to the monastery. My alarm went off at 6:00 AM on Sunday and I awoke with a sore throat. It wasn't enough to keep me home so I got out of bed and headed for the shower. Soon I was on my way in the early morning darkness trailed by a full moon. The drive was very enjoyable as the daylight overcame the darkness. Most of the leaves are off the trees and the ones that remain are mostly a burnt orange or brown. Soon I arrived at the home of my friend, Fr Dennis. We had our usual mass for two, followed by coffee and muffins. Afterwards I headed to the monastery to meet with my group. We had delightful discussion about all sorts of things. Later, when I got back home, my wife and son coerced me to go see "Santa Claus 3". It was OK but what I am really looking forward to seeing is "The Christmas Carol" at Actors Theater in a few weeks.

No comments: