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Second Gaze

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The world today tends to be cynical about most things. We have a hard time believing in an enchanted world, a sacred or benevolent universe. Why would we if we see only at the surface level? Everywhere we turn, every time we watch the news, we see suffering. We have become skeptical about God’s goodness, humanity’s possibilities, and our planet’s future. We can’t help seeing what is not and are often unable to recognize or appreciate what is. I see this temptation in myself almost every day. I have to pray and wait for a second gaze, a deeper seeing. This is my daily bread.” ( #RichardRohr

The quote above, from Richard Rohr, was part of my devotional reading this morning. I quickly took the phrase; “Second Gaze” to heart. I hadn’t heard it before but it is a primary wisdom discipline. It is the understanding that if we only see with our physical sight we will miss the goodness, the light, the continuing blossoming of creation all around us. We will also miss the ways in which we can be a part of creation by loving, acts of kindness, a gentleness of spirit and humility to each person and everything we include in the circle of our lives.

Let us look around us today without the cynicism and negativity which often plagues our sight. May we behold and become a part of the ongoing miracle that is life in all its universal glory.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


Defusing by Removing

Negativity is like a virus. Spreading, invading, permeating, controlling, manipulating and killing peace, contentment and stillness.

There are moments in our lives where we must choose to walk the path of negativity, strife, anger and hate or walk away, even if it’s from someone we care for and love. These aren’t easy choices and it isn’t necessarily a permanent departure but separation is a must.

Each of us have those in our life who are bitter, spiteful, malevolent people. They criticize, demean, hurl insults and can fill a room with enough emotional turmoil we either choose to enter into combat or retreat  to remain, regain, stillness and centeredness. It may bother us to make this choice, we may desire another way, but sometimes it’s our only option.

As much as we may want to help these rancorous ones make the connection between their malignant attitudes and a life littered with strained and broken relationships it doesn’t work. We know because we’ve tried. We still love them but sometimes we just can’t be near them.

Militant, hostile, antagonistic personalities take hostages, tries to make you a prisoner of the moment. You want to return fire with insults of your own, get even, pay back their vindictiveness with derision but, ultimately, no one wins these pitched battles because criticism, pessimism, nihilism, can’t be quenched or defeated. You can only keep it from detonating your spirit by removing the fuse, putting distance between yourself and the other.

I’ve had encounters with negative, spiteful people where my jaw hurts from clenching it shut. Being silent in the face of insult and ridicule can have a tremendous impact. It may take hours, days, to find balance and peace after a run in with someone hell-bent on bringing chaos into the lives of others.

Run ins with argumentative, belligerent folks will drain you, wear on you, and it’s easy to get sucked in to an uncivil, acrimonious, atmosphere that will scorch your spirit and burn out your emotions.

Wisdom helps guide us in discovering if we can defuse or extinguish the toxicity through acts of love, words of calmness or simply knowing when to remove ourselves from the poisonous environment.



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