Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Space Within Ourselves

It may be an appropriate time to issue something of a disclaimer. On a rare occasion I say something in my daily thoughts that offends someone. On the few occasions this has happened it was over my theology. First of all, I am not a theologian and do not pretend to be one. I am really not promoting or defending any individual religion. My openness to Buddhism and other religions is difficult for some Christians. My daily thoughts are simply my daily thoughts. What I write about is often prompted by books I am reading, conversations I have with others, or my own meditations. Other times I simply write about the daily experience of my life. I try to never preach, I am not trying to convert anyone to anything, and I don't consider my own thoughts as ultimate truth. In my daily thoughts I think out loud. If they challenge you, make you think, or perhaps give you another perspective, I consider that a good thing. If you find them threatening, you might ask yourself why. In my own experience ideas that threaten or challenge me are usually good for me even if I don't like them and find myself resistant to them. Any type of public sharing will sometimes bring you praise or condemnation. 99% of the responses I receive are praise. All indications are that my daily thoughts do much more good than bad. In my daily thoughts I share my personal journey. On the journey I sometimes have truly transcendent experiences but I also occasionally have doubts. I have moments of joy as well as days where I am in a funk of unknown origin. My life is a mix of family, friends, co-workers, trips to the monastery, rock and roll road excursions, and the ups and downs of working to earn my daily bread. Sometimes I experience moments of enlightenment as well as moments of total fear that some people consider me a role model and actually listen to what I say. At the end of the day I am just an ordinary man trying to make sense of life. It may be black and white for some of you but I think much of it is gray and subject to a variety of viewpoints and perspectives.

I read an interest idea in the Tao Te Ching a few mornings ago. The writer said that our bodies are no more who we are than the walls of a room are the room. The essence of who we are is contained in the empty spaces within our bodies in the same way the space within the walls is the actual room. If you took my body and disassembled it, laying all the pieces out on the floor, it is no longer me. Our bodies are just the container we came in. If you took the walls of a room and pushed them all together, there is no longer a room even though the walls still exist. My essence is surrounded by the parts of my body. A room is the empty space between the four walls. Some of you are probably wondering, "What is he talking about"? Well, I am not completely sure either but I am enjoying the intellectual challenge of understanding this concept. It's almost like a Zen koan. I've heard musicians say something similar when they say "The most important part of music is the space between the notes".

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