My Purpose

Someone asked me the other day what my purpose is, and without hesitation, I said, “To love the Lord my God with my whole heart, body, mind, and soul.” It sounds a bit out of place in the spiritually progressive world in which I inhabit, this Old Testament commandment, and yet it speaks my heart in its truest sense.

As life and all its challenges arise, to shift my entire being from its’ small egoic concerns to loving the Source of all life, all time, space and beyond, my heart opens rather constricts and protects. Sometimes this means I feel the hurt or fear more, but in the midst of it, with my heart open to my Source, new life and healing gets birthed in that tenderness in a way it never could when I harden, protect, defend, rationalize, and fix.

I have also found that I experience greater fulfillment, vitality, love, and joy – based on nothing external -when I choose to love the Source of all life with my whole being.  It only comes and goes with my attention, but is there always when I remember to remember.

As much as I know this, there are so many interesting and valuable things to pull my heart, body, mind and soul’s attention away for significant periods of time. It’s okay though because when I remember my purpose and I return to my Source, and all is extraordinary once again.

 

 

 

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Gratitude

Feeling alive with the grace of inner work, I give thanks.

Feeling the joy of so many people participating in the democratic process today, Election Day, I give thanks.

In the midst of uncertainty, I give thanks.

There is so much I can’t control, but I can choose to live my purpose every day no matter what, I give thanks.

To have so much for which to be grateful, I give thanks.

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The Soul’s Beauty

I was once introduced to a woman who physically was quite unappealing, so much so, inwardly I took a step back upon our meeting. I tried to avoid her, but due to circumstances found myself in conversation with her. As she talked, first I was astonished by her and then I had the feeling of falling in love. By this I mean, the walls of my harsh heart dissolved, and I fell into the same space she was inhabiting, magnetized by the beauty of her soul. After our initial conversation, I always looked forward to our time together, to discovering more of her terrifying and extraordinary life journey and the bold and brilliant way her soul traversed through it all.

Mister Rogers used to talk about this theme on his show, to not judge by appearances. It’s a sweet sentiment for children but it seems by adulthood we think we have evolved our understanding, believing the way someone looks reflects the value of their soul. There have been research studies that have shown that the more physically attractive a person is, the more abundantly we attribute positive values to their character. I, as noted above, have been guilty of this many times myself. However, my connection with the woman above also shakes me awake and reminds me that real beauty is absolutely free of form.

When we have direct contact with Spirit, we experience Its’ infinite beauty permeating all creation, as well as greater than all creation. When we see with the eyes of the Divine, we are able to fall in love every day with every person with whom we come in contact, which is a life of utter joy. As I learned, and continue to learn, we only can see this magnetic beauty when we drop our relative, limited sight and open from within, the eternal single eye of the Beloved One.

 

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The Why of Spiritual Practice

I came to a point in my life where I was clear that God was my life, my reason for living, and was for me, more important than anything else. My desire was to every day put the Divine first but I needed a tangible way to do that so it wasn’t just an abstract thought. Over the next week, I talk and listened to the Divine on what that would look like. I was given 3 things to do – journal, meditate (which I didn’t know how to do at the time other than sitting quietly) and some form of exercise – every day as my way of putting the Divine first in my life. It was made clear to me that these 3 things were more important than anything else, tasks, deadlines, how I was feeling, relationships, work, school etc, every single day. Thus, on January 1st, 1992 I began doing these 3 practices as the way to live the Divine first in my life. My life was transformed.

When I began to share it with other people, I was clear that what really mattered was not what the actual practice was, but the intention behind the practice, putting Spirit first in our lives. I recall telling one young lady, “I don’t care if you commit to twirling your hair for 15 minutes a day, if you are doing it out of your love of Spirit, the intention and practice will transform your life.”

Many years later I noticed that the practices themselves took over my attention – what practices I was doing, how well I was doing them, how to improve etc. Suddenly I realized this is how religions can get lost. The forms of the religion become more important than the Spirit that inspired the forms (practice/theology.) In other words, we become more identified with the practice than with knowing/being the Divine – the original purpose of our practice.

It is good to remember, even in the spiritual but not religious world, if we don’t remember the “why?” of our spiritual practices, they can become as codified and dead as any religion.

Do you daily remember the “why?” of your spiritual practices?

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Shawshank Redemption

In previous blogs, I have noted the different perspectives of ascension and descension spirituality. Often people who have the worldview that this planet is forever the balance of opposites (e.g. the yin-yang symbol, Star Wars ideology) can tend to be more interested in ascension spirituality (enlightenment.) The drive to make this world a better place is essentially futile because ultimately duality is the best that can be hoped for – thus the drive to seek that which transcends this world.

Those that have the worldview that this world can become, through evolution, more of a heaven – where the good outweighs the bad – tend to lean more into descension spirituality. The focus is to be a vehicle for the infinite good of Spirit to be fully expressed in, through and as all form.

I have asked myself, where do I land in these 2 perspectives? My current conclusion is I tend to look at life a lot like the film Shawshank Redemption.

The prison represents the world of duality. Andy Dufresne did everything he could to make his experience and those of his fellow inmates better and it worked. Over time, Andy and his friends evolved the experience of the day to day life of the prison for the better in many different ways. Good moved through Andy as he created new possibilities.

At the same time, it was still a prison.  Thus Andy was also secretly digging his tunnel to freedom beyond the prison. I liken Dufresne’s rock hammer to a mantra, so small it is imperceptibly powerful. If we keep saying our mantras (e.g. “Love Is, I Am”) in the secrecy of our inner selves, over decades, we will break free from our minds dualistic prison and move permanently into transcendent freedom.

Do I believe that if the majority of prisoners sentenced to the world of duality did their own secret transcendent practices, that one day the entire prison walls of duality would dissolve and heaven would be revealed? Yes. Do I think that will happen? Not anytime soon because, as in Shawshank, most of the prisoners don’t really know the power of the rock hammer or believe in life beyond the prison. In fact, the character Brooks was so identified with the prison, that even when he was free from prison, it was so unfamiliar and uncomfortable, he found a way to go back to the prison. This is the Hindu teaching of reincarnation – we are so attached to this prison of duality (the pleasure aspect of it) that we are unable to sustain the freedom that comes with bodily death.

Until we are ready to completely break free from our attachments and resistances to this dualistic world, individually and collectively, we can all be vehicles of Good to make this world better for everyone.  It does make a difference.

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Spiritual Communities Matter

Spirit is subtle, yet we live in a world that pulsates in unrelenting, daily sensory overload. It is extremely difficult to participate in this world and be on a transformative spiritual journey by ourselves. We need each other to help us remember who we really are, to break through all the noise and remember to live from the unique, powerful light at the center of our being.

Often we find that support in progressive spiritual communities that embrace our Oneness, celebrates our uniqueness, allows us to belong, and still think, feel and express our individuality. These communities help us keep focused on what is Real, on what can’t be known by the 5 senses, in a way the world never can.

Do you belong to a spiritual community that reminds you who you really are and supports you in your greater becoming?

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Feeling Deeply is a Mystical Gift

This past week I was sharing with a friend about my experience as a teenager reading the novel, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Of the 4 girls, the one I wanted to be was Jo, but I could not deny that I was the most like Beth. In fact, I became so identified with her that when the terribly sad moment comes in the book when Beth dies, I didn’t just cry, I seemed to disappear.  I suddenly couldn’t remember who I was. I wasn’t agitated as much as just intensely trying to remember something that had slipped away for a moment, like forgetting a name.  Then I saw the name, Harriet – in writing – floating in front of me and I tried to remember what it meant. The next thing I knew I was up by the ceiling, looking down at a body, wondering who it was. Then the name Harriet floated over the body, and this awareness came, “Oh. This is who I am this time” and then instantly I was back in my body, being Harriet once again.

Many mystical practices extol the virtue of being emotionally nonreactive, cultivating an inner peace that is untouched by circumstance and people. There is no doubt this transcendent peace is a joyful expression of our inherently free spiritual selves.  However, most of my mystical experiences and awakenings have happened by allowing myself to be deeply moved by stories and ideas. In fact, my first and most powerful mystical experience as a child was fueled by the animated television special, Little Drummer Boy.

It is because of the transformative impact stories have had on my life that I feel so strongly about the stories we tell as a culture.  I am often disappointed by the lack of wisdom and depth in our stories, feeling sad over so many missed opportunities to make a difference, rather than simply being banal entertainment.  Conversely, I am utterly delighted when a story impacts my Soul when I feel more, and with that, feel more connected with life and my true self than when I began watching/reading the story.

There is potentially transformative power in every story that is told. They can be fun and exciting, as well as deeply moving. However, it is when a story is deeply moving that we are moved in consciousness and suddenly we understand that we have connected with modern-day sacred scripture.

 

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