Tag Archives: healing

Growth toward less judgement

We must grow towards a place of less judgement. This is the natural and inevitable result of of spiritual maturing… and perhaps one of the reasons why those less mature might think those farther along the journey are morally relative or “losing their faith.” A “slippery slope” they call it. I shake my head at the face-palm madness of the nostalgic-type, religious-type, fundamentalist-type idea that we have to hunker down even farther into our bunker of what is “right and good,” sticking to our guns of right or wrong, in or out, better or worse.

To hold more tightly to our framework is to uphold increased judgement. It is smaller picture and it is retreat into smaller mind and heart. As we welcome all of Life into our Being, our Being is welcomed into Life. The same could be said of our hearts, our minds, our souls, or our spirits. Whatever word you choose, the reality is the same. The eyes with which we look out upon the world are the eyes that will look back upon us. How we receive others is how they will receive us . It’s why Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you yourself will be judged.” His words also: “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” In other words, you are going to find what you are looking for.

The bondage that occurs with increased judgement (and pre-judgement to be certain) is all around us. Shame towards our beautiful and precious selves, bitterness, stone-walled denial of the reality in front of our very noses, entitlement, vicious competition, the need to perform, progress, and protect. There is not freedom in this and it is a wonder that so many of our culture’s biggest advocates for this type of bondage are found in religious circles. Bondage sculpted as freedom (for we are nothing, we are separated from God, and only OUR beliefs will give you the freedom you are seeking) is one of the most mind-bending confusing hooks of lower-level spiritual development. Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, much of this same bondage is offered to us from our government, media, and western culture. It’s a trap and many write it off as the “rat race.”

Spiritual or psychological maturing is always towards a bigger mind, a more expansive heart, a worldview where “everything belongs.” All peoples, all of nature, all of ourselves. We must see the bigger picture, recognizing that our current moral high ground and restrictive dualism is a flash in the pan, dust in the wind. That tree across the field is 200 years older than you and will see your grandchildren die. Those stones have been there since before your people were even using language.

There are many ways to grow and to release our dualistic judgement of the world around us, but most of them include leaning into ALL of Life, each changing season all the way unto death. There must be, at some point, a recognition that we can’t know everything and we can’t know the whole story while at the same time recognizing that the story we are given is far from the whole story. Each path towards maturity will include some way of finding silence and settledness while including all of ourselves – our breaths, our bodies, our shadows, our limits, our aging, and our dying. Be skeptical of anything that does include these things. Pursue freedom for all things. Look upon all of nature and surely each and every human being with eyes of pure adoration and love. Use words of affirmation and belonging to counter the spells that so many believe about themselves and the world. Healing, not judgement, is the way.


Healing when healing doesn’t come

I’ve been considering a talk I’m giving on Sunday about healing. It’s a challenging consideration as I wonder how to approach this, especially along the lines of grief and being hope free. Currently, I am sitting with two different aspects of healing. They are real, I would guess, to each of us, and they are connected. I’ll shoot a few arrows up and see if they land by the end or if they make sense. If not, that’s ok… maybe after a week’s time or maybe at some point before the end of your life.

The first aspect is that healing happens and it doesn’t happen, and often we don’t know why. Often healing happens to those who have done everything “wrong” and it doesn’t happen for those who have done everything “right.” Now I’m tempted to throw the whole framework out the window, but it is worth diving into because it is so real for so many people. Jesus says in Matthew 5, “God causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don’t.” I wish he didn’t preface that saying with “You will be children of your Father who is in heaven” because honestly, it doesn’t really make me want to have that kind of father. The truth is there, though. The sun… the rain… they are indiscriminate of evil and they are indiscriminate of good. What about the sun that burned so hot, with no rain on so many parts of our country while fires burned homes of so many of our fellow earth brothers and sisters? Indiscriminate. And what about the rains that have fallen on Texas and Florida and all the destruction that was wrought there? Iniscriminate. And what about the rain that fell on the people in Las Vegas from the window of the Mandalay Bay hotel? Indiscriminate. And what about the drip, drip, drip of the medications that have no effect on people I see every day in the hospital. Again… whether they do right or whether they don’t. It doesn’t seem to make a difference.

The author of Ecclesiastes writes,  I’ve seen it all in my brief and pointless life—here a good person cut down in the middle of doing good, there a bad person living a long life of sheer evil. So don’t knock yourself out being good, and don’t go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won’t get anything out of it. But don’t press your luck by being bad, either. And don’t be reckless. Why die needlessly?” (I love this version from the Message). So wisdom… over rated. Being good… over rated. Being bad or reckless… over rated.

Mary Oliver seems to have a response.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. The world goes on and no matter how lonely, how distressed, how broken down, this same world that continues to go on, offers itself to your imagination and announces your place in the family of things. You belong. The rain falls on you and the sun shines on you. And we are held, as one amongst the many, in the midst of our sadness and sometimes anguish of not finding the healing when we would give everything to receive just that.

This leads me to my second wondering: Is there healing even when there IS no healing? As a chaplain, this is, of course, a rhetorical question. Anthony de Mello tells a story:

To a distressed person who came to him for help the Master said, “Do you really want a cure”
If I did not, would I bother to come to you?”
“Oh yes Most people do.”
“What for?”
“Not for a cure. That’s painful. For relief.”
To his disciples the Master said, “People who want a cure, provided they can have it without pain, are like those who favour progress, provided they can have it without change.”

De Mello taught that healing comes from dropping sickness… getting rid of that which is causing the sickness. Our natural state is health. So when someone has an infection, we want to get rid of the infection. When someone has cancer, we want to get rid of the cancer. We don’t add anything to be healed and we don’t add anything to be happy. So just at health is our natural state so is happiness. Happiness comes from dropping our illusions… our programming. This is the natural way of things. We are as natural as the world around us and where it is natural for us to be in a state of health, so it is natural for the world to be in a state of health. The world doesn’t need us to survive. The world will go on just fine without us.

Interestingly enough, the author of Ecclesiastes concludes his reflection on the overratedness of striving with the consideration that “it’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.” This is why earlier, I said I would rather just throw out the whole paradigm that healing might happen to some and not to others. Reality demonstrates otherwise.

Our healing comes from embracing the reality and the paradox and letting it transform us. We are meant to grieve. We are meant to feel the absolute heartbrokenness that comes from those who do not experience the healing they so desperately desire. It increases our love which opens us to more and more areas in our world that desperately need healing. There is always healing that can happen and there are always things to grieve. And as we embrace, we heal, and the world heals, and we see that the more grief we can hold, the more joy we can hold as well.

Listen carefully to these words by Kahlil Gibran, and hear how closely this resonates to all I have been saying so far:

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say to you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily, you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at stand-still and balanced.