No this meditation is not about James Dickey’s book or the subsequent movie.

Grandma Danny’s Thanksgiving Alphabet — “Deliverance — which never can be excelled. (2 Corinthians 1:10)”
2 Corinthians 1:10 — “Who delivered us from so great a death and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.”
Paul in verses 8 through 11 thought that the reader should know he had undergone great suffering in Ephesus, and was even at death’s door. That this great danger had taught him that his life was in the hands of God, and that God had delivered him then and continued to do so.
I don’t know when Danny wrote her Thanksgiving alphabet and whether Danny also had undergone any illness or suffering at the time. But I do know from examining her Bible that Danny was one who trusted her life to God and spent every day serving those she loved without concern for her own welfare. She trusted he would deliver her from Death until she was called to return to him.
As we each become older we seem to have a few more aches and pains and health scares. Each of us should take a lesson from St. Paul and Danny — Trust in God that he will deliver us and give thanks.

Seven Pillars of Equanimity/Balance

I leave to each of your individual mediations the seven pillars that lead to equanimity/balance

  • Virtue or integrity
  • Faith or confidence
  • Mindfullness
  • A sense of well being
  • Understanding or wisdom
  • Insight
  • Freedom or Letting Go

We often talk about freedom as individual independence — the ability to do or be whatever/whoever we want. There is another way to look at freedom. It is the freedom or letting go of conditioned responses and our reactive tendencies. This kind of letting go frees us from bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination. Freedom from social pressures frees us from the need for approval from family and friends. Freedom from worldly wants frees us from attachments that tie down one’s soul.

Much like a sail carries one’s boat with a wind, worldly attachments make it difficult not to be carried off by the worldly winds. Freedom is an anchor that holds us where we want to be no matter how strong the wind blows.

Fourth Pair Of Worldly Winds — Fame/Disrepute

Fame and Disrepute
I know a little bit about these gusting winds. Just when you think the winds of fame will blow forever, the storm of fame calms, and before one can say Jack Robinson, the winds of disrepute blow with even greater force.
The good news is that those winds will die down as well, and we recognize that no wind at all is a wonderful place to stand.
There are several sayings that emphasize this fourth pair of worldly winds:
  • Fame is fleeting
  • Cruel nature of celebrity
  • Fame is an illusion
The Buddhists say that we cope with the eight worldly winds by developing equanimity/balance. Next week we will explore the seven supports that lead to equanimity, as well as return to Danny and our regular meditations.

Pain/Pleasure — The Third Pair of Worldly Winds

Pleasure/Pain the third pair of Worldly Winds. How quickly we learn this lesson. As children, we spend a day at the beach only to cry out in pain that night because of sunburn. As adults we enjoy a game of tennis, run a 10 K, or overdo planting a garden, and then we pay for it with knee, ankle, or back pain. In our old age we enjoy each and every day knowing our time is limited, but each day carries a little or lot of pain. Its part of the price of life.

Wisdom also teaches us to now be consumed by a strong rush of the worldly wind of pain. Let it pass over and through you, recognizing it will pass and can always be endured.
The same goes for a strong gust of pleasure. It can cause us to become unbalanced. I bet each of you know of experiences where the worldly wind of pleasure causes one to lose touch with reality.
Meditation is a good tool to handle the ever-changing worldly winds of Pleasure/Pain.