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Friday, April 8, 2011

Many Things I Have Been #2

A few days ago I wrote a post that talked about various things I had done, primarily my time as a hermit. I cited a poem translated by J.P. Seaton in his "The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, about the life or a hermit.  I found another poem by Shih Te, an 8th Century Chinese Zen monk that begins with "If you want to be happy, there is no way but to be a hermit," and a few lines later concludes, "And me? I ought to be at joyous ease, but I can't help thinking of the people in the world."   
I thought about this poem, ironically, after I posted a couple of comments on my nephew Brenly's Facebook post. He commented on how people often feel more lonely after Facebook or social networking. 

I wrote, " Oh also, we always have a moving toward communion with someone and a move away into isolation. It just goes faster with the internet. But the real trick is interior change. To move from loneliness to solitude and from manipulative relationships to love. Then the medium doesn't matter." and " I remember when you used to walk into a coffee shop and see people gathered around tables in intense discussion, debate, or watching/listening to guitarists, poetry reading etc. Now you see a line of computers plugged in and people alone."

Yesterday I had a conversation with someone about the difference loneliness and solitude and difference between a needy relationship and a loving one.  We can be lonely and move away from that emotion without ever spending time with people.  We can become spiritualized and content within ourselves.  If I had done that I would never had needed to leave the mountain and I could have become a successful hermit. But like Shih Te I could not help thinking of the people in the world. 

Often we can be in a needy, manipulative path towards romantic love, but again we can become spiritualized.  Pope Benedict XVI wrote in  Deus Caritas Est of the wonderful thing that erotic love is.  That eros should not be reduced to mere sex, but understood as that love that brings a man and a woman together and that it can "rise 'in ecstasy'  towrds the divine."  That the coming together of a man and a woman can deepen their relationship to God and humankind in general as there love matures.  

I suggest these random thoughts, tied together by a common thread of how we can change our interior life regardless of vocation or time in life. 

The prior post mentioned can be found at:

And the Pope's Letter on the Vatican archive:

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