You may be familiar with these words from the beautiful poetry of the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Or perhaps you are more familiar with the musical setting by Pete Seegar known as Turn, Turn, Turn or popular renditions by Judy Collins or The Byrds.
These are words people turn to for comfort in times of change. This is a Scripture that is often read at funerals. So why do we find these words so comforting and reassuring? I believe it is because they speak to us of Divine Order. They remind us that life does have “seasons” that come and go, but the world keeps turning and life goes on. To everything there is a season…
The Espirational.com theme for October is “Transitions.”
The world around us is in a constant state of change, often forcing us to change too. Scattered among the changes are the major life transitions we all face throughout life, from birth to death with some good ones like moving from childhood to adolescence and adolescence to adulthood, marriage (and sometimes divorce), aging, career changes and spiritual awakening scattered in between.
So how do we navigate this maze of transitions throughout our life? This is what we will explore during October here at Espirational.com
Have you noticed that the world seems to have gone a little overboard in terms of independence? I was shocked one day to sit in a restaurant and overhear a rather loud discussion among a group of older adults. I couldn’t believe these people were saying that everything they had accomplished in life they did on their own, no one ever helped them. Really? Where were their parents, teachers, employers, friends?
No one can survive totally on their own, without others. Life in this world is not always easy. We need each other.
Now I’m not talking about giving control of our minds or lives over to another person. I’m talking about interdependence. I like the definition from Wikipedia which defines interdependence as “mutual reliance between two or more groups.” The key word here is “mutual.” We’re not talking about one person or group controlling others. What we are talking about is people looking out for each other, caring and working together for the common good.
I believe an extreme belief in independence has been a contributing factor to the division and turmoil in much of the world today. We don’t have to agree with those around us to see that the world might be a better place if we could learn to work together. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!
“Let go of your story so the universe can write a new one for you.” Marianne Williamson
This is a time when we are usually thinking of freedom and independence in political terms, but I want to go a little different direction here. Let’s talk for a minute about the freedom to create our own reality and thereby change the world.
I loved this quote the minute I saw it. Marianne Williamson is a wise woman.
We get so caught up in our personal history (our stories, if you will) that we forget that we sometimes keep ourselves chained to the past, unable to move forward. This is something I know a little about.
For many years people who I have to believe meant well encouraged, and sometimes required me to keep repeating my story, over and over. My story became my identity and I was led to believe that is would never change. I was irreparably damaged. There was no way out. My story was who I was and would always be.
I tried not to believe it, but it wasn’t always easy. It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey to break free and reclaim my life. Writing a new story has not always been easy, but it has been so worth it.
It is not easy to let go of a story, but one freedom we always have is to change our mind. Change your mind, change your life.
That doesn’t mean denying or ignoring what happened in the past. It means beginning to look at the present moment and then toward a brighter future. Don’t worry if you haven’t “resolved your issues” yet. Issues get resolved when we commit to life and start to really live.
If your story has you in bondage, let go. The universe so wants to write you a new one.
This month our Thoughts for Today will be thoughts on freedom from well-known and not so well-known people from different walks of life.
So, the espirational question for July is, “What is freedom or living free for you? Let’s start a conversation and see where it leads us.
A beautiful limited edition print of this poem was created with artwork by Margaret Nixon and Calligraphy by Jane Van Milligan. It comes with the printed words with scripture reference on a separate page.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” — Psalm 91:1 King James Version of the Bible via Bible Gateway
I encourage you to read the entire 91st Psalm. This is a beautiful and comforting Scripture passage. I prefer the beauty of the words of the King James Version for the Psalms.
So what does it mean to dwell (or live) “in” the secret place of the most High? Is it even possible?
Living in the Presence of God
For me living in the secret place is living and walking in the conscious awareness of the presence of God. Is it possible? Absolutely? Do I always live there? Well — to be totally honest — no.
There are moments of complete and total surrender to the presence of God. These are mystical experiences that are beyond explanation. Then there are moments of quiet awareness that God is here, now, walking beside me.
Then there are times of complete and utter chaos complete with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Those are the times I get caught up in the business of daily life and trying to plan, organize and just generally make things work.
Do I regret these when I realize what I have done and the mess I have created?. You bet. Do these experiences send me running back to that secret place? — Do I even need to answer that one?
The Secret Place
The shadow of the almighty is a cool, calm, peaceful place to rest, renew and be protected. We can live in this secret place, but being human we often think we can do things on our own. But when we learn, once again, that we can’t we return to God.
Perhaps in time those ventures into the chaos of the world will become fewer and fewer. Perhaps in time, when we feel ourselves beginning to slip away from the presence of God, we will remember that perfect union with the Divine and we won’t want to follow the world.
What is dwelling in the secret place for you? Please leave your answer in the comment section and let’s talk.
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.