Posts Tagged ‘patience’

Practicing Presence

February 6, 2017

Mozart, our Shar-Pei, is a lover so to speak. He loves affection and attention. Ignoring him is usually not an option. He loves to be loved. Our car Frodo, on the other hand, is a one person cat for the most part. He sits on TruDee’s lap if he sits on lap at all. It only takes a look from me to cause him to flee across the room, he pretty much doesn’t want anything to do with anyone or anything except TruDee.moz-and-frodo

He will acknowledge our two dogs as long as it’s his idea and not theirs. Mozart really wants to interact with Frodo, but most of the time Frodo is not having it. I noticed the other evening Mozart scooting across the floor close to Frodo. Mozart finally stopped and simply lay his head close to Frodo and just waited.

Perhaps he learned this from our older dog Simeon, I have often referred to Simeon as my Zen master. Simeon for the most part is about presence. He doesn’t need a lot of attention or petting, he is generally content just laying or sitting near you in a, “I’m here,” presence.

I think about so many instances and situations in our culture and society, our state and nation, our government, politics, even in the church and I wonder what we might learn from such an example of Mozart and Simeon? It seems to me there is so much incivility, vitriol language, intolerance, lack of understanding, and too much talking at one another rather than listening.

I wonder, if we focused more on the practice of forgiveness and grace, a practice of a patient listening presence rather than how we are going to respond in accusation or proving another wrong and we right, if our world, our churches, and our lives might be a little more open to the common good for all? I wonder.

Take some time this week and beyond to consider how we could all spend a little more time on inward reflection on our own behavior and reactions. Take some time this week and beyond to reflect on how we all might practice patience and an intentional listening presence to understand rather than to be right.

Mozart’s attempt at practicing presence did not result in a new best of friends scenario, but perhaps it will lead to a more understanding and friendly relationship between two who must live in the world together peaceably and gracefully. Practice patience. Practice presence. Practice Love, Kindness, and Humility.

It is one of the many of the ways we seek to be mindful of the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the community.  Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church. Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.

Peace and Light…and Presence for Your Journey!

Pastor Kent



August 30, 2011

Like dog like master I suppose, or maybe it is more like master like dog, anyway Simeon is not a very patient being, nor do I tend to be. For Simeon it does not seem to matter whether it is something to eat, somewhere to go, somewhere to be scratched, or time to go outside, he is pretty impatient. If we wait too long he begins he low “growly” sound, I think he sounds a bit like Scooby Doo from the cartoon when he does. He seems to be telling us something and I suspect it has something to do with wanting us to “Hurry Up!”

When I am impatient whether it has to do with traffic and other drivers, going somewhere, getting something done, waiting, or some other thing I know I can get rather “growly” myself. I am working on it though, especially mindful of it this past week.

There is a Buddhist Center just a few blocks from where we live and I have often pondered the notion of stopping in to introduce myself and to learn more about their path and way. This past week I put together a new sermon series for the fall. I thought it would be neat to do a series based on the Eight Fold Path of Buddhism and the Teachings and Parables of Jesus. That idea and subsequent reflection led me to the Center down the street and I have enrolled in their fall Thursday evening classes.

One of the things the Teacher shared with us that first night was the practice of patience. Notice I did say “practice.” She told us to not just meditate and reflect on patience but look for ways to practice patience, i.e. take the longest line at the grocery store, let one extra person in when in traffic, let a family go ahead of you the next time you are waiting for a seat at the restaurant, just to name a few.

Yesterday I had such an opportunity, oh, it began as my normal frustrated and impatient self but I was brought back to the teaching I had heard last Thursday. Simeon and I were on our walk and he of course often has to do one of his “jobs” while we are out. I pulled one of the little bags I carry out of my pocket and stepped into the grass to do my part and just as I leaned over I noticed I stepped in it. Not Simeon’s “it” mind you, some other dog’s “it.” I was not happy!

But then I said to myself, “Wait, why let this upset my journey?” So once I had cleaned up after Simeon I pulled the other bag from my pocket, always have a spare, and picked up the other mess too, cleaned off my shoe and away we went.

A perhaps long story to simply say and acknowledge the sense of peace and grace that washed over me as Simeon and I continued on our journey. It was a simple act of patience that led to peace and gratitude for the ability to be on the journey at all. I am not convinced Simeon learned much from the experience and I suspect he will continue to be the loveable impatient companion he is, but hopefully, for me, I will be able to continue to develop and grow in my own mindfulness of patience and grace as I walk in the Way.

Our new sermon series, “Crossroads of Faith and Practice; The Teachings of Buddha and Jesus, the Eight Fold Path and the Parables,” will begin this coming Sunday at College Hill. Along the Way we will consider lessons in, “Words that Matter, Forgiveness, Sin, Mindfulness, Works, Effort, and Prayer,” if you are in the area I hope you can join us for one or all of the series.

It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.