Timothy Conway On Engaged Spirituality
There are two kinds of really powerful, transformative spirituality. One is mystical spirituality, or the full, inner awakening from egoism to transpersonal awareness. The other is engaged spirituality, working for the public good or collective welfare, out of a deep sense of solidarity with all sentient beings. The problems in the world today are so immense, grievous, and dire that we need both kinds of spirituality, not just an individual, inner mystical spirituality.
Part of the problem with panics, Gene taught me, is the very sense that there is a problem. This creates a bogus responsibility for either oneself or someone else to solve it. If the patient can’t solve it, he is not only panicking; he is a failure. If he passes the responsibility to a clinician, he loses power and gives up the right to direct his own life.
The Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety passed out potassium-iodide pills this month for citizens to take if the nuclear plant is blown up by terrorists. If we swallow them four hours before a release of radioactivity, our thyroids will be protected from cancer.
In a procedure called a uterosigmoidostomy, surgeons connected my bladderless ureters to my colon. They couldn’t hook them directly to my urethra, because my penis would have become a spigot without a shut-off valve. Instead, urine and feces mixed in my colon, and I shit a muddy river. At three, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with this.
Why not imagine that a beggar is a deity? Or that something you do will bring you luck? That some small object you bend down and pick up from the sidewalk will contain a mystery, a discovery — an old ship ticket, a rusty key, an address written on a scrap of paper?
Now she’s rocking back and forth, back and forth in her padded rocker, holding a pillow to her stomach with one hand, bringing her drink to her mouth with the other, and moaning every now and then, “How did this happen? How did this happen?” And I don’t know if she means Boo Boo, her three Russian children, her outlaw pedophile husband, or her drinking, but I feel sorry for her. God, just one of those things could sink you for a while.