inner sanctimony

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I asked my father, the meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “If everything is basic goodness, why is life so confusing?” It seemed to me that the world was becoming ever more crowded, speedy, anxious, and intense. People were acting less compassionate, more aggressive, and more prideful. Society seemed painful, competitive, and confused. What if we all became so isolated and scared that we forgot to take care of one another?

Knowing this was in my heart, my father said that pain comes from people and society not recognizing their own wakeful potential. When people are not being genuine to themselves, they experience suffering. Then he said something that I think he meant to be consoling, but the statement puzzled me: “Chaos is good news.”

“What could possibly be good about chaos?” I replied.

My father went on to explain that he was referring to chaos in the way that the Greeks had used the word — to indicate a wide-open expanse. Chaos is the great space of emptiness that occurs before genesis. It is the openness where things fall apart and new creations arise. When you nearly crash your car or slip and nearly fall, your conceptual mind loses its grip and you are left in an open space. This space provides an opportunity to reconnect with what lies under the chaos and negativity — inherent awakened nature.

Another way chaos is good news is that when things seem very bad, there is a big opportunity for something good to take place. It is only through looking at what is going wrong that we will find out how to do things right. Recognizing chaos is actually the pivot point for touching our goodness, for it is not only an ultimate principle, without beginning or end, it is also a relative principle that works through the laws of nature. Spring becomes summer; autumn leaves fall down. Those natural laws are grounded in cause and effect.

~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

can we have this conversation? there is no better way to be with our uglies than to usher in a forgiveness so fine, that we love even deeper…..

“I attend church every Sunday and love my faith, but find the worship lacking. Any idea what might be missing?” What’s missing, I suspect, is alchemy- transforming the lead of self into the gold of spirit. Too many houses of worship have replaced poetry with propaganda, spontaneous passion with scripted emotionality, and self-transcending ecstasy with self-conscious piety. Religion has been robbed of its punch and purpose. Myth and story are mistaken for science and history. Teachings to wake you up are replaced by cliches that put you to sleep. Music to melt the ego is exchanged for kitsch that reinforces it. Chanting that uplifts the soul is reduced to responsive reading that flattens it. And silence, the true leaven of the spirit, is banished almost completely. If religion is to be more than an arm of commerce and politics it must reclaim and reimagine its ancient and timeless tools- myth, story, parable, music, chant, and silence- and use them to challenge ignorance, injustice, barbarism, and uncritical thinking rather than promote these in the name of faith.~Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Ah Power that swirls us together

Grant us Bliss

Grant us the great release

And to all Beings

Vanishing, Wounded

In trouble on earth,

We pass on this love

May their numbers increase

~Gary Snyder

2 thoughts on “inner sanctimony

  1. Both the idea of chaos giving birth to creativity and new beginnings and Rabbi Rami’s description of meaningful worship strike chords for me. I have attended a weekend spiritual writer’s retreat called Path and Pen created and led by Rabbi Rami and follow him on facebook. We share very similar world views and spiritual journey’s. As always, I find spiritual nourishment and affirmation in your blog posts.

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