Sunday, October 21, 2012

The sacred vs. the profane

Or reality vs holiness. This is one of the subjects my mind goes back to time after time. How do we bring the Holy into the mundaneness of our reality?


jayiin mistaya said...

To me, it's always been about finding just one moment to slow down and remember that God created me - set me apart from everything else. A unique person with a unique path and a unique life, mind and soul.

And that he carved me out of the same molecules and atoms and energies that make up the stars, the tables, the chairs, the air and the pollutants we breathe.

And yet, because I am unique, I am holy - set apart for a special purpose.

So is every other item around us. I try to be mindful of that. When I remember that, I seem to do better and bringing the holy and the sacred into my life.

Anonymous said...

All of the Great Religious Traditions teach that we should practice detachment from the pain caused by life's cruelties to avoid passing it on to others. That is a good way to start to avoid the instinctive striking out against others when blinded by pain. Anyone who has attempted to rescue an injured animal is aware of this survivalist dynamic.

For Christian people of faith the Cross is the symbol of a more complicated dynamic. We are called, not merely to detachment from pain; but to an identification of our pain with the pain of others, Christ Crucified first, where our pain is transformed from something narrowly individual into compassion for all those who suffer.

That does not mean that we permit ourselves to be exploited or suffer in silence. Jesus told us to love others as ourselves, we should not love others LESS than ourselves; but we should not love ourselves MORE, either. Sometimes love means letting go; but it means letting go without blame, seeing those who have hurt us as human tragedies, persons who are slaves to their own survival instincts and disordered desires rather than intentionally predatory and cruel. That makes all the difference in how we relate to our "enemies", those whose interests, desires and ideas conflict with our own.

We really should not expect other people to love us as God loves us, even though that is always our hope and desire. God does not have narcissistic ego needs or mid-life crises.

“The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it.” - Simone Weil

“It is an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater luster to our colors, a higher resonance to our wounds. That is if it doesn’t destroy us, if it doesn’t burn away the optimism and the spirit, the capacity for visions, and the respect for simple yet indispensable things.”
–Anne Rice

There is one purpose to life and one only: to bear witness to and understand as much as possible of the complexity of the world – its beauty, its mysteries, its riddles. The more you understand, the more you look, the greater is your enjoyment of life and your sense of peace. That’s all there
is to it. If an activity is not grounded in ‘to love’ or ‘to learn,’ it does not have value.--Anne Rice

“For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.” --Henri Nouwen

Once you have claimed [your true identity as a child of God] and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world. ~Henri Nouwen

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
~Raymond Carver, "Late Fragment"