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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's better to work with fear in meditation

McClatchy-Tribune News Service



It's tough to meditate when you're too scared to get on the cushion.

That fear means your meditation is working, Lama Tsony says in "Facing Fear." The crisis is a normal phase. "We all enter the spiritual path as ego-based beings, and as such we have ego-based hopes and fears." As you get past the initial boredom of meditation, he says, "the fear remains that your dreams, your life and your base could fall apart."

Lama Tsony says that instead of looking for refuge in various distractions, it's better to work with the fear. By meditating and remaining in the present, "we can let go of the past and the future — the headquarters of our fears."

In "Beloved Community," contributing editor Sallie Jiko Tisdale presents a candid chronicle of the encounter between her Zen center and nearby Christian evangelicals. "We surprise them by being ordinary," she says, and, despite her apprehensions they surprise her "by being more than ordinary — by being well-educated, intelligent and funny."


Bringing liberal religious groups more into political discussions is the subject of a special section, "The Spiritual Left Speaks Out." Personal faith and political action are "one piece," writes Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun. Moses, she says, knew "the function of spirituality is not to protect us from our times," but to help us work for change.

She urges a re-examination of the "seven sins" in the public sphere, as well as the private. Envy, for example, is manifest in "ethnocentrism" when we impose our system and structures on other cultures. Lust, she says, is embodied in our "national passion for the instantaneous gratification that justifies the exploitation of whole peoples so that we can have cheap cash crops and conveniences."

Sister Chittister urges the religious left to social action by recalling an ancient spiritual practitioner who, when asked if his God worked miracles, replied: "Some people say that a miracle is when God does the will of the people. We say that a miracle is when people do the will of God."

— Robert Plocheck



It's easy to get lost in this site, which covers world religions, ancient religions, secret societies, astrology and much more. There are countless links and articles, and following just one may lead you to dozens of unexpected topics.

Readers, beware, as some information comes from unverifiable sources, and some has no source given at all. For example, an entry on David Koresh (found under "New Religious Groups" and then "Branch Davidians") is filled with conspiracy theories and unattributed speculation. It's a worthy site, though, for its comprehensiveness and surprises — the Nag Hammadi library, 104 articles on cryptozoology, myths and stories from Native American religion.

—Tyra Damm