Friday, September 26, 2008

now let's just take a moment.........

Spiritual resource to share: stillness

I'd like to take a moment from the raging headlines today and write about moments and why it is hard to catch and keep them.

I'm remembering the time when my exchange student daughter and I visited her high school for the last time before she flew back home. "Wait," she said as she ran around the school taking pictures of her old classrooms, the hallways, her old locker. She took as many pictures as her camera would hold.

Like my son, who told me to wait as we drove off to the airport to see him off for Germany. And so I slowed down and made stops along the way as he took in a long look at our house, the well traveled roads that he walked, ran and biked, the cinema, the restaurant where he worked, as he wouldn't be seeing these again for a whole year.

I can relate. Tons of times I have wanted to capture a moment that I could take out and swim in again and again. But life is rich. It is full of moments and they just keep coming.

So what is in a moment and what makes it memorable? More than a place or a thing – a memorable moment tells us all of what is spiritually rich about our lives.

One of my favorite poets is Godfrey John who has this spiritual take on ‘moments’ in his poem:

“This Moment of Your Living”

You’re alive – not merely existing. You are: you’re not trying to be. Discover the life of the moment- this moment of your living.

Not you – as an amalgam of happenings, you-as-you-were a decade, a
moment, ago: to ask What was I? is to be blind to the fact of presence. Man is not a chronology. Not you as a mosaic of hopes and fears: to ask What will I be? Is to stop discovering. Not you content with a status quo: a cup of years spilling satisfaction over the hour. Not even you-as-you-becoming --

You spiritually. You in the action of being you where being is the emanation of I AM. “I AM hath sent me unto you”: Being, God, impels man, breathes through him Love’s incentives. Soul’s expression now, you go as His fragrance in every place.
This is your felt unity with Him. Moment by moment.
Soul plants pure desires along your days. The innocence of what you are flares through the guilt of what you are not. Like cyclamen in the winter sun: not withholding, not seeking to hold- but giving out help simply by being what it is- moment by moment.

Not you in the moment. But this moment of you-- brilliantly, immaculately. Knowing is being. Infinitely. Mind’s allness, Mind’s oneness never stops being known. As man-idea, woman-idea--one idea-- in God’s thought, you are instantly
understood, always being known; you have Soul’s mobility within this hourless
knowing: the dance fulfilling the dancer without end, as in beauty in the unspoken, as rhythm in what is till.

To ask Who am I? is to be irrelevant. To ask What am I? is to be blind to substance, to the isness of Spirit where you are.
Ask, How am I being?
Man is what he’s being-- Love’s pure idea-- birthlessly real.
Love’s meaning is your meaning at each moment of new awakening- at the precision –timing of Principle. Here you are learning to be what you are.
Beautifully. Brilliantly. Preciously. Agelessly. Mightily. Deathlessly. Yes, as a psalm spills over you. Yes, in this fond discovering of you. You are what you are because I AM that I AM. NOW.
Moment by moment by moment by moment

copyright 1978 Christian Science Publishing Society
from book Idea on Wings

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.

"American Prayer"

Spiritual resource to share: noble deeds

There are some actions taken - like this music video - that so effectively touch the heart, that the differences in race, age, orientation, education, party afiliation and gender fade in a united effort to hope, to pray and to become those actors of noble things.

These days, and this age is demanding from us our nobility. My prayer is that we remember that we are the children of God, "the noblest work of God" sings a hymn. We can do noble things.

American Prayer - Dave Stewart (Barack Obama Music Video)

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, September 22, 2008

Our Father-Mother God

Spiritual resource to share: the motherhood of God

An unlikely picture for this post? Maybe, but I love the fatherly and motherly qualities expressed by this dog!

Our local paper has a regular column called “Faith and Values” written by our area’s spiritual leadership. My friend Erin, a Methodist youth minister and new mother, wrote the most recent article last week with the title: “Our Mother who art in heaven.” In it, she asks a few questions:

“…why don’t we teach them (all kids) the concept of a heavenly Mother? As a woman, I was created in God’s image, right? I don’t think God can be limited by our lack of understanding, but do we limit ourselves with our partial concept of God? Sometimes I need my Dad. Sometimes I need my Mom. Can’t God be both?”

Oh yeah. I think I love this question because I love the answer even more. I firmly believe that God is both our Father and our Mother.

With the Biblical premise that Erin brings out – if we are made in the image and likeness of God, who created male and female, then fathering AND mothering must be divine. To me, it's logical that God is our Father as well as Mother.

What other Biblical evidence do we have?

  • God is Love.” That’s from the book of John.
  • The Lord is my Shepherd." The 23rd Psalm explains the motherhood of God thoroughly.
  • And from another Psalms, Psalms 91: “ I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress...He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust”

Mary Baker Eddy brought out the idea of God as Father-Mother in her spiritual perspective of The Lord's Prayer. She also writes:

The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity.

In my own experience, I have been comforted and healed by feeling the gentle, loving presence of an all-loving God, guiding me so many times: when my family made a series of moves across the country; when I have been healed of resentment and anxiety, of physical ailments, and much more. I have felt companioned and encouraged when I thought I was all alone. God's mothering qualities and gentle presence of peace and approval has strengthened me more than my many blog posts can ever tell!

I have leaned on the idea that I am the image and likeness of my Father – Mother God as a parent. It has helped me see that the source of my mothering is God. The idea of a mother’s love being spiritual is powerful:

A mother's affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal. Therefore maternal affection lives on under whatever difficulties.

Sometimes I have needed the strength and protection of a father, other times I have needed the unconditional love and comfort of a mother. I am so glad to know that God is both!

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, September 18, 2008

what does loving unconditionally mean to you? - revisited

Spiritual resource to share: unconditional love

Rabindra Singh, 'Raining in My Heart (Longing)', 2003
© The Singh Twins

Aside from roaming city streets and attending my annual meeting two weeks ago, I found my way into the National Gallery in London and spent time taking in the special exhibit on "Love." All kinds of works on all kinds of love were displayed which touched, flirted, saddened and agreed with my heart. It was delightful!

So now that I am back, I am roaming through my past blogs and came across this one about unconditional love written about a year and a half ago:

The question "what does loving unconditionally mean to you" came as an email from my aunt who sent it out to me and my extended family. It's a good question given that "The conclusion is always the same: love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy in the world." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

So here is my shot at it (after first laying down some definitions and salient points):

First – what Love is
There are many kinds of love: eros (sensual love); phileo (brotherly love) and agape (divine love), but I think that all forms of Love start from our highest concept of Love – that is of agape. In that way, Love is the purest, most elemental and radical life force. God is Love. Love’s synonyms are harmony, balance, attraction, fulfillment, contentment, adhesion, and so on.

Second – we are made of love stuff
Being made in the image and likeness of God, we are made in the image and likeness of Love. Love is the new/old normal. We are so embraced by love, we can easily take it all for granted. It is what we yearn for, recognize immediately, can't live without, take daily doses of - all because it is the stuff out of which we are made.

Third - that we are loved unconditionally
Seeing that we are made in Love’s image and likeness, we are constantly companioned with Love – with thoughts of love, with harmony and balance in our lives, hope; these attributes of Love wash over us continuously and we are loved by God without conditions.

Fourth – that we are lovable and loving
Being made of love, we are naturally lovable and loving.

Fifth – we can love unconditionally
We are at our best when we love; stress disappears, distrust dissolves, joy emerges and forgiveness flows. The body relaxes and the thoughts are free to explore what is genius, spontaneous and intimate. We love the same way birds fly. We can love unconditionally because we were made to do this. When we go against this natural response, we clog up, resulting in all sorts of uncomfortable feelings and dis-ease.

SO - what does loving unconditionally mean to me?

Loving unconditionally means to be able to see others and myself as God sees them -- as good, beautiful, harmonious and free; and then to rejoice - be deep down happy - that we are all the children of Love. It is loving from a pure basis and not fearing.

It is easy to wax poetic about love - I Corinthians 13 does it best ( this is from The Message - a Bible paraphrase)

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.

SO - what does loving unconditionally mean to you?

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, September 15, 2008

some notes on obsession

Spiritual resource to share: Spirit as the only attraction

Have you ever had ruminating conversations in your head or obsessed over a situation or individual?

I have found these ideas helpful when working to free myself ( or others) of this hypnotic pull.

I always start prayer by reaffirming what I know about God, and in this case, I track with the idea that God is Mind. This Mind is all-encompassing, all-inclusive, and all-acting. I take this further to reason that Mind demands expression. Just as the sun doesn't shine with out the rays, so Mind doesn't exist without its manifestation.

Mind is self-creating and self-assertive.

Because Mind is synonymous with the gentler quality of Love and Soul and the foundational qualities of Truth and Principle, I grow to trust the Mind of God. I see that I am the idea - or manifestation - of Mind.

There is a natural attraction to Mind - and all that God represents: Soul, Spirit, and Life. It is natural to see the expression of Love grow and bloom everywhere and every time I am conscious of this, I feel a release. I learn to trust this power of Love and trust it to be made manifest in the way that will bless others.

I see that there is really one attraction and that is of Spirit. I can only be attracted to spiritual ideas. I can affirm that all God's children can only be attracted to Spirit's ideas.

With this understanding, it is easier to see that I am not attracted to ruminating arguments or cyclical reasoning, or the pull of the thought of personalities. As these ideas only lead to themselves and are not productive (only destructive), I am alert to detect their unauthorized entrance into my thought and can dismiss them.

I affirm again, that the only real attraction of a spiritual idea (me) is to other spiritual ideas. I understand and follow the leadings of Truth and Love.

My role then is to yield to the omnipresence of good, trust its self-asserting nature and let my thoughts and actions be governed by Truth and Love, by God.

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, September 12, 2008

Being in London and being new

Spiritual resource to share: new perspectives

For the last 30 years I have been going to an annual "post-graduate" course on Christian Science healing. The first class (known as Christian Science primary class instruction) was taught by a teacher who lived in London, and so most of those 30 years now, I have mainly returned to London for my follow up courses.

"But why London?" asked a friend who also attended this class and simply has to walk down the street to attend the annual address. Hmmm..... That got me thinking.

It wasn't that I chose London, but I chose my teacher. If she lived in Detroit or Dubai, I would have gone there as well. But she lived in London. So there you have it.

But there was a definite influence that London had for me. First, I usually made the trip alone. Being by myself, I would walk the streets of London for hours. There were always people around, and I made it a point to be around people, especially late at night. I was a stranger in a strange land, and that heightened my awareness of all things.

The pride of my grandparents had its roots in England. I would think of them as I walked by the Thames, looked up at the cathedrals, drank tea in tiny tea shops, and walked through the many museums drinking up a history I have just a faint connection to.

And in the midst of heightened awareness, new languages, food and etiquette, my whole purpose here is to dedicate most of my time to learning timeless truths about Christian healing. I anticipate a surge to my own spiritual growth at this time.

Before, during and after the course, I have meals with friends who have also taken this journey with me. I have known some of them for 30 years. And regardless if we are from Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Rim or North America (or any of the 30 some countries we all represent), we are focussed and dedicated to learn new insights into the same universal laws of Love that have been guiding our healing work for years.

Whether we have overcome challenges and made sacrifices just to get here - or we have only had to take a stroll down the street, we are all here together to gain new and deeper perspectives on healing as Christ Jesus did.

So being in London actually is not about being in London, so much as it is in gaining new insights and inspiration and being reminded how universal God's love is. Coming back home to all that is familiar, I find myself refreshed renewed with an ever expanding love for mankind. A quote I saw in one of my tea stops says it best:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust

To learn more about Christian Science class instruction, click here.

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.