Post Reply
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 12:53PM #1
Nico1089
Posts: 406
hi--It is the season of "lent". A catholic or christian tradition of 40 days of self-discipline before easter.
As kid growing up catholic, i never really understood what self-discipline was--lent was a season of sacrificing a bad habit (or restricting it--only one bottle of wine instead of two). It was things like no meat on fri. or weds, feeling good and worthy that you sacrificed while you stuffed yourself on candy bars.
i am no longer a catholic and with my heretical views i wouldn't call myself christian so as to avoid argument, yet lent is still an attractive tradition for me because it is one of the few seasons where self-discipline and sacrifice are openly spoken of.
  In my life i need discipline and sacrifice, they open me. My intellect must take control of my flesh as much as possible, lest i live only for the flesh. It is a struggle for me in many ways. i set the rules and follow them, yet i know i struggle with the "ego" part as much as saying it is god that allows me to keep the rule. Thus it is hard to talk about while controlling ego. Still, i have to--because i have done nothing else for god which has helped me abandon self will and desires, which has let him approach closer and given him room.
   It is not often i see the topic of fasting come up on these boards, except maybe in reference to promoting the heath of the flesh, which is the opposite reason that so many of the early church fathers and saints fasted. i am not trying to promote fasting, i am just confirming my solidarity with those who do and have and thank god for his and their help.--nicolo
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 2:19PM #2
wonderment
Posts: 580

nico1089 wrote:

hi--It is the season of "lent". A catholic or christian tradition of 40 days of self-discipline before easter.
In my life i need discipline and sacrifice, they open me. . . .

. . .Still, i have to--because i have done nothing else for god which has helped me abandon self will and desires, which has let him approach closer and given him room..--nicolo



Hi Nicolo, Lots of different things to ponder in your post. I love what you say about fasting and discipline and sacrifice as being a way for you of opening yourself to God - of drawing closer to Him. So many of your words often remind me of the Christian and Sufi mystics.

I guess I would say that my "way" is what would be called in Zen a way of no-way - a way of "cultivating the empty field", which to me is also a form of discipline; of opening to the Unknowable. To me, what's important in the mystic's life, in any life really, is not so much what we do but how we do it. Some come from a belief in God and sit (exist) with an earnest, open heart in that cloud of unknowing; some don't see a God as creator and sit (exist) with an earnest, open heart in that cloud of unknowing; and some just don't know one way or the other, and sit (exist) with an earnest, open heart in that cloud of unknowing.

As I see it, whatever approach to the Absolute is right for us, we simply and completely take it. We do what we have to do to "come to know" for ourselves and then we continue to clarify and deepen that understanding in our daily lives.

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 2:58PM #3
wonderment
Posts: 580
Back to lent. . .I remember it so well as a child. Each year I committed myself to it with all my heart, usually giving up my favorite thing: candy. My brother, on the other hand, because of parent pressure, had to give something up so it was usually broccoli or some such other green thing that he loathed.

So did lent "work" for him? Surely not in the Catholic intention of it. Did it work for me? Surely it did in the Catholic intention. But the thing was, my brother didn't believe in lent, so what would it have profited him to sacrifice? It had no inner meaning and he couldn't "make it" have any.

Looking at it today I think he was far better off and truer to himself not to sacrifice just because that's what "good Catholic boys and girls are suppose to do." In the final analysis no one knew what was going on inside my brother's heart but my brother. Of course it's only in retrospect that I can look at his actions from a different perspective. At the time, in my self-righteous, narrow way of seeing things I was very certain that he was in a speedboat heading straight for hell:)!

Anyway, I guess what I'm again attempting to say is that the intentions of the heart and the actions that result, even when those actions don't match up with the expectations of others, are what is most often "right" for us.
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 3:36PM #4
wonderment
Posts: 580

nico1089 wrote:

. . .My intellect must take control of my flesh as much as possible, lest i live only for the flesh. . . --nicolo



Hi again Nicolo, I told you your post gave me lots to ponder.
I find what you said about the intellect and the flesh very interesting because I see mind and body as not two. There is no way for me to separate them.

When my mind is free - when it is clear and open to life unfolding in each new moment, it simply enjoys all that the senses take in. It's one with them. It's only when I want to hold on to what the eye sees, or the mind thinks, or the ear hears; etc, that desire has taken over and the mind is then spinning its latest tale. It's attached and wants to stick with and elaborate on an experience instead of opening anew and coming back to now.

In other words, when I can just be life, the flesh doesn't control my mind. I look at the senses as simply and perfectly the openings through which I can be an active participant in the ever-changing wonder that is Life.

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 5:15PM #5
Nico1089
Posts: 406
hi wonder, yes the mind and body are one and i am not trying to separate them. It's a matter of control. It would be easy for me to do whatever the body wants to give it pleasure, for a long time it was my main motivation. For some folks, pleasure, power and pride is their motivation with only social norms and economics holding them in check. You might say they live according to the flesh and the mind is merely it's tool.
  John of the cross explains two dark nights of detachment--one is the physical, and the other spiritual. It is easy to become attached to spiritual pleasures, forgetting they are only accidental to our intentions and gauge our progress on them.
Yes lots of mystics from all schools have used self discipline to keep desires and wants subdued. i cannot think of one who hadn't. It is not an end in itself, it seems to verify intention backing up words with action. i do not have to pray, nor do i have to fast. In me they strengthen each other as god allows.--nicolo
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 9:21PM #6
FantasiaSmith
Posts: 284
Hello, Lovely People!

Hi, Nico!

nico1089 wrote:

hi--It is the season of "lent". A catholic or christian tradition of 40 days of self-discipline before easter.
As kid growing up catholic, i never really understood what self-discipline was--lent was a season of sacrificing a bad habit (or restricting it--only one bottle of wine instead of two). It was things like no meat on fri. or weds, feeling good and worthy that you sacrificed while you stuffed yourself on candy bars.
i am no longer a catholic and with my heretical views i wouldn't call myself christian so as to avoid argument, yet lent is still an attractive tradition for me because it is one of the few seasons where self-discipline and sacrifice are openly spoken of.
  In my life i need discipline and sacrifice, they open me. My intellect must take control of my flesh as much as possible, lest i live only for the flesh. It is a struggle for me in many ways. i set the rules and follow them, yet i know i struggle with the "ego" part as much as saying it is god that allows me to keep the rule. Thus it is hard to talk about while controlling ego. Still, i have to--because i have done nothing else for god which has helped me abandon self will and desires, which has let him approach closer and given him room.
   It is not often i see the topic of fasting come up on these boards, except maybe in reference to promoting the heath of the flesh, which is the opposite reason that so many of the early church fathers and saints fasted. i am not trying to promote fasting, i am just confirming my solidarity with those who do and have and thank god for his and their help.--nicolo



Lent is for me a time to think about the directions I'm going, the things I need to improve in my life and my thinking...  the bad habits I'd like to lose, or at least practice losing.

Fasting has never been an issue with me, because I rarely remember to eat.  I don't intend to fast -- I just forget that my body needs food until my blood sugar gets so low that I nearly pass out.  Oops!  :rolleyes:

I've often wished I could give up smoking for Lent, but never been able to.  Instead, I've given up other things that seemed to be bad for me, too, like chocolate.

This year I took a different tack.  I decided to give up a bad mental habit rather than a physical one...  so for Lent 2008 I'm giving up "complacency".

Love and Light and Blessings to you and to all of you!

Claudia

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 10:11PM #7
Nico1089
Posts: 406
hi Claudia,  It's wonderful the things you brought up. Most times when alone i also forget to eat. Not that i'm praying or such, i am just busy with reading or music or other hobbies since i've retired. On the other hand, when my daughter is with me, (she is diabetic and ten years old) i am more concious of of time to remind her to check her blood--she hasn't passed out but has had very low blood sugars if she forgets to eat.
  Now complacency reminds me of a song sung by Nancy Griffith, a folk singer. She cannot understand how anyone could be complacent. i guess i can't either, i would have to be complacent to understand it. Give it up forever.
    i'm not giving up anything for lent that i don't want in the first place, haha. i smoke also. To me tobacco has always been a token of friendship and it still is. If it bothers someone around me, i don't smoke. i usually smoke when writing, not reading. And an ashtray is also beside the computer. Funny, my kid was the only kid in school to make an ashtray as a ceramics project, i still have it. Works good.
i  brought up the term lent because of the tradition in the calendar, the forty days has so many interpetations. Fasting might be voluntary or involuntary--food or some other thing or convienience. You ever have your refridgerator break? That's involuntary. If you decide to live in the mountains with no electric that's voluntary. Does voluntary stuff take away from the involuntary or can you dedicate a voluntary fast for someone. Why does it seem so? Accepting the involunary as voluntary--does that not smack of complacency or is it healing and turning the other cheek? Is that what lent is about?--nicolo
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 11:24PM #8
FantasiaSmith
Posts: 284
Hello, Lovely People!

Hi, Nico!

You asked some very good questions here... 

hi Claudia,  It's wonderful the things you brought up. Most times when alone i also forget to eat. Not that i'm praying or such, i am just busy with reading or music or other hobbies since i've retired. On the other hand, when my daughter is with me, (she is diabetic and ten years old) i am more concious of of time to remind her to check her blood--she hasn't passed out but has had very low blood sugars if she forgets to eat.

I'm too "complacent" about my own blood sugars! 

-- And my beloved ex-husband was Type II diabetic, so I know about the blood-sugar schedule...  He'd always get upset at me for forgetting, but I'm terrible at keeping track of the time...

Now complacency reminds me of a song sung by Nancy Griffith, a folk singer. She cannot understand how anyone could be complacent. i guess i can't either, i would have to be complacent to understand it. Give it up forever.


I'm a newbie to Mysticism, and the first thing I learned is that I've been taking a LOT for granted in my life, thinking I knew the truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth...  when it just ain't so.  My Lord, all that I've been missing!  I had stopped exploring spiritually, because I thought that I already had all I needed to grow within myself... 

But now whole new worlds have opened up for me, and ideas I held so firmly just a month or two ago have disappeared like smoke on the wind...

Complacency is the soul-killer.  If you aren't growing, my local swami says, you're dying...  and he's right.  I was dying...  and I could feel it, but I didn't know the cause.

     i'm not giving up anything for lent that i don't want in the first place, haha. i smoke also. To me tobacco has always been a token of friendship and it still is. If it bothers someone around me, i don't smoke. i usually smoke when writing, not reading. And an ashtray is also beside the computer. Funny, my kid was the only kid in school to make an ashtray as a ceramics project, i still have it. Works good.

My daughter made me an ashtray when she was in kindergarten.  I still have it -- unused -- and cherish it with love and humor because at the time she made it, I didn't smoke!  :D   (I quit when I was pregnant with her, and didn't start again for ten years.)


i  brought up the term lent because of the tradition in the calendar, the forty days has so many interpetations. Fasting might be voluntary or involuntary--food or some other thing or convienience. You ever have your refridgerator break? That's involuntary. If you decide to live in the mountains with no electric that's voluntary. Does voluntary stuff take away from the involuntary or can you dedicate a voluntary fast for someone. Why does it seem so? Accepting the involunary as voluntary--does that not smack of complacency or is it healing and turning the other cheek? Is that what lent is about?--nicolo


If something is involuntary... then there isn't really a choice about it, is there?  And if no choice...  well, I guess you can still decide to dedicate your attitude about it to someone you love.

What I mean is, supposing you forgot your lunch when you went to work one day, and you didn't have the option of getting some fast food?  So you could go without lunch, and match your grumbles to the rumble in your stomach...  or you could say to yourself, "I'm going to dedicate my lunch-fast to God, and be so cheerful and sunny to all my co-workers that none of them will guess how much I miss my lunch!"

I'm thinking that would be as nice a gift to God as voluntarily going without lunch.  What do you think?

Love and Light and Blessings to you and to all of you!

Claudia
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 12:09PM #9
pilahawaiian
Posts: 452
Spring is a time for new birth. Fasting is the best way to be reborn, start the new year off with a good cleanse.

If you fast and do enemas for 40 days, God will be so Happy, that he will enter his Holy Temple and hang his Holy Image so You the Son of God can see it anytime you like.

God's Holy Temple will be without diseases and you as a Son of God can walk and be in the Kingdom on Earth.

Fear is the Greatest Killer of man kind, Fear will kill a thought before it can be manifested into a reality.
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 1:10PM #10
BBarton
Posts: 1,670
Hi Everyone.  I liked Nico's self dicsipline thoughts.  I like fasting on Wednesdays and that started on an Ash Wednesday a long time ago. 

This year I'm giving up church attendance for Lent.  I refuse to see him other than victorious and enthroned in heaven and my heart.  I refuse to see my self as an anual wretch; because I'll have wretched thoughts, words, and deeds.  I what to be godly, think, speak, and do good n the kingdom.

Religion can blame themselves instead of me this time.  Afterall wasn't it religious officials conniving with government that killed him?  I seem to remember the people laying palms at his feet and shading him from the sun with them. 

I know it had to happen, so that today we aren't publicly executed or beaten; just ridiculed at worst. 

Not only does religion refuse to enter the Kingdom, they keep all the people out; encouraging to live it after they die!
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook