A Meditation on Faith: Prudence

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the hardest thing we had to do was “be nice” to each other?

Alas, life is not that easy.

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical… and to live in fear of other humans… who can be petty, covetous, dishonest, lazy, ungrateful, untrustworthy, greedy, and vengeful.

The common parasites who whine, gossip, scapegoat, malinger, and freeload are annoying enough, but the challenge does not stop there. We live among committers of true evil… countless “humans” who cheat, betray, steal, abuse, slander, terrorize, exploit, rape, torture, and murder. Some of them are so vicious and remorseless that an intelligent, compassionate person can ask with all sincerity: Is being kind, forgiving, trusting, and generous really in my best interest?

Next Meditation: The Lottery


9 thoughts on “A Meditation on Faith: Prudence

  1. In my life, (now I’m thinking about John Lennon haha) I have given love, time, compassion, and have forgiven many things to some that just don’t appreciate my existence. Things left on a sour note, but still I can talk to these folks when I see them. I personally don’t feel we can keep all relationships without leaving some behind that hinder or drain the life right out of you. It took me a long time to recover from a couple relationships like this. I try to avoid the parasites and put my energy in symbiotic coexistence. Don’t get me wrong, I still love these pepole and I would try and help them if I saw them stranded or something, but I would not give them my time otherwise.

    you cannot know soft without hard, color without colorless, hot without cold… these people are necessary to show us what we want in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, brother. All part of the learning process… As you say, it takes lots of experience and maturity to see such disappointments for what they are… and to have the strength and wisdom to preserve your own healthy boundaries… without bitterness… and still remain willing to do the right thing even for those who have done us wrong. All the best to you, my friend. Peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A STORY
    The Spider and the Sage
    “I would rather be fooled than not believe.”


    In India, there is a story about a kind, quiet man who would pray in the Ganges River every morning. One day after praying, he saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water and cupped his hands to carry it ashore. As he placed the spider on the ground, it stung him. Unknowingly, his prayers for the world diluted the poison.

    The next day the same thing happened.

    On the third day, the kind man was knee deep in the river, and sure enough, there was the spider, legs frantic in the water. As the man went to lift the creature yet again, the spider said, “Why do you keep lifting me? Can’t you see I will sting you every time, because that is what I do.” And the kind man cupped his hands about the spider, replying, “Because that is what I do.”
    There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is as compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do. It is how the inner organ of being keeps pumping. Spiders sting. Wolves howl. Ants build small hills that no one sees. And human beings lift each other, no matter the consequence. Even when other beings sting.

    Some say this makes us a sorry lot that never learns, but to me it holds the same beauty as berries breaking through ice and snow every spring. It is what quietly feeds the world. After all, the berries do not have any sense of purpose or charity. They are not altruistic, or self-sacrificing. They simply grow to be delicious because that is what they do.

    As for us, if things fail, we will reach for them. If things break, we will try to put them together. If loved ones cry, we will try to soothe them – because that is what we do. I have often reached out, and sometimes it feels like a mistake. Sometimes, like the quiet man lifting the spider, I have been stung. But it doesn’t matter, because that is what I do. That is what we do. It is the reaching out that is more important than the sting. In truth, I’d rather be fooled than not believe.

    Recall a time when you were kind for no reason. It could have been as simple as picking up what a stranger dropped. Or leaving an apple in the path of hungry birds.

    Meditate on what such acts have done for you. After being kind, have you felt lighter, more energized, younger, more open in your heart?

    Enter your day, not trying to consciously be kind, but rather with a kind outlook that allows you to naturally be who you are and do what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your positive message, Elizabeth. Alas, I am not referring to the “easy” situations: being kind to our decent, but imperfect selves and to the decent, but imperfect souls around us. I am referring to those who steal, cheat, terrorize, rape, and murder without remorse. They do exist. In fact, I have had multiple exposures to such… and have a particularly gut-wrenching situation even as I type… In short, a dear friend of mine had his farm and house burned to the ground… and his family is in hiding. He has a price on his head, courtesy of an opposition group who objects to his being a good neighbor to an ethnic/religious group they despise. I too, would be killed if I showed up to help him. Wanna help?


      • I’ll never understand how someone can kill in the name of anything. They may see things differently as they may think they are protecting their community, but to what grounds do they actually believe they are doing the right thing? It’s so surreal. I have a hard time even imagining people who do this sort of thing. Out of my own curiosity, is it that he is a practicing Muslim? It seems as if the entire media system is creating a lot of tension between christian and Muslim these days. I hate this for your friend. He is in my thoughts and I wish I could do more than that, but I cannot take the time to put those miles on my feet ,at this moment. I would start by trying to create a situation in public to talk to these opressors. as you said though, this might not be in the best interest of your family.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for checking in and for sharing your thoughts, my friend. Such violence is indeed beyond gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. Sadly it continues… the bitter fruit of ignorance, fear, religious zeal, tribalism, ethnic division, poverty, corruption, violence and more… that are all both causes and effects of each other in so many vicious cycles. Contact me off-line if you would like to help. There is a way. Thanks and peace, brother. fjpeter1961@msn.com


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