Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Living In The Center

Yesterday was a crazy day. Before coming to work, and on an empty stomach, I had to go to the doctor for some blood work and an EKG. There is nothing wrong with me. This was just part of a regular checkup. Hopefully, when the results come back, there will be no concerns. Before I left home I received a message from my brother that my father was in the ER with pneumonia. He had recently been admitted to Our Lady of Peace which is a mental health facility. As most of you know my father is 83 years old and has a combination of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Lately he has been getting to be a little too much for my 78 year old mother. Please keep him in your prayers.

Someone wrote to me yesterday asked what it means to be living "in the center". In many ways it is a combination of almost every spiritual thing I have ever written about in my daily thoughts. Living "in the center" is about living in a contemplative way. A person who lives in a contemplative way is a person who lives life in awareness. They are grounded in the moment and in their life. Somewhere I heard the term "intentional living". Contemplative people are spiritually awake and in the moment. By being "awake", they are living life intentionally and not just going through the motions. People who go through life just going through the motions are often considered to be spiritually asleep. They are not "awake" and living intentionally. The goal of living this way is to discover your true self. What most of us see in others, and what others see in us, is our false self. It is the self we present to the world. The true self is who we are in God at our deepest spiritual level behind the many masks that we wear. The true self is the essence of who we are. This may sound very deep but I believe all of us have some understanding of this. Think about this. Is the face and the image you present to others in the workplace who you really are? Most people I know consider the workplace to be nothing more than a stage where they perform and play a character. When they leave the stage of the workplace, they go home, take off their make up and become who they really are. Another way to think about your true self is to look at who you are when you are alone and no one is watching and you do not have to pretend to be anything. In those moments, who are you? I believe people who are striving to live "in the center" are those who are seeking their true self, their essence, and trying to answer the question "Who am I". In all religious traditions there are individuals who strive to life authentic lives. They are more concerned with meaning and experience and less concerned with dogma and doctrines. Of course, in organized religion, you need both kinds of people.

When I left work yesterday it was cold, rainy, and dreary. I was tired from all the day's activity. As soon as I got in my car I popped the Beach Boys Greatest Hits into my CD player. Soon my car was filled with warm sun, ocean breezes, and surfer girls....yeah, right! In my dreams!

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