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The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence

(from The Art of Manliness)

In spite of the days are full of tests, waiting for test results, sleep, pain and other things, and I am ‘retired’, I have noticed that I just seem to have less time for the more esoteric things – like contemplation.

But, the Art of Manliness has brought my attention back to the simpler disciplines.

(May I suggest as we all should be?)

One might take a few moments and contemplate these.

The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence

By Brett and Kate McKay on Oct 16, 2017 10:02 am

Welcome back to our series on the spiritual disciplines, which explores exercises that can be used to train the soul. The purposes and practices of these disciplines are approached in such a way that they can be adapted across belief systems.

“Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man.” —Thomas Merton

They are the spiritual disciplines through which prophets as varied as Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad prepared for their ministries and received revelations that founded new religions.

They are the spiritual disciplines that have been praised by poets and philosophers as diverse as Plato, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne, Rousseau, Goethe, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Muir, Tillich, and Camus (to name only a few).

They are the spiritual disciplines that allowed many of the world’s greatest leaders, from Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln to Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, to make history defining decisions.

They are the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence, and they are vitally important to the health of the soul (and of society).

They are also arguably the most intriguing and compelling of the spiritual disciplines, and yet also seem the hardest to come by in our crowded, noisy, modern world.

Silence and solitude can seem out of reach to the average man — the exclusive purview of the kind of religious ascetics and hermetic philosophers just mentioned, or a luxury that can be indulged only by those leaders who face choices freighted with heavy meaning and high stakes.

In truth, finding solitude and silence is possible even in the present age, without having to retreat to a cloister. And, far from being the privilege of the few, seeking these states is a responsibility of us all.

Today we will explain why that is, the way in which these spiritual disciplines are connected, and how both can be sought, and attained, by even the busiest of souls.

There are many more to follow!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 

Most of you know this is a bad time of year for me.

I’ve not happily celebrated this holiday for years.  I remember prepping my daughter on Friday for school, making certain she had something green on.

Then, the weekend occurred. (1995)

But, I saw a cartoon on FB recently, that made me chuckle. Guess that means I am healing (?)

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, on a Friday, just as it was 22 years ago.  Most Fridays (in recent memory) I wear a red shirt, as I am a member of the Red Shirt Society.  (NO, not the Italian militia, Southern white supremacist group, or an expendable Star Trek guy!)

It would be awesome if everyone wore RED Shirts every Friday in honor of our military who are deployed. WE as American citizen’s need to keep our Veterans and Military close to our heart and in our prayers.

R – Remember
E – Everyone
D – Deployed

But today, in deference to my celebrating the holiday for the first time in 22 years, I am wearing the GREEN!  (Orangemen, of course, are acceptable, too – this IS The United States!)  🙂

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY, EVERYONE! – O’Guffaw

 

I See Dead People

dead…or rather, I wish I did!

A number of folks close to me have pre-deceased me.  And with some (not all) it would be nice to have another 15 minutes.

Or a day.

My Mother, who passed when I was in the Second Grade.  My maternal grandfather, Gramp, when I was 24.  Of course my daughter Molly, when she was 12…

And a couple of others.

But, I’ve never had that kind of  spiritual connection.  And I’m a little envious of those who have!

My friend Bob – who saw a vision of his mother in the moment of her passing.  Five miles away!

A girlfriend who saw ‘something’ resembling my deceased dog Ilsa wandering around my house.

My daughter had a childhood friend and neighbor who awakened one night to see a black cat outside on her closed window sill.  My daughter loved cats.  And the cat opened her mouth and laughed, sounding just like my daughter!  Of course, this could have been a dream – except the girl’s mom ran into her room and exclaimed, “I heard her, too!”  This was about one month after Molly’s passing.

But for me, bupkis.

I like to think I’m a spiritual guy.  Perhaps I am, but just not in that way.

Damn.

Doppelganger(s)

Doppelganger (n.)  a duplicate person, as in someone who looks exactly like __________.

I never used to believe in such a thing.  I mean, each human being is an individual, there is no one else like them, right?

WRONG.

I have seen three in the past 20 years(!)

About two months ago, I was grocery shopping at the closest market to home.  Not because it was my favorite, but because it was close.  (Laziness?  Heat?)

I’m standing in the checkout line, and five or six folk ahead of me was a familiar guy.  Tall.  Large.  Built familiarly (if that’s even a word?)  He turned to push out his cart of groceries, and I almost yelled out his name!  He resembled strikingly BOB, my former PI and gun store boss!  Except the previous week I was informed by the original Bob that he just has had the lower part of his left leg amputated.  And I knew there was no way he would have been across the Valley, 30 miles from his home, and so ambulatory right away.  And this guy had more hair, a goatee and a pony tail!  Nope – not Bob!

But certainly closer looking to him than his brother!!

Another time, we were in a Mexican restaurant.  Because it was cheap, not because it was good.  And we were seated by the back door, and could see folks seated outside on the patio.  And there was Marla, a former girlfriend.  Same figure, same face, same laugh and mannerisms.  Except Marla passed away in 2004 – I have a copy of the obituary!

And there was my first observance with a doppelganger.  In 1995, about 4 months after the accident.  You know where I’m going with this…

The ex and I were window shopping at a large mall, largely because it was late Summer and air conditioned.  And a couple walks by with three children.  And number-two child looked exactly like Molly, except with blond hair!!!

I’m not normally the kind of man who faints, but I leaned up against the wall and closed my eyes to keep from losing consciousness.  And to keep from screaming and crying.  And my ex (who obviously had not seen her) asked me what was wrong.

And I nervously pointed.  At air.

There was a couple with children.  TWO children!  And neither resembled our daughter.

Sigh.

To only be able to see her again…

♫ Angie…Angie…♫

Will the blockage disappear ?

(with apologies to The Stones)

Probably before you read this blog post, my roommate J, good friend, landlord, and hairdresser extraordinare, will  be undergoing an angiogram.  That is exploration of the heart muscle via a tiny camera.

It seems doctors think she might have a blockage, making half of her heart not work as efficiently as the other half!

The good news is that, unlike in days of yore, the current procedure is mostly outpatient.  If a blockage is located, either medication will be prescribed to dissolve it, or a stent will be implanted during the angiogram.  This is all dependent on the size of said blockage.  If a stent is used, she will be required to stay overnight.

Once again, I get to play dog wrangler.  This is not a problem.

We (the critters and I) are all  anxious for her return – either later today or tomorrow.  Logistics involving our cars made it impossible for me to drive her.  A good friend is there for her during the procedure.

Please keep a good thought.  If you are a praying kind of person, doing so would be appreciated! 

This just in (0930 MST) – J. is awake and talking.  No blockages found and no stents placed.  The poorer part of the heart is functioning @ 55% instead of the previously thought 40%.  The next step is to find out why, and what to do about it – but NO blockage is GOOD!  

She can come home after three hours!

A Libertarian Nightmare

I was fortunate to have pizza (and salad) delivered for lunch! (This was last week.)

Was NOT so fortunate to have taken yet another strong pain med today – this is probably 10 days I’ve needed the ‘extra’ medication above-and-beyond the daily pain med I take.  For diabetic neuropathy and arthritis pain.

There have been weeks I’ve not needed to take any!

And, I chose to have one (one) bottled beer with my lunch.   A special white chocolate brew.  (I wasn’t driving anywhere.)

And after lunch I took a nap.

And this is what I dreamt…

HUGE numbers of people lining every street,
and our troops advancing down the street.
And the people trying to stop their advance!
I don’t know why they were advancing, or why we were trying to stop them.
But, it wasn’t pretty.
Libertarian nightmare?

Predicting The Future

zenerGrowing up, doing magic tricks, and such, I always liked things akin, like parapsychology and ESP.  Sadly, I never had the ability to actually ‘see’ in my mind’s eye anything, or to predict the future.

scrying

H.(erbert) L.(Lewis) Mencken, a certifiable curmudgeon and seer ahead of his time, was obviously different.  He said this in The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920…

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.  On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and 
the White House will
 be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

As the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t even born until August 4, 1961, and Mencken died January 29, 1956, HOW COULD HE HAVE KNOWN?

Cue the Twilight Zone theme….

h/t Boyd and Donna

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…