Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Incarceration, Part 1

I love the idea of grace and ease, loving what is and getting my bloated nothingness out of the way. If you’ve been reading this blog or go back and read earlier posts, you’ll know that. I love the idea of it. The doing is something else; its more difficult. In fact even loving the idea is something I had to grow/evolve into. I’m hoping, no knowing, that that growing and evolving will continue with my attempts to live the idea.

How could one love what is, I thought in the beginning, there’s so much bad shit going on? And grace, give me a break, if grace was real wouldn’t people be better off? And my bloated nothingness, given the lack of grace and all the bad shit, I didn’t need to get rid of it, I needed to strengthen it!

But gradually as I reflected on my thoughts and behavior, and developed a more compassionate realistic spiritual practice, I came to see, not only were those ideas good and powerful, they worked. As I took responsibility for myself – my life, feelings and behavior, guided by my growing commitment to SOM and the Course, I experienced improvements, even in the face of serious challenges like cancer.

Now practicing the presence and getting out of the way – knowing God is good all the time and that I am part of that good and can access It at any moment, being responsible for how I use the power of God, not being a victim or a puppet, that no matter what happens the final freedom (Victor Frankel) choosing how to react, is mine and I can always choose to act as if grace was real and God is good all the time – is becoming the central focus of my life.

That’s not to say I sit around and do nothing, navel gazing. I work, I have projects, I write, I race walk, bike ride, etc. But before, getting things done, crossing them off my to do list was the central focus. Now doing it, whatever it is, with Spirit is the goal; acting as if grace was real; watching my thoughts flit across my consciousness and giving them the same significance as I give the clouds passing across the sun, is the goal.

I have a long way to go and a lot of painful difficult work to do. I’m getting so many ‘opportunities’ to practice the presence and get out of the way; the phrase, be careful of what you ask for, you just may get it, comes to mind! My buttons still get pressed many times a day and I fall into feeling afraid and victimized, and I still like blaming. Yet I do sense progress.

One of my buttons is, in case you haven’t noticed from reading my posts, is the gap between the promise and reality of the USA, and how I see that gap widening. Yet even with that, I’m wanting to take responsibility for and deal with that gap from a centered, spiritual place, by practicing the presence and getting out of the way, daring to live as if grace were real – betting it all on black, if you will.

This morning I read a review of the book, Beyond Vengeance, Beyond Duality: A Call for Compassionate Revolution, by Sylvia Clute, a call for revamping the American judicial system and got my buttons pressed big time! What an opportunity to practice the presence! The USA has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. One out of every hundred Americans is currently in jail. For adults in their twenties, its one out of fifty three. One of every fifteen African American males is incarcerated. For African American males between 20 and 34, its one in nine. Are blacks really so different from whites? Some would say yes. But I doubt it. God is in them to the same extent It is in everyone else. What we have here is a failure, not only to communicate (Cool Hand Luke), but a failure, among other things, to live out our American ideal of equal justice under the law.

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