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Route 66 Spirituality?


Guest billmc
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Knowing me, which sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, I'm probably the only one here on TPCP that's prone to what I call Route 66 spirituality, getting on certain "kicks" along life's highway. If you remember the old Nat King Cole song, it talks about all the places along the old Route 66 to stop and get your "kicks" before arriving at your California destination.

 

That's been the story of my own spiritual life. I get on spiritual kicks where I think, "Yeah, man, now THIS is it! This is what I've been search for!" It satisfies and I feel at home...for a while. But eventually the "kick" no longer works and I move on down the highway. What was once fresh - shiny, new, full of promise, beckoning me to settle down - gets old, loses its luster, and I find myself with that urge and itch to move on. It's happened too many times for it to be the places. After all, other people live in these places all their lives, are happy there, and can't seem themselves as being anywhere else. They are "at home." So it can't be the places, it's gotta be me. I'm a drifter. And it bugs me.

 

I wish I understood better why I am this way. I wish I knew what it really is that I am searching for. Or maybe I'm not searching, but just running away from something. Whatever the motive, I never seem to stay in one place too long. I read about and talk to others who have lived in one place spiritually all their lives, and I'm jealous. Or others who have been on their own journey discover that home has always been inside them all along. I never really feel that way. There is always something telling me to move on. I just wish I knew what that was.

 

I don't mind the stops along the way. The kicks are often fun and I learn a lot. And I've met some interesting characters. But I know that none of it is permanent for me. I don't let myself get too attached to anything because I know I won't stay there. But I sure like the place while I'm there. :D

 

What I really need is a pair of ruby slippers. If anyone has a pair they can loan me, I'd appreciate it. I'll try to get them back to you. Otherwise, I'm stuck with these travelin' shoes.

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billmc,

 

At my church, more often than not, the worship leader begins with a welcome that goes like this:

 

"No matter who you are or where you are in your spiritual journey, you are welcome here."

 

Life is a journey and a living spirituality marches along with life long growth and development. Oh dear, that sounds like "progress" and "creativity". Not bad words, really.

 

minsocal

 

P.S. Ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"? It is a story of journeys and maps and "getting somewhere".

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billmc, made me think - for the 1000th time, of the two little verses I always see as a pair.....

 

 

For the garden is the only place there is, but you will not

find it

Until you have looked everywhere and found nowhere

that is not a desert. (W.H.Auden)

 

 

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time. (T.S.Eliot)

 

It was also something of a joke among those who knew Thomas Merton well that he was often known to exclaim "ah! this is what I have always been seaching for!" at his lastest finding amid the writings and teachings his oftimes restless mind dipped into.

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Bill,

 

I hesitate to offer any suggestions, but I sense that for you and many others, leaving behind an ideology that claimed absolute certainty can be terribly disturbing and uprooting. My own journey and struggle has been away from secular Stoicism toward a deeper understanding of the Jesus movement as it was in the original context, but I don’t feel I’ve “arrived” in walking the talk, and hopefully don’t give the impression of preaching rather than praying – we’re all stumbling seekers. I don’t quite know what you mean by getting particular kicks unless you mean a sudden moment of insight. Anyway, your metaphor reminded me of a passage from Paul Tillich’s work --

 

“On this road you may meet the liberating truth in many forms except one: you never will meet it in the form of propositions which you can learn or write down and take home.

 

Paul says that all our present knowledge is ‘through a glass, darkly.’ The misery of man lies in the fragmentary character of his life and knowledge; the greatness of humanity lies in our ability to know that our being is fragmentary and enigmatic. Paul experienced the breakdown of a system of life and thought which he believed to be a whole, perfect truth. He then found himself buried under the pieces of his knowledge and his morals. But Paul never tried again to build up a new, comfortable house out of the pieces. He dwelt with the pieces. He realized always that fragments remain fragments, even if one attempts to reorganize them. The unity to which they belong lies beyond them; it is grasped through hope, but not face to face. How could Paul endure life, as it lay in fragments? He endured it because the fragments bore a new meaning to him. The pictures in the mirror pointed to something new for him: they anticipated the perfect reality of love. Through the pieces of his knowledge and morality, love appeared to him.”

Edited by rivanna
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Welcome to Route 66. You are indeed not the only one....

Keep movin and let the traffic flow until as tariki quoted....

 

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time. (T.S.Eliot)

 

No magic slippers my friend. If there were, i would surely give them to you since you asked

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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To Minsocal: >>"Ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"?"

 

No, I haven't. But I'm not a Buddhist and don't have a motorcycle. :( So I don't know how much sense it would make to me.

 

To Tariki: Yeah, I feel much like Merton.

 

To Rivanna: Also reminds me of Henri Nouwen's "Wounded Healer" stuff. Some of us seem destined to journey through this world as the walking wounded.

 

To Soma: Yeah, but my rubber soul (ha ha) might insulate me should God decide to help me along as he did the guy who tried to steady the ark of the covenant. :)

 

To Joseph: There is no doubt I sometimes feel like I've passed the same place 3 times before. :) No slippers. *sigh* Got a flying monkey handy?

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Billmc, seeing as how you say you feel much like "Merton" ( given the little bit of info I put at the end of my post ) I felt another few words from him might be appropriate here. I pondered, and almost posted a few words he wrote from his introduction to the "Thomas Merton Reader" where he speaks of the special mercy he must receive from God, given the contradictions and restlessness in his life. But no, a bit heavy...... :P , then another quote came to mind, one that always makes me smile......

 

A few years ago a man who was compiling a book entitled "Success" wrote and asked me to contribute a statement on how I got to be a success. I replied indignantly that I was not able to consider myself a success in any terms that had a meaning to me. I swore I had spent my life strenuously avoiding success. If it so happened that I had once written a best seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message to my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success. I heard no more from him, and I am not aware that my reply was published with the other testimonials. (From "Love and Living")

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(snip)

To Joseph: There is no doubt I sometimes feel like I've passed the same place 3 times before. smile.gif No slippers. *sigh* Got a flying monkey handy?

 

 

Perhaps we continue to pass the same place again and again until we 'see' it for the first time for what it is and enter the rest of God that was always there?

 

Joseph

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  • 1 month later...

Oh boy, after reading this thread, I feel like I really am among kindred souls.

 

Bill, I have worried about my tendency to "keep movin' on", in my spiritual journey, and wondered why I could never settle on something. Like you, I feel that I've learned a lot along the way, but once I have the gist of it, I start for new pastures. I have thought, at times, that is not "normal". I also have many friends who have stayed with the same faith since they were born, never feeling a need to "move on". I admire it, but it's also just very foreign to me.

 

I have an LDS friend who described me as one "blown about by the wind of every new teaching". It was not meant as a compliment and I feared he might be right. But, I truly don't know how else to "be".

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In my spiritual journey I see myself on the road and at other times on the side watching people on the road. When on the road it seems I am learning from the people on the side and when I am on the side, I learn from the people on the road. Now, I see myself on the side witnessing myself on the road then I blink and I am on the road witnessing myself on the side. This spiritual journey back and forth is just my unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love returning to my heart. It seems the direction I am going is not important because no matter where I go I will still end up at my destination. God is everywhere, I can't hide from Him/Her/It/We/They/You/I.

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Hi Marsha. Yes, it is certainly nice to discover we are not alone in our travels. :D

 

Thanks for your feedback. It is quite timely for me as I feel that urge to be "movin' on" even now because, as good as some of the pastures on this forum have been for me, they no longer satisfy what I am hungry for. :) For me, my makeup and nature leads me to want to explore, to understand, and to grow through exploration and understanding. My makeup also leads me to seek reality, especially when it comes to real world problems and their possible solutions. To me, much of this - exploration, understanding, growth, seeking solutions - comes from communication and finding effective, meaningful ways to engage one another in order to, hopefully, make the world a better place.

 

This forum has been good to me over the past couple of years. I have learned a lot participating here, grown some, and, hopefully, have contributed something positive to this community with my ramblings. :) But it is my opinion, and perhaps mine alone, that there is an anti-intellectual bias here that says that reality is beyond understanding and, therefore, our discussions are essentially meaningless. There is, again in my opinion, an attitude prevalent here that says that the world is exactly as it should be, that all is well and all is one, and that, therefore, all actions are also essentially meaningless. I don't find either of these approaches convincing, helpful, or, dare I say it, in line with the teachings or life of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Again, these are just my opinions and I have to grant that, being human, perhaps I misunderstand the purpose and general demeanor of this forum. I do wear my own lenses. Nevertheless, this is how I see things at this time and I think it best if I depart for other pastures. Whether they will be "greener" or not, who knows? :D But I must be true to who I am and what I seek.

 

Thanks to everyone who has listened to me, put up with me, and somehow found the grace to tolerate me over the past couple of years. :D I wish each of you nothing but the best and trust that you wish the same for me. Puttin' on my travelin' shoes...

 

Regards,

Bill McCracken

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Oh dear....I am very sad to hear this, Bill. Can't say that I don't understand it (in light of all that has been said here), but I'm sorry that we are only to be passing travelers on the road. I've really enjoyed your posts (those I have had a chance to read). I'm sure your presence will be missed by everyone here.

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Bill we will miss your presence,

Be who you are

Fly upwards

Move forward

Taste Bliss

Serve, play,dare, realize and dive deep within

 

"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains,

at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers,

at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars,

and yet they pass by themselves without wondering."

St. Augustine,

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Bill,

 

Wow, its been over 4 years already we have been together here. I have really appreciated your presence and all your contributions. Your posts remain as a comfort to many on a similar journey. You will be missed.

 

While it saddens me to read your therefore statement conclusion, "that there is an anti-intellectual bias here that says that reality is beyond understanding and, therefore, our discussions are essentially meaningless", i respect your right to express that as your perception. However, i have never heard anyone here express that therefore conclusion. If discussions were meaningless then it seems to me, there would be no discussion as the meaning we assign to things moves us to words and action. It seems to me that also saying "that the world is exactly as it should be, that all is well and all is one, and that, therefore, all actions are also essentially meaningless" again inserts another therefore conclusion that i have never heard on this forum. Nor do i personally perceive "all actions" as meaningless though i share the precept that at this moment in time things could be no other than they are. The proof of this is to me self evident.

 

Nevertheless, it is unlikely i have changed your mind but i wish you well and hope you will revisit us when you are ready. As Soma said, Be who you are. Our love in Christ goes with you. May you find that which you seek.

 

Joseph

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Bill, thanks for all your imput. You must do as you must.

 

I would just like to say that, whateveryour perception, and who you intended to refer to, the one thing I have always been wary of is the betrayal of THIS world for some imagined other. My own "search" has nothing to do with ending with that which cannot be described or known, and thereon resting in "mystery" beyond concern for this world, but of finding wisdom, from which all else becomes a by-product , including active love and participation in the world - as we know it and experience it.

 

My own perception is that when "concern" for this world is first and foremost, and the gospel becomes a only "social gospel", much activity is self defeating and circular.

 

Anyway, having "defended" myself, I toddle away to rest in the mystery........

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This may not fit here but then again maybe it does

 

steve

 

Never accept and be content with unanalyzed assumptions, assumptions about the work, about the people, about the church or Christianity. Never be afraid to ask questions about the work we have inherited or the work we are doing. There is no question that should not be asked or that is outlawed. The day we are completely satisfied with what we have been doing; the day we have found the perfect unchangeable system of work, the perfect answer, never in need of being corrected again, on that day we will know that we are wrong, that we have made the greatest mistake of all. Vincent J. Donovan

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