Thursday, September 25, 2008

Less is More



One of the most profound truths in modern science is that the fundamental reality of the universe is nothingness. There's the nothingness of space, the nothingness between the atoms in a molecule, the nothingness at the subatomic level. There is some stuff, of course, but not much.

A profound spiritual truth in many traditions is the belief that divine reality, a.k.a. God, is completely without form, cannot be seen or known or even described. What we Jews like to think is that any attempt to describe God can only tell us what He isn't. He is everything and nothing (which might account for why God is depicted in the Bible as such a psychopath, one second loving and generous, the next minute raging and smiting. Current translations of the Bible leave much to be desired, if you ask me.)

I've been thinking about how prayer works here in our reality where everything is shaped, where our bodies, homes, cities and landscapes all seem solid as rocks. Our ideas, too, find congealed forms within the "solid" domes of our craniums. Oh, we humans are such great sculptors on so many levels.

What do people pray for? We ask for help, for guidance. We pray that people who are sick will recover, for the safety and happiness of the people we love. What I'm wondering is, are we asking God to undo the illness, to remove our loved ones from dangerous situations, to open the hearts of our near and dear ones so that unhappiness can melt and evaporate? I'm thinking when we pray we are usually asking for the miracle of undoing.

Of course sometimes we pray for a new bicycle or a puppy (though mostly not after the age of eight) and I'm not saying those prayers don't work. It seems to me, though, that we're overcapable of bringing more stuff into our lives. We're great at shaping the world and our minds, too great if you ask me. We don't really need divine help with any of that.

It's the undoing that's so hard for us. Isn't that why so many spiritual paths include meditation as part of their practices? It gives us a chance to experiment with having an unformed mind. Even a glimpse of quiet mind/quiet heart is miraculous - that's why so many of us sit down to meditate every day. It brings us closer to the unformed reality of the divine, gives us a glimpse of true liberation.

I don't know what's going on in the U.S. at the moment. Our stuttering monkey of a lame duck president threatened us with a great depression by next Monday if we're unwilling to pay off the bankers who are responsible for the financial mess we're now facing. Shame on him! Comparing what's going on to 9/11? What a bully ... oh, and no offense to monkeys intended.

While I was meditating this morning it came to me that this crisis, though chaotic and horrible for those of us who don't have money or means to do anything about it, is in its own way a divine blessing of undoing. Empires rise and empires fall. They always have. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

May the people with funky mortgages find the resources and guidance and strength they need to get through this next period of time. May we see through the tactics of fear, may we remain calm, may our minds stay open to all possibilities. We can make this mess worse - we're good at that. God? Will you help us let go? Please? Thanks for listening! Amen.

The Financial Crisis for Dummies. If you have 40 minutes, give a listen. Incredibly clear and understandable. And very sad.

18 comments:

tam said...

You're a very wise lady, Ms Reya. From the perspective of across the ocean, on a continent where people understand and truly live the philosophy of less - living with less, and loss, and being ok with great swathes of uncertainty all the time, I can only say that you have hit on it just there when you say its an undoing - perhaps even a blessed one. From over here, it seems to have been a long time coming... the great big hungry consumer beast is how so many people see the US. What so many now see as painful - loss, financial insecurity, fear of the future, is also an opportunity for great reward. We also feel those things here - but I was very lucky to have an upbringing that taught me not to be attached to material 'stuff'. When you let go of all that, you can see the universe for what it is - pure abundance.
Thanks so much for your wisdom, your transcendance.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you! I am SO GLAD to know you and your circle of incredible mighty women!

Steve said...

You're right on, Reya. (As is your first commenter.) In fact, I think we're saying much the same thing today, aren't we? (You with more eloquence and depth, I might add. :) ) Synchronicity once again!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Reya! I love your blog! Your insight is brilliant and right on. Reading your blog makes me realize even more how much I miss talking with you and getting your massages! It's Kimberly B., your old friend and client. I was just searching for you and found you here. How can I get in touch with you? I need a massage (and John does, too) and not just any massage. I need a Reya massage and have for many months now... I miss ya, Rey.

Angela said...

Reya and Tam,
you give me material to think. The US and Africa - what a comparison. Undoing, yes, we in Germany know a lot about it... and have learned. Seriously. But the undoing was necessary. It takes the haughtiness from you...good thing.

Miranda said...

What a fabulous and thoughtful post. It's late and I don't have profound words but I loved these thoughts. It makes so much sense...

Janelle said...

reya! was playing on that black box thingy and it brought me back to you! heh heh! amazing...well. was coming here anyway. of course. and wow. a truly wise post....indeed. practise detachment. let go. thank-you reya! XX janelle

hele said...

I loved your words so much I sat forward, leaned towards my laptop and rest my hands under my chin.

My heart feels lighter, for that it thanks you.

Ms. Monkey said...

no offense taken. I understand completely.

d. chedwick said...

Living way below our means all our lives has made us able to deal with these times. I feel bad for all the people who bought big houses and cars they could not afford in the first place. Hope we don't have to put our awesome primative survival camping skills to the test anytime soon.

d. chedwick said...

OH i forgot! you really freaked me out saying you were hit by a freight train (and no other details) were you riding a bike at the time? driving a car? hurt badly?

Val said...

fabulous thought provoking post Reya! just love coming here. I suppose its part of the great cycles too, undoing - doing- loss can be liberating too and a time for regrowth; drought flood; so on.. and on so many levels. endlessly interesting and vital to keep an eye on the bigger picture
xx

Lori ann said...

so you were meditating and had a thought... that is my problem!
you have such a way with words reya. i usually read through your post twice to make sure i got everything you had to say, i don't want to miss a thing.
if expectation is cause of suffering and change is the only sure thing, you are so right to say - let go.

xx lori

Reya Mellicker said...

Meditating is my time to practice quiet mind/heart. Thoughts fly in and out, as they will, as they do. I used to think it was a problem. Now I just try to remember to return to the meditation as soon as I "wake up inside a story" as one of my meditation teachers likes to say.

Thanks so much, Val and Lori!

Lori ann said...

reya, please accept my apologies, my words didn't come out quite as i intended. waking up inside a story is a wonderful description.

and for the future,no more late nights with my laptop and wine...at least i oughta stay outta the comments! oh dear.

Reya Mellicker said...

Never apologize for comments on blogs, Lori!! Please! I thought I understood what you were saying - those moments of quiet mind are so precious. when the thoughts come I always react for a second, like "get out of here." Then I try to remember to return. It's an ongoing battle.

lettuce said...

reya some of the papers/comments over here (where pretty much the same is going on) have been suggesting that this is a great moment for socialism, end of free market etc. etc. - i find it hard to be so optimistic...

but lets hope

lettuce said...

oh and i love the big jake little jake in yoru picture