God is in all and through all. In Him we live and move and have our being. This means we actually walk with God every minute of every day of our lives. Most of the time we are not even consciously aware of the presence that is never an absence.
But those times when we focus on the present moment and really tune in, those are special indeed. This often happens for me on my morning walks. Three days a week I have a walking buddy and we really clip it off chattering all the way. But on the other days I really slow it down and connect.
One cool fall morning I went down to the water hoping to sit on the dock, but someone was practicing Tai Chi so I sat down beside the water to meditate. Sitting on the ground is something we need to do from time to time to connect to the earth. I closed my eyes and did a grounding mediation. Then I just sat and listened to the water, and the cars driving on the main road, feeling the cool, gentle breeze.
Next I thanked our Mother earth for supporting us and sustaining us and apologized for the many times we do not do the same for her. Finally I focused on the wind blowing through my hair and thanked Spirit, the giver of life for the energy flowing through my body and my breath.
When I had finished I found myself drawn to the swings on the children’s playground and spent a little time flying through the air. Finally I continued on my walk. Toward the end I stopped to talk to my friend Marge who swept me away on her golf cart to show me the two persimmon trees on the grounds. We picked up persimmons and ate a few talking about my grandma’s persimmon pudding. I promised Marge if I could collect enough I would make some persimmon pudding and share it with her.
You see when we spend time in conscious awareness of our connection to God we also become more aware of our connection to the earth and to our fellow travelers through this life. How much easier and more peaceful our lives would be if we would only remember we walk with God all the time, we just need to stop and tune in.
Recently Bob and I were listening to a very gifted, educated and highly regarded “New Thought” teacher. He was talking about how to not only find oneness with the Divine but also how to serve others from that place. He was doing this to promote a course he was going to give but the talk was not just promotional in nature.
After listening for about 10 minutes my mind began to wander. The speaker was giving a very academic coverage of his topic which was frankly a bit boring. Then I felt a sadness come over me because I am sure there were people who are truly and perhaps desperately seeking listening to this.
Bob and I talked about this for a while. Then I admitted the reason I don’t talk about my experiences of union with the Divine is that I simply can’t. There are no words to explain those experiences.
So how do we explain the unexplainable? We don’t. We can’t. There are certain things in this life that just must be experienced.
So how do we experience that sense of union with God? I can’t really tell you. I can however give you a few suggestions.
1.Be open to the experience. Expect it or at least believe it is possible.
2.Learn to be still. Sit and listen. This is the way into the silence where God waits.
3.Don’t carry a lot of expectations for what you will experience into this. This is a very personal experience. Yours will be unique and not like anyone else’s.
4.Teachers can help guide us, but they cannot offer a step by step, follow the arrows process for spiritual enlightenment.
5.Don’t get caught up in external “trappings.” Words, ritual and theology fall away when you experience the very real and personal presence of God.
6. Finally, just start on the path. If you don’t know where the path is, then start looking for it. Scripture tells us, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13 The Bible King James Version via Bible Gateway
The personal experience of the presence of God is available to all. There are no educational or financial requirements. The is not even a formal initiation rite to go through. Breathe, believe and trust. God is waiting.
Merry Christmas! But let’s stop for just a minute and think about what would happen if we actually lived Christmas.
What if instead of having a wild party every December full of over spending and over indulging, we actually lived what we say the season really means to us? What if family really were the most important thing in our lives, every day? What if peace, hope, love and light were the reality we walked in? What if we welcomed the Christ Presence into the world and into our lives every minute of every day, instead of just once a year? How would the world change if we could recognize the Christ in others?
This year let us dedicate ourselves to letting there be Christmas everywhere, every day, every hour and every minute by keeping that Christ light shining in, through and as us. This is how we change the world folks. Peace and blessings to you.
I have been blessed throughout my life to know people with deep spiritual connections. I am talking about people who shine the light of God through their faces, who sometimes seem to not walk on this earth at all but to float above it. I wasn’t sure what these people had, but I knew I wanted it.
Believe me I chased after it with everything I had. Unfortunately, I was mistaking the outward manifestation which appears in some spiritual people, but not all, for the spiritual life itself. We are all created to be different and we are all called to live the mystery of our oneness with God and each other in our own way.
It is much easier to live this mystery in seclusion or a small group of like-minded people with nothing but time to devote to prayer and meditation, but this is not a secret we are to keep to ourselves. Jesus, the master teacher tried to teach us how to do this during his time on this earth. If we read the New Testament gospels we see that he often withdrew to spend time with his small inner circle or with the Father. Life in this world is difficult. It is confusing. It can be physically exhausting. We must have time to rest, renew and remember our spiritual connection which is always there, we just tend to forget from time to time.
So how do we do this?
Spend time alone in the silence every day.
Don’t get caught up in personality differences. Some people living the spiritual life are calm, peaceful and slow-moving, while others are more energetic and even fun loving. Some focus more on the inner life, while others are compelled to reach out to the world. There is no one form or model we all have to fit into. You are a unique manifestation of God for a reason.
Remember our thoughts are prayers and we create our own reality with our thoughts.
In everything you do, be led by love.
The way you live you life will have much more influence than your words ever will. Live the inner mystery — the outer world needs you.
A word of advice here. Don’t just give that old can of lima beans no one really likes anyway. First think of practical needs. Items always needed at food pantries include:
*Shelf stable proteins — Canned tuna or salmon, Canned chicken or other meats, Canned beans, Dried beans, Canned soups and stews, Peanut butter, Nuts, Canned chili, Trail mix
* Pantry staples such as Rice (especially whole grain), Oatmeal, Pasta (especially whole grain), Diced tomatoes, Tomato sauce, Canned vegetables, Cooking oils (such as olive oil or canola oil), Flour
*Holiday Ingredients and Side Dishes, Canned pumpkin, canned yams, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, dried macaroni, canned vegetables.
Think about healthy foods you like to eat. Hold off on the snacks and junk foods. Most food banks get more than enough of these. What they need is good food to fill people up. Some food pantries like to have juice boxes for children, but real juice only please. If you have special dietary needs think about picking up an extra when you buy your special foods. People in need also have health conditions requiring special diets. If in doubt call the food pantry and ask what they need.
Finally, remember there are hungry people every day of the year. Contribute to food pantries throughout the year, especially in the summer.
We create our reality with our thoughts, so make them good ones. You have to work at this folks, but it is well worth the effort. Remember it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we think about and react to it that matters. We make our world heaven or hell through our thoughts. Wouldn’t you rather live in heaven? Wouldn’t you rather be an example to others that they can live in heaven?
It is important that we continue on our regular spiritual path during the holidays. Do not let your daily practices get lost in the busyness of the season. Continue to make time each day to meditate, pray, read from sacred texts or devotional materials and any other spiritual practices that are a regular part of your life.
Now that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative with our practices. We can even focus on light or the particular light holiday we celebrate. The important thing is to stay centered, grounded and connected to Spirit.
There are materials out there to assist you with this or you might want to create your own. Here are a few to get you started: