caveat lector – let the reader beware

As you can tell, I have many many thoughts. Hopefully you do to. Otherwise we need to talk.

Most of these thoughts are simple or functional, but once in a while I think something that I feel needs to be written down.

When this happens, I either journal or blog. I have two books for writing in, and this blog. Since I have those books with me most of the time, I write all my thoughts in them. Occasionally I decide to blog about a topic I haven’t previously written about, but usually not.

And so, I could blog a lot more, but that would mean copying things I have written. I guess I am lazy, or efficient, or have good/bad priorities.

Since almost no one reads this blog anyway, I think I am making the right choice in not blogging more. If you actually read my blog and disagree, feel free to comment and tell me so.

Now go, and think some thoughts that only you can and will ever have. Then, realize how brilliantly unique they are. Your thoughts are good, worthy, and significant. Never think them silly, trivial, or cliche. And finally, write them down, often, in a journal or blog, so that you can track the trails of your mind and gain introspective knowledge of who you are. You may even end up with a few delightful vignettes, some laughs, and a book or two full of yummy ink.

As Calanon (Why that pseudonym, and should I address you by your actual name, and will anyone else even read this?) said in his post “God: The Third Person”, our concept of prayer is woefully lacking.

I encourage you all to read “The practice of the presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. Here is a quote from it:

It is a “serious mistake to think of our prayer time as being different from any other. Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayer unites us with Him in our quiet time.”

Another quote, this time from http://www.christinyou.net

“In this restoration of the Spirit of God to the spirits of men (cf. Gen. 2:7), so that men might function as God intended in His creative design, there is effected a spiritual union whereby we become “one spirit” with Christ (I Cor. 6:17). This is not a psychological union whereby we keep Jesus in our thoughts and consciousness, nor is it a moral union whereby we are obliged to seek to conform to Jesus’ example. Rather, it is a spiritual union whereby deity dwells and functions in man; Christ in the Christian. Jesus illustrated this spiritual condition to Nicodemus in the analogy of a “new birth,” a spiritual regeneration whereby one is “born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-6).”

And from Scripture, we must “pray without ceasing”.

But what of the Lord’s Prayer? It seems very specific, cultural, and template-like. Is it a ritual prayer, almost, or should we bend it to absorb other prayers, as a model? This Prayer is the center of the Sermon on the Mount, the largest collection of Jesus teachings in terms of one session. It must be important. My Bible teacher from last year is doing a thesis or doctorate or something on the Lord’s Prayer. I should ask him more about it.

How do all of these come together to form one common idea? At its core, prayer is communication. We can all agree, I assume. How much can we say “Prayer works”, in that when we pray miracles happen. If so, it is all about helping others and we should be praying a lot for the whole world. But if prayer is mainly to transform us – God knows, but we need to hear our own prayers – then we should focus on the spiritual experience of God and confessing and praising and thanking. But, if it is broader, it can encompass both. So this isn’t a dichotomy.

But if Prayer is simple communication, why would Jesus say “This is how you should pray”? Is he giving us guidelines for what to talk about, or is it how to talk to God? Are these topics and the order of them an important formality?

Why are Prayer and Meditation similar? They both are lowering self, slowing self, broadening perspective. But I think that they are different. Now some quotes from “Be Here Now”, by Ram Dass:

“When the mind perceives an object it is transformed into the shape of that object. So the mind which thinks of the Divinity which it worships (Ista-devata) is at length, through continued devotion, transformed into the likeness of that Devata.” ~ Woodroffe

“The one thing I wish for is to be alone, and all by myself to pray, to pray without ceasing: and doing this I am filled with joy.” ~ Way of a Pilgrim

“After no great lapse of time I had the feeling that the Prayer had, so to speak, by its own action passed from my lips to my heart. Further, there came into my heart a gracious warmth.” ~ Way of a Pilgrim

“If the enemy cannot turn us from prayer by means of vain thoughts and sinful ideas, then he brings back into our minds good things we have been taught, and fills us with beautiful ideas, so that one way or another he may lure us away from prayer, which is a thing he cannot bear. It is called ‘a theft from the right hand side.’ He taught me therefore not to admit during times of prayer even the most lofty of spiritual thoughts. And if I saw that in the course of the day time had been spent more in improving thought and talk than in actual prayer of the heart then I was to think of it as a loss of the sense of proportion or a sign of spiritual greed.” ~ Way of a Pilgrim

“Everywhere, wherever you may find yourself, you can set up an altar to God in your mind by means of prayer…” ~ Way of a Pilgrim

That was prayer, now a quote on meditation by Ram Dass himself: “The term meditation is used in such a variety of ways that it may mean anything from daydreaming or musing, to deliberating about a topic, to a specific discipline of working with the mind that can be so exact that every act of body and thought is prescribed. The way in which the term meditation is used in yoga is in the more formal and disciplined sense. As such it is distinguished from reflection or contemplation. It includes two processes: making the mind concentrated or one-pointed, and bringing to total cessation the turning of the mind.”

What types of meditation can complement the previous exposition of prayer?

They say we have the privilege of freely worshiping God

Unlike the martyred in faraway lands,

False.

They have corrupted our sight so much that we no longer see God,

We are not weak willed because we lack persecution, but because we know not the God worth worshiping.

Living off lies so long has permanently confused our hearts, so that we truly misunderstand the fundamental approach to God.

Unknowingly we have redefined worship, submission, service, and now their original meanings are lost – now loosely based upon historical metaphors that we are unable to translate to the present.

Religion becomes old ,relationship becomes weird, for we have built cathedrals of expectations too beautiful to tear down, when all He wants is honesty and weakness and eagerness.

God is subjectively experienced by each of us, too personal and too mystical, but still we can have intimacy with Him.

Beyond the outer history, I see the inner realm, the “place where it’s just You and me”, and none of the commands and stories and details and histories matter, because I’m experiencing God, higher and highest Truth, and they are either caught up in Him and explained, or eclipsed by His presence and are unimportant or fulfilled.

God, Jesus, Christianity, Church…haven’t these labels been through so much over the centuries?

Do we really connect with their powerful meaning each time we hear the words, or have they become old and tired, worn out by repetitive rituals and sluggish devotion?

Sometimes I use “Reality” instead of “God”, but that is just another label. We don’t need more labels, though.

Every thought about God is idolatry to some extent, because we are never thinking of Him as He is. Our perceptions of Him will always be flawed this side of our glorification in Heaven. And thus we should approach Him humble, letting our “words be few”, purposefully choosing a label with the knowledge that it is silly…but it is silly in the way a child’s scribbled drawing is. The child’s parent knows the child’s limitations, and appreciates the enthusiasm and creativity and smile. There is no condescension.

That is the power of the Person-ness of God. But God is so much more “personal” than we are. Our human interactions only imitate vaguely the intense personality of God.

But how do we approach this intense person? Unabashedly running toward Him as a lover, sitting in His presence admiring every little detail of His creation, His lingering smile and laugh over animals and landscapes. But also humbly and slowly, as weak and helpless servants, offering ourselves with the knowledge that we are empty vessels that He must fill every time we are to be used.

But this is only a facet of God, because He is also Mystical. God is Three, a dynamic infinite relationship of power and sacrifice and love. God is not a static individual, but a constantly flowing-but-not-changing community of perfection. As soon as we try to understand, we raise a caricature, an idol, an image. But we are commanded to think about Him. And so we can do nothing but offer our blasphemous thoughts knowing that He accepts our weakness.

How do we become intimately personal with a being so great and so mystical, mysterious?

How do we seek after Him with our lack of strength? Will He empower us first, or do we need to commit first? Did he give us the power to commit even then?

All we can do is embrace our weakness, live slowly, and hold things loosely.

Read those a few times, they are HARD. [How does the effort to do them work? Does God work with us simultaneously?]

And as Robert Pirsig said, our goal is not “external and distant”. All the things around you only matter as much as they help/hinder your inner self, and help/hinder your goal to help the inner selves of others.

~ Say something philosolophical in response, pleeeeeeezzzz ^_^

~ Joshua

Halfway

Hey you, internet person.

Maybe you don’t exist, though. Not in the philosophical sense. But maybe no one will ever read this because I haven’t blogged in fairly close to a year.

Anyway.

I may or may not start blogging semi-frequently again. I’m halfway through the door, the best position for indecision.

I don’t like indecision, but I don’t want to encourage certainty of the future either.

So, if you exist, encourage me one way or the other.

And if you don’t exist, thanks for nothing, for I will decide myself and potentially continue speaking to nobodies.

So there.

this is to disprove the ability to post pictures on wordpress

it isn’t too convincing…

well…

I’m terse.

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