Category Religion

Squeezing the “Tao Te Ching” Into a Jam-Packed Week

All right, so that is a little joke in the headline, yes? Need I explain it? The ancient Chinese text emphasizing peace, stillness, patience, emptying the Self, the unity of opposites, being rather than doing, or at least being completely there in the doing? Squeezing that into one’s week?

Funny, maybe a little bit? Tiny smile?

I laugh in order not to cry. Or rage.

Dear Tao, help me in my laughter.

It is the tail end of a week that has seen renewedly breathtaking revelations of an ex-president’s overt and relentless attempt at a coup, followed by rapid-fire Supreme Court decisions that on successive days 1) declared open season on gun violence victims by approving open carry across all 50 states of our union, and 2) ruled on a case that will amount to the outlawing of all abortions in probably half the United States almost immediately.

The devastating symbolism of the court’s one-two punch: force women to...

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God, Dog, and the Ties That Bind: A Shenzi Farewell

“No matter when or where you go, I will follow.” Dogs never know, when you open that front door and give them the O.K. to accompany you, whether they’re headed only to the mailbox, a walk around the block, an epic car camp, or a trip to the airport for a flight across the continent.

Not that any of those matter one way or the other. The only true and important thing: They only want to be with you.

And so it was that in the last few minutes of her life, my beloved companion Shenzi, somewhere near 17 (stray rescue dog adopted 2008, birthday unknown), beset by kidney disease and long compromised by bouts of nausea, appetite loss, bad teeth and near deafness, trotted out ahead of me as we left the screen porch the other day, tail wagging, trailed by my partner Mary and a kindly veterinarian armed with the tools in hand to proceed with the somber and necessary task of bringing her life to a conclusion.

…Her not...

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Resurrection for Non-Christians: A Poem


                                  By Andrew Hidas

Stay with me now, you non-Christians (of which I am one).
The hard believers will insist there’s nothing for you here,
Irredeemable heathens that you persist in Being.
But believe not, I say, in those believers, their binaries
Blinding them to nuance, context, symbol, the
Dusky liminal depths of myth more real than reality.

Resurrection is yours, too, for the taking.

You need not wear a cross on your chest,
Nor hang on one for the many sins you
Share in common with your brothers and sisters,
Perfection being the chimera that the
Christ himself was said to dispel.

Sinning is yours, too, for the committing.

You need only behold the tulips of spring,
The spring in your own step as day beckons
Or night falls with the slow revelation of stars.

Death and rebirth suffuse our lives, all life it...

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Rethinking the Arc of Justice and Progress

Since almost from the beginning of recorded time, humankind has wedded itself to the notion of progress in all things. We need look no further than the experience of our own growth in stature cutting across every facet of our lives: the larger and stronger brains and bodies of maturity paving the way for our ever greater competence, confidence, creativity and life satisfaction.

Until, that is, our inevitable decline.

But that’s when our successors come to the rescue, extending our influence, keeping us alive in some figurative sense, each new generation building on the last and becoming even larger, stronger, faster, smarter, the sum total of human knowledge and history keeping us on a constant trajectory of expansion and progress.

The same principle applies on the individual psychological-spiritual level as well, in the arc of personal histories that we like to think move us steadily toward more wholeness...

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What Is Sacred Space?

At this time of year when much of the world is observing events steeped in ancient lore and enchantments, what can we say about the settings and places where we perceive something as sacred? What do we even mean by “sacred space?” What qualities must any space reflect to be deemed “sacred?” Who decides what those qualities are?

Years ago, “U.S. News & World Report” ran a lengthy cover story headlined, “Sacred Places.” Its rather exhaustive list of such places contained all the usual suspects, though it was dominated by buildings and monuments.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

The Golden Temple in India.

Stonehenge, Karnak in Egypt, the temple of Confucius, the entire city of Mecca.

Interestingly, there was little said about awe-inspiring natural settings—the Grand Canyon, Mt...

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