[Springboard] Approach To Junaluska

marykdsouza at vsnl.com marykdsouza at vsnl.com
Thu Nov 15 02:56:17 EST 2007

Thank you for your reflection David.
I am also learning mindfulness and agree with most of what you say.

----- Original Message -----
From: david442 at cox.net
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2007 2:23 am
Subject: [Springboard] Approach To Junaluska
To: springboard at wedgeblade.net

> The contradiction that bites at my consciousness for the past 12 
> years is Jack Gilles’ Number 2 under All the gifts of humanness 
> belongs to all.  Not only as the contradiction states now is there 
> an  absence of approaches to exploring profound humanness as a way 
> to unite us all, but most humans around the planet are aware of 
> this absence.  They know nothing really satisfies their deepest 
> soul felt needs.  They are thirsty for vitality beneath the wealth 
> and beneath the poverty they are experiencing.
> 	As I have tried to satiate this thirst in myself, I have found 
> that until very recent times I did not have a daily, weekly, 
> monthly or annual practice that met this need.  In the past seven 
> years I begun to explore daily and hourly what Saint Paul 
> advocated two millennia ago “prayer without ceasing.”  By chance 
> it came to me through Engaged Buddhism as expressed in the work of 
> Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk.  My mentors in this 
> tradition are Larry Ward and Peggy Rowe-Ward who’ve are lay dharma 
> teachers in this tradition.  
> 	Peggy calls Larry a Buddhacostal since he has found no need to 
> leave his Christian Baptist heritage to become a “Buddhist”.  This 
> Engaged Buddhism neither requires “conversion” nor in Larry’s own 
> words is there any reason to convert.  We are Christians learning 
> an immense bundle of practices and “great beings” who embody 
> traits and vivid images of what living as a profound human being 
> is all about.  When we sit before an altar the whole wall is 
> covered by these “bodhisattvas” or “saints” who are available to 
> us here and now, not somewhere over the rainbow.  This practice 
> comes to me as very fresh.  If I had grown up Buddhist, maybe it 
> wouldn’t be so fresh.  But Thich Nhat Hanh has done a fabulous job 
> making Buddhist lore transparent to humanness.  That’s the 
> freshness I love.
> 	Could I have found my thirst slaked somewhere else?  Could I have 
> found it in my own Christian tradition?  Of course.  But I didn’t. 
> The saints of the past practiced sitting, walking, eating, lying 
> down, standing meditation 24/7.  Mindfulness all day long even in 
> my sleep (those dreams and night visitations are critically 
> important) is a great way to live.  The only failure in the 
> Christian priestly, monastic traditions was to train us lay people 
> to do these practices sufficiently that we could take it with us 
> into our daily lives, into our work place, our families, our 
> friendships, etc.  It is “intentionality” to the nth degree in our 
> own Order: Ecumenical tradition.
> 	I would welcome the opportunity to glean the wisdom we’ve all 
> been accumulating over the past 20 years about what practices are 
> working for us.  I know they are working.  Just look at all the 
> wonderful, miraculous achievements we’ve been doing in 
> corporations,  in health-education-environment, in local 
> communities, in other service organizations, in doing whatever 
> business we are currently doing.  We know our practices are alive 
> and healthy because over the 20 years we have continued to be 
> Those Who Care.  What works for you?  Please share it.
> 	If you find yourself thirsty for a corporate spirit life, look 
> around you.  Dare to look behind all the labels that are thrown 
> around.  Dare to look in unsuspected places.  There are retreat 
> centers galore.  There are books and book stores galore.  The “New 
> Age” is over.  I know because I saw it in writing the other day.  
> (A smile and a wink)  It is now the New Now!!!!!
> 	How would I approach our process at Junaluska?  I want to hear 
> everyone’s story about their life and their work.  I want to be 
> able to paint a mosaic of our Doing.   I want to listen to our 
> Knowing – what we have learned from doing what we’ve done.  Maybe 
> a cross gestalt of our knowing and doing would name the guilds 
> that in a way we are already members of.   And I want to know what 
> spiritual practices we’ve been doing that have authentically 
> sustained and motivated us over the last 20 years, or even just 
> the last 5 years.   We cannot easily in three days separate these 
> into three departments.  So I would put them all in the first 3 
> hours and then do the cross gestalt and ask, “What’s next?  And 
> what shall we do together in the ensuing days, weeks and months?”
> 	As Goethe said long ago, “Once we let go of our hesitancy and 
> commit ourselves to our dream, providence will enter in and 
> provide the help we need to do what we set out to do.”  (My 
> paraphrase)
> Blessings,
> David McCleskey
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