Our culture is rife with unproductive conversations about God and religion. Donald and I attempt to rectify this by sitting down and talking about our belief and unbelief in God.
Despite the social taboo against certain psychedelic and psychoactive drugs, the medical world is now experimenting on previously forbidden drugs with promising results. In this episode of Sacred Tension, I speak with Maggie Eli about her clinical trial on MDMA, AKA Molly or Ecstasy.Continue reading “Sacred Tension: When Maggie Met Molly”
Every morning, I haul myself out of bed, make breakfast, and then sit down at my computer to dedicate a portion of my day – 30 to 90 minutes – to writing. This is my Deep Work practice, and to me, it is sacred.
For my entire life, I’ve been driven by success. I measured success by the number of eyes that were watching me, by the number of mouths who sang my praises, by the number of laurels I collected. This blind, obsessive drive for success ranks as one of the top silent torturers of my psyche. It didn’t matter how many people read my work – it was never enough. It didn’t matter how perfected my vocal technique was when I was a lyric baritone, I was always more aware of the microscopic flaw than my general improvement.
For over a year now I’ve been describing myself as an Esoteric Christian. I adopted this terms before I fully understood what it meant, but I also knew that it was the best description of where I am in my faith journey. Whenever people ask me what an Esoteric Christian is, I jokingly respond, “it means I’m a Christian who’s into weird shit.”
Like many, I watched in horror as America elected a narcissistic bully as our next president. Like many, I was overwhelmed by despair, panic, and grief, and astonished by the intensity of my feelings. A serene voice in my head repeated, over and over, “There, there, things might not be that bad. We don’t know the future. Maybe he won’t be a complete unmitigated monster.” And yet I couldn’t curtail the horror, disgust, and panic that was rising within me. I couldn’t sleep, I drank too much, I was a morose basket case. I couldn’t get out of my head the circus of obscenities that we had all been exposed to: the abuses, the lies, the disregard for the beams of democracy, the Caligula-like grandiosity of Donald Trump. Now we are to live with such disgust – and whatever other follies may come – for the next four years.
In her book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Madeleine L’Engle writes,
When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening. I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all these deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator who brought them all into being; who brought me into being; and you.
This questioning of the meaning of being, and dying, and being, is behind the telling of stories around the tribal fires at night; behind the drawing of animals on the walls of caves; the singing of melodies of love in spring, and of the death of green in autumn. It is part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all of God’s creatures.
Every so often, a book appears that changes everything: the way you see God, yourself, and the world. The past two years have been my Season of Reading Consciousness Changing Books, but none have had such dramatic effect on me as Meditations on the Tarot by Anonymous.
American poet Mary Oliver begins her poem Wild Geese thusly:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Every so often, I find myself meditating on these lines. They represent a shift in my consciousness, a sea change in my faith and worldview. These words have been the theme of my growing up; of moving from boy to man.
“Wow” said the man, “you are still working at this store. I’m impressed. Most people with higher IQ’s don’t stay here very long.”
“Thanks?” I said, ringing him up.
“So what are you really doing with your life,” said another older gentleman as I bagged his groceries, “because clearly you’re just playing here.” I stared at him, irate.