Poetry ~ Dutiful Things

Dutiful Things Pic

dutiful things arise
accept them with grace
receive what is offered
and set your own pace

no order is needed
no list long and wide
such dutiful things
in time they abide

glide through the day
with laughter and glee
finish dutiful things
and you are set free

say grace and give thanks
for all the abundance
look around and take note
of all the redundance

blessed is this life
filled with dutiful things
of which to be mindful
for the calming they bring

take leave of your mind
and return to your tasks
such dutiful things
in the moment you bask

now, sleep in the knowing
of all that’s been done
more dutiful things
will arise with the sun

Poetry By Sue

Monday Musings ~ My Friend the Atheist

Spiritual Atheism framed

It all began at the local coffee bar – two girlfriends pondering the origin of the cosmos over coffee. As introverts, we dispensed with the pleasantries and dive into the deep end of the pool, discussing – parallel universes, aliens, religion versus spirituality and the nature of our suffering. I asked her what she knew of atheism and wondered how atheists deal with suffering and loss.  My friend asked if I’d read Sam Harris. I had not.

And so began my journey into the ethos of atheism and to my surprise, a deep respect, and admiration for my new friend, Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and a self-proclaimed atheist. I know Sam is controversial. I’ve watched many of his debates, listened to his podcasts and read his essays, but as I read his most recent best seller, Waking Up, A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, I discovered we were kindred spirits.

Sam is actually a spiritual atheist and in Waking Up, his spiritual memoir, he details his journey, including several years studying the Indian tradition of Advaita Vedanta, various schools of Buddhism and a year of meditation in silent retreat. As I read his story I realized our views on spirituality were closely aligned. I’ve always believed that science is man’s way of discovering the magic and mystical realm of our existence.

“But there is a connection between scientific fact and spiritual wisdom and it is more direct than most people suppose…our conventional self is an illusion…and the way we think directly influences our experiences of the world.”  ~ Sam Harris,Waking Up

Honestly, I was amazed that an atheist would attempt to dabble in the spiritual realm, and further, to bring reason, logic and a scientific perspective along for the ride!

I enjoyed the chapter, The Riddle of the Self as Sam persuades the reader that the self is indeed an illusion. And in his chapter on Meditation, we are given practical instruction on transcending the self, only to find there is no self to transcend (ah, the riddles of the spiritual realm!)

The reader is in for a ride in chapter five with Gurus, Death, Drugs, and Other Puzzles. Here we learn the good, bad and the ugly of spiritual charlatans, near-death experiences and the literal highs and lows of tripping on drugs.
Waking Up Sam Harris

*Spoiler Alert*

In conclusion, Sam says, “We need not await any data from the lab to say that self-transcendence is possible….Open your eyes and see.” With that I say, thank you, Sam, for bringing logic, reason and a persuasive argument in support of the mystical experience many of us have encountered on our own spiritual journey.

Although this is not a book review, I would highly recommend, Waking Up, to anyone wanting a different perspective on atheism.

As for me, I don’t consider myself a spiritual atheist – a spiritual mystic would be a more accurate description. I believe we’re part of a higher collective source or consciousness. Or as the great Sufi Mystic, Rumi says,

“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” 

Rumi Ocean in a Drop

Back at the coffee bar, my friend said the term, spiritual agnostic, might be the most accurate label for what she believes. As our coffee chat ended, I realized the only label that truly mattered was that of “friend”.

I wish all the world could sit around a coffee bar and chat, without judgment, about their beliefs with the intent to understand, not needing to agree, simply to listen and learn of, and from, one another – and upon leaving, refer to each other as “friend”.

I’m tossing that wish out into the Universe in hopes that one day we will all “wake up” and see our common humanity.

Wishing you all a magical Monday! ~ Namaste

 

 Friday Features ~ “NIGHT” by Elie Wiesel

Elie Viesel

The world lost a great humanitarian this month. Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016. He was 87 years old.  He entrusted us with his legacy and we must never forget.

I knew of Eli Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a survivor of Auschwitz,  author and humanitarian, but I confess I had not read his most notable memoir, Night. I read his book this week, in one sitting. The most recent edition is 120 pages and is a new translation in English by his wife, Marion Wiesel.

I cried through the entire book.  I had to find a box of tissue before I finished the preface, which read in part,

“If in my lifetime I was to write only one book, this would be the one….Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscious of mankind?” ~ Wiesel

My heart still aches having read of the atrocities he witnessed and endured as a teenager in the concentration camps during World War II. I can’t imagine a world where such things happen, where humans inflict so much suffering on their fellow man. And yet this is our world – humanity’s history.  Night, is Wiesel’s legacy and a reminder to the human race of our potential for great evil, and great good.

“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” ~ Wiesel

We must all ask ourselves how we can best serve humanity.  Because as Elie so eloquently stated when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize:

“There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done. One person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death….Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” ~ Wiesel

After reading Elie Wiesel’s book I was inspired to write this poem, Rise Up in Love.

Rise 3

do you hear the wailing cries of humanity
echoing through time and past atrocities?

have we lost our minds? we must not lose our hearts
when consumed with fear, humanity comes apart

our hearts know our true selves
love is where the heart dwells

we must quiet our minds and be still
and listen to our beloved’s goodwill

hear the call of our beloved proclaim
rise up in love for your neighbor without blame

rise up in service to humanity; we are all one
never forget; there is much to be done!

Poetry By Sue