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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?  
-Jesus, Matthew 16:25-26

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

- Tao Te Ching, cha. 9, Stephen Mitchell translation

There are many paradoxes in life but the greatest and perhaps over arching paradox is this:  less is more, and more is less.

The more we do and have the more empty we feel.   We may say we are fulfilling our lives by constantly staying on the go and incessantly acquiring not just material things but power, position, and prestige.  But in reality the simple fact that we keep going and acquiring belies an emptiness we are constantly trying to "fulfill."

The wisdom of the ages and sages through just about every religious and spiritual tradition and practice has at the core a simple teaching:  the more we are able to let go striving and acquiring, the more we empty ourselves and our lives of the trappings of "fulfillment", the more complete and whole our lives become.

I know that four weeks into Lent is a little late to be talking about giving up something, but this is not about giving up chocolate, or alcohol, or whatever for Lent.  This is about life - your life and my life.

With what or whom are we striving to fill our lives?   Where are your thoughts and energy focused and spent?   The answers to these questions identify the things we need to release, in order to experience true fullness and wholeness.

What are we willing to give (up) in return for life?

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