Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reflections on Ash Wednesday

Palm ashes and sacred oil annoint the forehead, blessing the third eye of inner vision, awakening the mind to remember there was a beginning and there will be an end.
Some Tibetan monks carry prayer beads in the shape of human skulls carved from bone, a reminder that earthly existence is transitory. Beads of bone guide their thoughts and actions. Ashes of palm leaves lead to repentance and the start of Lenten Fast, a journey of Death and Resurrection

To some it may seem morbid, even repulsive. Others shun the idea of repentance and self denial.
No one seeks to feel regret, sorrow or self-reproach. The ego is defensive against such realization.
But when one looks within, begins to remember, can be honest in self reflection, true growth begins.
Therefore, take upon yourself the ashes of remembrance that "you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
To repent past actions is to have a "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness."
Let it not be a cause of shame, but a doorway to discovery, an awakening to the reality beyond physical limitations. Yes, the physical body is of the earth and to the earth it will return. But you are more than flesh and bones. So much more. You are eternal.

To awaken the memory, consider the zen question, "What did you look like before you were born?"
Then ask yourself, "What will you look like when your body becomes dust?"
So much is given to the dust. What will you give to your soul?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Am I Doing This?

I am a monk by lifestyle and a hermit at heart, so why blog?

Well, to quote someone whose name I can't remember,

"We keep one foot in the traditional
and the other foot in the present.
In that way, we keep our balance."

We've come a long way since parchment and gall ink. A blog is form of communication as valid as any.

It is my prayer and hope this blog becomes a forum for inspiration and encouragment as I share the joys and challenges of walking a spiritual path in these uncertain times. I hope others will do the same.

So, a little about me. I am a solitary monk living in the world, paying rent, juggling bills, working a job just like everyone else. But my life is enhanced by prayer, devotion and daily meditation. I practice celibacy and simplicity. (and the more you practice the better you get at it) :-)

It's not an easy road, but it is rewarding. It is a challenging road, but has given me more than I had ever imagined.

As this blog unfolds, there will be more to share. Right now, just getting started, wondering if anyone will even chance upon this, or will it be just a cyber voice lost in the internet wilderness.