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Spiritual Meme Question Five

5--could you say that any of your spiritual or religious phases were fueled by desperation of some kind? if so, what was the nature of the desperation? how did it help or hinder your growth?
My first thought was "no"  When i am in pain, feel abandeoned or scared or hopeless, i crawl into my small self and try to push away everything else.  But that is really a "yes" because a loss of spirituality because of desperation is a change in spirituality, a new phase, even if seen as a "backward" movement.  My first "spiritual experience" was one of sudden, unexpected, unsought joy, and i did not recognize it as anything special.  My second was an emptyness which felt like loss but could have as easily been percieved as gain had i been prepared to see it that way.

As i enter my ninth decade, i know that death will probably come sooner rather than later, and the species will go on either to thrive or kill itself off without my attention or assistance.  My perspective will either be extinguished or be altered drastically.  I recognize both hope and fear as ephemeral and unnecessary.  If i have a lot of pain i wont much like it and if people i care about die or leave. i will miss them.  But i doubt that i will ever feel desperate again.  This is because i have finally come to a serenity* that is a gift from the Divine and a result of spiritual practices like contemplation and putting others before self.

*As long as i stay away from politics and politicians.

Writing prompts: only ones that would be hard for you to answer please! {FULL!} - the eclectic ecstasy of an ecphorizing eccentric


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2016 04:07 am (UTC)
A friend is going through an experience so terrible I can't imagine it--his son who has had terrible heart defects (requiring the first surgery before he was even born) finally has his heart fixed and now has brain cancer--at 12. He quoted something that seems far away from my experience in Buddhism:

"We don’t need to be afraid to face our doubts squarely. The Bible is true. God is alive and strong enough to withstand our honest inquiry.

When we pray before we meditate, we pray about our problems, our suffering, our anxiety, and our worries. We put ourselves at the center of our prayers: “I’m in trouble! I’m in pain! I’m depressed! Save me from my problems,God!” Instead, we need to learn to meditate on God. We need to think about His nature, the wonder of who He is, and His activity in history and in our own lives. Then when we pray, God takes center stage in our prayers instead of ourselves. Meditating on God changes the way we pray. We focus on who God is, what He is like, and what He can do. "

(written by someone named Ray Stedman)

But actually, when I was facing lesser but also hard things, I came to recognize that the Buddhism/Hindu concept of not looking for outcomes is exactly that. At first I looked for Buddhist deities to pray to for healing and an end to suffering, but finally caught on that it doesn't work that way. All I could finally do was meditate on compassion, without hope or fear. I think it's the same place he's talking about.

And this may not be at all what you're talking about, but the whole concept of desperation and hope made me think about it.

Edited at 2016-02-21 04:10 am (UTC)
Feb. 21st, 2016 05:46 am (UTC)
Except for the "Christian" and "Buddhist" "details" I find your entire comment relevant and true. They say basically the same thing in different words from my point of view: the universe is basically a friendly enough place that our prayers have impact although that impact may not be exactly what we expect or think we want. Blessed by those who mourn said Jesus. We can put an end to suffering said the Buddha. Neither said that the Universe will reach down and magically heal us. The healing, in both cases comes from our altered understanding of our situation and the actions and mindfulness that come from that new understanding. They and others tapped into a timeless, worldwide, pool of wisdom that comes from the people, the shamans. the poets. and the mystics -- and the great teachers of humility, mercy, moderation, compassion, joy, serenity, meditation, prayer, and selflessness.

And what you said is exactly what i was talking about.
Thank you for sharing.
Feb. 22nd, 2016 02:09 am (UTC)
Yes, that's very beautifully said.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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