Angst, too, should have a place.
I really enjoy reading the "Heart to Heart" column, and each Saturday turn to this page first. However, in past months I have found myself having a more negative reaction.
In my language, the pieces are too gushy, too sweet. They describe a path to spiritual practice and living that is clearly wonderful for the writer but seems too idealistic for me. I am happy for the writer, but instead of being inspired by these pieces, I find myself feeling I am a lesser being.
Does this sound confusing? Does this sound like a person who hasn't found his path fully? Yes, it is confusing, and no, I haven't found my path fully. From my spiritual and political perspective, our world is in such a terrible state that I fall into despair if not pain, at times.
Intellectually, I know what I can do spiritually to stop that pain and despair. But sometimes I don't do it, and within that context the "too gushy, too sweet" columns don't work for me.
I want to add to "Heart to Heart" from a different place. I want room in this column for other expressions of spirituality: inspiring, yes, but perhaps angst-filled; or maybe confusion-filled; or maybe incomplete.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't want to stop anyone from writing about their profoundly beautiful and loving spiritual place or evolvement to that place, but I think there is room for something else as well.
What can I say that is honest and reflects me at a time that I may be in despair, but that is also inspiring in its own way? Being Jewish, I found myself writing a form of a Psalm - a Psalm for 2005:
"I cannot abide the sweetness, the gush of how good goodness is, as a way of being, a way of seeing, a way of being spiritual.
`No, I see death and destruction. Neither sweetness nor goodness nor love overcomes it.
We move toward war, and war, and war, building more machines of death, creating an economy that destroys the earth and the inhabitants therein, especially those in `lesser' countries, of `lesser' birth. We are inundated with violence and hate, as games, as entertainment. And where else can we go except more power to destroy, destroy our hearts, our bodies, each other ... and the earth.
`I can cry out for Amma, for Adonai, for Allah, for Buddha, for Jesus, for Guru, for Great Spirit. I can cry out for light, for love - but it is not enough. I can only become silent, become me, become one ... in the One.
"Hear, oh World, the One is One. Salaam, Shalom, Peace."
My Psalm ends with the Jewish "Shema" prayer, which states: "Hear, O Israel, the Eternal your God, the Eternal is One."
But my Judaism expands me to encompass all with the One, just as I might chant `Shalom'at times extending the `om' to become `OM,' the inner essence of all mantras.
Irwin Noparstak is a member of Temple Beth Israel and a member of Two Rivers Interfaith Ministries' Faith in Action group. This column is coordinated by TRIM, a network of more than 35 spiritual traditions in the Eugene-Springfield area. For more information, call 344-5693 or visit www.interfaitheugene.org.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jul 16, 2005|
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