I’ve grown to believe that by following the Buddhist Eight-Fold Path of right view, intentions, speech, action, livelihood, effort, concentration and mindfulness… what is true for me emerges from within my thoughts, feelings, intuitions and encounters.
If I am sincerely following my own path of righteousness, my ego and judgement get smaller and smaller. Compassion and acceptance of myself and others – those that agree with me and those that disagree with me – gets larger and larger. This is my evolution of personal conscience and consciousness. This is my mindfulness awakening. This is why I meditate/pray. This is why I have chosen to be a minister.
Some family, friends and acquaintances seem to be a bit suspect of my new ministry. I honor their suspicions and accept them under advisement. Frankly, I pray about their concerns. I have not particularly been a fan of organized religion since my Roman Catholic days studying to be a priest in the 1970’s. Religion has been and continues to be a huge part of the cultural, social and political struggles of human history (think: The Crusades, Creationists and ISIS). I get it and I get their concerns. Most of their observations are quite valid. Religion has had a not so good track record and more often than not has been part of the problem… instead of the solution.
I aim to be different and to make a difference. Genuine self-confidence, personal and vocational convictions, inner strength in the face of hate and fear and death – everyday I am called to master who I am and what I strive to become. My ministry: HOPE = Compassion + Forgiveness keeps me centered and also keeps me real.
Daily, I recognize that I am in need of the gifts of diplomacy, patience and discernment. I frequently get into my own way. I am stubborn. I am opinionated.
Yet I am sure, without a doubt, that now is the time for me to have faith in myself in the presence of all that is Sacred to me. I am called.
Almost everyday, current events can easily contribute to my erosion, doubts and wanting to revert back to declaring war against all that is not right with my world view. I pray for the ability to tame my beasts within and respond with compassion and forgiveness. Sarcasm, cynicism and despair is toxic.
Can I deceive yourself? Absolutely. Deception of myself and others, working my own agenda and taking detours from my path – we can create… or we can destroy. The choice and the responsibility is ours.
My best friend died quite unexpectedly 6 weeks ago. Just 2 years older than me with many miles – we all thought – still left on her warranty with hopes that we’d retire together and host a bed and breakfast/retreat/sanctuary in a tranquil place. Trust me: I am reminded daily that every single moment counts. We find the strength when we have to… and it seems, we are always stronger than we think.
If I have the strength to find my bliss and follow it… you do too.