All posts filed under: Awakening

A Disturbance in the Force

A Christian scholar pursues enlightenment through studying Chinese Taoism, meditating with Tibetan Buddhists, practicing meditation with Hindu holy men, whirling with Islamic Sufi dervishes, and finally traveling with shaman using psychotropic drugs. Huston Smith was a huge influence on my spiritual path. He died this week at age 97. I have taught “Introductions to Sacred Texts” using his book “The World’s Religions.” His studies with U U theologian Henry Nelson Wieman provided a context for much of his subsequent study of human flourishing through religion making him very relevant for U U’s. His life story became a very important exemplar for my own journey. Reading his spiritual memoir, “Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine” both inspired some of my more esoteric spiritual adventures but was also partly inspiration for my spiritual memoirs, “Spiritual Audacity: Six Disciplines for Human Flourishing” and “Spiritual Pilgrim: My journeys with Christian, Sufi, Taoist and Shamanic Mystics.” His calm wisdom will be missed, but the world is better for his having lived so long. Jim

Ox Herding

The essence of my spiritual journey is captured by the Chinese Cha’an Buddhist spiritual practice called Ox Herding. A young boy hears tales of experiences in altered reality which he comes to name the illusive ox. Having grown up in a culture where his true nature has been distorted and even forgotten he audaciously goes in search of it. Greed for worldly goods and fear of loss rise up like flames around him. Ideas of right and wrong lead him astray. He begins to fear the ox is just a legend. But he perseveres. Up and down mountain paths, across turbulent rivers, through trackless woods, he travels seeking the ox. On his journey he begins to see signs of the ox. Ancient texts and traditions attempt to show him the way. Each path distinctly different and yet each a manifestation of the Self. He begins to see the tracks of the ox, even though he is as yet unable to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, truth from falsity. He travels ever on. Emerging …