Getting Along

Sundays will always prompt me to meditate.  How should I behave?  How can I walk in a good and gracious and loving and peaceful path today?  Contentiousness makes me squirm uncomfortably.  Much of it is social, but it can lead me to deeper awareness.  For example, who cares if you rake the leaves off your lawn and why?  I have had conversations about this topic with Steve, his mother, and my neighbors.  Each of them has a perspective on this, and they are not all in agreement.  Which of these are important to me?  What rationales am I giving for my behavior in this situation?  Well, finally I decided to rake the leaves up this morning while Steve was sleeping.  I had a dream last night that some teenagers were assigned by community service sentences to rake the leaves on our property.  I saw that they had done it, and I was relieved.  If I feel this relief in my dream, I figured I should just relieve myself.  So I raked and encountered my landlord during the process.  I feel I have a better relationship with myself and my neighbors now.  The leaf relationship with Steve and his mother is still a work in progress.

Our reading time with D.H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent reached a rather dramatic point.  Ramon, who is ushering in the age of Quetzlcoatl, removes the images and statuary from the local Catholic church and burns them in a big bonfire.  He exclaims through a hymn that Jesus and Mary have left Mexico and gone back to heaven.  Adios, they sing.  Quetzlcoatl is returning.  I can tell there’s going to be a religious war in the upcoming chapters.  Somewhere deep in my psyche a little voice is saying, “Uh-oh.  That’s really bad.  You are going to be in SOOOO much trouble for reading this book about de-throning Jesus!  It’s bad enough that you stopped going to church, etc.”  Wow.  So what is a gracious and peaceful path in the midst of a religious war?  How do we engage in philosophical exploration and practice peaceful co-existence when we’ve been taught to have red flags and warning lights go off whenever we venture into this dangerous territory?  Is it real danger or is the danger manufactured to scare us into our corners?

I feel estranged from my former church friends, and I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with that gracefully.  I was very active there for 20 years.  I haven’t been in communication with any of them much for the last 3 years, and I wonder about that a lot.  Were those true friendships?  It was a very social church.  Was it just about acquaintance and pleasantries?  Was the intimacy that sometimes arose merely circumstantial?  Today I got an e-mail from my dearest friend from there.  She is suffering.  I feel so moved that she included me in her update that I keep tearing up as I write this.

I have changed so much over the last few years.  I have stripped off a lot of familiar ways of being in order to try some newer, more open, more aware versions.  I still feel very tentative and emotional about it sometimes.   But I am really grateful to be in a place where I examine my motivations and actions more closely than ever.   It is a lively place, and I think I will see grace here.

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