Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Snow and Thoughts on Gelassenheit

This has by far been the snowiest winter I have known in Texas and if it keeps up today, we actually may be the snowiest winter in North Texas history.
When I was out doing chores this morning it looked as if the world around me was being sprinkled with powdered sugar. Birds were fighting for a place at the feeders and it seems the more feeders I add to my collection, there is never enough for all the hungry little birds.
Last night I did some more study on the concept of "Gelassenheit" which is a foundational sort of term used in the Amish world, that doesn't really have a simple one word translation. Its a concept that has be born of the very teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. Words like yielding, humility, meekness, and peace all fit in this one word, along with the idea that you can let go, you can walk through life without being offended and holding on to that tranquility and serenity that comes with a heart full of being calm and honestly filled with compassion and love. Its really much like what seems to sell so many self help books today, the ones that spout off all the ways to find inner peace. I have myself so often read books by Buddhist monks who seem to have the directions on how to discover this place in our hearts where peace can be so firmly planted that nothing, no one, no circumstance, however painful, can take it from us. I sit here wondering why I have travelled so far in my readings only to find I had the "recipe" all this time. I know why really, things can grow to be "old hat" and meaningless when we forget to refresh our souls or walk so far off the path that we actually forget where we have been or forget what the journey is really about. And then there is rebellion, ahh, how well I know rebellion...and that feeling that arises from it that whispers in our ear that we are independent and no one can tell us what to do. From there we forget or push out of our lives words like obedience and yielding. Our society seems to think rules are to be bend, pushed our way, made to conform to our wishes and desires. We indulge our wants and turn them into needs in our minds and justify our actions. Gelasseneheit doesn't allow for that, neither does the life of a Buddhist monk for that matter. Yielding, humility, having a gentle spirit, and putting aside this notion that strength is all tied up in self assertiveness, gives us that inner peace that can't be stolen from us, but the very concept of humility seems nice to most of us, but for someone else maybe. We so often view it alongside weakness, being walked on. I want to be defined by this word "gelassenheit" even though it goes against all the ideas I have been fostering for the last few years. Gelassenheit, this one word for so many things can be found all in one place, The Sermon on The Mount.
Let your days be filled with the simple things !


Laura in IA said...

You may enjoy one of my favorite books. Go Placidly Amidst the Noise and Haste.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Something good to think about. Thanks. You might find interesting the book Living Buddah, Living Christ by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

Marianna said...

So many people are attracted to the Amish lifestyle, including myself. I've often pondered over why, knowing that it goes beyond the longing for the seeming simplicity inherent in their life. Perhaps it is this concept that is really so attractive.

Deanna said...

You ought to read "White Banners" by Lloyd C. Douglas. The main character has a world view very
much like this. It has long been one of my favorite books.

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