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F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}

Newton’s Law of gravitation states that the attractive force between any two objects is directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them . [In the equation above, “G” is the gravitational constant.]

I reflect this evening on the spiritual implications of this important law.

The greater the distance between any two objects in the universe, the weaker the attraction between them. While the gravitational force is weaker than others, especially in the case of objects of small mass, I extend the law nonetheless, taking considerable poetic license, as a metaphor for effects of distances between people.

In 2009, the world is predominantly virtual. We increase physical and spiritual distance between people with increasing reliance on remote means of connecting and staying in touch.

Weakened psycho-spiritual energy among people is directly linked to our addiction to electronic community. Face to face interaction takes time and money, and so we are seeing greater reluctance to work at drawing nearer each other. We depend instead on remote conversations by teleconference or web connections as more of a substitute rather than supplement to direct dialogue.

Many are twittering and tweeting, texting  and instant messaging, when what’s really needed is greater commitment to direct contact. As a practice for spiritual development it pays to think about on how much time I spend in virtual vs face to face communications to ensure a wholesome balance.

I will apply this immediately over the next 24 hours to the work of thinking about those at a distance from me and how I might interact with them more regularly and with deeper listening. I will also keep a tracking report of how much time I set aside to have more direct face to face conversation.

In a world of mounting depersonalization, we need to practice the art of re-enchanting the human encounter, one face looking into another, to feel the force and presence of our friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances.

Inverse Square Law

Inverse Square Law

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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I am thinking this morning about the Wisdom traditions and the spiritual power of aphorisms: short sayings that excite the mind and provide a long-term stimulus for deeper reflection. So, it occurs to me that it would be interesting and meaningful to try putting my beliefs and philosophy down on paper in this form as an exercise in using an economy of words to communicate my ideas.

My ten aphorisms for today:

1. A few words from my Heart trump paragraphs from my head.

2. If I have to ask myself if I’m happy, I’m not.

3. Good questions create more value than good answers.

4. I love therefore I am. I am therefore I am loved.

5. We can’t know the Mind of God, but people find no problem putting endless words in His mouth.

6. Churches are at their loveliest when they’re empty.

7. Great sex is perfect enlightenment. Imagine being that alert all the time!

8. By acquiring more than we need, we always need more than we’ve acquired.

9. Kindness is the currency of true wisdom.

10. In the pursuit of enlightenment there’s no hope of finding it. It’s hiding in plain sight.

What brief statements capture your convictions and give you pause this morning?

The Confucius-02

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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In my first entry today, I offered five starting personal mysteries with the promise of returning before day’s end with 5 more. I jot these now with focus on what I am calling, the Cosmic Mysteries:

  1. That the universe is infinite and yet had a first moment.
  2. That this universe may just be one of many.
  3. That the infinite universe is expanding.
  4. That time’s arrow is relative.
  5. That the universe became aware of itself!

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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One of my idiosyncrasies on greeting someone for the first time on any given day is to ask: “What’s the good word?” Not a phrase or a sentence but just a single word. Usually, the one I ask draws a blank. The idea of the mantra is a spiritual practice with considerable history. John Main has institutionalized it into Christian contemplative practice asking those meditating to repeat a single word over and over again as they quietly empty themselves of all the other cluttered thought.

So, today, I open by asking  myself this same question. “What’s the good word?” .. and I commit to its repeated recitation throughout the day ( “pray without ceasing”) noticing any thoughts or images that it attracts.

The word that springs to mind now is “beauty”. My mind immediately starts associating things to it as it acts as if exerting a gravitational pull on all other incidental thoughts: for starters – potpourri, my daughter’s face, my wife’s touch, the Sun, the night sky, the fragile rose, the feeling of warm water in a shower, the sound of rain, the sound of crickets after dark, the laughter of children, the smile of an elder, that feeling one gets immediately after solving a mystery or problem on which a lot of time has been spent in search of a solution, sitting quietly in my office, puttering in my library.

I read last evening that recent research published by the American Psychological Association has produced evidence that anger does not offer release or catharsis but only feeds the anger and produces more of it. Thoughts that associate to anger or anything depressing or dark should logically have the effect of adding further pitch to the darkness. The word for the day should act as antidote. Also, logically, if anger feeds anger and makes for heightened distress and acrimony, one should be on safe ground expecting that joyful thoughts and words of Light should have the counter effect of making for more Light.

Beauty: In Koine Greek, the word for beautiful is horaios, derived from the word hora, or hour. At its root, horaios means “being of one’s hour” or, in other words, being true to one’s time, one’s nature, one’s true character without pretense or delusion, or forcing.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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