My Rule of Life
July 20, 2014
The Rule of Life is not meant to be a form of harsh discipline. Rather, I am setting up for myself some basic guidelines, like candles along a dark path to guide my way. Every six months, I will evaluate how this list has served me, and discern if I am growing in compassion and patience.
My body has been feeling, like St. Francis once said, as if it is “brother ass.” I find I am distrustful of this form, often angry at the months of recoveries from multiple surgeries, dismayed at my weight, even mad at my fine, thin hair. But there is no interface with the world without this body, nor writing nor the joy of watching a Pacific Ocean sunset or touching ancient redwoods. So I make three small rules to begin to honor and accept and trust this embodied form:
1. I will drink at least six glasses of water a day, keeping track by the water cooler.
2. I will walk at least one mile a day, or stationary bike for 3-5 per day.
3. I will avoid refined foods as much as possible and attempt to follow the TQI diet, evaluating its effects on my weight, mood and allergic responses. I will give the strength to follow this path to God, because alone, I am not in control.
My Mind is my tool as a teacher and writer, but also can be my worst enemy. I can become very judgmental and my “hot” personality can make me forceful with others as well as vicious with myself. To work with these two edges, I will
1. maintain my meditation practice of at least once a day centering prayer for 20 minutes.
2. catch myself when I am becoming judgmental, and substitute it with the Buddhist prayer: “May you be happy and free from suffering and the causes of suffering.” I will make my ability for social observation a thing of compassion instead of division.
3. When my mind is very hot and running in circles, use Tonglen meditation (welcoming prayer) instead of Centering Prayer until my heart is open again.
My spiritual self is fed on quiet and silence. To better ground myself in the center of my being I will:
1. continue with my Oblate path, using both Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi and Christian passages for saying the Hours, as in the tradition of Bede Griffith and the Christian Sannyasi Path.
2. commit to four quarterly silent retreats per year either with my tent or at a retreat center. Each retreat should have at least two overnights.
3. I will continue to teach only when asked, and only say “yes” after a period of at least three days of discernment.
My creative self must be nurtured or I fall more readily into the judgmental mind and hard heart. Therefore I will
1. continue to write each day
2. continue to weave a few passes at least every other day
3. find ways to sing, move, sketch, cook or in other ways express my creative self as they occur throughout the day.
My social self is actually very shy and overwhelmed by the big issues pressing on our world. As an introvert, my tendency is to turn away because I feel powerless. To help address this, I will
1. continue to write and donate a portion of what I produce to programs that I feel strongly about. For instance, Sue and I will be giving the first year of proceeds from our new collection of poetry to an organization that is facilitating deep and non-violent conversations between Native American and non-native fishermen in the Sound.
2. I will attend at least two talks a year through SWERVE or the church, listening carefully to the issues at hand. Listening is a first step to take, and all I can commit myself to at this time. I understand that all action must come out of an authentic response, and I will know when/if I am called to act in some way.
Ameyn—this is the ground from which all following movements will come.