Sunday, April 10, 2011

What is a bargain?

April 10, 2011

Dear Friends,

Does change that comes easily have greater significance than change that is resisted?

In spiritual formation or in therapy, can change be assessed according to difficulty—i.e., do I know I am moving in a desirable direction if the journey is difficult? Or, conversely, if the journey is easy?

Hafiz wrote:

Manic Screaming

We shall make all spiritual talk
Simple today:

God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:

Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!!

-From collection of Hafiz poetry,
I Heard God Laughing, Translated by David Ladinsky

Difficulty, per se, seems to me to be a quite unreliable measure of the value of given change. I think direction of goal rather than ease or difficulty of attainment is a more valid point for assessment of change. Hafiz argues that any change that God proposes for us is always a bargain, whatever the price, and in this context attempting to change the price tag is an exercise in both absurdity and futility.

Is there something in your life at this time about which you are haggling with yourself—or with God? What is the deal breaker?

I find it helpful to remind myself that in this consumer culture, I may not always recognize a good bargain for my soul.

See you next week.


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