A random assortment of thoughts late on a Sunday night ...
I was very happy to go to church last night. I was there about 15 minutes early and got to spend some time in meditation and prayer before mass. Just lovely. This is only the 2nd time I've been to Saturday 7:30pm mass but I think I'll make it my practice. (It will be nice not rushing for 8am mass on Sundays!) The Saturday service is less crowded, a bit older ... more experienced - lol! With the smaller congregation, it felt more intimate. I love to go to Mass. During communion, I watch all the long lines of faith-filled parishioners respectfully waiting for their turn to receive. And I often imagine all the other churches in my county having mass and communion at that same time, all the long lines in their churches ... and all the people lined up in the state, in the country, in the world. Lines and lines, their hearts and thoughts intent upon the action they are about to take. I'm not alone in my faith.
Our priest last night was a Vietnamese brother; he's been with our parish for a few years now and has told us stories of growing up in dire circumstances. I am grateful that I can openly practice my faith so easily, that there's a church right here with its doors open, that there's a community of good, caring people who I can share my faith with and be supported. I don't have to hide in a basement to have mass or fear any government reprisals. Freedom is such a gift. Watching this brother and knowing of his struggles, I am humbled and grateful.
I fully embrace the greeting "Namaste." Its essence is "I honor the Divine in you that is also in me." "Nama" means "bow, "as" means "I" and "te" means you ... "I bow you." Namaste recognizes the Divine with one another ... and smiles. How wonderful to great each day with the intent to honor and greet the Sacred within one another! Doesn't it just make you smile already? Makes my God within just want to dance with joyful abandonment. Whee!
I found what looks like a wonderful movie: http://www.onetheproject.com/ I've watched a few clips and smiled through each one. (Thich Nhat Hahn's among them, of course; he's such a favorite of mine. I could listen to him read an insurance policy and be enthralled.) To hear great spiritual leaders talk about God, about fear, about the Oneness of humanity - I'm going to download the movie and spend a couple of hours enjoying it thoroughly. I already know I'll be smiling throughout. "Peaceful Warrior" is another movie in a spiritual vein that I recommend very, very, very highly.
There's a big shift that I can sense in my life right now, a subtle excitement in the undercurrent of each day. I can feel it within me: whereas I was at a plateau for a few months, there are just so many good things coming into my life lately (books, stories, experiences, people) that are stirring me to grow further in my consciousness. Someone once told me that not everyone is seeking a higher consciousness, a deeper connection with the Divine. I accept that. And I accept that I am one of those who is seeking. We are each who we are. When I was young, I found that people generally thought you were a world-class weirdo if you acknowledged some of the "God experiences" that I believe most of us have. I always wanted to talk to others about them and my thoughts, but it's such a personal thing and there's not a lot of acceptance of "woo-woo" talk.
Some years ago, I became friends with a wonderful woman who said I needed to give myself permission to be who I am, not who others wanted me to be for their own comfort. I needed to stop restricting myself and embrace my "inner woo," if you will. Big, gigantic breakthrough for me: I gave myself permission to embrace every nook and cranny of who I am and what I experience without reservation. And then things started to flow into my life once I opened that door: people, experiences, words, music, yoga - a wide variety of gifts that pulled me further along my path in a rush.
I make different choices, choices that suit me. Always a person of peace, I started to become very aware of the subtle ways that violence permeates our lives and I make choices to avoid that violence. I don't see movies with gratuitous violence - killings, car chases, that sort of thing. No violent sports on TV. I'm not a big fireworks fan. I don't play games for competition but just for the fun of the game. Competing makes us separate, me vs. you. I want to embrace Oneness instead.