Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Blackened Eye and Being Mindful

World Vision is a Christian based organization with outposts in some of the most poverty stricken areas of the world. They work to provide children with the basics in life to offer them the best chance to succeed and build a strong community. This past week World Vision announced that they were changing their employee policy to allow for all within their ranks to marry, including same-sex couples. They would no longer discriminate.

World Vision's President Richard Stearns: “It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there. This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate,” Stearns said. “Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues.”

While some in the Christian community were happy with this announcement, many more were very vocal in their disapproval going so far as to encourage people to withdraw their support for World Vision leaving many dependant children in the lurch.

This whole ordeal really saddens me, that professing Christians would actually pull support for a child they committed to helping simply because they disagreed with an employee policy that is designed to work for a large group of diverse believers within a Christian organization. How shallow must their commitment have been to say that they would deny their support if gays were allowed to be a part of the process? What was the motivation in the first place to become involved? A reward in heaven or actually helping a child in desperate need?

In the end the far-right Evangelical bullies with their threat to abandon desperate and dependant children won and World Vision reversed their decision.

Christianity is sporting a blackened eye today and I continue to slump further and further in my seat in the back of the church, ashamed by the actions of people who claim to follow Jesus.

I recently read 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Dan is an ABC News correspondent and host of Nightline who suffered an on-air panic attack 10 years ago. A personal evaluation of his life led him to some changes, one of which being the inclusion of meditation into his daily routine.

I was under the impression that pretty much all meditation was spiritual but that's not so. There's secular meditation as well and that's what has piqued my interest. There are so many different types of meditation but the one I'm learning about is mindfulness meditation, which from what I can tell is a sort of loose term that covers an array of attention training practices.

Dan explains in his book how the mind is forever bouncing from one thought to another, never stopping during our waking hours. It's referred to as monkey-mind; a reference to a monkey jumping from limb to limb. It causes us to never truly live in the moment as our minds continually plan out our days and question past decisions all the while careening from one random thought to another preventing ourselves from ever truly living in the here and now. Meditation encourages you to quiet your monkey-mind by focusing on something (often your breathing) and reigning in your wandering mind over and over again as often as necessary to keep any stray thoughts at bay. It takes practice and I'm only just beginning so I really don't have much more to add at this point; no revelations as yet to share. I intend to give it an honest try to see if I too can realize some benefits of meditation others speak so highly of such as more focused attention in my everyday life. I could use a little of that.

Dan suggests using the app, Insight Timer. It's a nifty app which provides a way to track your time spent meditating as well as some guided meditations where you sit back and allow an instructor to guide you along.

I'll let you know how it goes.

I had my first colonoscopy six years ago when I turned 50, the recommended age when you should first have the procedure done if you have no family history of colon cancer. My family has no history of this sort of cancer but because my doctor keeps finding polyps I just completed my 4th colonoscopy last Thursday and will need to be seen again next year. Lucky me! No, really, lucky me! I don't mind doing this yearly if necessary.

We met up with Joe and Lisa last night at Mediterranean Cruise Cafe in Burnsville where we enjoyed some of the most flavorful food I've had in a long while, especially the salad. It's so good! And there was so much food! It was at times a bit of a puzzle to find a way to fit all they served us on the limited space on the table but we managed. They bring you that much!

Ahmet was our server. He stopped by several times to make conversation with us and at one point offered to take our photo for me. A move which always guarantees at least a 20% tip!

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