You won’t regret this.

Some people are so passionate about their faith that they need to share the gospel at every opportunity, petrified that some poor soul may die with out truly understanding the meaning of life.

I feel the same way about the dobro and banjo. And The Boxer.

This next version is fabulous but I kind of want to yell OH GOD STOP TALKING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!! to the audience. If you’re a bit more peaced out and zen than I am this may not bug you.

Now if Jesus played the dobro and banjo I wouldn’t haven struggled all this time, believe me.

I never dream about lotto numbers though, dammit.

I’m going to go into slightly more off beat territory today and talk about something that will put at least some of you off- precognitive dreams. Now I’m working on the premise that they are a valid experience despite the fact that my copy of ‘The Skeptic’s Dictionary’ has this to say about them;

“Prophetic dreams are impressive to those who lack understanding of the law of truly large numbers, conformational bias and how memory works’

But I have experienced them all my life and I’m not debating their validity. Just to give you a quick example, the night before the Port Arthur Massacre I dreamt that I was being hunted in a place that may not have had a sign up saying ‘Port Arthur’ but involved enough grassy expanses and sandstone walls for there to be no doubt in my mind as to where I was. A man next to me had been shot and I was crouched at the base of a stone gate hiding from someone who was trying to kill me. Those of you familiar with what happened on that day will recognise all of this*.

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Fortunately my other precognitive dreams haven’t involved horrendous murder (although the dreams leading up to the Boxing Day Tsunami weren’t especially pleasant) but I have many, many dreams that have come true, ranging from the mundane to the profound. I don’t tend to discuss these with people because I don’t really like to have to explain what is going on because I have no freaking idea.

So the big picture question that comes to me when I ponder these is

Does this mean that the future is fixed and we don’t have free will after all?

If I dream that someone is going to do something and then the do it then were they always going to? Are there endless possible futures in endless possible Universes and I occasionally tap into the right one? Are some things fixed yet others still open?

*There are several other synchronicities between me and what happened on that day but I’m going to put them down to the fact that Tasmania is a relatively small place. They’re interesting though.

I just don’t get this bit..

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And I’m sure it’s really obvious but google isn’t helping me at all (It keeps directing me to Answersingenesis and I’m not sure which part of my search history would make the robots think that is a good idea).

If we are not bound by the Old Testament anymore (because Jesus) why do people still use sections of it to decide how we should behave?

Are we, in fact, not bound by the Old Testament or am I wrong here?

Why I’ll never be a ‘Blogger’ blogger.

I’ve been a bit too serious here lately and I don’t like it. This post is basically a conduit for GIFs. As is the entire Internet, I guess.

I know blogs.

I do. I love and adore and know blogs. I know when I’m being manipulated by feel good graphics and inspirational posts and SUBSCRIBE HERE pop ups and I don’t even care, that’s how much I love them.

Despite this deep and abiding passion, I’ve managed to create a quite unsuccessful blog. Hang on, that sounded a bit down. ‘My blog isn’t very widely read’ probably sounds less whiny. But that’s just fine with me. This was never intended to be a ‘Blog’ kind of blog and I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure if I had more than a handful of readers, but just to make myself feel better about the hypothetical failure that I don’t care about, I’d like to point out all the mistakes that I’ve made. Aspirational bloggers, take note- do the exact opposite of what I’ve done and you’ll be tremendously successful.

I post too sporadically. Not in a ‘Let’s check back twice a week to see if there’s a post, what a fun surprise!’ kind of way, but more in a ‘She hasn’t posted for three months, could she be dead?’ way.

I don’t network. At least I’m consistent online and in real life I guess. You’re supposed to leave comments on other blogs in your niche to drive traffic to your site. Firstly, I don’t. It is embarrassingly obvious when a comment is left just to drive traffic. Also, I have no niche. See next point.

I don’t have a niche. I’m not an atheist so I can’t sit with them and I’m not an evangelical so they wouldn’t want to play with me, except as the token heathen and I imagine that would get old fairly quickly. I’m not a mummy blogger or a fashion blogger or a crazy hippy or…well, you get the idea.

I’m awful at using the right categories to label my posts and don’t understand how ‘tags’ work. How is there a difference between them? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

I don’t have a landing page.

I don’t know what a landing page is.

Maybe they’re only for websites that are for selling things? No idea. Don’t need to know.

I take crappy photos. If there has even been a good one here it’s been a matter of good luck rather than good planning.

I don’t know what SEO is. Well, I know what it stands for but that’s it. I know in theory I could google it and everything but honestly, just no.

I don’t know my ‘ideal reader’. The experts say that you are supposed to know your ideal reader and imagine that you’re writing for them. What?

My blog isn’t helpful. Great blogs are helpful. This one isn’t. I’m pretty sure that there has never been anything helpful posted on this blog. Unless its in a cautionary tale type of way. Or by accident.

I don’t use snappy titles like ‘Five Ways To Get Closer To God’*. Using numbers in blog titles is apparently fantastic and people click on them like crazy. Actually that’s an awesome title for a post. I’m going to use it. Please don’t steal it.

Right, that was fun. I needed a bit of a boost tonight and that’s done the trick!

Quotes from Richard Rohr

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And the award for the ‘Most Literal Blog Post Title Ever’ goes to…

I’m sitting in a (very noisy) cafe, reading ‘Silent Compassion’ by Richard Rohr and I wanted to share two fabulous passages (I’d tell the guy sitting across the table but he doesn’t look like he’d appreciate them).

I think that when you recognise something as beautiful in your life, it partly emerges from the silence around it. It may be why we are quiet in art galleries. If something is not surrounded by the vastness of silence and space, it is hard to appreciate something as singular and beautiful. If it is all mixed in with everything else, then it’s singularity, as a unique and beautiful object, does not stand out.

There are two kinds of silence. There is the natural refreshing silence of the introverted personality or the pause between conversations. But there is also a spiritual silence, a silence that does not need to be filled with nervousness laughter or a joke or any attempt to be clever of show that you are informed and an insider. Such spiritual silence demands a deep presence to oneself in the moment

I want to say that this book is the best one I’ve every read but I’m only up to page 8 so I’ll reserve my judgment for a minute. I should also probably have read it before I went away and used up my quota of silence for the next five years.

Jamberoo Abbey- part three. The slightly more profound bit.

I’ve just been reading over my notes/journal/poorly formed ideas and have been reminded that I absolutely decided that I would stop complaining, that it’s an awful character trait and I need to rid myself of it immediately. Not quite sure why I decided that it was so terrible, but I seemed to think that it’s an important thing to stop. And promptly forgot about it. Oh well.

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I know that I tend to talk about ‘proof’ a lot, in that I often say that I’m never going to find proof and that I should just move on and dispense of the need for it. And then soon after I’ll write another post about it so clearly I haven’t moved on and proof and I are destined to always be more than ‘just good friends’.

But it’s occurred to me that I may have been looking in the wrong place.

Relating to the whole proof conundrum, I actually have a half written post about the Multiverse vs. God and how they relate to each other and the whole general mish-mash, but I don’t think that I’ll ever post it because my lack of knowledge of the scientific intricacies will be glaringly obvious and someone will end up telling me my fortune (probably legitimately) in the comments so I should probably stick to more abstract topics and not ones that contain strings of words along the lines of ” The extra 6 or 7 dimensions may either be compactified on a very small scale, or our universe may simply be localized on a dynamical (3+1)-dimensional object, a D-brane”***

Anyway, I digress.

Basically, I always come back to ‘proof’ so I should just freaking embrace it I guess. Unless, of course, ‘proof’ exists in a whole other sphere to faith (a parallel universe, maybe? See what I did there?) and trying to find a common ground between the two is going to end in a futile frustration. Perhaps the need for ‘proof’ is buying in to the Western scientific paradigm, when actually ‘faith’ exists completely separately. It’s like…. I’m trying to think of a good analogy here. Feel free to add one in the comments.

As I see it, proof is an intellectual stance and a thought pattern where one thing is contingent on another. Faith doesn’t exist there. Faith is set apart from our thinking and our reasoning; it resides with our emotions and our passions, our instinctive desires and needs.

Maybe what we need is a ‘faith in God’ rather than a ‘belief in God’.

Mind you, it’s very hard to avoid the language of belief. I’ve had to rewrite the next few lines several times because I kept falling back on it and I’m sure that I will time and time again in the future.

The deep, soul touching feelings that we have, the tears that come to our eyes or the catch in our breath when we hear beautiful music or see an amazing cloud or a breathtaking stream of sunlight, feel the spring breeze on our face or hear of an heroic act. These things touch us so deeply and profoundly, yet why?

Numberless times everyday I am transported by something I see in nature and I like to think that the reason our heart is possessed by these is that God doesn’t try to connect with us through our intellect. God wants to connect with us through the transcendent, through the beautiful or even through the mundane that can so often be amazing.

Whenever we see or hear or smell something that touches us in a place that we just can’t explain or justify, that, for me, is our soul connecting with God.

Our most authentic desires; beauty, nature and art, are gifts from God and our heart stirs when, on some level, we acknowledge this. We don’t need them on any physical level but we need them so, so much. They speak to an indefinable part of ourselves that seems to get little credence these days.

We have been trained out of listening to our intuition, of trusting our hearts ands following where our instincts lead. Maybe, if we really want to follow the trails that God intends us to lead or live our most authentic life we need to be more in touch with the nameless places that within us, that call to us on a soul level.

Maybe the more that we make an effort to notice beauty, to create it on our lives and in our words and to help others find it when things just seem too hard, the closer we get to an awareness of God.

And I suppose not complaining so much does connect in with all that, doesn’t it?

***That’s copied from Wikipedia. I don’t know what it means. I now have a headache.

Jamberoo Abbey- part two of three by the looks of it.

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The reason that The Abbey is largely cloaked in silence is because that is the environment most conducive to the Benedictine call to ‘listen to the ear of your heart’. The nuns dedication to a life of constant prayer necessitates a quiet serenity.

I thought women were supposed to be good multi-taskers but clearly not.

Obviously the ability to engage in a truly productive silence is far more finely honed in the women who live there; those of us who lob in for a brief moment then go back to the franticness of our lives miss something in the translation. The depths that are necessary for a truly transformational experience can’t be reached in a weekend. I imagine that spending time in true contemplative silence is like descending to the depths of the ocean; it must be done slowly and in a considered manner (or your head explodes). Obviously, given that I am the World’s Crappest Prayer, talking to God for the entire time was going to be a bit too much for me. I found the first evening quite hard, being away from the four people I love, with none of the coping mechanisms that I usually have when dealing with existentialist bleakness (that would be Cointreau and The West Wing, by the way).

But once I had made peace with the fact that there were no conversations or radio or distractions in general, the thing that I found notable about existing largely in silence was the fact that I didn’t have to concentrate on other people. Removing the “meeting new people and being socially ‘on’ for the weekend” factor was enormously relieving and meant that the inner dialogue about what I said, how I had said it and how I am perceived was gone. This meant that a whole layer of mental subterfuge was stripped away immediately. What’s left when you can’t worry about what other people think about you or watch television or argue with your spouse? Well actual quality thoughts, one would hope.

The first thing that I realised? That I am so lazy and entitled and my life is so completely blessed that its next to impossible to see where God is moving in it. When essentially everything that happens to you is good and fulfilling and you have all of your material needs met, then it makes sense that it would be a struggle to identify God in the everyday. Is it possible to be so spoilt that you lose sight of, or fail to see God at all? Is this why those of us in the developed world are becoming so secular and fractured from our spiritual selves?

When reading ‘God’s Smuggler’ (it’s on Kindle if you’re interested) there was story after story of people obtaining a Bible, for example, that seemed to be such an improbable culmination of coincidences that it was easy for them to say ‘This is God moving in my life’. When I read stories that describe amazing experiences that people have; really ‘boom’ obvious God moments, I get irritated that these things don’t happen to me. If something incredible happened then it would make it so much easier to believe! I say.

But then I realise that half the time I wouldn’t notice if something amazing happened. If an improbably gift arrived, for example, would I notice it in between the books from amazon and the shoes from Ozsale and the makeup from Ebay that arrive at my house so regularly?. I wouldn’t notice if God tried to get my attention by creating a mini-miracle.

Of course I’ve always railed against the idea of a God that gives us ‘stuff’, a God that endorses stupid-big mega churches and $5000 hand bags and prayers for a flasher car. But that is from my developed-world privileged perspective. Who am I to question whether God moves in these ways amongst those who have little?. If God knows me at all then she wouldn’t try to get my attention or respect or whatever by sending me a bejewelled Bible (there aren’t enough WTFs in the world for that thing).

I guess in my case, God would have to get my attention by planting an irrational desire to seek the holy and transcendent like a dog with a bone for years (oh, hang on…).

(The next post is the deep one, I promise.)