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Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Dream In Galilee

Last night I had a vivid dream. I was in Galilee. It was dark, at night with little moonlight. As my eyes adjusted to the low light, I saw a figure at a bit of distance walking slowly, touching various plants, rocks, etc. It was more like a loving caress.

I heard a voice saying, "This is how he did it. He knew the Divine is in all things, and you can hear Divine Wisdom everywhere, once you know how to listen. Honor each rock, each scrub, each tree, each animal, each person. Tenderly observe and touch. Be open. I am there, waiting to speak to all who would listen."

My mind went back to the 7 year old me who make friends with the first snail I had ever seen. I spent a long time observing and listening and learning. I thought about the tree that gave me relief in my grief (I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago). I thought about one of my techniques for teaching homiletics. I used to let my eye fall on anything, I mean anything - from a door knob to a trashcan. Then I'd say You have 5 minutes to put together a 5 minute sermon using the ____ as your inspiration. It always worked.

So, I affirm from my life experience that God is everywhere, and when we are teachable, of pure heart and above ego (except as you become like a little child) God speaks from every speck of creation, and astoundingly, we can hear.

The first task is emptying ourselves and finding the pure openness that has no agenda. Come to life's moment as a teachable being. Nona Brooks said that we begin with - it's all me, then it's mostly me with a little God, then its both, then it's mostly God and a little me, and finally it's all God.

As we honestly look at ourselves, we know where we are in that process. Onward...

Monday, October 26, 2020

Job Again

I've read and re-read the Book of Job uncounted times in my life, seeking clues to my own life situation. It has seemed to me that I have had and have an extra generous allocation of challenges. It may be I'm to get on with it via a condensed version of earth's opportunities to develop one's interiority. 

Job had a heap of challenges, not the least his pious friends. They came to him when he was at his lowest point, piling platitudes and theological theory upon him, always blaming Job for his situation. They go on and on about God, with no hint they know God. Job keeps wanting relationship with God, for God to see him.

I can see this as a societal situation too. Some of us really want a deep relationship with God. Most seem satisfied with talking about God, with having second hand thoughts about God, thoughts from the invisible past, from faded images of "thinkers" posturing and pretending to know. For many, religion is something you do - go to church, give money, celebrate various churchy things and go about life unchanged.

To walk The Way is to be radically changed, to touch the Presence, to go deep into relationship and far from surface trivialities. 

As Jesus said, Life is more than what you wear... The Kingdom of God is within you even though you have looked everywhere else (my translation).

As I walk this path of seeking to be in an ever more full relationship with God, I wonder how to encourage others to set foot on this path and discover this other way for themselves. I hope and pray you who read this blog are walking with me and bringing others too.

God bless you and your journey.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Prayer for Earth

Oh Divine Presence, penetrate the hearts of the hard-hearted, lift the hearts of the sorrowful and downtrodden, inspire us in ways we need in order to open ourselves to Your Wisdom and Guidance. Flood awareness of Your Presence upon the people of earth. Open our eyes to see one another as brothers and sisters of one human family. 

At this pivotal time here on earth, lead us to follow Your Ways and be the best we can be, the images of You. You show me that awareness, enlightenment are just a blink of an eye away. But I see also that darkness and violence are also just a blink of an eye away. 

I know only You can lead us out of this predicament that we ourselves have created. May Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen, Amen and Amen

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Republic Is Saved!

I heard a resounding voice that woke me up this morning, The Republic Is Saved!!!

I have been concerned. So many strange things going on from the pandemic to vitriol to riots to two opposite worldviews presented by the media to now the hard drive with awful stuff on it. But the rejoicing voice this morning brought hope.

I've been reading Richard Rohr's book on the Book of Job the past couple of days. I've read and reread the Book of Job itself, looking for clues to help me understand my strange life, so I eagerly looked forward to his view. As it turned out, his book is sort of my biography. I can relate personally to what he wrote about Job. It occurred to me that our nation, maybe the world, has also been playing out the story of Job.

The Rohr book is called, Job and the Mystery of Suffering, and it ends saying: 

If there is no voice from the whirlwind, no calming eyes in the heart of the tempest, humanity can only "sit on its dungheap  picking its sores." But we - we few, I'm afraid - have heard a story that is always true. A story that makes all wounds sacred.

It took me a long time to be able to hold my wounds as sacred and cease fighting them, blaming those who brought the wounds, denying there were wounds, etc. As I began to be thankful for my wounds, I could also be thankful for those who tested me by their gifts of wounding. The wounds opened me to a closer walk with God, to deep faith, inspiration, and peace.

Society, at least here, too has been denying our collective wounds and are in a position at this moment in time to embrace them as sacred, therefore able to open to The More. We are in a threshold of possibility. What will we do?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Flip Side

This morning, in "What Do We Do With the Bible?" by Richard Rohr, I read,

Just remember, your gift is the flip side of your "sin," and your "sin" is the dangerous side of your gift. You must accept and recognize both, which will always keep you both humble and wise. 

Although I'm uncomfortable with the universals, (must, always, preferring something like will tend to keep you) I found this idea quite interesting.

My mind began applying this idea to some traditional "sins." I know we look upon many things formerly called "sins" nowadays as illnesses. But the original meaning of sin was an archery term meaning to miss the mark. So let's look at a few as missing the mark of a full and meaningful life.

  • Alcoholism. The attempt/danger is often to drown one's sorrows, to forget without resolution. Don't solve problems, bury them in an alcoholic haze. The gift is is the option open to us all to turn to The More to actually be able to heal, forgive and move onward with life. 
  • Getting high. The danger is substituting a chemical high for a genuine spiritual high. It is a quick high, but a false and addictive high that risks life itself. The available gift is a spiritual high which does takes time as we develop ourselves in prayer and contemplation, but it is a permanent shift that transforms everything.
  • Thievery, looting. The danger is reinforcing false emotions and stories such as rage and victimhood and destroying blindly. The gift is God's open heart ready to enfold us so we can hear at a deep level with new meaning, "It is the Father's good please to give you the kingdom."  Doors can open for the restored soul, doors of hope, of opportunity, of peace.
You can continue to muse with other missing the mark choices, and maybe consider some places where your life is missing the mark. I think for me, hitting the mark is loving without restriction, forgiving fully, sharing generously and showing up authentically. What is hitting the mark for you?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

An Odd Dream

Last night I had an odd dream, rather metaphysical. I suppose it was generated from yesterday's reading of quotes across history and countries about reincarnation.

In the dream I was observing the flow of history and said, "reincarnation only works for the past, not the future." That is, I can see all the array of people I've been, but the future is yet to form, so cannot be seen. 

But then a voice from somewhere said, "That is only if this realm is not a drama/comedy. If you are all playing parts, then the next turn is already written." In a combination of horror and fascination I thought of all the recent talk of this being virtual reality, maybe a hologram. Could that be the root of precognition? Many questions come to mind.

It's not often that a dream gives me such a challenging thought, shaking my reality. 

But then, it was just a dream, but was it?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Be Not Afraid

Be not afraid is the single most common statement in the Bible. It makes one wonder how this can be lived. There are scary things on this planet. There are angry and violent people. There are large carnivores. There are cliffs with sheer drops. There are droughts and famines. There are crazy dictators and ideologies. There are horrible diseases, and of course death ahead for us all. There are thieves and murderers, traffickers, cheats and on and on.

I have found wisdom about this and so many things offered by Jesus, variously described as rabbi, teacher, savior. We are more than our bodies and more than our life here. 

He urged us not to judge what we see by appearances only. I see an angry person, but I cannot see the deeply wounded heart that leads the person to cry out in anger. I see a person coming from ego selfishness, but I cannot see the path that led them away from wholeness to this anguish of living an ego driven life. Do not be afraid, care, love, see more deeply.

He modeled the experience of being tempted and overcoming that temptation. Be not afraid of temptation. Say "no."

He assures us we are loved and welcomed with open arms by the Father such as in the parable of the prodigal. Be not afraid of losing God's love.

He showed us to not be afraid of death, for it is a doorway into something more. It is not final.

In his wisdom, in so many places, he points us toward compassion for ourselves and others and 180' away from fear. He showed us to walk this life with our eyes open, with God, with forgiveness, with love, in faith. 

Wherever we are, look to God, to The More, listen and follow guidance, and be not afraid. We are not alone. We are enfolded in a Love Divine.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Turning Point

Richard Rohr says that once you see a tree filled with light and angels, you'll never see a tree the same again. That is so true for me.

It was the spring of 1977. My husband had an aneurysm in his brain on Christmas and died New Year's Day 1977. His therapist invited me to a retreat in the mountains he was holding. He told me I didn't have to participate, just to be there would be good for me.

At some point, I was outside, sitting on a rock, just observing a tree. I watched squirrels run up and down, birds briefly stop for a rest, another bird making a nest, butterflies flitting in and out. Life was happening in a myriad of ways in this lively and lovely tree.

Then it happened. I heard a voice. It said, "You are like this tree. People and experiences come to you. Some come briefly, some stay for a time, some for a long time. They carress your branches, they are part of your life, but not your life. You are the tree, rooted in Me. You cannot hold onto the dance of life visiting you for a time. They move on to other places, other trees, other lives. Breath, relax and enjoy. Let it be. All is well."

And, yes, I've never seen trees the same since.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Richard Rohr Gets Me Thinking - Always

This morning, as I was reading, his writing put into words thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind and got me thinking from a slightly different angle. 

Basically our grandparents (and me because I was born in 1940), and people before them, thought in terms of responsibility, used a language of responsibility. Sometime after 1960 the language people used changed into an egocentric owe me, you hurt me, you did it to me, you offended me. The language switched to victimhood. Lawsuits skyrocketed. Forgiveness was what was called for, but became, I don't know, out of fashion. The fragile ego screams out for justice, but there is nothing that satisfies the ego or can ever satisfy it. The ego cannot rule us if we are to have any degree of freedom and spiritual awareness.

The questions I've been pondering today are - Is there a way to get back to the language of responsibility? Is there a way to get people to want to heal the ego and be able to set foot sincerely on The Path? Is there anything I can do to be of service?

I invite you to join me in contemplating these and associated questions. This is our time on the stage of life. How shall we use it?

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Just One Little Thing

The stories and sermons of Jesus emphasize action. Take care of one another. Love one another. Value others more than things. Shine your light. Be generous with all things, from forgiveness to bread. Enter the Kingdom of God here and now by thought, word and deed. And on and on.

So, I was thinking, if we truly want to follow Jesus, if we actually seek enlightenment, if we want a more meaningful life - do one little thing (or more) everyday, one little Kingdom of God thing. 

Reconcile with someone you're out of sorts with. Clean out your closet and take clothes to a shelter or charity. Take a bag of groceries to a food bank. Make a quilt for a sick or grieving friend. Give someone who needs encouragement a call. 

Every little thing can be a big thing to someone. I often think of the man running across the parking lot to catch up with me. He appeared homeless, and I had given him one of my gift bags made up of things like granola bars, water, wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, etc. Breathlessly he thanked me profusely. He said, "You have no idea how much I needed a clean pair of socks."

If we each did one little thing each day, the world would be a better place, and we'd have one foot in the Kingdom.