Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Beating Heart of Life

"To live passionately with the paradox of the absolute and the relative, of nothing and everything, of personal and impersonal, of being the ocean and, at exactly the same time, being a unique and never-to-be-repeated wave of that ocean, to see the mystery and even the joke and the joy in this paradox, to dance with it without trying to ‘solve’ it or come to extreme mental conclusions about it, is the beating heart of this creative adventure that we call life.

The Absolute is not absolute, it relativizes itself absolutely, and that is the essence of love.”

Jeff Foster

The boundaries of the Mind

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You will never imprison my mind

Field of Compassion

Field of Compassion was written by Judy Cannato, who was also the author of Radical Amazement. The Adult Forum met to discuss Cannato’s book last winter (2012). In this, her last book before she died, Cannato calls us to action. She asks us to focus our energies to help shape our world with compassion. She reminds us that salvation is not about escaping death but knowing that death is just another fact of life, an endless cycle propelled by infinite love. 

Cannato weaves the story of the universe into a tapestry, affirming in her story that we are all connected in the web of life. She discusses how stories are powerful containers for the energies of life. Those stories have the power to draw us in because they invite us to act. Cannato thinks that we exist uncomfortably between two stories, the story of religion and the story of science. She suggests that we need to write a new story, a story that affirms our current, transcendent experience. This is a story that can inspire us to embrace a compassionate awakened consciousness, enabling us to make decisions that benefit all of humanity.

Cannato proposes that one way to facilitate understanding of our new “Universe Story” is to develop a unified view of the world using the concept of “morphogenic fields” and holons. She takes the time to carefully describe these two concepts. She borrows the concept of “morphogenic fields” from Rupert Sheldrake, a British biologist of the 20th century, who believed that living creatures can hold information which relates to memories and habits. Morphogenic fields can be thought of as fields of information that are related to the universe. 

Cannato further describes Arthur Koestler’s concept of a holon, a “whole-part” that has four characteristics: self-preservation, self-adaption, self-transcendence and self-dissolution. She states that in the universe every “morphogenic field” is a “holon” and vice versa. For Cannato the image of the morphogenic field/holon can be coupled with a process she describes as “morphic resonance” to understand the new Universal Story that we are creating. She believes that we are already living and moving through the new Universal Story of increased compassion and that if we recognize that and live our lives in that manner, then the universe and humanity will be better for it. 

Cannato also refers to the Kingdom of God as the “evolutionary development that has occurred within the Christian tradition” that has at its heart the message of Jesus. She states that the Kingdom of God is with us right here and now. This Kingdom of God is a gift from God and that must be cared for and nurtured. Cannato believes that the Kingdom of God has five characteristics. The Kingdom of God: 

● requires effort on the part of the receiver

● involves responsible and caring relationships 

● includes family, but not automatically 

● is risky and costly 

● involves self-transcendence, and 

● involves a can-do attitude, but releases us from whatever bondage that straps us to our old ways. Cannato believes that the Kingdom of God has the power to release us, with hope and courage, to become change agents. 

In the remaining chapters Cannato discusses the emerging capacities that she believes will help each of us grow the “Field of Compassion.” They include the concepts of meditation, intention, compassion, and grace which can create in us an active transcendence. 

Although this call to individual and universal transformation covers difficult subjects, Cannato helps along every step of the way by giving us prayers and contemplative questions at the end of each chapter. These allow us to personally mediate on our response to the subjects presented. She also liberally spices us her book with incredibly rich examples and quotes from the Bible and other sources, including Thomas Merton, Diarmuid O’Murchu, Albert Schweitzer, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and the Dali Lama. I will end my review with one such quote from Chief Seattle: 

“This we know. The earth does not belong to people. People belong to the earth. This we know. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the people of the earth. We did not weave the web of life. We are but a mere strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” 

Reviewed by Donna Suchy 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ignorance is a Choice

Like a Hammer Shattering Rock

Megan McKenna has used her gifts of insight to help us take a fresh look at the role of the Gospels in contemporary church life. I found her observations very challenging. They called me to think “outside of the box” as the expression goes and to look for truth in areas I had not considered previously. We have much to gain in pondering what she presents, even if we might find some of her reflections challenging or disturbing. Ours are times of great upheaval. We are called to revisit the very foundations of our faith as we scrutinize the signs of the times. I trust that many readers will find her reflections a fertile field to till in our search for further and richer truth.

+Remi J. De Roo

Fr. Richard Rohr: Finding God in the Depths of Silence



Rohr shares his perspective on Silence as the only thing broad enough and deep enough to hold all of the contradictions and paradoxes of Full Reality and our own reality, too. 99.9% of the known universe is silent, and it is in this space that the force fields of life and compassion dwell and expand. We can live there too!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What is Systems Thinking?

"Systems thinking is a way of understanding reality that emphasizes the relationships among a system's parts, rather than the parts themselves."

Why Is Systems Thinking Important?

"Because it can help you design smart, enduring solutions to problems. In its simplest sense, systems thinking gives you a more accurate picture of reality, so that you can work with a system's natural forces... It also encourages you to think about problems and solutions with an eye toward the long view—for example, how might a particular solution you're considering play out over the long run? And what unintended consequences might it have? Finally, systems thinking is founded on some basic, universal principles that you will begin to detect in all arenas of life once you learn to recognize them."

What Are Systems?

"A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. Systems are everywhere—for example, the R&D department in your organization, the circulatory system in your body, the predator/prey relationships in nature, the ignition system in your car, and so on. Ecological systems and human social systems are living systems; human-made systems such as cars and washing machines are nonliving systems.

Most systems thinkers focus their attention on living systems, especially human social systems. However, many systems thinkers are also interested in how human social systems affect the larger ecological systems in our planet."

Systems have several defining characteristics:

• Every system has a purpose within a larger system.

• All of a system's parts must be present for the system to carry out its purpose optimally.

• A system's parts must be arranged in a specific way for the system to carry out its purpose.

• Systems change in response to feedback."

~The Systems Thinker Newsletter~

Text source: Link

Oil and mining industry in Chad and Colombia


In this film Jakeline (Colombia) and Urbain (Chad) show the impact of oil and mining industry in Chad and Colombia and how their communities have to fight poverty despite rich resources. Tht to know what is earned and hold their governments accountable. Therefore they call for transparency and fair rules in the extractives trade.

Is the Name of God the Sound of Breathing?


Vastness through Love

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Greatest Threat

“Peace of Mind” Is a Contradiction in Terms

“Beginner’s mind” is actually someone who’s not in their mind at all! They are people who can immediately experience the naked moment apart from filtering it through any mental categories. Such women and men are capable of simple presence to what is right in front of them without “thinking” about it too much. This must be what Jesus means by little children already being in the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3-4). They don’t think much, they just experience the moment—good and bad. That teaching alone should have told us that Christianity was not supposed to be about believing doctrines and moralities. Children do not believe theologies or strive for moral certitudes. They respond vulnerably and openly to what is offered them moment by moment. This is pure presence, and is frankly much more demanding than securing ourselves with our judgments.
Presence cannot be easily defined. Presence can only be experiencedBut I know this: True presence to someone or something allows them or it to change me and influence me—before I try to change them or it!
Beginner’s mind is pure presence to each moment before I label it, critique it, categorize it, exclude it, or judge it up or down. That is a whole new way of thinking and living. It is the only mind that has the power to actually reform religion.

Richard Rohr