Monday, September 03, 2007

In Which I Change My "Weekly" Quote Again I am not very diligent about changing the quote each and every week. I would like to be more consistent. In the meantime, I am changing it today.
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them then in being merciful Titus Andronicus I.i.117-18
When I read this quote it immediately struck me how often we aspire to be more spiritual in our lives but there is little practice. There doesn't seem to be much difference between what most people call spiritual (as in "I am a spiritual person") and moral/ethical ("I am a moral/ethical person."). Even for those who have a clearly defined understanding of what they believe, or more accurately in Whom they believe, often fall into the easy path of following labelling. Easier to say that someone is condemned to hell because they do not believe than to love the person. Easier to define someone an infidel than to build a relationship with the person. Truth is, I read the words about being in the world and not of the world and I know that, more often than not, this is used as an argument to separate completely. There are groups of believers who never read anything other than the one chosen text. Some even argue for only a particular translation over any other. And those who are foolish enough to not agree will be judged by God. Ahem! Already been judged, don't you think? I mean, doesn't that sound judgmental to you? It sure does to me. Maybe not judged by God but clearly judged by the person who is saying that God will judge. And nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say, "Love not lest ye be not loved." It is easier to judge. It is easier to point a finger. It is easier. I don't recall spirituality being easy. Often it comes at a great cost and sacrifice. The Buddha gave up his kingdom and crown. Mohammed lived in constant danger of his life being threatened. We all know what happened to Jesus. Abraham left everything he knew for a new home. Even our more contemporary spiritual leaders have paid great costs. Nelson Mandela spent decades in prison. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, both deeply religious men, were assassinated. And Gandhi, too. Yes, being judgmental, unfortigiving, righteous (meaning self-righteous, of course) is easier than being compassionate. Easier to point a finger than to look in the mirror. Easier than showing mercy, love, peace. And forgiveness. What does it mean to be spiritual? When you say that you are "a spiritual person," how does this differ from an atheist saying that they are a moral person? You live right, according to a personal moral code? Wonderful. So do they. So why not just say you are a moral person? What does it mean to say that you are a Christian? Do you judge those who are not believers of Christ? When you follow His teachings, what do you mean? How often do you even read what He taught? What does it mean to be Muslim? Do you read the Quran in Arabic, the only acceptable version of the Message? Do you immerse yourself in the rituals and experience them beyond the traditional times? I could go on. The truth is, I cannot answer these questions even for myself all of the time. I keep asking them though. I do ask. Not because I want to be more loving, compassionate, forgiving, merciful towards others. I need to be all of these things for myself. Aries This week September 3 through September 9 You may feel as though you're poised on the brink of something great. Monday may be a day of decisions in which you have to let certain aspects of your life go to welcome new opportunities. You seem to be ready to relinquish the one for the other, even if there may be some pangs of regret involved. There's a New Moon in Leo on Sunday, which ushers in a chance for creative endeavors to flourish - and new love affairs also. Catch the New Moon tide over the coming two weeks for best results.

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