Meditation Poem Series: #64

There’s a Buddhist notion of cultivating bodhicitta, or empathy and compassion for all sentient beings. I know I often think of love as a feeling, but it’s something we can cultivate and grow into more and more. I really love this notion that we can cultivate kindess, love and compassion.

I think in the Christian tradition, I am always taken by even the worst sinners’ hearts can be awakened to Divine Love through an experience of mercy and grace. I have been especially contemplating why one thief on the cross was able to accept Jesus, and the other was not.

Meditation Poem #64
May compassion grow
in me and in you
each day

Meditation Poem Series: #53

Life definitely full. Grateful for meditation practice. I am listening to a podcast called On Being with Krista Trippet, where she interviews Matthieu Ricard. Ricard is a scientist turned Tibetan monk, who is very involved in collaborating with scientists with researching effects of meditation on the brain. I am paraphrasing, but at point he talked about cultivating kindness and compassion as something we can learn to do, same as other skills we can develop as adults like learning a new route, a new song, or training our bodies. I found his ideas thought provoking, and also encouraging to keep sitting.

Meditation Poem #53
all is not lost
when we return to
our seat

Meditation Poem Series: #44

I didn’t really make new year’s resolutions, but I would like to set the intention to keep meditation on a daily basis, to go deepen my experience by connecting more deeply with my Sangha (community), study the Dharma (the teachings), and find a teacher or guide in the Dharma. I don’t fit into a neat spiritual category, but for now I am happy being a Catholic/Quaker/Buddhist. 🙂

I woke up bright and early to attend a 7AM All Team meeting at work, and to offer a prayer to start the meeting. I was able to sit and breathe in my office for 20 minutes, before facing the tasks of the day.

Meditation Poem #44
stillness, peace, quiet,
noise, chaos, movement,
all converging in me

Reflection: Life, death and Star Wars

I don’t talk about my vocation as a chaplain a lot, but I’ve worked in hospital settings to currently a retirement community. Grief, loss, and death seem to be reoccurring themes in the life of chaplaincy.

I do enjoy being a chaplain in more of a communal setting than the random visits that happen in a hospital setting, but it also makes it more difficult when people die. Pastors and ministers are people too, and it’s sad, when I am constantly saying goodbye to people I form a deep bond with. However, I know God is using me and my gifts to journey with folks as they approach the end, or approach the ultimate new beginning for those of who believe that death is not the end.

It’s interesting what our pop culture says about death. I know Star Wars takes myth and views of multiple religions and blends them in one; I equated Zen Buddhism and Taoism as the largest spiritual inspirations of Star Wars. The Force seems similar to the Great Tao that cannot be named. Jedi masters like Yoda act as strange Taoist sages, or eccentric Zen monks that talk in paradox. I am still unsure where Force ghosts fit into all this, but it does strike to this notion that death is not the end for all of us that we are still tied to life by the Force even in death.

In Christianity, there is a strong sense of the communion of saints. Saints aren’t necessarily force ghosts that come back after death to give us wisdom, but they do speak to us through the walls that divide life and death.  All of this to say that what separates life and death is not as clear as we make it out to be. I love the Buddhist notion that each breath leads to our last, and this is not to make us depressed and withdraw from life, but the awareness of death allows to see each breath as a precious moment and gift.