Thursday, October 07, 2010

Random Thoughts Volume V

In the Catholic Church we recognize holy men and women and call them saints. This past Monday we remembered St. Francis of Assisi who lived in the 12th century. He is the patron saint of animals and ecology and is my favorite holy man. Many churches had special services where people could bring their pets for a blessing. St Francis is the saint that many people have a statue of in their backyards or in their bird baths. He is also famous for the so called "Peace Prayer" that begins with "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love...." Another of his famous sayings, and one that I really like, is "Wherever you go preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words". Today, think about the earth and ecology, if you have a pet that you love, bless them, and remember that we often say more with our actions than we do with our words.

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one heck of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult".
-E. B. White, writer and poet

Who doesn't want to change the world and enjoy yourself while doing it? Unfortunately the world often changes us. Life and the events that happen to us and around us are powerful forces. It takes a strong and centered person to resist the allures of the world and to turn a deaf ear to daily bombardment of negative and fearful messages. One must have a sense of self that is motivated more by our inner voice than the voices of those around us. The world is a tough place but there is also love and beauty and peace, though sometimes it takes a real effort to notice these things. Enjoy life but don't let it dictate your every move. Look within, find yourself, be who you are, change what you can, accept what you can't change, and have one heck of a good time along the way.

I was late for work today because I had to go to the doctor for blood work. I was also there yesterday afternoon to get poked and prodded. During these experiences I could not help but think how much our bodies are like our cars. They are our vehicle through life. At least on this side of the grave our consciousness and the essence of who we are cannot get around without a body. Like our cars they need maintenance and care. At age 59 my body has a lot of mileage on it and it doesn't run quite as well as it used to do. I am not sure I would go cross country in it. It doesn't have the endurance it once had. When was the last time you had a checkup and oil change?

"This is a very important practice. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desires, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to yourself".
-Thich Nhat Hanh (2nd most famous Buddhist monk in the world after the Dalai Lama)

Who doesn't have worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desires? I am experiencing all of these feelings at this very moment. When I stop, breathe, and practice mindfulness, I become self aware of this. When I am self aware, I become awake. When I am awake and aware of my feelings, I can let them all go. Admittedly, the feelings often come back. Life is a continuous letting go. As far as feelings go, however, we are not what we feel. I am not what I worry about. I am not my fear. I am not what I crave. I am not what angers me. I am Michael and you are you. When I am Michael and not carried away by my feelings, I am who I am.

Yesterday I found a card on my desk from a co-worker that I interviewed and recommended for employment five years ago. She is still grateful and I am reminded that I sometimes have a positive impact on people's lives. We all do in ways that we don't even realize.

1 comment:

Laura F. said...

Very nicely said Michael. Thanks for the reminder that we are not our fear or anything else, and that all emotions are fleeting.