Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reminders to self

People with advanced alzheimers may be some of the free-est beings on the planet – only for that part of us invested in the notion of personality is the break down of memory – the glue which sticks “the person” together – threatening.

Narrative therapy:
What should be internalised is externalised (Wall Street etc) and what should be externalised (shame, powerlessness, anger, hurt) is there is aweful confusion...not, of course, that there are any shoulds

Yes I can cope on my own, but can I thrive on my own?
Yes you can cope on your own, you can continue, but can you shift into more truth, more authenticity, more discipline, more spontanaiety, more joy on your own?

Those of us who are lucky enough to find ourselves in situations of relative peace would do well to treasure it and not seek out war.

“I would say that one of the most important kinds of unpleasantness is boredom, so much so that I think that one of the hell gates that leads to maturity, to satori – the great awakening – is the abilitry to stay with boredom, not to try to jump out of it, do something interesting, or use it for complaining. (Fritz Perls, 1967, Four Lectures, p.43)

Nisargadatta voices a similar sentiment: “Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet. Don’t get bored with peace, be in it, go deeper into it.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

The phenomenon of reluctance amongst non-Orthodox Jews

How do you get them to shul? With food, with guilt, with pleas to save the dying or near extinct animal of Judaism. But to ask them to come to shul to commune with the Divine, to find strength and clarity for their life challenges - this doesn't work, because people don't really know if they believe in a G-d or what that word means, because their world views are essentially consumerist-secular, and because they have never had that world view challenged in a systematic and fundamental (not fundamentalist) way.

Then how about getting them to come and connect with each other? Existential isolation and disconect is one of the biggest of the modern sufferings. Well, no, because prayer services as currently constituted do not facilitate the exchange of experience - after all tefila (prayer) is not an encounter/support group, unless we mean encounter with each person's understanding of G-d/HaShem.

It seems to me that shules - temples - synagogues are the perfect place for support groups to be for middle aged dads, one for middle aged moms, one for singles, one for gays, one for adolescents, one for grieving people, one for new parents, one for people wrestling with illness, one for people seeking bliss. Such groups build real communities of meaning, and should precede prayer, the surrendering to the higher power. Indeed I doi not believe authentic prayer is possible without the prior clearing of the inter personal backlogue many of us carry.

Another challenge is communal prayer. Judaism has traditionally valued communal prayer over individual prayer, but communal prayer, humans being social animals, engenders all the pomp, hypocrisy, concern about apperances and role playing that get in the way of an authentic contact. In reform synagogues, where most of the congregants are Jewish ignoramuses who dabble in Judaism to keep a vestigal connection of something to something alive, people bob and bow when they think they're supposed to, look around to check if its ok to sit down now, page through the prayer book desperately trying to find something to read, peer at attractive congregants etc. In ultra orthodox shtiebels people mumble the words like automatons, asleep and numb to themselves and the other, or seek kavod with expressions of piety or their physical location in the shul.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are Evangelical churches really run by Christians?

When Jews are disproportionately represented in certain areas and certain countries, for example in 'the media' in the USA, conspiracy theorists immediately attempt to impute that there is something sinister or problematic with this.

I was wondering how this might work with other ethnic groups and sectors. For example are Afro Americans dominating basketball and boxing too much? Why is the Catholic Church run exclusively by Catholics? Why are there not more Jewish and Moslem bishops in the Vatican? Is the Catholic Church threatened by diversity? And why are all the rulers of Moslem lands Moslem? And their governments, media, judiciary, armies, and police force staffed exclusively by Moslems. When will we see a Bahai president in Iran? And when will Malaysia appoint a Hindu or Christian chief justice?

What about the over representation of women in women's groups, or the complete domination of horse racing and trophy hunting by the 'caucasian race'?? When will the conspiracy to exlude Jains and Bhuddists from the hunting and pro gun fraternity end? And why are evangelical TV channels staffed and funded by evangelicals. is there something they don't want us to know?