Archive for September, 2012

Yosemandala

                                                                                                            Kenji Carner

 


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Sometimes things just happen unexpectedly that are quite nice…

Such as bicycling past one of the most famous persons in the world getting into a car… (True vague story. Not me.)

Anyway,  I’m just thankful…


Realignment

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Keep a Better Sleep Schedule-

(I’m aware that I’m in college. Diligence pays off. Negligence catches up. I used to be a night cleaner. I know how a lack of sleep affects me)

More Appreciation- 

(Thankfulness and Mindfulness…)

More Quiet-

(Less small talk, more genuine thought, depth, reflection, content and query. As Robert M. Pirsig questions in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”- “What if every day we inquired of others, “What is best?'” (paraphrase))

Eat Better-

(Same concept)

Drink More Tea-

(Always beneficial. A small act but it deals so much with the last practice as well as the next)

More Prayer/Contemplation/Meditation-

(Self-explanatory. Although I suppose that most of these are)

More Yoga/Stretching with Intention/Appreciation of the Air and Outdoors-

(The recent rains have been so wonderful)

More Reading of Beneficial Writings-

(Less “Sounds of Silence: A Collection of Melancholic Poems and Lyrics“- “Do not, if possible, pass any day without some spiritual reading which may nourish a devout mind within you.”  -St. Francis de Sales)

More Consideration of Others/ Less Preoccupation With/Exaltation of Self-

(“Thus do the poor in spirit, whom the Holy Spirit fills” -Johannes Tauler)

More Prioritizing-

(Even with these different practices. Some are much more important than others)

More Heart-

(“Let us love burningly.” -Richard Rolle of Hampole)

More Purpose/Less Procrastination-

( The things I know I should be doing now yet have not begun.)

More Reliance/Understanding/Living-

(Cultivated by several of these different “mores“)

 

 

Consider these.

Let me know what I should consider.


Sleepy/Cynical/ESL

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Yesterday I was invited to head to East Lansing to help out with an ESL program meeting at a church. The bulk of those attending were from Nepal. I went. It was very good and very much not what I was expecting. I don’t know the girls in the picture above, but apparently they’re Nepalese. And, well, these people from Nepal that I did meet- they tend to be considered Nepalese. That’s the connection.

When we got there, we were assigned different tasks according to our interests and abilities. I was pretty ambivalent about where I was going to be placed and ended up helping out with a multicultural youth group. I also got to spend some extra time speaking to the 10th-12th grade guys attending. There were three of them. Two were Americans who had grown up in the church and the other was a Nepalese Hindi.

I was really looking forward to talking to them. I thought to myself, “I’m really going to speak to these kids hearts. Relate these things and make them real. I think God is going to speak and impact their lives tonight…”

Ha.

When people aren’t interested in what others have to say or don’t care to think about things deeply, it really dampers that wonderfully engaging environment suitable for profound insights.

These kids weren’t having any of it. Kamal, the Hindi boy humored me but that was as far as I got… We did talk about tea, mountains, prayer flags and Ganesha though. That was nice.

Anyway- some people don’t care to get deep or serious about things too often. I like to contemplate things on a regular basis, but, that’s just me. I don’t know if it was their ages (probably) or what. Maybe it had to do with the story related to them earlier in the evening. The parable of the prodigal son, except modernized into an anecdote about a businessman with a penchant for Gucci. Who still travels by donkey. (Huh?)

Anyway, who knows what those guys got out of the experience. I’d like to say nothing, but I definitely can’t with any authority of any sort. Maybe that seed- yeah.

 

In the words of Liam Lynch-

“Whatever.”

It was good to be there. Discouraging, but an eye-opening experience of sorts. I’ve been having those lately. And on a fairly similar note, I’d like to go to Mongolia… Sorry about the cynicism, didn’t get much sleep last night. I have a car and a cell phone number. Strangely enough though- that wasn’t the cause of my sleeplessness.

If you’re reading this, have a good one. You probably didn’t get anything out of this, but sometimes that’s quite alright…

-Taylor


Suffering? Outpouring? Joy?

What am I doing here?

     Why am I here?

My first week here at Spring Arbor University has been both overwhelming and stretching.

There have been times in which I have felt purpose, felt meaning, felt close to God and where He wants me to be.

There have also been times of stress, times of doubt and times of what felt like the absence of God’s love and hand in my life.

Much of that absence has been my own doing. I’ve found a cycle that is often followed in my life to be that of God seeming to provide an opportunity, challenge, prodding or something of that sort. What I tend to do is try and take hold of that wholeheartedly- but with time, my intentions are nearly every time subverted. I lose that feeling of quickening and without even realizing it, muddle my aims for something lower, easier and more immediate. I’d attribute this to several things- one being neglecting to stay in the Word- something essential for growth and a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. Several Catholic mystics and monks I’ve been reading advocate contemplation before scripture as the primary means of God’s revelation to a seeking heart, but I think I’d have to disagree. Yes, that simple act of “listening to God” is so powerful and so important, but it so easily can be a misguided and divisive practice if it isn’t utilized with a preemptive understanding of core Biblical tenets.

I’d also attribute it to a simple trust that God is endeavoring to produce in me. The mountain-top experience as opposed to the valley is so often used to depict this. Several persons have written regarding the “dark night of the soul”. Whichever illustration is used, the truth underlying each remains the same. We are called to Christ in times of happiness as well as times of trials. To forsake him when he doesn’t seem to be close is an unfortunate way out, one that prevents much spiritual growth.

There are other reasons, but-

It’s late. I feel I’m rambling.

I’m so thankful to be here. I fear I may be painting an inaccurate picture of my experiences here so far. I’ve met good persons here and have been blessed immensely. I am learning much. I have developed a very different perspective in these past years and months, which is so clear when I look at my mindset regarding these classes as opposed to that which I had a few years ago. That’s nice to see I guess. Anyway though- back to the point-

As a professor prayed simply this evening- “Not I, but You”. 

That’s why I’m here. That’s how what is intended for me through this school is going to be brought about. I hope to gain a better understanding of how I can implement that “doxy” into “praxis” while I’m here. To have a heart broken by the needs and hurting persons in this world and the understanding- words- choices- convictions- decisions- and actions to allow God to work through me in his present redemption of humanity on Earth today*.

I pray to be constantly reminded of my intentions as well as my purpose in being here. And that love, that burden, that meekness, that thankfulness, that patience, that gentleness, that hope, that sorrow- that those would fill my innermost being and flow outwards as well.

-Taylor

*I understand this is a theologically loaded statement. I don’t mean it to be. I don’t have the energy to reword it right now. I just want God to work through me in the lives of others as he intends to.