Pray....And Things Happen!
Wouldn't it be great (and convenient) if our spiritual path unfolded in totally predictable ways? We would always know which turns to make, where to stop and rest, and how fast to go.
But like's not like that, even for those of us who desire a closer relationship with Spirit. In fact, it sometimes seems that the more committed we become on our spiritual journey, the more difficult the challenges. We encounter our own Jonah or Job experiences which bring up many issues to heal.
There's always one thing we can count on, no matter how crooked the path--the Spirit Within that guides, coaches, and leads the way for us. When we listen in the Silence to that Inner Voice, there is always an answer. No begging, beseeching, or bargaining is necessary, because we recognize the Source at once and gladly respond to its call.
Powerful Inner Spirit, I seek your guidance in the Silence and willingly follow your voice.
Can you smell autumn in the air yet? Just a hint of what's to come...
Miracles are like that, too! Sometimes you just know that something's coming, something good--just like in the song from West Side Story. We may not know what it is, but we "feel it in our bones."
You might just have a hunch, or begin notice how things are falling into place, or feel amazingly motivated in a certain direction. There are often signs along the way that we miss because we're going too fast. Have you ever been speeding down the freeway and you miss the signs for your exit? It's not that they weren't there, it's just that you were probably going too fast to notice them or you weren't paying attention. Once we slow down and take notice of what's going on around us, we see a spiritual plan unfolding. We see good things coming our way. We feel empowered as we watch things beginning to come to pass.
As a good friend, Rev. Caryl Menkus always reminded us, just listen and pay attention. We can add just watch and just tune in. Once we do this, we'll be ready to prepare for the changes and challenges that come with becoming all that we are meant to be. ARE YOU READY? CAN YOU FEEL IT IN THE AIR? SOMETHING'S COMING....SOMETHING GOOD!
Creative Force within me and all around me, I feel your presence and your power as you work in my life. I am alert to your action that I may do what is mine to do in order to bring about the highest good for all.
When the storms of life
And we fear for life and
We touch the force inside
And strength comes from
Isn't it wonderful to pretend that if we only affirm away the negative that nothing unpleasant will ever happen to us? That is the message some people hear when they seek spiritual direction and guidance. But I think that if we all get real with ourselves, that's not how it seems to work in our own lives.
When Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of the Unity Movement before the turn of the century, prescribed a technique of denials and affirmations, they didn't mean to ignore what is in front of you or is involving you. The actual practice is in Spirit and in Truth, seeing the spiritual reality and the truth therein.
Denials are for the express purpose of cleansing one's spiritual palate, of taking away the power of the negative in your life, not denying its existence. If someone says terrible things to you, you cannot deny that they said it, but you can deny the power of the words over you. Then you can affirm the positive about yourself...the truth of who you are and who they are in the Real World of Spirit.
People--and that includes all of us--say and do insane things every day, but that's not the spiritual truth of who we are. We know that we are all children of God, whole and complete in every way, even when we are not expressing it.
Does that mean that we are to let people abuse us? No, it means we don't enter into situations anymore that makes us available and/or accessible for abuse. If I know who I am spiritually, I have the calm and confidence to let criticisms and negative behaviors roll right over me without impacting me in any negative way. And I don't make myself a target for anyone's abuse. Then in my quiet time, I can take the problem into prayer, into the Silence, wherein I feel safe to surrender the person and the problem to a Higher Power than myself. Then I follow that spiritual guidance, not my own ego and emotions.
Even as we strive to exhibit our best and highest selves, we have to forgive our inconsistencies...those times when we react instead of taking a moment for careful response. We are spiritual beings learning to be human in these hormonal and emotional bodies. When we remember to put our Highest Self in control, things always go much better for all concerned.
Mother/Father/Creator, we remember to turn to you for the strength and power with which you have endowed us. May we always pause to reflect the best that we are in every situation.
I'm going to tell you a secret that not many people know...
I'll bet you think PATH only stands for Pray And Things Happen, don't you? But there's more...
a resting place further along the path...and there PATH means--are you ready for this?
Paradigms Adjusting Towards Holiness!
Hold on to this for a few moments...
Be with it...
Let it sink in and see how it feels...
Are you ready to adjust--fine tune--your consciousness to accept that you are holy? Are you comfortable with even feeling that inside yourself? Can you go beyond just parroting the words and begin to feel it in the deepest part of yourself--in your heart, mind, and soul?
What does it mean to be "holy"? Does it mean I must walk around praying or chanting all the time? Does it mean I can never let down my hair and have some fun or be cranky once in a while? Or does it mean knowing and accepting that I am whole and complete and I realize this sacred knowledge deep within.
The adjustment we must make towards a new paradigm of wholeness--holiness--is to a constant awareness of who and what we really are 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every moment of our lives.
When we know--really know and accept and operate from this knowledge--we are invincible!
When we feel our holiness all the time everywhere, we exude all those traits that we only emulate the rest of the time.
We are not compassionate...WE ARE COMPASSION!
We are not strong...WE ARE STRENGTH!
We are not loving...WE ARE LOVE!
We are not joyful...WE ARE JOY!
When we are centered in our own holiness, then we become carriers of and pass that on to others, without the specific intent of doing so. Did Jesus consciously heal the woman who touched the hem of his garment? He exuded his healing power all the time everywhere, and she needed but align herself with that energy field to be healed.
In the next few blogs, we'll be exploring how to make those adjustments to holiness. Till then,
Universal Holiness, I know that as I accept your permanent place in my heart, my mind, my soul, and my body, I become your instrument. I give thanks that this is so.
Is there anything on earth more fragile or beautiful than a butterfly?
They only live about a month but undergo the most amazing transformation in that short time that makes our lives look epic in comparison.
What is one of the first science lessons you learned in school? Probably the life cycle of the butterfly.... changing from a caterpillar spinning a chrysalis into a magnificent flying creature. And if you were lucky, your teacher provided a butterfly house to let you see the change for yourself.
It was many years ago that I first read James Dillet Freeman's beautiful poem about butterflies. I print it here now for you to enjoy as a prayer, meditation or mantra.
I Too May Be More
Butterflies bear witness
To the power of fragile things;
On wings like morning-glory petals
They flutter over oceans
And mountain ranges.
Butterflies are flowers
That dared to fly.
Like rainbows, they say God to me;
What made them must be something
That makes things just to make them beautiful.
Would you even believe in them
If all you knew was caterpillars?
When I see butterflies they lift me
On their tissue-paper wings!
I too may be more
Than my crawl discloses.
In 1992, when I was in the Ministerial Education Program at Unity Village, I was honored to meet Unity's Poet Laureate and told him I had been carrying his poem folded up in my wallet...I had been carrying it for some years by that time. He responded that he would get me a new one signed by him, and sure enough, on Monday morning there in my student mailbox was a hand-signed copy with the inscription "To Eileen Douglas." If course, I framed it, and it hangs in my home wherever I move.
Let me speak a minute about why this poem and the butterfly itself means so much to me. First, of course, is its identification as a symbol of resurrection and new life. But more than that, it is a symbol of complete transformation because of its amazing metamorphosis. This creature undergoes something so stupendous that we as humans can barely believe it with our own eyes when we see it. Imagine what surrender and what energy it took to go through this change!
What if we were to experience such a complete change? What would it be like? Would we surrender or resist? Would we celebrate the outcome or would we complain? Since many cultures across time and distance have associated the butterfly with the soul, would we be able to accept the ultimate transformation of our soul?
Being a butterfly takes faith, surrender, courage, and grace. As we pray for change, for transformation for ourselves, are we ready for all that comes with it? I wonder....Are we, too, more than our crawl discloses?
Creator of All, I surrender to the transformation of my soul with all that is necessary for this spiritual journey. Make me, mold me, move me, use me. And so it is.
As we look around at our world and nation these days, there is much work to be done, and most of us wonder what to do about it....
We wonder why others don't do something, and we complain that there is no social justice in the world. Many are worried about what the future will bring for the poor, the elderly, the homeless, and the children.
What is it that makes us forget our most powerful tool for change and empowerment? Why do we pray about everything in our personal lives and then leave the larger picture to just emerge as it will? What would happen, do you think, if we all seriously sat down daily and centered ourselves in the omnipresence and love of God and affirmed change in our political environment?
The word "political" means "about people." This is not just about worldly concerns that have no spiritual meaning. This is about love, compassion, justice, and strength--all the best spiritual qualities with which we are embued that we must demonstrate in our world. Our spiritual direction must be towards greater love and compassion, and our spiritual path must be a journey in which we all arrive at the full potential of our humanity. Anything less will not do.
I know that in A Course in Miracles, which I have studied since the middle eighties, says that this world is not real and that our bodies are not real either, just homes for our egos which must be extinguished. But I contend that if we cannot profess and demonstrate love for each other in this world, in these bodies, then we haven't got a chance in hell of coming to terms with being spiritual beings. This earth, this life, these bodies, these minds, are our opportunities to grow spiritually!
Whatever we do to the least of us is done to all of us. Whatever injustice, need, care is denied by us will be visited upon us. Whether or not you believe in a God or Goddess of love or vengeance, in your heart you know right from wrong, and letting children starve, seniors lose their income and medical care, letting the wealthy relinquish responsibility for the welfare of all, is WRONG! It is as wrong for a Christian as it is for a Buddhist, as wrong for an atheist as it is for a Hindu, as wrong for an Catholic as it is for a Jew.
Spirit of All, lead us down a path of love, compassion, and responsibility for each other. Reveal to us the way of health, wealth, and prosperity for all. Teach us to pray, knowing this is a Divine Idea whose time has come!
One of my favorite record albums ever was by Dory Previn and was entitled "Reflections in a Mud Puddle." The title song is about her memories of childhood and how they affected her as an adult. Sound familiar?
Sometimes our memories show terrible things that have truly had an impact on us. Sometimes they remind us of our blessings and happy times and experiences. What we choose to focus on and give our energy to is up to us. Remember the Law of Mind Action? Where the mind goes, the energy flows. If we dwell on past tragedies injustices or injuries, then that is where we spend our energy. When we spend our time focused on our blessings, past or present, our energy is spent in a constructive way.
But there's another aspect to reflections...one that we take along on our spiritual journey, on our spiritual path. When we see the reflection of the Divine in ourselves, then we enrich not only our ow lives, but we share that healing, peace, and loveliness with those around us.
Divine Love, through me, reflects upon the divinity within me and others and focuses my mind on my blessings.
"Our own life has to be our message" is how Thich Nhat Hanh puts it.
I say, "Our life is our prayer."
It really is the same thing, though, isn't it? How we choose to live our lives is both the message and the prayer we send out to the world. For when we pray, we believe, and when we believe, we act, and when we act the world observes, and our actions become our message. It is the law of cause and effect, the law of mind action, no matter how rocky and steep the pathway.
When someone asks, "How is your prayer life?", I may say to them, "What do you see?" Whatever actions you see me taking are a direct response to prayer, so I broadcast loudly what my prayer life is like. I remember reading that Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What you are speaks so loudly I can't hear a word you're saying." It doesn't work if we just talk about praying, but we don't have to formally prayer, because prayer is our continual awareness of our connection with the divinity inside us. When we act from that point of reference--or point of reverence--then our whole lives become prayers.
A wonderful songwriter, Lucile Olsen, wrote "Our thoughts are prayers and we are always praying."
When we understand that our thoughts transform into actions, then we are praying unceasingly by what we do. Brother Lawrence prayed while scrubbing the pots and pans in the abbey. We pray when whatever we are doing is centered in Spirit and in Love.
Sweet Spirit, let all my actions come from that inner place in me where you reside, so that I am praying always in all ways in everything I say and do.