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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Welcome to Joanna’s first blog with a known audience. Like many who want to exercise their expressive skills, I wrote a “trial run” blog just to exercise my need to talk about the human experience. That is my favorite subject—understanding, or attempting to explain something about something rather inexplicable—our humanity.

Both the Buddha and Anne Lamott talked about paying attention, that life is about paying attention. Buddhism speaks of Right Mindfulnes or paying attention to our thoughts and feelings, but not to “do” something about them, merely notice them. Anne Lamott says in order to develop as a writer, one must pay attention to the world around them.

I have known of mindfulness since 1997, not that I have exercised it all these years on a continuous basis, but I certainly have thought about it. Mindfulness has been tagged as many activities—noticing one’s thoughts, looking at the world as an observer, noticing one’s breath, being in the moment. Mark Epstein, who wrote “How to go to pieces without falling apart,” talked about not being afraid of what we think or feel, to get into them, to dig in and ride along the wave.

I constantly have thoughts. They bombard me. They want me to pay attention. We all believe we are our thoughts—the pounding, relentless call to action, to do something. Doing something for the good of others is the Christian way, the way of humanity, but out of what frame of mind are we doing something?

In 1 Peter, one of the lectionary texts for Sunday, it says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” In another translation called “The Message” it has a more contemporary view, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”

In the midst of thoughts and emotions that as human beings we feel on a regular basis, just pay attention to them. It may be difficult, but I believe God is bringing these experiences to help us refine what it means to live spiritually, to live from the Spirit of God. We just may not always know it at the time of the thought bombardment.

I told you in my piece in the May Pace that I was not one for small talk. This is an example of bypassing small talk and going right for the good stuff—life as spiritual refining process. Can’t get closer to God than that.
May peace be with you.
Joanna

            

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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