God, Love, Oneness

Memory Monday – Oneness

This passage I just read has me thinking back to some ideas that were percolating while sitting on a pier in Chicago while visit family this summer and loving the idea of our oneness with the Divine… 

 As a drop of water is one with the ocean (lake), a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being.

Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures

Here is how that passage spoke to me in that moment on the pier… 

So I’m sitting on the break wall and the water is splashing my feet occasionally…

And I noticed a bright yellow leaf suspended in the water about a foot below the surface and it made me think of when we feel the presence of God/ Love all around us… submerged in it and having it just envelop us… but being a leaf we are not of the water …

Then I saw the water hit the break wall and splash… and droplets of water fly into the air and then hit the surface and become once again part of the lake… And that made me think about our oneness with God… as a droplet is one with the lake… so are we one with God/Good/Spirit/Love… as Mrs. Eddy states in the passage above.

And then I thought about sitting here on the break wall looking at the lake and wishing I were in it… and I jumped in…  =0)

We can all feel at one with the Divine at any moment… it is simply a matter of realizing that we always, already are… we can simply adjust our perspective and recognize the truth of this idea…

So, how are you jumping into experiencing your oneness with the Love, Spirit… the Divine …today?

God, grace, Love

The journey begins with lessons on love

I’m on a journey for a few months to take my healing practice on the road… it has felt like an inspired idea, but for a while I didn’t know the “why” of it all… but I realized just before leaving and embarking on this adventure that the “why” of this journey is simply the “why” of life in general… our entire purpose… to learn more about God / Love… to learn more about grace… to learn to express more love… to live love more abundantly, more generously, more selflessly… 

I’m currently in Virginia just outside of Washington DC, my former home for 13 years… after an awesome stop in Pittsburgh with a dear old friend… My favorite thing so far about this trip is hearing what is inspiring others and sharing ideas about the power of love to bring healing to our lives…

My sweet dog Tillie and I left a few days ago, departing St. Louis, MO at 5am… and we drove through IL, IN, OH, WV, PA, MD, VA and DC… we will be venturing to NJ, NY, MA in the coming weeks/months… 

And despite the past few absolutely incredible few days of reunions with friends, lots of times for reflection… incredible inspiration from art, nature and community…  despite all of that, I just had a moment, where I felt super lonely and alone.  

But it only lasted a brief moment… because I remembered something a good friend recently told me… we were talking a few weeks ago and I had left him a message that I was feeling on top of the world, so alive and filled with love because I was having fun sharing love with friends and community members … and then two hours later I was in a funk and reached out to him for help getting out of it.  He laughed and said – “What changed in 2 hours??  You literally left me a message 2 hours ago about all the good you’re doing and experiencing and all the love you’re sharing…. What changed in 2 hours?!” Well… nothing.  Nothing had changed… I laughed because I could see what he was saying.  He was not being insensitive… he was helping me see that I was and always had been the loved of Love… both the recipient and the expression of Love itself… and nothing had or could ever change that fact. Nothing can ever separate us for a moment from Divine Love.

So I recalled this conversation just now as I started feeling a bit low…and snapped out of it in a matter of seconds…   because 3 hours ago I was sharing with a friend with whom I was visiting that I’m so in my element on this divinely directed journey, sharing love and exploring ideas about healing and the power of Love with friends, sharing a meal… exploring a city I love and seeing the many, many diverse expressions of beauty and soul… from festivals on busy streets to drum circles and jams sessions and yoga classes in one of my favorite parks to people play chess listening to jazz and smiles of passers by…It was an incredible day filled with abundant good!!!

I realized that like my friend had pointed out in the first instance… that is how it is… call it evil, the devil, error, mortal thought…  whatever… it tempts us to feel down… suggests that we are not whole and complete, but rather lacking or missing someone or something… tempts us to compare ourselves with others on social media… or to where society says we “should” be…  but we don’t have to buy it…  and when we pause for a moment and instead fill our thought with gratitude for the good that is present… for the love that is present… for the generosity of spirit that is present… the seeming lack is minimized until it is nothing… when we realized that nothing has actually changed…that we are and always have been the loved of Love… and that it was merely a suggestion of a thought of lack which we can know t doesn’t need to cloud our thought … We can continue to basque in the goodness and the grace of unconditional, every present Love.

I’m so grateful for these moments of learning and growth and recognition of the abundant good and grace of the Divine.  That is what this journey is about… Learning about love… as my favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. (page 494)

That is so true… Love is ever-present… we just get to tune into it! It will meet each and every need…

More on this journey and the inspiration and lessons to come…

abundance, Reality

Empty gas tank?…Not really!

While visiting friends in another city, I borrowed their car to get around.  After a few days of driving, I needed to get more gas (petrol), and so I filled the tank.  However the next evening when I was using the car to get back to my friends’ house after some meetings downtown, I was putting the car into reverse to pull out of my parking spot, the gas gauge went from full to empty, and the light came on indicating I needed to get gas right before my eyes.  That’s strange, I thought… and I turned the car off and hopped out to look where I put the gas in the car and checked that the gas cap was secure.  I got back in the car and restarted it, and the same thing happened.  I was very confused because I knew I had just filled it the night before, so there was no way it could be utterly empty.  I called my friend, who told me that it happens sometimes, when the tank is filled all the way, the computer “freaks out” and shows empty when it is really full.  I certainly trust my friend, and yet I still asked if he was sure.  He said yes, it has happened to his wife before and he assured me that I would be just fine and I would be able to make the hour drive back home to their place.  I decided to 1) trust my friend, and 2) pray to calm my thought and feel a sense of Divine assurance.  And sure enough, I made it to their house with no problems.  

I was thinking about how this is a helpful analogy and was able to turn to it in the weeks following. It was tempting to believe the illusion of an empty gas tank because the was what the car was telling me, even though I knew with total certainty that I had filled the tank just the day before. Just like it was tempting to believe that my own “tank” was pretty empty after hosting a big holiday family feast and spending days preparing – cleaning, shopping, cooking – and then hosting. It was also tempting to buy into the illusion of sickness and contagion when supporting a friend both metaphysically and practically with visits and meals the following week who seemed to be suffering from in sickness.  But each time before going in to visit, I would assert my freedom as an idea of God. And I really dove into this oft repeated passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures –

“When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust…” (p. 495).  

I have heard this passage so often, I had almost become numb to its meaning and power. But I realized the picture before me of sickness or fatigue was an illusion, much like the gas tank.  And when I cling to or turn whole-heartedly to God, the source of my life, health, wholeness and love, and understand my identity as God’s spiritual reflection and expression…and feel the allness and ever-presence of God’s love for me and everyone, including my friend, I was able to keep out fear and doubt and remain clear, calm and trusting in the truth and power of God’s love for us.

I thought about how an illusion is like mist or fog, clouding our clear view, but that is all that it is.  

And when the light of truth shines, the fog dissipates and we can see more clearly the true picture before us. 

 I understood this passage in a deeper way and could see how it clearly applied to this situation supporting my friend.  This seeming sense of sickness was not any more true about him, as Love’s perfect, divine creation, than the gas tank being empty.  I could trust completely that neither of our tanks could ever be empty when our life is supplied and maintained by God who is our Life.  With that I was so unimpressed with the symptoms that I could see right through them and was never susceptible to contagion. My friend also improved rapidly and had a complete healing shortly thereafter.  

How are you seeing through the false picture or mirage of an empty gas tank, and trusting the truth of your being?

Soul, Spirit, Understanding the Divine

“Roots hold me close; wings set me free”

IMG_0330Yesterday as I was sitting by the lake with my dog on this chilly, but sunny fall day with the wind blowing through the few trees surrounding us and casting ripples upon the water, I was reminded of a favorite poem or hymn from the Unitarian faith tradition, “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade.

Spirit of Life, come unto me.

Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.

Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;

Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.

Roots hold me close; wings set me free;

Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.

I got to thinking especially about the line “Roots hold me close; wings set me free…” and it led me to think about two of the synonyms that Mary Baker Eddy, discover and founder of Christian Science, uses to describe God in her seminal work Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures – Soul and Spirit.

God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.[1]

I’ve found over the years of studying this text and Eddy’s definition of God, that Soul and Spirit were at first the most difficult for me to grasp.  But since getting a clearer sense of those words, their meaning and how they apply to my life and being – as the image and likeness of God as described in Genesis in the Bible – I have found them to be two of my favorite synonyms to pray with, as I continue to learn more about God and my relationship with God in my daily life.

I love to think about Soul as the roots that “hold me close”… some of the attributes of Soul that we express as the reflection of Soul are strengths,depth, resilience, power, dominion, abundance, richness, uniqueness…  I see Soul as the source of my strength, what keeps me and my life grounded and “rooted”… It also feeds more with abundant goodness and richness, color and flavor and culture… much like a root system feeds a tree and holds it to the earth… providing stability and resources.  When I think of a soulful person, I think of someone who is rooted and has real depth and the strength and resilience to get through things, even when it doesn’t seem humanly possible.  I think of someone with the unique individuality and a richness and vibrancy, like a painting with bold colors, which makes you pause and ponder… or a piece of music that you can feel at the deepest reaches of your being and has the power to move or inspire you.

 

I love to think about Spirit as the wings that “set me free”… I think of someone who is spirited, or we may say “she has spirit”… that quality of enthusiasm, joy, life, light… a serene sense of peace… a pure sense of joy… radiance…   Spirit is what lifts me up and causes me to soar above the seeming drama and darkness of the day… it is what bring a sense of freshness and newness to life.  It is what allows us to delight in the beauty around us… in the simple joys and pleasures of a playful puppy, a cheerful child, or a budding bloom…it’s that Spirit of Life, as the song states…

 

So as you go about your day today… perhaps you can find ways to connect to a deeper and higher sense of the Divine as Soul… and as Spirit.

 

[1] Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 587

About the photos:

Baobab trees have resilient root systems (photo taken in South Luangwa, Zambia)

The Albatross has a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters or 11.5 feet!! (photo taken off the coast of Dunedin, New Zealand)

 

Conquering fear, healing, humanity, Love

Curiosity – good or bad?

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

As Shakespeare so eloquently put it… and so it is with curiosity.

As a professor and abroad director, I hoped to instill a sense of curiosity in my students…Cape of Good Hope (14) what I hoped for was to see a sincere desire to learn more about the world, other people and cultures and ways of life.  I think the more we turn outward and learn about others, the more we can cultivate a culture of compassion and empathy… where we can see our common humanity.

However, I’ve recently noticed that curiosity can also have a negative purpose… and I’ve see this popping up over and over lately.  This seems to happen when the motive behind the desire to know something isn’t inspired and then it seems to gravitate from curiosity to fascination or even obsession… This would be cast as voyeurism… or even “morbid curiosity” which an online dictionary defines as a curiosity which is so compelling that the curious person is driven to satisfy it, even though he or she knows or strongly suspects that they probably won’t like what they find, or otherwise find something which is irrelevant or unsatisfying…

I first noticed this notion of curiosity being possibly a negative in some cases from a story book I was reading my nephew called My Father’s Dragon.  In the second book in the series the main characters a boy and a dragon end up on an island filled with canaries that were all “dying of curiosity” because the king canary was so sick with curiosity about an ancient secret passed down over generations… anyway, it got me wondering if there are situations where curiosity could be a bad thing…

I heard it once said, “never ask a question if you don’t really want to hear the answer”… and this may be some good advice in a way… or perhaps allow us a moment to check our motive… why do we want to know?  What purpose does knowing X serve?  Will it help the situation?

You may be wondering what I’m getting at, and thinking that it is always good to know more information than less… but let me give you some examples that may help illustrate my point…

Sometimes I hear friends say they want to know more about their partner’s history with past relationships.  I get it, I’ve been there… but at these times, I’ve had to ask myself.  Do I really want to know?  Probably not… but if so, why?  Will it lead me to feel better or worse about myself, about my partner, about the other person?  Will it lead me to compare myself to others… and does that ever go very well?  (Not usually… either we put someone else down and puff ourselves up, or put ourselves down… and either way the entire premise is off because we are often basing our view of ourselves and others not as the image of Love, a perfect, whole and complete creation of the Divine … but as a faulty human)…

In another situation, someone told me that they had gotten more details than they wanted about someone’s passing and couldn’t get the images out of their head.  They said they should have stopped the flow of information, but were just so curious about it, they just let happen and now they couldn’t seem to undo it.  This is tough stuff… when someone passes, it’s tempting to want what some may call the “gory details”… but do you really want that in your thought?   And related to that, it’s easy to get caught up in the trauma and drama of a tragic event… we want to know why it happened? Who’s to blame?  What were they thinking? What are others thinking?  Why now?  Why this way?

These are all examples of what I am talking about when I say that curiosity can have a negative side…  I’m not saying it’s wrong… and some may say “human nature” to wonder about these things… and I am not saying that it is not good to be informed to learn from and prevent tragic events from happening in the future… that’s different.

It’s the bit where fear generally gets us spun up asking these questions… and we become consumed with fear in the asking… but in all of that… aren’t the real questions deeper than all that… aren’t we really wanting to know — am I safe?  Is he/she safe?  Am I loved?  Are they loved?  Am I worthy enough?  Am I good enough?  Are they?  Will I be ok?  Will they be ok?

I find that it is helpful when wondering “what if” it is good to pause and this about “what is”… What is true about me and my fellow man from a spiritual vantage point right now and always…Well for me that always starts with God, with Good, with Love… which I know to be all-powerful, ever-present and eternal.  It begins with knowing that I (and everyone else) am created by God, Good… that I am whole and complete… that Life is truly eternal and that Love is truly ever-present… and that not one of us can ever be separated from Love or Life for a single moment.  When I get present to that fact, then the questions fall away… and I feel more at peace.

I find the “what ifs” keep us in the past or the future… and to find a sense of peace and the answer to those deeper questions… it’s helpful to stay in the present… in the eternal now… and declare that Love is present and powerful and wrapping us up and keeping us safe and whole.  Paul states in Second Corinthians “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.[1]

[1] 2 Cor 6:2 – New International Version Bible