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#1548 - Monday, September 8, 2003

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  • Jerry Katz
    #1548 - Monday, September 8, 2003 - Editor: Jerry ... If we aren t fragile we don t deserve the world. ~ Nye (Iamkatia - LiveJournal) ... Rain A teacher asked
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2003
      #1548 - Monday, September 8, 2003 - Editor: Jerry

      If we aren't fragile
      we don't deserve
      the world.

      ~ Nye
      (Iamkatia - LiveJournal)


      A teacher asked Paul
      what he would remember
      from third grade, and he sat
      a long time before writing
      "this year somebody tutched me
      on the sholder"
      and turned his paper in.
      Later she showed it to me
      as an example of her wasted life.
      The words he wrote were large
      as houses in a landscape.
      He wanted to go inside them
      and live, he could fill in
      the windows of "o" and "d"
      and be safe while outside
      birds building nests in drainpipes
      knew nothing of the coming rain.

      ~ Naomi Shihab Nye
      (Iamkatia - LiveJournal)

      Live Journal
      The Flatirons are a massive thrust of stone that frames the western backdrop to the city of Boulder, which lies in a shallow bowl just beneath them. Local legend is that if one ever views them with mist around the tops then one is destined to never fully escape the town, and is fated to return again and again.

      Journeying with Byron Katie in South Africa and Namibia

      by Kriben Pillay

      Ever since Byron Katie's final presentation at the University
      of Durban-Westville's Hindu Centre on Sunday 31 August 2003 -
      after a week of non-stop presentations and media interviews
      that started in Cape Town the previous Sunday and which took
      us to Namibia and Johannesburg and finally to Durban -
      e-mails and telephone calls have been pouring in from people
      touched by this extraordinary woman and the process that she
      calls "The Work".

      Out of the depths of her own despair, Byron Kathleen Reid
      (now simply called Byron Katie), awoke one day in 1986 to
      absolute clarity and unconditional love after a ten-year
      period of seclusion, food and substance addictions, and
      obsessing about suicide. In this awakening, she found what
      all the great spiritual teachers had found - except that she
      was without any spiritual training whatsoever - that is, that
      it is possible to transcend our limited, self-centred and
      fearful life into a life that is an expression of
      connectedness and love. In Katie's case, the awakening was
      accompanied by four questions that allowed her to undo
      stressful thoughts that threatened to take her away from this
      new incredible awareness of life that was devoid of any sense
      of separation.

      Since 1986, Katie has been sharing this wonderfully simple
      tool with hundreds of thousands wherever she is invited all
      over the world. And, by invitation, she finally came to tour
      South Africa and Namibia, giving endlessly of herself to
      those who came in suffering or perplexity.

      "The Work" is not another motivational technique, nor is it a
      means to further delude the mind. Rather, in the tradition of
      Socrates, the Buddha, and later teachers like Ramana Maharshi
      and J. Krishnamurti, Katie's process is a process of inquiry,
      where questioning the mind's stories allows us to see what is
      real without the overlay of our acquired conditioning.

      Like the title of her recently published book, Loving What
      Is, "The Work" brings us to full acceptance of reality in the
      moment, where we are no longer arguing with it but allowing
      ourselves to be a creative participant in the unfolding of
      each moment, as it is now. This is not a fatalistic approach
      to pain, but a dynamic unpacking of the stories that created
      the pain in the first place.

      From Cape Town to Windhoek, Johannesburg to Durban, Katie -
      with great skill and compassion - unpacked participants'
      stories of suffering: painful relationships, parenting,
      blindness, cerebral palsy, obstinate employees, the fear of
      dying alone, political corruption, crime, the rape of little
      children - these were some of the issues inquired into. And
      each time Katie created a space for participants to see that
      suffering arises from the confusion within the mind. Laughter
      replaced tears, and self-righteousness was transformed into
      humility and compassion. Interestingly, an issue that
      preoccupies many people in this part of the world - racism -
      was the only currently predominant issue that was not brought
      up. This did not escape Katie's notice, but she never imposes
      and always allows participants to work from a place where
      they are most comfortable. After all, working in front of a
      group of 500 strangers can be a daunting and fearful
      situation in itself, but those courageous people who sat with
      Katie and did The Work all walked away with peace restored to
      their hearts and minds.

      So, up close, what is Katie like? I can write about the total
      absence of reactivity, even when a tiresome allergy and
      non-stop presentations caused her great fatigue; of a woman
      who is totally present for the person who is sitting before
      her; of her great compassion for a child who was struggling
      with the death of her loved ones; of her wonderful sense of
      humour amidst the grilling criticisms of hard-nosed
      journalists ... and of the almost palpable sense of the
      sacred that emanates from her. But I suppose, for me, the
      most accurate answer would be that Katie is a living
      reflection of our potential to be mature, sane human beings.

      She did not come to South Africa and Namibia to sell another
      self-help programme; to make millions by promising a thinner
      body, a life without illness, the perfect soul mate, or how
      to manifest material wealth. Rather, she came with four
      questions that allow us to discover our own answers. She is,
      of course, a highly skilled and quietly supportive questioner
      and an empathic listener. As she worked in front of several
      hundred people, there was an immense quietness and never a
      sign of audience restlessness.

      Of course, not everyone in the audiences wanted inquiry that
      strips way our illusions. One woman argued that she knew that
      she would be attacked some day in crime-ridden Southern
      Africa. "The Work" in that moment was perhaps not for her.
      She could not see that she was attacking herself with
      thoughts that had no bearing on the reality of the moment;
      the moment where she was in perfect physical safety, except
      for her thoughts that told her otherwise. But Katie's way is
      not to convince intellectually, for this simply keeps the
      sense of separation in place. She gently went on to the next
      participant. If we want to hold onto our suffering, then that
      is our business. "The Work" refuses to fall into the old trap
      of being self-righteous, of wanting to put the world right.
      As the Buddha is reputed to have said: " I show you
      suffering, and I show you the end of it."

      "The Work" is radical surgery without any anaesthetic (one of
      Katie's sayings), but it is only for the one who has truly
      grown weary of suffering. And from the responses of Southern
      African audiences, many are fast reaching this place.

      In Durban, Katie and her friends had lunch at my home. Our
      Zulu domestic help, who lost her son in a freak accident
      three years ago, was hugged and kissed and within a few
      moments a glow from within lit up her face. She may not have
      responded to "The Work" in its English format, but she
      responded to the one whose awakening had taken her beyond the story of

      In a supermarket you might pass Katie and see her for an
      ordinary woman - as we experienced her at the breakfast
      table, or on the short safari in the semi-desert of Namibia -
      until you look into her startlingly blue eyes with their
      infinite acceptance, tranquillity and wisdom, and see the
      essence of your own pure heart.

      For further information about The Work in South Africa,
      contact Dr Kriben Pillay on 0824661745. Or visit his website
      -- Noumenon:Transformative Thinking. http://users.iafrica.com/n/no/noumenon/
      © 2003

      St. Anthony Messenger
      The Forgotten Art of Blessing
      Blessings are an important part of our faith. It's time we
      made them an important part of our lives.
      By Sascha T. Moore
      Most of us have probably heard the following old Irish
      blessing at least a hundred times:
      May the road rise up to meet you,
      May the wind be always at your back,
      May the sun shine warm upon your face,
      And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
      And, until we meet again,
      May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
      While it is a very simple blessing, the Irish words are a
      powerful reminder of how important a blessing can be in our
      lives. Unfortunately, in our culture today, we have become a
      nation of cursers, not blessers. Our movies, our music, our
      magazines are crammed with four-letter words.
      Drive down any highway and you will see people cursing each
      other with flying fingers and flailing fists. Visit any
      playground and you will not only hear cursing from the mouths
      of babes, but also witness the violent behavior that cursing
      calls forth. The act of cursing has become so prevalent in
      our society that we seem to be a people that has forgotten
      how to bless.
      In the Bible, throughout the creation story, God sets an
      example by blessing all that he creates: “God looked at
      everything he had made, and he found it very good” (Genesis
      1:31). This goodness, and the desire for goodness, is the
      heart of what blessing is about.
      A blessing as defined by Webster’s is, “The utterance of a
      wish, request or direction that good should follow,
      pronounced over a person or an object, or the benefit which
      follows such utterances.”
      Cursing, on the other hand, is the opposite of blessing. To
      curse is to call evil or injury down on someone. It is to
      invoke or pray for evil. And so in life, we find ourselves
      offered the choice: to bless or to curse, to call forth
      goodness or to call down evil.
      As Christians, we need to understand the implications that
      accompany this choice. If we are to be a people of God, we
      need to relearn the forgotten art of blessing.
      To offer a blessing is not a difficult task. In fact, a
      blessing can be so simple that all too often we take the act
      of blessing for granted. The priest, for example, blesses us
      at the end of each Mass (provided we haven’t ducked out
      early). Whether we are aware of it or not, we bless ourselves
      each time we make the Sign of the Cross. Despite this
      inherent simplicity, the act of blessing can take on more
      meaning if we come to understand the three basic elements
      that comprise a blessing, such as our Irish blessing.
      The Elements of a Blessing
      The first element in any blessing is that there has to be a
      relationship with God. When we bless, when we ask for
      goodness, we ask from the source of all goodness, we ask God.
      When things are going well in our lives—when the road seems
      to rise and meet us—our relationship with God will be
      positive. Cursing is the furthest thing from our minds.
      When things are not going so well in our lives—when the road
      does not rise to meet us—everything in life can seem like an
      uphill struggle. It is during these times that we run the
      risk of losing our relationship with God. If we allow this to
      happen, we are unable to bless. We become like the embittered
      psalmist who can only curse. Relationship with and belief in
      God are essential to blessing.
      The second element in a blessing is the ritual of transfer of
      the blessing or the goodness. Historically, this transfer of
      the blessing takes place physically through words that we
      pronounce and gestures that we make, such as uplifted arms or
      actual laying-on of hands. The person giving the blessing
      transfers the blessing in such a manner that it will somehow
      be experienced by the receiver.
      The sense of touch, whether it is the wind at your back, the
      sun shining upon your face or the firm hand of a priest
      blessing your forehead, can convey an enormous
      life-sustaining power. A blessing is the bridge between
      heaven and earth. The transfer of the divine that occurs when
      we bless is truly a sacred moment.
      The third element of a blessing is the enhancement of the
      receiver, wherein we envision the goodness of the blessing.
      Even Jesus, when he pronounced the Beatitudes, envisioned a
      goodness that would give comfort and hope to millennia of
      believers. We have in our possession the ability to envision
      virtually any future for humanity. The power to bless is
      incredibly awesome. It is the vision of divine enhancement,
      of a people resting in the palm of God’s hand, that is the
      hallmark of a blessing.
      Opportunities for Blessings
      Our days are filled with endless opportunities to practice
      the art of blessing. The best place to start, however, is by
      personally calling down God’s goodness by blessing ourselves
      with the Sign of the Cross. Morning after morning, we can
      begin our day by choosing that divine vision, not only for
      ourselves, but also for all who we might encounter in the
      course of a day.
      We might also choose to use this opportunity to include a
      brief morning prayer. This self-blessing through gesture,
      touch and words can become an important ritual that will help
      us to spiritually center our day.
      Our mealtimes provide yet another important opportunity for
      blessing. We know from our New Testament reading that Jesus
      would traditionally bless food at the feeding of the
      multitudes and at the Last Supper.
      In our society of abundance, we take our food supply for
      granted, indulging and overindulging, even to the point of
      impairing our health. Why not take a moment at each meal to
      pause and bless the nourishment before us? Mealtime graces
      from The Catholic Prayer Book include:
      Before meals: Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts which we
      are about to receive from your bounty. Through Christ our
      Lord. Amen
      After meals: We give you thanks, Almighty God, for all your
      gifts, who lives and reigns, for ever and ever. Amen
      Our homes, the core place where we spend our lives, can also
      be blessed. Many priests are willing to visit and bless a
      home. In Christian homes a cross or crucifix can be
      prominently displayed as a sign of God’s benevolent presence
      in the home. Similarly, in Jewish homes the mezuzah is placed
      on the doorpost. Part of the Jewish tradition is the touching
      of the mezuzah and the reciting of the wonderful blessing:
      “May God protect my going out and coming in, now and
      We all need that reminder, whether we are just sitting around
      the house or venturing out into the world, that the goodness
      of God is with us.
      Perhaps the most important of the blessings that we can
      bestow in life would be the regular blessing of our children.
      Who can forget the Old Testament account of Jacob stealing
      his brother Esau’s blessing and the richness of their father
      Isaac’s vision for Jacob: “May God give to you of the dew of
      the heavens and of the fertility of the earth abundance of
      grain and wine” (Genesis 27:28)?
      Today, we give our children everything that is material and
      little that is spiritual, then we are surprised when a child
      does something amoral. Like Isaac’s vision for Esau, we find
      ourselves in a position where the only blessing that we can
      muster comes out sounding more like a curse: “Ah, far from
      the fertile earth shall be your dwelling; far from the dew of
      the heavens above!” (Genesis 27:39).
      It is crucial that our children taste and see the goodness of
      the Lord. Simple daily gestures—a hand on the forehead and a
      “God be with you,” as they head out for school in the
      morning. A tracing of the Sign of the Cross and a “God keep
      you,” before they sleep. Never to let a day slip by where we
      don’t, in some small way, call forth the vision of goodness
      into the lives of our children.
      The Importance of Blessings
      Blessings, whether they’re Irish or Jewish, ancient or
      modern, are an important part of our faith life. We need to
      forget cursing. More than ever, we need to continue to bring
      the flow of the divine into our lives. Just as in Moses’
      time, our generation needs to learn the art of blessing: “The
      Lord said to Moses: Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell
      them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to
      them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face
      shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon
      you kindly and give you peace!”(Numbers 6:22-26).
      Like Aaron and his sons, we too hold that awesome power to
      bless. We just need to use it.

      Live Journal
      Feeling Pictish (Indigo not Woad)

      Nina gave me a lovely Japanese outfit sewed from shibori indigo dyed cloth. The pants are loose but nicely cut and the jacket wraps to the side and ties closed. Yesterday it was too hot for the jacket but I enjoyed the feeling of the loose lightweight trousers all day, even rolling them up to work in the garden.

      The first indication was when I returned from my evening walk and found that my hands were blue, from having them in the pockets. Later, when I undressed for the shower my hips were blue, my thighs were blue, my knees were deep, dark indigo blue.
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