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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Muddy Mind

Yesterday I spoke with a dear person who is still railing about things from years ago, and is upset about a number of things in a sort of rage. I felt so sad that he could not seem to hear himself. He seemed to have no thought to how his anger and arrogance were affecting me and others. The love-filled and forgiveness themes of the Lord he says he follows seemed far away. He didn't see the irony of acting in a way opposite of his worship.

This morning I thought of years of meditation, contemplation, prayer and studies with a huge variety of spiritual points of view and saw a glass of muddy water. One of my early teachers told me that the muddy mind is made up of accumulated emotions, thoughts, false interpretations of events, judgments of others, resentments, etc. The job of spiritual practice is to clear out the mud so that clear water is present. This is done one drop of clear water at a time - and over time one forgiveness, one hour of meditation, one prayer, etc. all add up to displace the mud and clear the mind and heart, preparing for actually knowing God and living in Oneness.

It is my belief that deep in all souls, even the most troubled souls, is a profound yearning to be at Peace in the Light of God, to live aware of The Presence, to walk with Guidance. I am sad that many either refuse to do the spiritual practices needed to clear away the inner "mud" or don't even know that there are practices that can lead to wholeness.

It is my wish, my prayer, that all with any, even a smidgen, of "mud" in minds or hearts today begin the practices that lead to a genuine spiritual life walked awake in The Presence. Because my heart is heavy for those in darkness, I see there is much more work for me to do too.

Thank You for the lesson of yesterday and the insight this morning. I come to You this day for Your Guidance on what I must do to see more clearly. Lead me to what I must do to remove any lingering "mud" and to be an avenue of healing for others also waking to the need to clear out all that obscures Your Presence. Here I am Lord, lead me.

Friday, March 25, 2016

I'm Confused

Okay, so life doesn't have to conform to my ideals, but something extremely unusual is going on from the vantage point of my collective years on this planet.

Yesterday I read that only 18% of Americans under the age of 60 attend church and less than 50% believe in God. Alarming. Under the age of 60!!! How do people get a chance to know the Presence and the great words of those who have gone before into the amazing experience of Oneness? How do ethics and morals get ingrained?  What kind of people are developing without a spiritual rudder I wondered.

Well the very next thing that caught my attention was students at Emory University so threatened by seeing chalk words on concrete that said "Trump 2016," that they HAD to have counseling. The university president reinforced this nonsense. Really. Give me a break. What a con. If our youth are really that weak, we're in huge danger as a society.

Then I heard a couple of young men talk about how the young are brainwashed to believe that any point of view different from the far left has to be shut down. The professors teach and insist on this brainwashing, Apparently the parents either don't know it is going on, don't care or are afraid to challenge it and are likely not part of the 18% who do make it to church. What happened to debating societies, to critical thinking, how about the First Amendment?

Then I look sorrowfully at our election process going on right now. Stories of caucuses in some states where all kinds of ballots were passed around, one man saying he had 50 in his hand, candidates who are 3rd grade boys fighting on the playground, socialists and communists and the decent either out or at the bottom of the polls.

What's to become of us? Is it too late? The Roman Empire fell in the 400's due to barbarians at the gates that were ignored. To add to the above lament, we too have barbarians at the gates and our border guards are ordered to stand down by a president who said today that there is no big difference between capitalism and communism and thinks terrorism is a crime problem, and oh yes protects Islam and lets Christians be the object of genocide without complaint.

It seems to me, an awful lot of us will have to wake up and stand up right away to save our Western way of life, our freedoms and our spiritual heritage. If you are reading this, I pray you will be one who does take a stand.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Perennial Philosophy

I'm re-reading "The Perennial Philosophy," and I'm struck by the beginning where he discusses the similar conclusions reached across the ages. He says "the great fact of God as the First Mover of a universe which partakes of His divinity has always been recognized."

He says, "In India the scriptures were regarded, not as revelations made at some given moment of history, but as eternal gospels, existent from everlasting to everlasting."

It made me think of a workshop I used to do where I had assembled quotes on various subjects such as love, oneness, wisdom, etc. from some of the main religions and some of the mystics. I found that across all lines and ages, the words about any given topic were so similar that anyone of the people could have said any of the statements. I had found on my own the existence of a Perennial Philosophy. I put some of these quotes into my book, "Our Spiritual Ancestors Speak to Us Today."

This makes me wonder how this can be. How can ancients know the same thing as enlightened people in the modern world? I came to the conclusion that within each of us is a connection to God that when opened speaks the same sentiments. It lives in us.

My beloved Meister Eckhart said, To gauge the soul we must gauge it with God, for the Ground of God and the Ground of the Soul are one and the same.

At the soul level there is total Oneness. God and I are One. My soul is from the same ground as God. Awakening to know and truly know this, opens the door to the eternal gospels written by the hand of God everywhere. The Universe is waiting for us to turn and open and receive, then share the Light written as if by lightening deep within each of us. The awakening that awaits is a deep turning and transformation, us made new.

Lord of all ages, all centuries, all people, Lord of my depths, lead me to that deep awakening that transforms my life into being a true Light Bearer of Your Eternal Gospels.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Henri Nouwen and me on caring, etc.

This morning I opened Nouwen's book, "Out of Solitude," to this:
Every human being has a great, yet often unknown gift to care, to be compassionate, to become present to the other, to listen, to hear and to receive. If that gift would be set free and made available, miracles could take place. Those who really can receive bread from a stranger and smile in gratitude, can feed many without even realizing it. Those who can sit in silence with their fellow man, not knowing what to say, but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief, and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart, can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken.
So many things whirled through my mind.First of all, I do believe it is true we are all broken in some ways. I believe that the brokenness opens a way for the seed of God within to sprout and grow and become Itself in us.

Then my mind turned to the modern view of people totally immersed in their phones and tablets and not each other. It is a bit alarming that many are losing social skills for they only "know" others electronically.

I cannot help but see pictures in my broken heart of brutal actions of people acting from their limbic brains and not their higher brains and hearts.

I could go on for pages just naming the paths that have gone astray. I will refrain from that here. Enough said to note we are not all in alignment with the above quote.

Yet, I do see wonderful things shifting to real life and to caring. I pray a new wave of caring, compassion and genuine relationship wells up all over the globe.

I think it would do us well to contemplate and journal on the Henri Nouwen quote above and remember when he says "every human being..." we are the ones of whom he speaks.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Body

This has been a week of medical tests and procedures. Therefore, this week has been focused primarily on my body. As I spent so much time aware of my body, I had many insights, some of which I will share here.

First of all, I am grateful for this amazing, miracle-working, durable body that I have been given. It has been wounded, yet it healed so the wounds no longer exist. It has walked billions of steps and taken me to incredible adventures. It has given forth two beautiful and perfect babies. It has turned all manner of foods and drinks into skin and bone, muscle, nerves, hair, nails, etc. It has alerted me with aches and pains when it needed help. It has learned and accomplished many tasks from sitting up, then walking, to typing on this computer this very moment. It is made of Mother Earth, formed by the Creator and filled with my soul. My body is an amazing thing!

Then I began to think of other forms of body. For example, there is the body of my work. There are books written, sermons given, counseling hours, there are quilts and clothes and paintings. There are kisses given to boo boos, hugs to tearful children. The things I have done while in this body are an extension of my body, and like my body, they stay with earth when my soul leaves and goes to our spiritual home.

Then there is another form of body of my works, the work I have done on my consciousness. This is the most important, yet it is invisible to all but the most discerning. This is the ultimate body of work, for my consciousness goes with me. It may live and teach and grow on earth. It may be an example,either for good or bad, to others. It may leave traces in the body of works that stay here. Yet it does not stay here.

As I have said many times and ways, the work of my consciousness is to be able to abide in unconditional love. My hope, my prayer, my plan is to be able to do this, so that when I leave here, I can say "Yes" to the questions the Being of Light shall ask me

I have a bit of work to do on abiding in unconditional love constantly, continually, without excuse. I am part way there, so I do have hope.

Lord, lead me to honor the grand body You gave me, the incredible mind You placed here, and to release all that is not a part of unconditional love. When my days here are done, I wish to leave the bodies of work here as inspiration and arrows pointing to You. Lead me to be all You had in mind when You created me.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Movies

Yesterday we saw 2 movies, one at the theater and one on television. The first was Tina Fey's new movie about journalists and others in Afghanistan. I felt like I experienced the chaos, courage and mess of that place. I'm glad I saw it. The other was an old 1935 black and white movie that starred Maurice Chevalier, Meryl Oberon and others. All those people were born long before me and are likely gone from this planet, but they showed me a peek into their lives 80 years later as I looked into their eyes.

In some ways I felt like a time traveler. I went to Afghanistan over a period of years and felt some of what it was like. I was moved that it was dedicated to Tina's father, Donald Fey, who was a photo journalist. I also realized that I don't have that kind of courage as was portrayed in the film. As I looked at the hopeful, happy faces of 1935 (maybe they were trying to cheer people because the Depression was in full swing), I had a heart grabbing moment when I realized that if any of those faces were still on earth, they would be over 100. At the time of making the movie, I would guess the people thought this was a big, important thing to be in this film.

Again I had the experience within that what we do on earth, stays on earth and either leaves a positive mark, a negative mark or no identifiable mark. Those big deal things, except for a few, are totally gone, whish. I thought of the zillions of people who have walked this earth, and how few end up in any kind of record of what they did

When we leave here, all the big deals and little deals, stay; they belong to earth. What we take is the consciousness we developed while doing all of these things. Did we learn the really important parts of the curriculum here? Are we living as pure unconditional love? Are we filled with joy? Are we forgiving and giving? Are we compassionate? Do the fruits of the Spirit ooze from us?  Who have we become?

My hypothesis is that our job is to live as much of spiritual Truth that we possibly can. We are to forgive ourselves when we falter, repent (turn around), try again and keep refining our consciousness. As a Christian, I hear the call to live a Christlike life. As Thomas a Kempis' book is called, The Imitation of Christ. I might be a poor and humble example of that, yet that is my goal, my target. I strive on.

I sit in Your Holy Presence, aware that You are here. Once again I ask for the courage and strength to walk softly and as You would have me. Lead me to live the most Christlike life that is possible for me to live. Hone my consciousness so that sharp edges are gone and only love comes from me. I know I cannot do it alone, and I know with You, all is well. I rejoice!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Power of Being Alone

I want to start with a quote from Henry Nouwen:
I have the sense that the secret of Jesus' ministry is hidden in that lonely place where he went to pray early in the morning before dawn.
In the lonely place, Jesus finds the courage to follow God's will and not his own; to speak God's will and not his own; to speak God's words and not his own. He reminds us constantly 'By myself I can do nothing... I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.' And again, 'What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.'
It is in the lonely place, where Jesus enters into intimacy with the Father, that his ministry is born. 
When Jesus requested the people of the day, and through echoes, us, follow me, he said. I believe in following him, I am called to emulate him, say as he said, do my best to do as he did. I am called into the quiet to listen for Guidance. I am called to forgive, to repent, to love. And one of the ways to be able to move in this direction is to go into the quiet, silence and be with God.

Go into the silence daily. Be still and know that I am God, the scriptures tell us.

Fill me with the resolve to turn my life energies to You in the quiet of the morning and evening, in the midst of crowds and the din of the world. Wherever I am, lead me into Your garden of quiet and help me focus and listen to You and Your Guidance. Strengthen me to discipline myself to daily actually enter the silence and commune with You.