Friday, May 25, 2018

Calm Waters

In recent days two of my friends have checked up on me because they have not heard from me and I have not published any new blogs.  They were concerned about my well being.  I now realize that it has been almost three weeks since I have written on this blog.

Let me assure everyone who cares about me that I am alive and well.  My lack of writing is actually an indication of calmness in my life.  Looking back over the last few months most of my blogs were me venting over my daily existential angst as I transitioned from a busy working life to a life of relative leisure in retirement.

What have I been doing?

One or two days a week I have breakfast or lunch with friends.  A couple of weeks ago I had a particularly enjoyable lunch with two monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani.  I have known these brothers for many years.  When I was a very young novice in the monastery they were also part of the community.  One of them actually interviewed me when I first applied to be accepted into the monastery.  Earlier this week I had coffee with another friend I have not seen in quite a while.  We first met in the early 80's when we worked together in ministry at a local parish.

When needed I take care of household chores like grocery shopping or cooking.

I am also taking what I call Zen walks in the park three or four days a week.  These walks are enjoyable for me and I believe I have even lost a few pounds.

This week I attended the third class of a philosophy class entitled "Integral Spirituality".  It is basically an overview of the thinking of Ken Wilber and his book A Brief History Of Everything.  I find the reading assignments challenging due to the density and style of the writing but the lectures from the Passionist priest teaching the class are very enjoyable and easily understood.  

When I am not sharing a meal with friends, going to class, or walking in the park, I practice mindfulness meditation twice a day, I read from the pile of books on my table, and I occasionally take a nap.  After a few months of struggle adjusting to retirement I now have a comfortable routine and sometimes I even feel a little busy.

This week, sadly, has been a little tough.  My wife's best friend and workday "lunch buddy" died only six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  He was 51 years old and leaves behind a wife and two college age sons.  His funeral is in the morning.

I knew if I kept trying my retirement would work out and everything would be fine.  

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Integral Spirituality/A Brief History Of Everything


Next week I am beginning a five week course called "Integral Spirituality".  I am been trying to get in better physical shape by being more active.  Now it is time to stretch my brain and challenge my intellect a little more.  This looks very interesting and I expect to also meet some very interesting people in the class.  Only people like me would sign up for such a class! 

This course employs the work of Ken Wilber to offer a multidimensional perspective on how meditation enhances the evolution of consciousness and personal transformation. It presents an easy-to-grasp map of human consciousness. Content includes: the integral vision, spiral dynamics, four corners of reality, stages of human development, the formation of the self, and integral life practices. 

Here are some comments I pulled from Amazon....

"In this 20th-anniversary edition of the bestselling work, Wilber takes readers on a journey from the Big Bang to the future, impressively synthesizing multiple fields of study. He organizes his material to fit its evolutionary nature, feeding off of what came before in order to provide a transformational ‘unified theory’ of history. Readers will gain new perspective on what they know, or think they know, about every possible discipline.”—Publishers Weekly

"Ken Wilber is a national treasure. No one is working at the integration of Eastern and Western wisdom literature with such depth or breadth of mind and heart as he." —Robert Kegan, Professor of Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and author of In Over Our Heads

"When Ken Wilber’s thought walks through your mind, the door to the next higher level becomes visible. Anyone seeking to update the wisdom traditions of their lineage needs his reality and consciousness maps. The kabbalah of the future will lean on Ken’s work." —Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"Ken Wilber is today’s greatest philosopher and both critic and friend to authentic religion, a true postmodern Thomas Aquinas." —Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation

"In the ambitiously titled A Brief History of Everything, Wilber continues his search for the primary patterns that manifest in all realms of existence. Like Hegel in the West and Aurobindo in the East, Wilber is a thinker in the grand systematic tradition, an intellectual adventurer concerned with nothing less than the whole course of evolution, life's ultimate trajectory—in a word, everything. . . . Combining spiritual sensitivity with enormous intellectual understanding and a style of elegance and clarity, A Brief History of Everything is a clarion call for seeing the world as a whole, much at odds with the depressing reductionism of trendy Foucault-derivative academic philosophy. "—San Francisco Chronicle