The Need for More

Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard claims to be a Marxist, a Groucho Marxist that is. In his TED Global 2014 talk, How to let altruism be your guide, he quotes Groucho as saying: “Why should I care about future generations? What have they ever done for me?” Of course you’d expect that from Groucho the comedian, but from billionaire, Steve Forbes? Yes, Ricard also heard Mr. Forbes say the same thing on Fox News.

Thankfully, not everyone is like Mr. Forbes and Ricard gives us the science that demonstrates many people truly behave altruistically as well as that many more can be trained to act selflessly. He says his scientific demonstration and 2,000 years of contemplative experience validate that 20 minutes of quiet meditation a day for four weeks will bring about significant positive change in an individual’s brain activity making them more concerned for the well-being of others.

We can do something culturally as well. We can work for sustainable harmony. Ricard explains:

“Sustainable harmony means now we will reduce inequality. In the future, we do more with less, and we continue to grow qualitatively, not quantitatively. We need caring economics.”

Now why would anyone prefer altruism over selfishness? Besides making a better world for everyone on this planet, paradoxically it, more than all the material accumulation one can imagine, fills that need for more that we all experience. Thanks Matthieu.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

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Connecting Through Ritual

Mushka, my indoor/outdoor cat loves ritual. She wakes me up each morning long before I’m ready to face the day insisting that it’s time for her to go out. Each weekday afternoon she greets me on my return home from dining with friends for lunch at Golden Diners. Of course, she’s been napping while I’ve been away and now, for Mushka, it’s time to play. Despite the fact that I’m feeling the need for my nap she relentlessly pushes her agenda, play. She wins, we play, and then I nap with her on my lap.

Baya Voce in her October 2016 TEDx Talk, The Simple Cure for Loneliness quotes Jim Carrey who said:  “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Then she tells us the answer to the question: “What do we really need?” What we really need says Baya is an anchor of connection and that anchor is ritual. She shares her anchors of connection and for me at least, convincingly demonstrates her case.

There’s a problem that Baya does not directly address. Some rituals are not life giving. In fact some, like addiction rob our lives from us. She does not tell us how to distinguish one from the other although she gives us a hint to healthy ones with the rituals she shares—meetings and meals with friends and family on a regular basis.

Of course there are other rituals we can adopt to build connections. We can attend regular meetings with our local communities to address issues and to take concerted effort to make our world a better place by doing our little part. We can help out by caring for grandchildren while their parents are at work. Of course there’s our work lives, church meeting and rituals. Putting all these together and I believe we’re on the way to a connected and life-giving world for ourselves as well as for all those around us.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Life/Work Balance

Governments and corporations are not going to solve the work/life balance we need in our life. So says Nigel Marsh in his How to make work-life balance work in his May 2010 TEDx Talk. In a short ten minutes he gives us four ways to make the balance. While I like his suggestions, his two-minute story of an evening with his youngest child at the end of his talk, convinced me of the urgency of such an endeavor.

For me, poet, novelist and environmentalist, Wendell Berry, gives a much clearer picture of what I need to do:

…According to him, the good life includes sustainable agriculture, appropriate technologies, healthy rural communities, connection to place, the pleasures of good food, husbandry, good work, local economics, the miracle of life, fidelity, frugality, reverence, and the interconnectedness of life. (Wikipedia)

Not easy achievements in a 21st Century American city, but maybe, just maybe some of Berry’s ideas deserve our attention. Today a program such as The one-acre farm might just be the answer.

Why all this talk of environment, life/work balance on our Partners’ blog? The Old English word for healthy is holy. As Partners we strive for holiness. This necessarily involves all the above issues and probably some more. St. Benedict who talked about a life of prayer, study and work and St. Paul of the Cross who focused his life on keeping alive the memory of Jesus’ passion weren’t faced with the issues we are today. I believe if they were around today, these are the issues they would be preaching to us about.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Less is More

I believe in the “Too big to survive” theory of economics. While various articles about “Too big to fail” come up when I searched that on Google, I think the phrase originated with Colin Wright a young entrepreneur, writer, speaker, world traveler and cofounder of Asymmetrical Press. (Warning: “This link is not authorized by Yahoo”) I like it because it contrasts well with the more familiar, “Too big to fail” theory.

What do I mean by “Too big to survive”? I believe this is what Lent is all about. As Passionists we are encouraged to take a period of time each year, Lent, to determine what is really important to us and our families and communities. One way to do this, is by paring down, getting rid of the excess, and focusing on what really matters, by getting smaller, just the opposite of what seems to be the wisdom of our day: “More, more, more”.

In what I believe is an ingenious contemporary six minute articulation of what St. Francis (1181 – 1226), St. Paul of the Cross (1694 – 1775) and many more saints preached, contemporary designer and writer, Graham Hill in his March 2011 TED Talk Less stuff, more happiness, suggests that we ask ourselves “Could I do a little life editing?” He gives three great suggestions for living more fulfilled, happy lives:

  • Edit ruthlessly
  • Think small
  • Make Multifunctional

I think maybe I’ll try making these my mantra for this Lent.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

 

Cardinal Cupich: No Immigration Agents on Church Property Without Warrants

Thank you Cardinal Cupich. You make me proud to be part of a church and community that stands with the oppressed and marginalized.

Millennial

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via Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told priests Tuesday that if federal immigration authorities knock on the doors of their parishes without a warrant, priests should turn them away and call the archdiocese’s lawyers. Catholic school principals have been told to do the same.

“If they do not have a warrant and it is not a situation that someone is in imminent danger, tell them politely they cannot come on the premises,” Cupich wrote in a letter to Chicago priests.

The directive comes a week after the Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines for enforcing President Donald Trump’s immigration orders that call for hiring thousands of additional enforcement agents and expanding the pool of immigrants who are targeted for removal. The new guidelines also authorize officers to conduct more raids in immigrant communities.

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