Epiphanies

Whenever I have several days off work, time to be alone with my thoughts, I hope for an inspiration, a new thought.

In my life, there have been several thoughts which have driven me to life changing action. When I was 22, I stood near the Jaffa Gate in old Jerusalem watching some Hassidic Jews. I thought, \”There might be something to this God thing.\” When I came home, I started to study the Bible and pursue religion.

Years later, and many changes, the shootings at Columbine High in Colorado occurred. Listening to a radio interview of one of the boys that lived, who was the boyfriend of one of the girls who was shot, I heard him read her diary from the night before. Jesus Christ mattered to her. I decided to \”shamelessly follow Jesus.\” That is the second important thought of my life. It was soon followed by the question, \”How do I shamelessly follow Jesus?\” And the intuitive answer was, \”Live a life of prayer.\” These thoughts led me into the monastery.

The thought \”Shamelessly follow Jesus\” also led me away from the Church several years later.

But first, I had thought number 3. Right before making my first monastic profession, I found myself in crisis for 4 days. It is a long story, but the nun leadership was deciding to kick me out. During the crisis, I had a dream in which I received, \”Love is the predominant mode of existence.\” And then when they actually told me to leave, I asked God why I had to be the one to leave. The intuitive answer, \”Because you can. You can live in the world and still practice my presence.\”

\”Love is the predominant mode of existence\” is perhaps the last important thought I have had. It stays with me and provides those moments of knowing it truth in my waking consciousness.

In the 12 years since leaving the monastery, my life has gone here and there. I came to Texas on negative vibes. It wasn\’t inspired by some intuitive message. ┬áNow I am here in Texas. My life is stable and well funded.

I fear it lacks inspiration. My epiphany of this evening was to remember how these other epiphanies drove my life into new territory; and to notice how I haven\’t had one for awhile. This is especially annoying because my dream of enlightenment through ultra-marathoning isn\’t going to work. All the methods of enlightenment which I have tried didn\’t bring what I was looking for. I\’m not going to take drugs or have a stroke.

Never mind. I realize that what my ego thinks is enlightenment is only a dopamine induced ecstasy.

Am I too old to have a powerful intuitive thought? Do I shut them off because I make too much money? Have I not done enough with the previous thoughts?

In my silence and solitude, I pray for an intuitive thought. I will begin to watch for the building of an inner power.

I need to understand: How may I best serve You?

Is this the end of the line? I am impatient God. Or Self. Or Jesus. Or whatever I want to call You. Is being a successful engineer all you really want me to do?

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Lectio Night – Fridays in Lent

When I was in the monastery, I learned about \”lectio divina\”; holy reading. It is also holy reading which winds itself down to holy listening.

Also in the monastery, during Lent, Friday evenings were special lectio nights. These night were extra quiet. After Vespers, we could have a quiet meal or not; but then most of us were in our monastic cells practicing lectio divina. Hence the name Lectio Night.

So here I sit, an ex-monastic, but real time engineer and person in the world. I\’ve been going through an experience which I can\’t figure out. Why God have we messed with this situation? I have decided to have a lectio night right now.

I said yes to the nebulous universe. I put myself out there. I took the risk. I am willing.

The older I get, the more I wonder, \”What\’s it all about Alfie?\” And I know I\’m not alone in that question. I know I can have a life of service helping others. I know I can have a life of prayer. I know I can have a life dedicated to God and striving to be of maximum service to God. Every minute of every day is a spiritual experience. But I frequently have no sense of What For?

Why did I suddenly apply for that job? Why did I get the interview? Why did I look extra nice this morning as I went to the interview? This serves as temptation for conflicting thoughts about my current job. It provides an opening for my ego to start a critical harangue about me. If I don\’t get an offer, then what was this experience for? If I do get an offer, do I want to accept it?

I knew about the job through a fluke of the modern age: LinkedIn sent me an e-mail. I applied because of a small nagging thought that I should. Then I was surprised that I got the call. Then I dreaded going to the interview. Then I decided to try for the brass ring. If I got the job, it would be a brass ring. I have to try. then I thought of the one hour interview as my hour of power. One hour in my life to shine. I did shine.

Coming home to solitude, I wonder. I see the ongoing issues in my life that require my attention. I know that I can\’t run away from the hassles of life.

More than 10 years ago, the day after I was asked to leave the monastery, I was driving to the city to figure out what to do with myself. I was crying and pounding on the steering wheel saying, \”Why me God? Why do I have to be the one that leaves? Why do those other stupid people get to stay?\” The answer I heard inside was, \”Because you can.\”

What will I hear from my inner self about why I interviewed for a job? I hope something. If it is nothing then I have to face that too. Solitude is about facing what ever it is. Conscious contact is about the truth of the silence and stillness. Nothing can fix the gaping emptiness. Cry out! Nothing answers. Sit in awe.