The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 25, 2012

What are my affiliations?

At the Write On The River conference last week, after my "Hero's Journey" talk, a lady asked me about my spiritual affiliations. Without hesitation, I replied "Zen Christian. Any of the principles of Christianity I can see manifesting in the processes of nature and the actions of animals I am happy to embrace. Especially where they map over with the red letters. The rest, I feel comfortable considering politics and opinions of less enlightened beings."

I am cautious about answering such questions, especially right after giving a talk. People mistake me for my message, and when "that" light goes on in their eyes I want to tell them they're talking to the wrong person. But that's not quite fair, either... those of us who have been walking the Path for a while have an obligation to answer honestly to those who seek truth. There are so many dead-end paths and approaches, and the least I can do it offer a caveat, and then an opinion.

So a few thoughts:
1) Look to whatever spiritual path you were offered in your youth. The lessons learned in childhood go deep. Look to see how those principles align with natural forces and the behavior of animals. That is your root. Select for love over fear, and see where you can tease out the roots from the political leaves, and the principle added by unenlightened followers.

2) Ask yourself where and how those principles lead to a strong and loving society, and where possible, where principles related to temporary political realities, rather than eternal truths.

3) When in doubt, choose love over fear. Most religious principles are not about "enlightenment" they are about being good, decent human beings sharing and caring in THIS world. That seems to be the doorway to whatever comes next.

4) Power is in the present moment. Every moment, we have the opportunity to re-create ourselves, change ourselves, heal ourselves. The past is gone, the future unborn. This is the only time we ever have.

5) Be regular in your practice, whatever it is. Find your spiritual actions in every aspect of your life. Either it is everywhere, or nowhere at all.

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