Day Thirty Four: Engagement

Daily Journal

Yesterday, I stumbled across a podcast I really liked, while just looking for a show discussing the topic of “mindfulness”. The podcast is called The Mystic Show and the host is Chris Curran, who seems to have had the privilege of much traveling abroad in his life, and has a background in the recording studio side of the music business. He mentions in one episode that he “overdosed on Tony Robbins a few years ago”, indicating that he is approaching the topic of spirituality after years of being immersed in self help and personal development. Not uncommon. I enjoyed the podcast and I plan to read through a book he covers extensively in the podcast called “Byways of Blessedness” by James Allen, which is public domain and available to read for free here.

zendo
The zendo at Loose Leaf Hollow in Bardstown, Kentucky.

I also went to my Thursday night meditation group at Loose Leaf Hollow in Bardstown. Since I’ve been waking up early in the morning (about two weeks now), I’ve had a lot of difficulty staying awake for meditation sessions there, which go from 7PM-9PM (including time spent socializing and having tea, and for Joe Zarantonello’s talks that go with the meditation). The sleepiness has been so bad the last two Thursdays, I really couldn’t even attempt to meditate. I almost felt like excusing myself from the group so I could go home and sleep. I would shut my eyes, nod off a little, and wake up when I started to fall over.

Lately, Joe has really been working with the Reggie Ray style of guided meditation and also chanting along with the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble’s track called “Abwoon” (The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic). Many different spiritual traditions are covered at Loose Leaf Hollow and chanting in Aramaic is new to me. Joe loaned me a copy of The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus by Neil Douglas-Klotz, but I haven’t begun reading it yet.

The track “Abwoon” from Ancient Echoes: Music from the Time of Jesus and Jerusalem’s Second Temple by San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble is available on YouTube. You can listen and chant along.

Deng Ming-Dao on Engagement:

Prey passes the tiger who
Sometimes merely looks,
Sometimes pounces without hesitation
But never fails to act.

Life, as Deng Ming-Dao says, “is a constant series of opportunities”. Whatever comes to us, we have to engage in it. We may let the opportunity go because the timing isn’t right. We can seize the opportunity. We must not let the opportunity pass because we were slow or unable to take the opportunity. This is what he calls engagement.

The Daily Stoic: The Source of your Anxiety

Epictetus defines the source of anxiety as wanting something outside our control. Ryan Holiday says “Staring at the clock, at the ticker, at the next checkout lane over, at the sky- it’s as if we all belong to a religious cult that believes the gods of fate will only give us what want if we sacrifice our peace of mind.”

Today, I find myself anxious, as I do most mornings. Can I squeeze everything I want to do in the hour or two before I leave for work? Time is always a source for anxiety for me, particularly as it relates to not being able to accomplish many things in the time I am given, getting in trouble for not doing what is expected of me, things that are often impossible considering time restraints.

As Ryan states, the anxiety doesn’t do me any good. As I finally figured out by trying to balance full time (plus overtime) work schedule with playing every weekend with bands and parenting a few years ago, my anxiety comes from not having more time. I was able to relieve this anxiety by giving up a responsibility: Playing in bands.

Another source of anxiety is not having control over the actions of other people, particularly the decisions they make that affect you in a negative way.

I don’t have control over congested traffic. Et cetera.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss dieting. Particularly my food diet and Facebook Diet!

B.G.

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