The Whole Song and Dance
I love to sing. I always have. A big part of my spiritual practice is chanting the names of God in song. Traditional meditation is torture to me. I have tried many different methods hoping one would resonate with me. I spent three years as a student and monk under a Hindu Guru whose primary recommendation to me was meditate. I put forth my best effort and while there were and are benefits that I still reap today. However my spiritual personality is geared toward the devotee path. The bhakti path is the path to devotion, worship and chanting the names of God...which leads into seeing and worshipping God in all things and people. I sing to and of God not because I think God desires it. I sing not because God is out there. Rather I sing to maintain a consciousness of God that carries over into the rest of he day. This hit home to me one day when I saw God (in one of the images I use mentally) within those I work with...not with just one, but all of them. I could then worship that of God in them. I could hear them and serve them selflessly as my loving Lord. I think the Thomasine Path..and at least within the UCA really has a Hindu Vedanta focus. Tradition says Thomas went to Syria and India where he was martyred. Perhaps there was an influence of the Eastern Faiths on the Thomasine writings. One of the saying in the Gospel of Thomas tells, "His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?" Jesus said, 'Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.'" He tells them that we should not engage in spiritual practices we hate. While this is not to be used an excuse to have a free for all, it is a reminder that we each have a spiritual practice that will fit us. What works for person A may not work for person B. The spiritual path is not meant to be a cookie cutter path. The Thomasine path, challenges he individual to taste and see for themselves. I really believe that the Thomasine path is a Vedanta path. It challenges us with koans akin to some of the Zen Koans. It speaks of original nature and the true self in ways akin to Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. Perhaps it is a path for those who appreciate the Christian mythos without the traditional teachings, beliefs, and wordings. In my mind it is the perfect blend of east and west. For me, God can be called God, Allah, Sophia, Goddess, Krishna, Siva, Kali, Jesus or what have you. They are just names...fingers pointing to God who is beyond all names. Take a moment and consider what practices that are meaningful to you. So often we are bogged down with what we feel we should do, never taking stock of what is appropriate in the present moment. Enjoy life, find a practice that works for you, stick with it, through thick and thin...through times of grace and joy and through desert and pain.