Monthly Archives: January 2012

This I Pray

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by Adetoyese

Dear friends,

I am posting a poem I wrote a while back. It is one of a series I wrote in the form of prayers and is simply just a flow of the thoughts I had at the time, restructured into verse. I honestly believe that we need God more than we realize. There are more ways to fail than to succeed really but with the guidance of God and placing our trust in HIM, we can rest in Love and face the challenges and storms of life with a calm disposition due to a quiet assurance of a positive outcome. I hope it helps…

THIS I PRAY

That when I walk with you

Across the green plains and

Pastures

That I be not deceived into forgetting

That there are mountains to climb

 

That when I swim through cool streams

And wade through shallow

Waters

That I not forget that there are rivers to cross

And depths to explore

 

That when I stand with You on

Mountaintops and behold the beauty of

Your Grandwork

That I am not carried away and forget

The one that makes all things beautiful

 

That when you beckon me I come

That when I walk through the dark valley

That the darkness and depth not blind me from

Your light

That fear not enter and life depart

 

That I walk every step of this journey with

Your joy

Every terrain, rough or smooth

Level or steep, shallow or deep

And I know I can…

 

Because You walk with me.

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A Little Less Than Sunshine

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by JC Girard

The feeling is like wearing my first pair of glasses: I saw all the colours and the world was a beautiful place – or so I thought. Then I was told I needed glasses. Of course, like any child, I denied it. Why would I need glasses? I can see everything perfectly fine! On my way home from the eye doctor I couldn’t help but smile because those blobs that our car passed on the street weren’t blobs, they were people. They were beautiful people with facial features and brightly coloured clothes. They weren’t blobs. I was ignorant of the details until I received my first pair of glasses. Suddenly everything was more beautiful! I thought I had it all until I received my glasses. The feeling is like wearing my first pair of glasses.

That may not make much sense so let me explain. I thought my life was pretty good. I was going through life repetitively sinning the same sins over and over again but it did not matter to me because I did not feel guilty about my sins. In fact, I was happy – or so I thought. It wasn’t a “life-changing moment” but it certainly was a moment that would lead to a life-changing decision. I decided that the life I was living was not who I was and as soon as I made a conscious decision to stop living the lie I had so blindly pulled before my eyes, the world seemed brighter! I could see the facial expressions and intimate details again. It was amazing. What I thought was good wasn’t really. I’m smiling more, I don’t feel pressured, and my days feel more productive!

Some people are taking bets already on how long my new found “happiness” will last. Some say a few weeks, others say a couple months. In changing who I am – or rather, DISCOVERING who I am – I have discovered one other thing… I will make a mistake, I will change something, I will get back on my feet. I will make another mistake, I will change something, I will get back on my feet. It may be an endless cycle leading to some destination that I’m not sure of. I know where I’m going, I’m just not there yet. One thing I do know, it’s process over product. Ultimately, we’re all going to the same place, we’re just not all taking the same streets. For me, it’s one change at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time, until the end of time…

 

Know Thyself

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by Aubrey

One of the concepts in Buddhism I approached first was the removal of the self/soul. This was a concept that, previous to Buddhism, I had already been becoming aware to, but Buddhism helped me put it into words. Now, look at yourself, both physically and mentally. Where are you? Where is our soul? Is there anything within you our outside of your body that you can say, “That is me?” If you’re like me, you won’t be able to find any particular thing that you can call, “you”. Okay, so you might say that you are your body, but let’s think about it a little bit. What about air? Surely your body is made up of air. You always need it, and where does it come from? If you’re constantly breathing in new air all the time, then all the air you are going to breath in the future is also you. What about water? Surely you wouldn’t say you’re a lake or a water well somewhere, but if you think about where the water comes from you’re probably part of a lake. If you really concentrate you’ll find that you are pretty much made up of everything, but yet nothing in that everything is you!

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that there is no you (hard to swallow, huh), and that the sense of self is simply an idea that helps you organize who you think you are. Your mind, for some reason, doesn’t want you to see who you truly are. We’re all a bit confused about who we are, and better yet what we are. There is also a concept in Buddhism called “Emptiness”, and no it doesn’t mean that everything is nothing or void. It means that simply, no matter how hard you look, there is no particular thing that you can say is “Me”. And, that goes for all things. Sure, a chair is a chair, but if you think about is deeply enough, it’s also a tree, it’s also going to be a fire when it gets old and doesn’t work anymore, or maybe a part of a tree-house one day. A simple chair can live many different lives, and as we’ve discussed before, if you look deeply at a chair you find out that there is no clear name you can give it because it’s made of so many different things and circumstances. “Emptiness” means the “chair” doesn’t exist, it’s really a “tree, chair, air, water, carpenter, soil, …exploded star dust…” and so on. That means the whole of existence is empty of a unique “chair”. It seems as if all of existence is coming together to be a chair.

You see, that’s the magnificent thing about the denial of the soul or self, is that you realize that who you are is not a finite set of parts, or a soul somewhere, or energy, etc. You are truly everything, and so is everything else. That everything is called “Emptiness”, because within it there is no identity, nothing that you can say, “These things here, that’s everything,” or, “These things here, that’s me.” You are in a constant, directly connected, relationship with everything because that is what you truly are.

For me, part of coming back to God, is realizing that I never left…

The World and The Burning Heel

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by Rohan Khanna

Hi this is a short poem I wrote recently. It is called, “The World and the
Burning Heel”. Basically it is a perception of the world from what I feel. It
explores as to how mankind’s devotion in other realms rather than faith
itself has become quite prominent.

 

What this world has come to be

has become a contemplation of sorts to me

The death throws of the burning world

The vastness of our misdeeds

The joys of inflicting pain

The distant echoes of anguish

and the pride of our optimistic sanity

have become the vices of our insanity

Old times have dispersed in the realm of time

giving way to a new era of deceit and crime

The world of knowledge

The people of Adam

The sin of man

The dreams of a child

Brings forth a thought that keeps us engaged

making no exception in making us feel enraged

What Are You Worth?

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by Alex Petric

Midterms are a pain. Finals are even worse. You prepare and study and try to get enough sleep so that you’re (more or less) functioning during the exam, and then a third or more of your mark is decided in a few hours in a room. A lot is required, but if you make the effort, you can be rewarded for your work.

I often find that it’s when I’m focused and studying for an exam that I learn the most, and, sometimes, I enjoy the process and find joy in the same material that once put me to sleep. I find there’s something rewarding about learning, and in a wider scope, growing and maturing. Religion often focuses on developing oneself into the best person one can be. There’s always more to learn about the universe, God, oneself, relationships, etc., and the choice to grow is ours.

An interesting parallel among many religions is the notion that our material possessions ultimately have little value. When we die, we cannot take anything with us except ourselves, and so it is pointless, in the end, to have many possessions. What really matters is who we are, and who we are becoming.

On the other hand, our society usually tells us the opposite. Once we finish post-secondary education, that’s usually enough in the eyes of other people. If you want, you can go further academically or physically, travel more, develop spiritually, and grow in many other ways, but as long as you can get a job, you don’t need to. Anything above the status quo is considered a good thing, but not something anyone is really pushed towards. What’s often the focus of society is what we have. Do you have a nice car? A nice house? A big television? An iPod? An iPad? …. an iLife?

It’s a bit of a divergence from our religious principle. While society tells us to be content with who we are but not with what we have, religions tell us to be content with what we have but not with who we are.

Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating you sell everything you own and go live in the forest and seek God there, or that you eschew medicine and technology and indoor plumbing to avoid being vain, but I think the contrast between these general ideas is worth some reflection.