Posted by Eileen
Spirituality is foreign to us, because it is paradoxical and few of us have had training in grasping paradox. We’re faced with the challenge of choosing to lose so we can win and die so we can live. And that takes grace rather than logic, morals, or ethics.
Opening to grace requires admitting we need it. And that’s the leap of faith that jump starts our spiritual journey.
The following are my paraphrases of the Beatitudes. I have translated the word “blessed” as meaning “open to grace.” The originals are in Matthew 5:3-11
Graced are the poor in spirit for they are not filled with self-righteousness, so they are able to be open to God.
Graced are those that accept the pain of loss for they will find the Comforter’s joy within instead of settling for pleasure to escape pain.
Graced are those who do not need to own or control anything, for they are free to enjoy the beauty of everything.
Graced are those who know and regret that they are imperfect, for they are free to accept Jesus as their righteousness.
Graced are those who recognize the log in their own eye, for they can accept the unconditional love of God and grow more and more able to love imperfect humans, including themselves.
Graced are those who are focused on God, for they will see God everywhere.
Graced are the peacemakers, because no cause or group owns them; they belong only to God.
Graced are those persecuted for Jesus’ sake, for they know Jesus.
Graced are the falsely accused and rejected, for they learn to need only God.
These are the truths Jesus taught that fulfill the law.
Tags: blessed means open to grace, dying to live, freedoms, Grace, leap of faith, losing to win, paradox, peacemakers, persecution, rejection, spirituality, the beatitudes paraphrased, the Comforter, the pain of loss, unconditional love.
Posted by Eileen
To bring back trust to life requires the deepest sort of listening. I’m still learning how to listen in this way. Even after sixty years, it feels elusive, as the most important teachers whisper behind the wind to ensure that we give ourselves totally to discovering their secrets. Two such teachers are ‘not-knowing’ and ‘paradox.’ Essentially, I have learned that true knowledge that can help us live waits on the other side of our ability to hold two things at once that are both true. One aspect of true knowledge that came to me through my experience with cancer is the paradox that we need to die in order to live. I am still trying to understand the daily meaning of this. It seems our capacity to withstand the tension of opposites is key to entering paradox, and key to that is becoming comfortable with the space of not-knowing. Understandably, most of us are uncomfortable when things are undefined, when things are not clearly to or for, up or down, left or right, or right or wrong. But the deeper truths always take time to reach us, and it is our job to enter a practice of waiting openly- which involves enduring the tensions of not-knowing. The truths that matter require us not to form opinions or beliefs hastily. On the contrary, we are asked to allow time to surround us with the Wholeness of life, to take the time required for the paradox of truth to show itself. It seems that the practice of not-knowing begins with a trust in the unnameable space that holds us, in the mysterious atmosphere in which we all live. That seems to be the true space of listening and learning, where our brief experiences of life in its totality, whether harsh or calm, will not fit into our tidy little maps of perception. Yet where are we educated in this? Where are we taught to withstand the surf and undertow of ambiguity and confusion long enough till we can drift in the majestic swell that sages and poets of all traditions have called the unity of life? Mark Nepo