Tag Archives: blessing

Divine Intervention: Blessing or Curse

For a while, it is comforting to think everything happens for a reason. But honestly, MOST people who lay that on as a platitude mean that it applies when bad things happen to YOU. Just like so many go around with, “God is good” on their lips when they’re in clover, but blame others when the chips are down. There’s even a Muslim proverb that states, “Everything good in my life is thanks to god; the bad things, the rest, are my own doing.”

When people think of divine blessing, they usually think of largesse, of abundance, of ease and the absence of strife. A divine curse, on the other hand, is usually the opposite: ruination, famine, loss, defamation and sadness. If the presence of the divine is in both, who is to say which is the preferred state, at least theologically?

Diversity and conflict define us as individuals in a way that blissful homogeny never can. It is only along the fault lines that the world grows.

A loving god, like a loving parent, wants us to grow, right? And like a wealthy father (and by definition any divine being surely qualifies) they surely want “to give us enough that we can do anything, but no so much that we need to do nothing.” There’s a balance between hard and easy, convenient and difficult, joyful and painful that MUST be the underlying composition of any divine gift or inheritance.

The Buddha I think had it right when he proposed, “all life is suffering.” We suffer when we are without, surely. Without food, water, shelter, opportunity, we wither. But at the same time, unwarranted (or should I say untoiled for) abundance creates another kind of suffering. Without challenge, without effort, we become weak, shallow, malleable and cruel. Of the two conditions, the complacency inherent in luxury is the more dangerous, if not to the “soul” and our spiritual health, then as the result of the “rich man’s” problems (i.e., diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, obesity) that the majority of oppressed, underprivileged and cursed of the earth are blissfully free from.

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The Backhand Gift: a blessing

What blessing do you seek to earn
from some force named by other men,
who think to teach so all will learn
to reap the future’s might have beens?

What largess do you hope to gain
beseeching shadows for some gift
to ease your path, relieve your pain,
despite your neighbor’s shorter shrift?

What undeserved great benefit
sent from on high should you receive,
in truth, just for the hell of it:
because you say that you believe?

Take thou this blessing, in that case;
that you extort it, give no care.
Move quickly, lest it go to waste
and mix with someone else’s air.

Yea, bless thee, and more, all of thine;
behave as the sole chosen heir
to yours, and here, have some of mine:
look, your wealth is beyond compare!

A blessing on your humble soul,
now buried underneath such stuff;
a life, a house, a chair, a bowl:
how much exactly is enough?

Yea, blessings from that sacred source
your lips name proudly week by week,
like the rich owner of a horse
who loves to hear his own voice speak.

17 NOV 2010

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A Blessing for the Road: a benison or blessing

I’ve asked much from the universe,
expecting, like a child,
that forces outside my control,
untamed, feral and wild,

would take a hand, and mold my life
in ordered, simple ways.
Such is the expectation
of most people, when they pray.

But my petition now has changed;
I listen, more than speak,
and hope for nothing sure, except
reminders where I’m weak.

The universe can bless or curse;
to me, they are the same.
Just tests from different teachers,
with only myself to blame.

Again, I ask the universe
to contemplate my role,
and where required, make changes
that may benefit the whole.

Much more than that, I cannot ask,
nor really, do I need,
except a blessing to move at
a self-determined speed.

04 APR 2004

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