Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bored With My Own Thoughts

I've been rather bored with my daily thoughts lately. Most nights my mind seems empty. I wonder why anyone would want to hear about my day to day experiences especially if a story is not followed by some kind of insight or meditation about life. Most days I feel like I have shared all I have to share. As the saying goes, "There is nothing new under the sun". My thoughts are the product of every experience I've had, every book I've read, every moment of silence where I sat waiting for a word, and every daydream where I have allowed my mind to float. Lately I have felt very busy, whether it is real or imagined, and the silence of my daydreams and mind excursions often turns to sleep. In other words I often live like many other people. I sleepwalk through the demands of my life. As long as I keep moving I am fine. If I stop, I crash and burn. Still, I continue the journey where my soul never rests and I search through my inner landscape. I am not lost and it is more than wandering. It's a kind of inner exploration. I guess these days I feel like I am seeing a lot of the same scenery and I can't think of new ways to describe it to others.

I have actually tried to listen to the Pope's messages to America and to Catholics in particular. There is a type of Catholic of which the Pope is critical and I think I am one of them. He speaks of the individualistic Catholic who is more focused on a private spirituality than a community experience. He further speaks of a buffet style approach to faith in which one chooses only those beliefs one finds appealing while bypassing the rest. I am guilty as charged. My journey seems more solitary and my faith walk is often down a dark path. I was raised a Catholic in a very different time when there were few choices and everything was black or white. There was little gray area. I would not call myself a "Doubting Thomas" so much as I would consider myself someone who is continuously questioning the teachings, dogmas, and doctrines of the Church against my actual experience. I think the Buddha, who is not Catholic or Christian, has a sound teaching when he says, "Believe what you experience". If you have never experienced love, it is difficult to believe in it. If you have never had an experience of God that you knew without a doubt was an experience of God, it makes believing in God a challenge at times. I do sometimes wonder if there is truly a God and, if so, have I ever had an experience of this God? That may seem scandalous to some of you. However, I believe that doubt is a healthy part of the spiritual journey. I believe but I am not always sure who I believe in and what I believe about them. Sometimes I think the way I live is more Buddhist than Christian. The way of kindness and compassion, without all the theological conundrums and Catholic guilt that so many of my generation seems to have inherited, is very appealing to me. I simply try to live a good life and to be a loving person. I am also a contemplative person. If the life of faith and belief can be compared to a wheel, the way of contemplation is the hub of the wheel. It is in the contemplative space, the hub, where people of all faiths and traditions are closest together. In the contemplative space is unity. The further you go from the hub, the further apart you become from everyone else. It is out on the wheel that we often only see our differences. I seek to live with kindness and compassion in unity with others through the contemplative experience.

Summer is near and the time is right for dancing in the street. Well, I am not a great dancer but summer is also the time for outdoor concerts and road trips. I have a couple already on my schedule and several more being planned. My friends and I joke about being road warriors. Last summer, in a playful mood, I wrote the following definition of a road warrior. It is dedicated to my traveling companions. One of them actually printed it up and framed it. It now sits on a shelf in my music room.

Road Warrior i.e. noun

An aging and nearly extinct creature who spends all available time and resources searching for the lost chord. These strange and exotic creatures have been known to spend their last dime in pursuit of the chills and emotional satisfaction generated by extended guitar solos, meaningful lyrics, and being with others of their kind. Often misunderstood, they are kind and gentle creatures who enjoy simple pleasures like sitting in their lawn chairs on a summer night while good vibrations fill the space around them. They have even been known to take off their shoes and share a blanket. In the summer months they are often seen in sandals, short pants, and faded rock and roll tee shirts. They have been known to drink the occasional beer. These creatures are free spirits and should not be disturbed when dancing or while lost in the groove.

No comments: