Scattered Reflections of a Monkey Mind

Scattered Reflections Of a Monkey Mind

My mind is all over the place. Can you relate? I’m like a kite on a windy autumn day, flying this way and that way. I came to the chapel to meditate, to reflect on God’s presence in my life and in the world but OMG, He (She) is not here. The Spirit is hidden underneath all my monkey mind distractions. What God? He sure ain’t here in the chapel with me.

Is he anywhere? Atheists claim that God did not create us; rather we have created God. Nah! I don’t buy that but they are partly right. The God we imagine as a benign old grandfather in the sky is definitely a figment of our imagination. I’ll never find that God in the chapel or anywhere else.

So I ask myself, where will I find the real God? Could be I’m looking in the wrong place. Maybe it makes more sense to search for him in people not in the sanctuary. God is in the moments of our lives. It’s like we have to go out of ourselves to discover his presence in the universe, in people, in nature.

If we don’t find his presence in a child’s innocence or in the heroism of a soldier dying for his country or in the compassion of adult children taking care of aged parents, where can we find him?

God is found in quiet time (if I can keep awake and discipline my monkey mind) but he is discovered more obviously in relationships. Ay! There’s the rub. Finding the image of God in one another is more challenging, don’t you agree?

In the musical Oliver, the little waif of a boy sang “Where oh where, oh where is love” Abandoned by his parents, physically abused at the orphanage, Oliver yearned to find love (God) in his life and it wasn’t easy. The people he had met in his short life didn’t exactly exude the milk of human kindness.

Like Oliver, the wounded vet or the spouse taking care of a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, can be pardoned if they ask, “Where oh where oh where is this God of love.” And you know what mates? Sometimes, we just don’t know. We yearn to see God and at times he has the unnerving habit of playing peek-a-boo with us. Is it okay to get PO’d with the Almighty? But where else can we go?

So, I will continue to search for God in the people around me, the washed and the unwashed, the saints and the sinners because I have experienced way too much love, way too much grace in my own life to doubt his presence.

And, I’ll continue to search for God in the quiet of the chapel because I know, (if only I can stop nodding off); I will find him there, too.









Religious is not a Dirty Word

Religious Is Not a Dirty Word

Here I am at the Adoration Chapel of St. Eugene’s Catholic Church. That’s what it’s called, the “Adoration” Chapel, not the “Meditation” Hall or some name more politically acceptable in our secular world.

A lot of folks are “getting into” meditation these days. No religious implication intended. Perish the thought. The official mantra is “Oh no, I’m not religious but I like to think of myself as spiritual.”

I don’t mean to mock people who identify themselves in this way. Our God is a forgiving God who also has a sense of humor. God “gets” that many of us are afraid of that religious label. There’s a good reason for it too.

The world is full of religious nuts, many of them claiming to speak with Divine authority about matters of conscience. Religious bigots are a destructive and divisive element in our midst.

Who in their right mind wants be identify with people who, in one part of the world, want to stone a woman to death for adultery or in another part of our planet, show up at the funeral of a soldier and condemn the deceased and his family as murderers.

But we throw out the baby with the bathwater when we identify religion with religious bigots. Religion at its root meaning is the bond, the connection between a loving God and His creation. This connection existed from all eternity in the heart of creation, eons before man wrote the Bible or any of the sacred scriptures.

Real religion is simply the acknowledgment that there is a power in the universe that transcends our comprehension, someone or something that is in us and yet above us. It is that sacred component of life that is the source of awe and wonder.

It is the religious instinct that puts awe in our souls at the birth of a newborn baby and tears in our eyes at the death of a friend. It is behind the wonder we feel as we stand before the ocean, or the lump in our throat when our kid says “I love you.” Religion puts us in touch with that deepest part of us, with all that is sacred in life.

Religion transcends what we call “organized religion.” Churches and temples and dogmas are only humankind’s faltering attempt to give structure to what is already instilled in our souls.

So I am grateful that I have a quiet place to go to get in touch with the God who created me and continues to nurture me. I call it an Adoration Chapel but, what the hey, if you feel more comfortable and want to call it a Meditation Chapel, that’s okay. God is good.