Friday, February 19, 2010

On Ice and Snow

Attention all ye snow birds out there, and that includes you Easterners who are really really ready to see springtime arrive...

What comes first, righteousness or holiness?

Let's say someone is acting all holy, keeping kosher, praying, that kind of thing, but speaks a lot of gossip. Or cheats on their taxes. How do you react?

Pretty disappointing, right?

OK, let's say someone is super-duper ethical in action and speech, but has no spiritual practice, in fact disdains "spirituality" as "mythology" and is exceedingly proud of his or her great accomplishments. How do you react?

I used to be a big fan of the Winter Olympics.

I particularly loved the Giant Slalom (perhaps because as a skier, I could somewhat relate to the sport).

What changed me was a realization that the thesis of "human perfection" has a spiritual antithesis, of humility.

The Olympics do not seem to encourage nor honor humility.

Just look at the face of the Russian figure skater, standing on the podium with his silver medal.

Silver! He ought to be thrilled. But he has the scowl of a sore loser.

Righteousness is like striving for the gold.

Holiness is like being happy with whatever the outcome may be, whether Gold, Silver, or even being disqualified or falling during your routine.

How do you fall on this topic? Here's the big question you can ask your table to flush out where everyone stands:

With whom would you rather spend an hour and why:

A) Your favorite Olympian (or pro athlete)
B) His Holiness the Dalai Lama (or other comparable person)

If you answered "B" - how does your time cultivating holiness compare to your time watching sports?

These days, I've become a "small" fan of the Olympics.

Shabbat Shalom

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. - Churchill

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