The New Testament word repentance is a translation of the Greek word “metanoia,” which denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transformation of outlook. “Meta” means beside or beyond and “noia” means thought or mind. Beyond thought.

One could say repentance is a suspension of current thinking to make room for a totally new way of thinking, to enable a change of course.

I think the poet and theologian Fred LaMotte put it really well when he said, “to repent is to transcend the intellect, to go into the silence beyond thought, beyond ideology, even beyond religion. That’s where the forgiveness is.”

That’s where the forgiveness is. I love the imagery in that sentence.

Too many times we equate repentance with regret. And, we come by it honestly, because Matthew 27:3 uses the Greek verb metamelomai in stating that Judas “repented himself” after he saw Jesus being led away. In this context, metamelomai denotes “painful sorrow” or “remorseful regret.”

But, we should remember the remorseful shock Judas felt isn’t the only form of repentance available to us. We should also celebrate the liberation of repentance, of changing our mind and suspending our thinking for an opportunity to try something new and better.

Repentance can provide relief from the suffering, confusion and exhaustion we experience from clinging to tired habits, close-mindedness and fear. All of which can be replaced with the joy, contentment and encouragement of the Good News.

life is perfect

February 26, 2017

“Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki

It’s so difficult for people to understand that it is our unmet expectations that cause us to think no-thing can be perfect, whereas reality is always perfect simply because it is what actually is.

Proximity is the key that unlocked this for me. Are the sun and stars perfect? Sure. Is that ocean wave or that cloud perfect? Yep. Are the deer running through my back yard doing it right? Of course they are. Those things are away from me and don’t ‘apparently’ affect me.

But, the closer things get to me, my expectations take over and my judging mind chooses this over that and very few things are ever right, let alone perfect.

I finally realized the things that happen to me are no more or less critical than what happens to that star, ocean wave, or deer (outside the expectations of my thinking mind). I woke up to the fact that perfection does indeed describe reality. I can choose to sit with that perfection in contentment or chafe with contention, but it doesn’t change the perfection of what is.

To me this is what Suzuki was describing.

beyond coming and going

January 27, 2017

What comes, will go. What is found, will be lost again. But what you are is beyond coming and going and beyond description.

You are It.

~ Rumi

beloved

January 21, 2017

The Beloved takes your hand and walks with you up the path that leads from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. The path is made of crushed diamonds, so fine it is a mist, a cloud, a morning breeze, a sigh…

Every step is love. And the Beloved is nearer to you than your name. The Beloved’s touch is the stillness between your heartbeats. Why have you not taken this path, this wedding walk from your Self to your Self, from your belly to your brow?

Because you thought you would find the Beloved in an ashram, a temple, a cathedral, or a mosque. You thought you would find the Beloved in a book, in a white robe, a pair of sandals.

The Beloved wears only the soft cloth of your inhalation. The Beloved is a vine of roses on the trellis of your spine. The Beloved is more inward to you than your lost rib.

When you were swimming like a minnow in the womb of night, the Beloved sang to you from every star. That song is still inside you. You are still inside that song.

Do not look for the Beloved anywhere special. Wherever you are, just listen, and dance.

~ Fred LaMotte

believing without beliefs

December 18, 2016

Atheists and Believers both make a similar strategic mistake. The point is not which belief to believe, but knowing how to believe entirely without the artificial constraint of the belief itself.

Any assertion of this or that belief as something that is factual and not merely some form of epoxied opinion, marks an end to believing and an entry into the realm of artificial knowing.

Believing without beliefs, on the other hand, is submitting what one has already experienced to possible changes in trajectory, without the need to validate either the archer or the target.

A face-to-face encounter between suffering and compassion is required to generate the sort of authentic epiphanies that give rise to such words as GOD

In other words, the only way one may validate or invalidate the existence or non-existence of God is in the actual practice of godliness and a straightforward articulation of the effects of having done just that.

~ A gift from a good and wise friend

it’s all good

November 16, 2016

“Focus with deep and genuine concern for those few persons God has committed to your care–your family, your students, your employees, your parishioners.

Unlike the great benevolent and public movements, full of noisy and shared concern, it is not foggy, diffuse, devouring and absurd. Only a personal concern of this kind leads to love.”

~ Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, a journal he kept from 1956 to 1965 in which he offered his observations about the disturbing world events of his day.

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where miracles descend

October 24, 2016

Pay more attention
to the Ordinary.
It is the alter
where miracles descend
like Spirit into bread –
this breath,
or a deer trail
leading back to itself
in the little woods,
three unharvested tomatoes
glowing hollow
as lanterns,
or a spider flinging its
silken path homeward
from your old garden buddha
to a withered rose,
the last evening light
fondling small things
like the hand of the dying,
not with regret
but inextinguishable
gratitude.

~ Fred LaMotte