Who The Meek Are Not

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," says the Bible. That doesn't mean what most people think it does. The word translated as "meek" is the Greek word praus, which in ancient times didn't mean "weak-willed, passive, mild." Rather, it referred to great power that was under rigorous control. For example, soldiers' warhorses were considered praus. They heeded the commands of their riders, but were fierce warriors that fought with tireless fervor. - Rob Brezsny

Who The Meek Are Not
by Mary Karr

Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
in the rice-paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
make the wheat fall in waves
they don't get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
nun says we misread
that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
To understand the meek
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
in a meadow, who—
at his master's voice—seizes up to a stunned
but instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
in check, the muscles
along the arched neck keep eddying,
and only the velvet ears
prick forward, awaiting the next order.

The Atlantic - May 2002

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Louisville, KY 40203


Workbook lesson 1

I read the instructions very carefully, and all that is said about it is, "Do not undertake more than one exercise a day." For example, the instructions do not say to start with lesson number one, proceed to lesson number two, follow that with lesson number three, and so on in normal numeric sequence.

I think that it doesn't need to be said. It's obvious that is the intended plan. Start at the beginning and proceed one lesson at a time, in sequence, until you reach the end.

Still, I want to jump back to lesson one to make a point.

When I look around this room I'm in, at the various objects, cats and people in it, and say, "This does not mean anything," my only responses is:

That's not true.

Everything I look at means something to me.

I have a name, however generic a word it may be, for everything I see. If I don't have a name for something, I make one up. It's a doodad or a thingamabob or a gadget. And, everything I look at has a specific quality of ownership attached to it.

"That's my thingamabob, and you better not break it. Give it back."

I look at my left hand, see the 3 inch scar, and remember the spring day in 1969 when I was standing on a ladder against a tree doing some pruning, and I almost sawed my thumb off.

That means something to me.

My world is chock full of meaning. Psychologists have long recognized that people become anxious and disturbed when they can't easily fit a new experience into their preexisting definition of reality. People demand to know how the world works, what is important,  what is not, and what it all means.

I'm thinking that if everyone is totally honest, nobody believes lesson one.

But, that's OK. The instructions clearly state that we are not asked to believe the lessons.

Just do the exercise mindfully, and see what comes up for you as you look around your world.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
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Workbook lesson 4

"Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day."

What does this mean?

Maybe I'm supposed to laugh at the thought the editors, whoever they were, couldn't resist the urge to uniformity by putting the "idea for the day" first, in the lesson title, as it is with all the other lessons.

"These thoughts do not mean anything," is the idea for the day, and there it is right at the beginning of the lesson page in the book I'm looking at.

It's possible to look at it as if it were a joke or a lie, but why bother? Let's take it seriously.

This exercise does not begin with, "these thoughts do not mean anything." It begins with "noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind." 

The implication is that you are not your thoughts. The suggestion is that thoughts just happen. They appear, move across your mind, and disappear. Like clouds in sky.

For some, this may be a novel idea. Some have realized this intuitively, or recognize it from another source.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
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