Comments are closed for this entry
View All
Favorites
Bloggers
Recency  | 
Popularity
Page:  « First  ‹ Previous  1 2 3 4 5  Next ›  Last »  (8 total)
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
toto62
Tolerance of intolerance is not a virtue.
09:37 AM on 01/07/2011
"In that moment of connection, one can clearly see that the annoyances and upsets are actually wake up calls pulling us out of our self-involvement and in to relationship."

How true.
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
09:37 AM on 01/07/2011
Or, Rabbi, you may have simply stepped upon a foot that was injured or particularly painful...and it is not the interuption of his meditation that ellicited his reaction...but rather the pain of having his foot stepped on.

While I agree with the basic premise of your article....you cannot help the poor if you are poor yourself. You can do nothing substantive to aid the "messiness" of the world if your own inner world is a part of the problem.

While spirituality-in-service-of-Ego is a problem...traditional Judaism and Christianity have been every bit as much a part of the problem as the flakiest New Age fad. Because neither tradition---in contemporary times---has provided much leadership (or a consistent method of spritual practice) that helps people to settle their INNER world to the point where they FEEL the inter-connection with their fellow human beings. Thus act in the world knowing (at a gut level) that whatever they do to someone else, they do to themselves...and vice-versa.

Acting without that realization...reduces any actions to a list of "should's". Which is simply the flip-side of the Ego. Because it lays the foundation for "specialness" (righteousness) or self-condemnation.

Love FIRST...then do as they will. But the love must be genuine and visceral...and contemplative practice lays the foundation for that love to become a visceral reality...rather than a concept or belief.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
photo
chaya
Another proud veteran
12:50 PM on 01/07/2011
I'm not sure you actually know a whole lot about Judaism. You criticize it for not providing people with the means to settle peoples "inner world" and "feel" the interconnection with other people. That's actually not the aim of Jewish practice. The aim of Jewish practice is to do mitzvot. To perform obligations. To do certain things and not to do other things. It is a way of living and behaving in the real world. The "inner world" becomes settled through service to God's world, treating yourself and others well, and so forth--not special spiritual practices that light your conscience up like some kind of light switch. It's through work, exercise, play, love, service, enjoyment, learning, courtesy, humility, and generosity that we "feel" interconnection with others.
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
02:03 PM on 01/07/2011
His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet is both the temporal leader of Tibet...as well as the spiritual leader of one of Tibetan Buddhism's largest sects. As a Buddhist monk, he has been doing "special spiritual practices that light up his consciousness" for at least 4 hours a day for over 70 years.

What graces (that you see as the product of sacred service) is it that you would argue that this man is lacking in?

The inner world is settled by coming to see-and-accept the true nature of this world and our part in it as human beings. The insubstantiality of form. The emphermal nature of sensory pleasures. Our fundamental inter-connectedness with all things.

No matter how you get there. There are many ways to get there...all of which are valid. But not all roads to get there are suitable for everyone, or suitable to any one particular person or temperment.

Part of spiritual leadership (imo) is understanding this....and not handicapping whole segments of the human race by insisting that there is only one right way.
01:06 PM on 01/07/2011
You wrote, "neither tradition in contemporary times has provided much leadership (or a consistent method of spiritual practice) that helps people to settle their INNER world to the point where they FEEL the inter-connection with their fellow human beings."
What is this opinion based on? I can speak in detail about Jewish practice, which has been developed methodically over 3 thousand years specifically to do what you claim it does not. The prayer service was designed to bring people though the "levels of world" until they stand in the presence of Spirit/God. These are done three times a day, and the commandment is to do them with "intentionality". There is also a 2,500 year tradition of meditation, called hitbon'nut and hitbod'dut, translated as "self isolation" and "self knowledge" and there are many, many places that offer this type of meditation. These practices are detailed explorations of the inner world, with the intention of finding the "still, small voice". There are also the ritual and moral commandments, which make us more sensitive to others, and feel the sacredness of the “mundane”.
Please, I encourage you to look in to such things before forming such a fixed opinion.
Rabbi Alan
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
01:50 PM on 01/07/2011
Which is helpful to someone who---like myself---has more of an introverted, contemplative nature.

But what about the intellectual who wants to think about and analyze everything...or the energetic extrovert who can't sit still long enough to engage in these practices? Does the tradition have something to offer these people...or do they simply get lost to the tradition? Do they simply decide that it is not relevant to their lives, and stop showing up.

With all due respect rabbi, I consider part of spiritual leadership is in recognizing that not all spiritual practices are suitable for everyone...and having a wide variety available such that aspirants can work WITH their flaws-and-tendencies...rather than being forced to suppress or ignore them.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
photo
09:26 AM on 01/07/2011
I am not sure why I read this article, to tell the truth; Perhaps because I am curious about anything written anywhere. I am not Religious in the strict sense of other people's practices---same with Spirituality. I always laugh when I fill a "profile" somewhere and they want to know what Religion I practice, since I don't practice any--but, mindful of a potential reader, I go for the sure thing: Spirituality.
You know: "Oh, I am not religious, I am Spiritual"....what DOES that mean? Plenty, trust me. Women lave that "word?"....Back to the Article, did I waste my time? NO---It's stored somewhere in my memory bank, where IT will stand in line, together with other entries, waiting to be called to...back ME up.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
edgySF
I am as God created me
08:29 AM on 01/07/2011
Interesting article, and I appreciate the topic.

However, though I disagree with the gentleman who hissed "watch it buddy," I do have a different take on his reaction.

Arriving late to a group meditation is disrespectful. If you can't make it on time, then perhaps you're not meant to attend.

Group meditation is a sacred space. The sacredness is lost when casual latecomers distract participants.

The guy was probably having a hard day, and reacted poorly. But he was there to get help. Instead of chuckling at the irony, it might have been more productive to have compassion for the him, and see your part of the event.
09:03 AM on 01/07/2011
good points.
A clarification about Jewish prayer services, though. People come in at many times, and few arrive at the very beginning. My wife and I were actually one of the earliest arrivals, and the meditation was part of the early service.
Irony and compassion are not at odds with each other, and quite often are brothers. It is when we see the irony that we can laugh, and that leads to compassion - for the other and ourselves. I did not mean in any way to condemn this person, but to use the example as a very human situation. Chances are that if I had been meditating and someone stepped on my toe I'd be annoyed too, especially if I had a difficult day and was looking forward to a little peace. The point of spiritual practices, though, is to help us reframe these annoyances and to awaken us to the present.
Of course I could be wrong...
Thank you again for your thoughtful comment, and wishing you well,
Alan
10:27 PM on 01/08/2011
Amen! You COULD be WRONG. Thanks Edgy for your unbiased insight. Faved
photo
HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Ed and Deb Shapiro
09:53 AM on 01/07/2011
all life is sacred - all life is meditation

There is no need to get precious here edgySF - coming and going during meditation retreats etc. is normal -

what happens if someone needs to go to the toilet

also

meditation is more sacred if you can be still in the middle of chaos

May all people be happy and free from suffering!
11:19 AM on 01/07/2011
Hi Ed and Deb,
thank you for your insightful input, and it's always great to hear from a fellow HuffPo blogger (especially a couple: my wife and I also teach together, and know that a consciously committed relationship is the most powerful tool for positive transformation - although often quite painful, and sublime).
wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and ABUNDANT New Year!
affectionately,
Alan
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
photo
JohnFromCensornati
Wake up! It's 1984.
03:33 PM on 01/07/2011
"meditation is more sacred if you can be still in the middle of chaos"

When is it most sacred?
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
photo
JohnFromCensornati
Wake up! It's 1984.
08:12 AM on 01/07/2011
Where do you run?
Where do you go when the holes in your truth are starting to show?
And the rain comes and the world is on my head
Crave the sun but I can’t get out of bed
Want it
You got it
You’re sorry you bought it
Can’t hide it
Tell me who do you see?
‘Cause you look a lot like me
-Offspring
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
FredBrighton
up the establishment!
07:27 AM on 01/07/2011
"I'm a spiritual person" it proclaims proudly. "I travel to alternate realities, see auras, heal chakras, predict the future, talk to spirits, commune with angels, manipulate energies" What if, as a shaman, this statement is the truth? It is nothing to be proud of, it's just what I do. I am not more "evolved" because you can do these things, too, but you don't know how and don't seem to want to know how. As far as talking to spirits, they come to me, I don't call them! Don't get tense with me in my spirituality, I'm just doing what the One seems to want me to.
09:15 AM on 01/07/2011
Hi Fred,
The difference, as I see it, is the word "proudly". Ego wants to impress, while spirit wants to serve. From my tradition, a good example is Moses. After his contact with the Divine, he didn't run home and tell folks, "You'll never believe what happened to ME! I was chosen by God. Isn't that amazing!!". Instead, he traveled back to the land of slavery and got to work. The Bible itself says that Moses was the humblest man on the face of the Earth. This is not "I'm not worthy" humility, which is often simply an ego stance, but is the humility to realize that it's not about me - at least not me in the way that I've thought of myself.

ps, one of my beloved teachers is a Shaman. She is connected to Spirit at very high levels, and helps guide me. She is also incredibly humble, and only reveals her spiritual experiences if she feels it will be of help to me, and always in gratitude
kellygreen
"Ideology is the Science of Idiots" John Adams
09:47 AM on 01/07/2011
The Ego also wants to judge, Rabbi.

The Ego is about maintain seperation so that it can preserve distinctness from the world around It. The Ego doesn't care how it manufactures this seperateness, only that it manages to create it.

Pride. Judgement. Self-effacement (there can be no effacement without a sense of one being seperate from others), self-condemnation are all the ways in which the Ego seeks to preserve itself, while redirecting our attention outward. So that we see the problem as being "out there" somewhere.

In Zen, we teach that first comes realization of our Essential Nature....no seperate, enduring sense of self...which can either come instantly, or after years of meditation.

But after that comes the work of EMBODYING the characteristics of that True Nature...which is often a life-long process.

One cannot embody, what one does not yet realize (and accept) at a gut-level. If someone is serious about contemplative practice (regardless of tradition) that realization WILL come in time. Imo, an equally legitimate aspect of "true spirituality" is the acceptance of where people are in the course of their personal journey.

You don't compare someone who is just starting to take up riding a bike everyday to Lance Armstrong.
09:25 AM on 01/07/2011
you wrote,
"because you can do these things, too, but you don't know how and don't seem to want to know how."
with respect, Fred, if you spoke to Spirit you would not have written that, for several reasons. Perhaps something to look at.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
FredBrighton
up the establishment!
08:55 AM on 01/08/2011
Again, with mutual respect, Rabbi: You can do everything any shaman can do. You need to go through training, have a vision quest maybe... but I am saying shamanism is the oldest religion and it is based on the human spirit, and all humans have that spirit. I said that "you don't know how" just because you didn't indicate any first hand knowledge of such things. I did not mean it as a bold statement of fact but more how I see it right now. You are a Rabbi, so I suspect you aren't inclined to eat peyote and sit on a mountaintop watching the sun rise... it doesn't have to peyote, you can do it without drugs, but it helps if you already know the way.
06:42 AM on 01/07/2011
It is noteworthy how much spiritual narcissism this article brought forth.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
08:12 AM on 01/07/2011
ahhhh the smugness of self love...lol
12:28 PM on 01/07/2011
I could not help but think the same thing.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
02:24 AM on 01/07/2011
Salvation is through sanctification by the Spirit (of Ha Shem) and faith in the truth.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
photo
JohnFromCensornati
Wake up! It's 1984.
06:08 AM on 01/07/2011
Did you watch "A Serious Man" yesterday?
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
06:56 AM on 01/07/2011
No.
02:20 AM on 01/07/2011
Q: "Close your eyes and breathe in the peace of Shabbat" + "And on the out-breathe imagine that you are sending healing love to all beings."

R: Imho [if I would be a Palestinian child], I wouldn't wait for the moment when the air flows out, as we have witnessed during Operation Cast Lead. Just a non-spiritual observation.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
12:48 AM on 01/07/2011
WOW! I have always struggled to explain the discrepancies between spiritual practices and every day living. You nailed it on the head in this article rabbi. I'm not Jewish and come from a Christian background, but this article rings true for all belief systems. I left the church due to my anger with parishioners and their facile lifestyles. They can praise God (looking very authentic and sincere), then 10 minutes later cuss someone out in the parking lot because of road rage. How in the world is that possible? I now realize that I was wrong to judge them (spiritual narcissism) and practice a more ascetic spirituality. My goal is just to be a loving person. It is much harder than it sounds. To be a truly loving person takes more than just attending Sunday service. One really does have to transform their thinking, beliefs, and practices. Extremely tough. I have prayed intently for understanding into this concept of unconditional love. It is the only way and our purpose if we are to move forward.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Eileenla
12:43 AM on 01/07/2011
Beautiful article. Thank you.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Klarsonent
Semi-retired landlady, small business entrepreneur
12:28 AM on 01/07/2011
I think the Rabbi Alan Lurie's article is partially right. But, as a Christian, I disagree, in part, with his statement, "In other words, spirituality is experienced -- it is not a concept or construct. It transforms us. It changes how we act, think and feel in all environments. And it is a connection -- a profound contact with something and someone outside of our selves." especially, the last phrase - "a profound contact with something and someone outside of ourselves." Instead, I believe what Jesus said is true: "Lo, do not look here or there, for the kingdom of God [heaven] is within you." Another comment made by the Rabbi troubled me a bit: "As we moved to our seats, I accidentally stepped on his toe. He quickly turned toward me; his smile vanished and he angrily hissed, "Hey, watch it, buddy!" This is a pretty "normal" response when someone steps on your toe. After all, these are not "saints" who are meditating. They are people who are aspiring to learn a process that will help them on their Spiritual path.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
01:08 AM on 01/07/2011
That's why I'm not Christian. Well, not the 21st century definition of Christian. If Christ were a visiting parishioner, he would not recognize about 99% of Christians in America.

Funny, I practice Brazilian jiu jitsu and when someone steps on my toe, my response is usually ouch! I know it was an accident. One would think with the aggression going on it would be the perfect environment to hiss, but it rarely happens. Now, in a church setting when someone steps on your toe, don't you know it is an accident? If not an accident Jesus says to smile, offer your other toe to be smashed. Take up jiu jitsu, if someone steps on your toe, then it is perfectly fine to chastize them with a nice collar choke lol
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Klarsonent
Semi-retired landlady, small business entrepreneur
11:21 AM on 01/07/2011
I agree with your statement, "If Christ were a visiting parishione r, he would not recognize about 99% of Christians in America."

Although I am a follower of Jesus, I don't attend or belong to any organized church.
01:25 AM on 01/07/2011
No, this is not a "pretty normal response". Most people I know would simply cringe (if it was painful) or draw away their foot (if it was not painful); and these are (mostly) people who are not "spiritual". If the person apologized, they would smile and accept the apology. I've never in my life snapped at someone who accidentally stepped on my toe or done anything similar. Perhaps YOU are particularly quick to anger?
On the whole I thought the article brilliant. I to have noticed this naricissim among the New Age folk; as well as with popular psycgology which repeats the mantra Love Yourself! over and over again.
The best teaching on the subject of ego-self vs Self can be found in Advaita Vedanta, in particular through the teaching of Ramana Maharshi. That was a man who was permanently in a state of love and compassion for all creatures; who in fact saw no difference whatsoever between himself and others, whether that "other" was a prince or a pauper. A perfect example of Self-love in action.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
01:49 AM on 01/07/2011
Really? I can honestly say that I have snapped at someone in a similar situation. And it will possibly happen again. Why? Because I'm human. However, I have never met anyone that denies snapping. Amazing!

It's hard to yoke the ego and perhaps I am quick to anger, but that is relative.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Klarsonent
Semi-retired landlady, small business entrepreneur
11:24 AM on 01/07/2011
It's not a "normal" response for everyone, my friend. However, it certainly shouldn't be all that surprising, whether it's in a church or anywhere else. As I mentioned in my post, these people are not "SAINTS," they are there to learn. So, don't expect them to act like they are saints.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
aqueryan
Neo-gnostic, radical centrist
12:23 AM on 01/07/2011
"When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them."

God... I love that quote. And it really emphasizes the essentially figurative nature of meaningful spiritual verbal expression.
photo
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
aqueryan
Neo-gnostic, radical centrist
12:18 AM on 01/07/2011
"My acting definition [of "spirituality"] is, 'The experience of a transformative connection.' In other words, spirituality is experienced -- it is not a concept or construct. It transforms us. It changes how we act, think and feel in all environments. And it is a connection -- a profound contact with something and someone outside of our selves."

Very nice. However, I would clarify that while I concur that spirituality is an experience of transformative connection as opposed to being a mere concept or construct, if one does indeed experience said transformative connection, one will find that said experience of transformative connection CAN be - and throughout time HAS been - interpersonally communicated conceptually or as a construct. BUT NOT LITERALLY!!!!!! [note: to grok this is of paramount importance] Rather, SO(U)LELY as a FIGURATIVE (AND I would add, IRONIC) conceptualization/construct.

Hopefully, the necessarily cryptic point I'm attempting to make is perceived as being expressed cogently... even if, paradoxically it can't help but cause confusion.

Any (honest) questions? If so, I'll field 'em.
11:58 PM on 01/06/2011
Thank you for your wisdom, your kindness and you candor. We are all on the same journey, and it is so good to share sign posts along the way.