Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Let The Goodness Of The Universe Come To You

My driveway has a slight incline. The closer to the house I park, the more difficult it is to get out of my car. Yesterday, as I was getting out of my car, I noticed several aches and pains that had no apparent cause. I felt soreness like I had been to the gym or had done some yard work. Since the likelihood of either is very remote, I wondered why I was sore. I asked my wife if she ever felt like I was feeling. She replied, "Sure, all the time. In your case I think it is caused by being 57"! After my thoughts yesterday about being annoyed at having to move one more time, someone sent me a note that said, "So you're human! Big deal"! Recently in Louisville the local Catholic Church celebrated the 40th anniversary of Trappist monk Thomas Merton's famous epiphany in our downtown area where he suddenly felt a oneness with all of the ordinary people going abut their business. He wondered to himself, "How can I make them understand that they are all walking around shining like the sun"? My aches and pains, my occasional meltdowns, the daily challenges of life, as well as the unexpected joys, remind me that I am human. I have friends and family who care about me and who love me. I even have a few fans who don't know me but love my daily thoughts. For someone so ordinary, I am often extraordinarily blessed with an abundance of wealth that cannot be measured. Like many things in life I don't always deserve it. That's the joy of it. In spite of my ordinariness, in spite of my faults and failings, the universe smiles on me. All of this reminds me of the 5th verse of the Tao Te Ching. Read these words carefully.

Heaven and earth are impartial. The sage is like heaven and earth. To him none are especially dear, nor is there anyone he disfavors. He gives and gives without condition, offering his treasures to everyone. Between heaven and earth is a space like a bellows; empty and inexhaustible, the more it is used, the more it produces. Hold on to the center. Man was made to sit quietly and find the truth within.

You don't have to be great in the eyes of the world. You don't have to chase everything you want. You can be ordinary. You can be plain and simple. I know it sounds like a cliche but you can be one with the universe wherever you are and the goodness of the universe will come to you. Some people call this the Law of Attraction. It doesn't matter what you call it. What it is really about is having a receptive attitude. Be open to life and it will fill you up. Sometimes it may give you a little pain or discomfort but even this has value. Joy would lose some of it's meaning if that's all you experienced. As the folk singer Arlo Guthie once said, "You can't really appreciate a light unless you have a dark place to put it in". I think it is because I am so ordinary and human that I am able to appreciate the subtleties of life. By living precariously and to a certain extent, on the edge, I can find joy in the simplest of things.

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