I read “The Shack” years ago, and more recently re-read it as part of a book/study group. I recently watched the movie, which I thought encapsulated the book really well, in fact better than the book in some ways. It is a story, an allegory of sorts, of human meets the trinity in the midst of tragedy and grief. But whether or not you hold to the christian faith (and if you do, it is refreshing because it breaks down racial and cultural stereotypes that have been distorted and politicised) it doesn’t matter because (for me) teh penultiamte scene is the scene where Mack meets Wisdom (Sophia) and she calls him on blame, projection, and judging. Mack is consumed by grief, anger, and blames God for the death of his daughter. His consuming feelings are destroying his relationships. this excerpt from the movie is powerful in that we are confronted with our desire yet incapability of true judgement. From a Buddhist perspective, it would lean to non-harming and non-attachment.
The point is, we all tend to judge, we all blame, but can we step aside from this? Forgiveness doesn’t bring back the dead or undo the negatives in our lives, but Wisdom asserts that we can transform, simply through forgiveness, which doesn’t change events in the past, but sure gives positive opportunity to move on into the future. This is a must for every justice system, every community group, every family, every individual. Restorative Justice, at its core, is founded on this principle. When we let go of the bile and hate, when we realise we cannot get better by punishing others or getting revenge, then there is an inner tranformation, which is also lived and shared outwardly. Forgiveness isn’t giving a free kick to someone who has wronged us, it is letting ourselves off the hook of anger and hate, it unblocks us and sets us free to live. I’ll let you know when I’ve perfected the art of not judging, but for now I’m in training.
(Video: Youtube, The Shack, Judgement)
via Daily Prompt: Silent
Since the late 1980s I have been a meditator. I have enjoyed several forms, but mainly across Christian and Buddhist ways of meditating. In the end I have stayed within my own tradition and using a Christian form – the method explored by John Main. Labyrinth is another form, and walking meditation I find helpful, and not least bush walking or hiking. But whatever the method, the goal is silence, not an external silence, of course, but a deep inner silence, a peacefulness, a sense of internal unity. It is the closest to a tangible sense of integration. For me there are real experiences of calm that last long after a session, and encounters with emotion, necessary unburdening as the unconscious is loosened and long buried things can be faced. Strangely, I have a strong sense of unity with others within the corporate silence, so that even in a room full of meditators there is connection.
I find I can meditate almost anywhere, but the bush is my special place for meditation, I find that it is already offering a form of silence unencumbered. The photo shows one of my former haunts, Billyacatting Rock near Nungarin. I was based not far from there for a few years, and on my long drives through that district I would take a break and walk and climb the rocks, arriving at a quiet spot, perhaps to sit by a rock pool or gnamma hole and meditating for a time. The wind and the birds were a welcome backdrop. Best thing I ever did, the silence was healing and energising, and was a lasting inner silence.
via Daily Prompt: Neighbors
I’m tempted to say Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, for those of you who have encountered that TV show that began in 1985 and hasn’t stopped since.
I’m more interested in the ethics of who is my neighbour? In the gospel of Luke, there is a wonderful story of when a teacher of the law tries to test Jesus on his knowledge of the law. Jesus quotes to him the first two commands, love God and love your neighbour. The teacher of the law tries Jesus again and asks “And who is my neighbour?” And Jesus tells that famous story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ to illustrate loving your neighbour. The story focussed on the rivalry between the Jews and the Samaritans and the vast cultural gulf that alientated them, but on this occasion a Samaritan is the only one to stop and help a victim of robbery, a Jew, who is wounded and laying in the road. The story ties with another ethical dilemma from Matthew 5, where Jesus asks his followers to love their enemies. In essence, the ethical principle here is love everyone, even your enemies (which raises a question as to the nature and perception of who or what an enemy is, so a dig back at reframing is the way here). The outcome would be that love goes around, and thus we too will be loved, even by our enemies, or, what goes around comes around.
For me there is a further connect with the Buddhist principle of non-harming.
And in Deep Ecology – my neighbour is my neighbour, my sisters and brothers across the world, but my neighbours are also my lemon tree, the red gum out front, the silver beet out back, the family cat, the parrots eating off my fruit tree, the rats in the ceiling, the ducks in the diversion drain, the river nearby, the moon, the planets ….
If we loved our neighbours as ourselves, imagine the difference it would bring to the whole of life.