Wednesday, July 30, 2008

there are no big events

Micah, Ellen and Gabe skimming across the infinite

Spiritual resource to share: what is changeless

I am swimming in big events. Our lives have kind of swirled around teens traveling to all corners of the world. In the next month, we've got family and friends going to Thailand, Germany, Chile, Sweden, Lithuania and England and coming from Spain and from Colorado and another from Korea.

There is great anticipation for these events and - as we've seen with our tearful goodbye to our Thai daughter - a mix of sadness and grief/gladness and gratitude. I'll have to admit catching myself off balance here and there.

In quiet moments, I have found myself thinking through the idea that there are no big events in Mind (Mind, another word for God). This takes me to some fundamental truths I have come to trust and live by.

One of my favorite quotes from Mary Baker Eddy is that man is "the infinite expression of the infinite Mind." How then, can there be a big event in the infinite? It is all big. Or, in other words, it is all a part of the infinite.

My kids are not leaving one part of the infinite to go into another part of the infinite. God is always present. God is always there. God is always good.

I write a goodbye note to my courageous goddaughter who was ready to leave for Chile months ago. I know that all her Godlike qualities of adventure, joy and intelligence will be called on. I write to her: "Like a seed that has the full idea of a majestic tree, you, even as a baby, already had these qualities of God. These new experiences will draw out from you all that God has provided."

What is changeless is the divine adventure. The idea of "big" is lost in the infinite. Surrounded by omnipresent Love (a word for God), fueled by Soul (another word for God), and guided by Principle (another word for God), our kids live in an environment of God’s design. We are all swimming in the infinite! And that never changes.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

it's allright to cry - revisited

There are times when we need to do some mental washing - a type of clearing out cobwebs in thought.

Sometimes our deepest darkest fears that we hide, creep into thought and are acted out in ways we never expected it or wanted it to.

Fear of death, past abuse, an act we are ashamed about - whatever it is, doesn't get dealt with until we are faced with some crisis.

But we can be assured that even now, "Now is the accepted time" says the Bible. Now. We are standing in now. Now is the time that we can experience redemption and new birth.

"It's all right to cry" starts a poem.

Tears, water, beautiful imagery of washing away impurities. Crying breaks through a silent barrier and releases the dam of emotion. Where these waters wash away impurities, God's pure love rushes in, filling thought with new fresh images of divine Love.

Joy comes with the feeling of being overwhelmed with a saturating purity - and to find that purity is your primitive nature: untouched, unspoiled, eternally flowing. This has the double impact of not only restoring identity, but giving you increased wisdom. Wisdom, aged with reason and experience, awakens you to "the looms of crime, hidden in the dark recesses of mortal thought.... weaving webs more complicated and subtle. "

Mary Baker Eddy goes on to say "When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works, he will no longer grope in the dark and cling to earth because he has not tasted heaven. Carnal beliefs defraud us. They make man an involuntary hypocrite,--producing evil when he would create good, forming deformity when he would outline grace and beauty, injuring those whom he would bless. He becomes a general mis-creator, who believes he is a semi-god."

Understanding this helps to put carnal beliefs outside of ourselves. To look at it and view it as an enigma. This collection of the dark images of mortal thought, having no spiritual foundation ( thus no firm basis for reality) "flee before the light of Truth."

The power of God as All-in-all thunders. "The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, 'as when a lion roareth.' It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear. It arouses the 'seven thunders' of evil, and stirs their latent forces to utter the full diapason of secret tones. Then is the power of Truth demonstrated,--made manifest in the destruction of error. " Error, carnal beliefs self-destruct. Having no power to determine who we are, what we lack or the burden we carry, it dissolves into its native nothingness.

The path out of the nightmare of abuse is set. "Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought, the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Christian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud and blossom as the rose." Truth shines forth. We know the Truth and it is the Truth that does the work - the Truth that makes us free.

The promise of healing is also the premise that we start with. "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being."

Joy, a deep and abiding joy is what we start with, work with and end with. Joy is the understanding of the ultimate triumph of life.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

dance with the world

Spiritual resource to share: caring hearts

Very recently, a former editor of The Christian Science Monitor, Richard Bergenheim, passed on. A beautiful article of love and appreciation was written up in the Monitor. You'll need to read the article to get the full force of the contribution he made to others personally and internationally. The article closes modestly enough with these words:
Richard liked travel because he loved humanity. In June, he told a group of college students, "Think of the world as filled with friends. We don't let our friends be in trouble without trying to figure out how to help them. We care. And part of what the Monitor exists to do is increase the caring capacity of our hearts."

When this delightful youtube video showed up on my screen, it reminded me of the thousands and millions of people who love humanity and who work, love and dance with others and in so doing, increase the caring capacity of all of our hearts. So enjoy watching it, and I hope you'll find your heart dancing to find even more ways to love and care for one another.

You can click here to subscribe to The Christian Science Monitor now!

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück! - Happy Birthday - Feliz Aniversario

Spiritual resource to share: we are all in this together

Two of our "sons" Kyu-Po from Korea and David from Germany

It was the best scene. My older son and I were a part of an international youth conference full of about 1,000 kids from 40+ countries involved in Rotary's international youth exchange. Someone (!?!) told the conference organizer that her son's birthday was that day, and so my son was called up during one of the major sessions to his great embarrassment and joy (you know how that goes). There was lots of whooping and hollering and clapping and laughing as these thousand kids sang "Happy Birthday." Where I was sitting, I could hear a group of lively Brazilian students and some strong voiced German kids singing "Happy Birthday" at the top of their lungs in their native tongue.

I love this stuff. So does my family. In the last ten years, we have been deeply involved either in working internationally or hosting people from other countries in our home.

The big neon sign lesson in all of this has been the experience of the universal nature of God and man. We all celebrate life and birth and connections and wisdom. We are all connected. We are all one.

Dr. Dennis White, one of the many speakers at this conference, gave parents and kids an opportunity to think through what it means to be bi-cultural -- as the ability to move gracefully from one cultural orientation to another as the situation calls for it. Culture is explained as everything outside of the natural world and it defines how we think feel and behave.

I realize that harmonious relations - either with our fellow church member, our neighbor, or an exchange student or even international dignitaries - all have a basis that goes even deeper than the behavioral, emotional, or identification with a group. Harmonious relations are based on the idea of oneness. And, in my practice of Christian Science, this oneness is based on one God, one Truth, one Mind - all synonyms of God. Mary Baker Eddy helps to define and clarify this:

This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.
It is delightful to learn about other's cultures, but even more so to see how affirming it is that we each are a part of that oneness that comes from an infinite God. So the basis of our identity is to reflect an infinite range of possibility stemming from an infinite God. Who I am becomes clearer as I love who you are and all of us are children of one God.

We are never diminished by including a wider sphere of individuals and experiences into our lives, but can only be blessed.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pausing to feel the love of God - revisited

Spiritual resource to share: new/old inspiration

be still

I have an ornament hanging on the desk lamp in my office that says "Be still." It greets me when I come in and catches my glances throughout the day.

A couple of years ago I posted on this idea of stillness and pause - those moments of reminder of God's intimate and infinite love for us. I thought you might enjoy it:

It seemed a bit odd to take a break and go to this retreat. But the prayer team that I have recently joined at our local hospital was putting it on, and I was drawn to it.

I have recently committed myself to learning one new thing about God every day, and this retreat was a good beginning point.

Central to the retreat was a study of the Exodus in the Old Testament. As we got to know one another, and settled in comfortable chairs, the retreat started. A nun with dark eyes and a wide smile, started talking about the Exodus story, slowly weaving into it current stories of her life and encouraging others to share stories from their lives and how it paralleled the Exodus story.

It was quite lovely --- sun streaming in and all.

To make the connection with Moses' life and ours, was to see that we are all called. We are called, invited, protected and nurtured by an infinite God , whom we know relatively little about and will spend most of our lives working to understand. This is big stuff.

In trust we move forward.Sometimes reluctantly, like Moses, who apparently couldn't speak worth a darn. Or sometimes, with an ego that says, "It's about time I was called! I have QUALIFICATIONS!!"

But it is meekness that God seems to favor. The meek are those who KNOW they have to lean on God in order to get the job done.

To talk to God, Moses took off his shoes.Taking off one's shoes, you feel the ground. It is a recognition of entering a sacred space. Isn't it encouraging to think that you can put yourself in the presence of God, just by recognizing that now - this time, right here, is a sacred space. When we are together, when I am with a patient, we are in a sacred space. "If I am present with the song" my friends can feel this.

God calls you. Or as I saw it, God calls me. He calls me by my name. He knows me. God confirms me.

The idea that we each have a divine imprint is an idea that many spiritual thinkers have embraced. Even now, the idea of each person "being wired for spirituality", or having a divine imprint is being embraced in many forms of health care, as well as in organized religion and with independent spiritual seekers.

But regardless of the growing popular thought, the idea that God knows me hits home. I know that this is true. God treats each one of His ideas, His children, as a world within itself. I also know, inexplicably so, that the key to understanding this is the key to understanding peace among individuals, and among nations.

Moses was called from something to something. So we are called from something to something. I was recently laid off from a job from which I still feel a sense of awe. I also felt that when the job was done, it was done. If I was called from that one wonderful thing, I can see that I am now being called toward something. I gained a huge chunk of peace just knowing -- and affirming -- that God never stops calling us from one wonderful thing to another.

God loves us. Really, really loves us. The Sister's face was never more animated as when she explained how much God loves us. Meister Echkart, 12th Century Christian mystic, was quoted as saying that God is 1000 times more eager to give what we are much less eager to receive.

And on this note, we closed, each one pausing, then stating just how much God loves each one of us. It was affirming, it was nourishing. Then we all put our proverbial shoes back on and went out.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

healing in the chapel -revisited

Spiritual resource to share: prayer for the community

When it comes time for me to put in my volunteer time at the hospital's chapel, it gives me a space to pause and pray big. This isn't a time where I treat every single prayer request that gets written in the chapel's "Prayer Request" notebook. But it is a time where my prayer goes out to affirm that life and hope trump death and despair in this hospital, this community and everywhere.

Today's prayer requests cover a wide range: for the healing of pain, to bring unity to departments and families, for recovery. I notice there are many requests for prayer on behalf of others: a son-in-law, an uncle, the survivors from the Peruvian earthquake, the laundry staff, a sister, a mother, the family.

With my prayer, I don't try to bring God down to the level of human misfortune, but raise my thought to God - to God's perfection, love and constant care.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

This might be called a prayer of affirmation and gratitude and of a desire for growth in the understanding of God as omnipotent. I see God as all-good. This is intriguing to me and as I pray, I keep seeing how much of the flotsam of daily thought I can shed to feel a totally loving and powerful presence of God.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

It is clear that God does not cause suffering, nor is God changeable - from angry, to appeased, pleased, etc. God is constant.

God is love.

Would God use suffering as a tool to make us turn to Him? I don't think so. Would a loving parent purposefully cause harm to their child, in order for the child to turn to them? Mistakes, disease, evil are not God ordained but are the absence of God.

The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.

My prayer is to affirm that the Christ is already active in all of these requests -and that Christ's harmonizing influence can be felt whenever and wherever there is a prayer for it.

When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, — but more grace, obedience, and love. - Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 127

I pray and affirm that we are made in God's image and likeness - and that is good. Each person is complete and has whatever resources are needed for their spiritual growth. Gratitude helps to open our eyes to the good already here. God knows our needs before we even voice them. And God, Love, has met our needs now, then and in the future.

Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.

The omnipotence of peace, the felt presence of Love and the permanence of man's inseparable relationship to God is reflected in this little chapel and this prayer goes out to the community and the world. God is always present, God always hears us.

And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always....

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Monday, July 07, 2008

having fun with humility

Spiritual resource to share: freedom from limitations

I 've struggled with pride on many occassions. And on each occassion, I have grown to see how wonderful it is to let it go and let humility take over and rule the day.

It has gotten to a point where I can recognize the tight binding that happens with pride. It sometimes comes into thought as an affront - like when I am deeply offended by someone's actions. Justification is quick to follow, proving why they are wrong and I am right. Ego stomps around with claims of how I am more smart, more right, more experienced, blah blah blah. Then it grows to a crescendo and then I recognize that all this grandstanding is empty. Totally empty.

Humility is the genius of Christian Science* and I am ready to let go of all of ego's claims to personal superiority (good riddance!) and wait expectantly to see God (as Love) move the situation from binding and limiting to freeing and spontaneously joyful solutions.

I realize I have nothing to lose! That God truly is omnipotent and in charge. That good is not helpless and evil or "error, urged to its final limits, is self-destroyed." I can stand back and see God work. My trust in God continues to grow. I see more clearly that my purpose is to glorify God and not my own agenda. I actively and insistently resist anything unGodlike in my own thinking and refuse to entertain anything unGodlike about others.

I love the surprise of God. God tenderly cares for each one of Her children and is leading us all to greater peace, understanding and harmony. I trust God to be always talking to each of His ideas/Her children, just as I trust God is constantly communicating to me. The more I dive into humility, the more I can let go of self and swim around in a sea of growing possibilities. I can trust God's action to bring about good exponential blessings and peace. I can also trust error to dissolve itself for lack of an audience and lack of attraction.

Can I say this is fun? Well, yes! I have nothing to lose by giving up my pride. I replace it with a growing confidence that God governs and we all have a irreplaceable role in glorifying God.

* See Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 356

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Recipe for freedom: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly

Spiritual resource to share: insisting on freedom

Last weekend, a friend gave me a copy of the book Letters to my Mother by former Colombian presidential candidate and hostage Ingrid Betancourt. Little did I know that her release would make headlines just days later.

The book's purpose is to mobilize the consciousness of the world and to call for the release of all hostages. It has served its purpose well. (Simply google Ingrid Betancourt's name to read some 4,600,000 posts and articles for background.) Betancourt's own words of profound gratitude are filled with humble celebration and love!

The theme I came away with after reading the book was that it is Love that saves us. Betancourt's passion and love for her mother and her children and many others stand out like a lighthouse.

Love and persistent hope was what sustained her and her family and loved ones. It is the fuel that brings change to any human situation and encourages us all to persist in finding solutions for the chronic conditions that we all face daily.

The Bible says "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." How relevant it is that Mary Baker Eddy uses both Truth and Love as synonyms for God!

The Bible gives some instructive and empowering lessons on Love in verses from I Corinthians 13. It seems so relevant in the light of this wonderful news to share this here. This is from The Message

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

...for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love.

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

a global warning - revisited

Spiritual resource to share: love for our shared planet

I've given lots more thought to how we do our part to take care of our planet, especially since having children! I re-read a post I wrote last year about taking the issues about global warming as a warning and a prompting to greater alertness and greater action.
My family recycles, keeps informed about environmental issues and supports some green groups, but underlying these actions is prayer. Here are some of the ideas that have been supporting our actions:
Thought determines experience, and when thought is aligned with infinite Mind/infinite intelligence, we are open to literally infinite possibilities.

God, the Creator of the earth, saw everything that He made and announced it completely good. (See Genesis 1:31.) To take a look at the material scene, though, it would appear that deterioration, neglect, greed and ignorance have altered this view and put us on a dangerous course of further deterioration.
So, then, does God get shoved out of the picture? Hardly. And are we helpless to stop this downward spiral? Not at all.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Omnipotent Spirit ( another name for God) shares not its strength with matter or with human will."

God, and all of God's attributes, (such as unconditional love, intelligent care, balanced systems) have divine authority. God is at the helm of thought. And God is supreme good.

God is not overwhelmed. The mental environment we accept is the physical environment we live in. So it is important that we identify with what has divine authority and work out from that basis, and accept only a mental environment that is sustainable, harmonious and pure. This then will become our physical environment.

Out of an orderly thought comes orderly actions.
Out of a loving thought comes loving provisions for the future.
Out of a commitment to serve God comes a commitment to serve mankind.
And out of that commitment comes an expectation to find innovative solutions, a patience that fuels collaborative ventures and a persistence to continue working until we see the harmonious results we are praying for.

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

a few cool resources for global warming:

Conserve School - a high school with a focus on environment, ethics and innovation
Christian Science Monitor - this special Monitor website tracks efforts to engage in global warming prevention, to find solutions, and to take action.
Ecoogler - oh what a click can do!

photo by Gabe Korinek - copyright 2007

To share your thoughts on this or to explore this idea further, please feel free to be in contact with me, add your own comments below, email this article to a friend, or add to the healing finds and sites on the web to the right.