Meditations Category


More What If . . .

More What If . . .

A beloved friend wrote the following in response to my “What If” post from several months ago.  I often ask him for his thoughts, advice, and editing on my posts because he helps me see more clearly and often articulates that which I sense but cannot express myself . . .

. . . so “What If” unpacked . . .

If light is the absence of darkness and life is the absence of death, what if loving-kindness is the absence of wrath?

And if we accept that God Who is Love is Light is Truth is Beauty is also All there is, ever was, ever can be, omnipotent omnipresent omniscient, or as Jesus indicated “I Am before Abraham was,” prior to and beyond all concepts of time, space, matter and relativity, yet containing and permeating all of time, space, matter and relativity, and if nothing “apart” from God Who is All can ever be real…

…Then what if darkness, death and wrath are made up, illusions, dreams, projections of the Child or Extension of God who is not different or apart from God and therefore can choose even to imagine into apparent and substantial existence a whole world based on separation, in other words on death and fear and wrath and darkness, a world apart from God, his own tiny little kingdom to rule as a demigod, a world deeply conflicted by his own imaginings, not just can but has, and who is now so very lost in his projections, believing they are real, he is apart, and it is God who is merely imagined…

And yet in his heart of hearts, all the while as he seems to be very afraid and alone and guilty, somehow still in that deepest of all places that he also IS, he knows, without realizing that he knows, that what he has imagined into existence as something apart is not real… And that God wants him to extend as the very Creation this truth the Child of God also truly IS, which is all this very same love and light and beauty that IS and OF God…

And stop making up (believing) into apparent and imagined separation a world of fear and pain, wrath and loneliness…

Yet here he is, still imagining himself as this world we have together made up out of all our images (idols) of separation, all of us vehemently persisting in looking and projecting through fear and guilt, darkness and wrath…  Ever deeper into our imaginings in other words, as we try so hard to imagine, through all this fear and pain and guilt, for a “way” out… Which of course, only results in adding ever more foolishness on top of foolishness, fear on top of fear, pain on top of pain…

ALL of it merely belief… But because he believes all this separation and pain, fear and darkness is also what he is, he believes he cannot let it go… He believes he will die if he lets go of hell…

Yet in truth he will live… For the first time… Consciously….

The world he believes is his life are the illusions of death, and what he fears to be death, a cessation of the illusions of death he believes he also is, is the truth of life, love, God, which he actually and eternally also IS, and has never not been…

What he believes is darkness is his own closed eyes to (or a turning away from, into his own imaginings) the light of all of existence, sometimes called consciousness, awareness, presence, God… That we also are…

What he fears is wrath is actually the callings of Freedom to recognize that freedom is also what he is…

Isn’t all this what Jesus’s whole life was about showing, revealing, pointing to…?

All this child of God need do in truth is stop imagining all the foolishness, simply (not easy, at least in the beginnings, but it is simple) stop believing it, and realize that all he seems to see as “other” is himself, his projections…  Fearful or loving, his choice, always, see through fear or see through love… There is no guilt in Truth, God neither judges nor blames, it was always and all merely a mistaken belief…

Simply recognize it as a mistake, and then begin to choose again – Differently…  Over and over, until all the myriad ways our one basic mistake is hiding from us are revealed, recognized, and seen through…

In seeing with and through love, what we fear slowly (and occasionally instantly and radically) becomes love, always in its own time and ways, neither different nor apart from God that we also are… 

Like clouds that the light of the sun shines through, dissolving them into the empty sky they are also made of, with This emptiness being the Emptiness of God, out of which all of manifest existence arises…

The God Who Sees

The God Who Sees

Often times when I am reading my Bible, a verse or passage will jump off the page; stunned, I end up wondering how I missed it before, considering the number of times I have read it in the past.

Such was the case just recently.

I am preparing to lead a Sunday School class on Lysa TerKeurst’s, Finding I Am: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, which “explores the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John.” Part of each lesson includes reading four to five chapters of the Book of John and answering reflective questions.

I have not gotten very far . . .

. . . I am still in the second chapter with Jesus at the wedding in Cana.

According to the author of the Book of John, this was the first of Jesus’s seven signs and the first miracle of his public ministry.

With much merriment and dancing, typical Jewish wedding celebrations lasted five to seven days. While there, on a Tuesday we are told, Jesus is informed by his mother that they have run out of wine. The story continues starting with verse five:

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings, each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. Yeshua told them, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. He said, “Now draw some out, and take it to the man in charge of the banquet”; and they took it. The man in charge tasted the water; it had now turned into wine! He did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew.

Well? Did you see it, hidden amongst the symbolism?

“. . . but the servants who had drawn the water knew” . . .

. . . the first witnesses to the first miracle!

WOW!

What was their reaction? Did they run off and tell their family and friends or did they keep it to themselves? Did this knowledge change their lives? If so, in what way? Or did they just return to living their normal routine? Who were they? Why did Jesus entrust them with this miracle? Did he know them prior to this celebration? Did they come to trust in Jesus as John said the disciples did?  Did they ask themselves how could this be so?

So many unanswered questions not the least of which is . . . why did this verse stop me in my tracks?

While lying in bed reflecting on the above, the answer came to me . . .

. . . because He saw them!

Hagar in Genesis 16:13 said it this way:

So she named ADONAI who had spoken with her El Ro’i [God of seeing], because she said, “Have I really seen the One who sees me [and stayed alive]?

Unable to conceive, Sarah gives her slave girl, Hagar, to her husband Abraham “to build a family through her.” Hagar becomes pregnant and difficult feelings quickly arise between Sarah and Hagar with Sarah mistreating Hagar so badly that Hagar flees into the desert where she meets “the angel of ADONAI.” During this encounter, Hagar is encouraged to return and submit to her mistress.

The thought of going back could not have been easy . . . many questions must have run through her mind including “How” . . .

. . . but that’s the thing, isn’t it?

Being seen can be empowering!

Those beloveds with whom I am most open, are ones that truly see me and as a result I find myself doing things I never dreamed I could (like writing this blog). We may never know, but hopefully the servants who had drawn the water felt this same emancipation.

Strength seeing Strength; Compassion seeing Compassion; Love seeing Love. God knowing all the qualities of Herself through that which He created. We are each seen and intimately known whether we recognize it or not. Awakening to this kind of Sight brings healing and wholeness to a hurting world.

He sees me . . .

. . . He sees you, beloved!

Immanuel

Immanuel

Whew! The holidays are over; I made it.

Since my mother died three years ago, celebrations and festivities are not the same. My emotions become so stirred up that I have difficulty hearing myself . . . I lose my way. I enjoy and dearly love my family and friends, but the additional “noise” and flurry of activity makes remembering the peace in my soul arduous if not impossible.

There were moments of temporary calm amidst the commotion . . . a remembrance service with a friend where those who have lost loved ones gathered in candle light to share love and memories . . . or a midnight church communion service on Christmas Eve that celebrated what I feel is the true essence of the Holy Day . . . or a conversation with a neighbor.

The doorbell rang rather late. My neighbor, who had been playing catch with her dog in her yard, came over to retrieve the ball which had accidentally landed in our backyard. We exchanged pleasantries about the holidays and from her response I could tell that even though she said everything went well, she was still dissatisfied.

A single mom, with three children—one in high school, one in middle school and one in kindergarten—with a little prompting, she shared her frustration over the commercialism of the times. While describing herself as spiritual she said she identifies most with Christianity, but was puzzled by the importance placed on Christmas to the seeming neglect of Easter—“that’s the real holiday, isn’t it? A dead tree and gifts have little to do with why he was born in the first place.”

I really could not disagree. But rather than interject or speak up, I sensed my purpose was to listen, which I did.

We shared a hug before she returned home, and though I said little during our conversation, I felt right then that I had truly experienced Christmas—Immanuel, God with us.

“For wherever two or three are assembled in my name, I am there with them.” Matthew 18:20

Leviticus 26:11-12 says it this way . . .

“I will put my tabernacle among you, and I will not reject you, but I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.”

My pastor pointed out in a recent message that the two most repeated commandments from God in the Bible are “Do not fear” (or “be not afraid”) and “I am with you.”

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

. . . any sacred or holy moment that reminds us that we are not separate . . .

Immanuel!

This and That

This and That

This and that . . .

. . . I was once told by a beloved that my stretch marks were ugly. This remark, most likely spoken out of pain and anger, did hurt at the time. Yet, after living with these beautiful scars for some 30 plus years now, I find them to be a remarkable reminder of the privilege and honor given to me in birthing three engaging and winsome souls into this world.

. . . I do not make New Year’s resolutions, since no tomorrow is ever promised to us; we only have today, the ever present Now. Yet, I recognize that there are those for whom this rite of passage has distinct significance. While journaling, part of my early morning routine, I wrote the following (without thought to correct grammar or punctuation):

As the new year approaches, I’m thinking about resolutions I’d make; qualities that I want my life to shine in, with and through—
–gratitude—I don’t want to complain anymore. I want to be settled in and live through gratefulness.
–not being angry—peaceful—no matter what comes my way, I desire my approach to be peace and calm—yes, anger may be justified (righteous indignation), yet at peace as the struggle flows through me.
–joyful—overall to be joyful, not happy because happiness depends on our circumstance, but joyful. Joyful encapsulates both gratitude and peace, I think.

. . . and that was my experience.

. . . A beloved with whom I volunteer at the food pantry, asked about my Thanksgiving. I said it went well and I listed the food I had prepared, the dessert being a Peach Pie. “Peach Pie? You continue to be a revolutionary.” He had read my homepage on this site. This is not the first time I have been recognized as a rebel. In fact, Rebel, is a nickname given to me by another treasured person in my life . . . and so it is.

. . . Much like Mister Rogers, I have a list of people—friends, family, and acquaintances—that I pray for every day by name. Only God knows their true circumstances, so I pray for Him to “bless them.” I read somewhere that when we use the term “God bless you,” what we are really saying is “May God’s good plans for you come to pass.” To those of you who took the time to read this, God bless you!

. . . At choir practice last night, I felt a sense of relief. I did not know at that moment for what I was relieved until a dear one explained that her brother’s divorce was finally finalized (apparently it had been quite a contentious and lengthy ordeal up to that point) and he felt deeply relieved with the equanimity of the final encounter. His was a name on my prayer list. Thank you, Mister Rogers, for reminding us of our unity and interdependent Oneness.

. . . “Ryder’s Grandma! I love you.” I do not know if there is a more pure and sacred moment then when a child hugs you in sweet loving innocence—that was my experience today after reading aloud to my grandson’s Kindergarten class.

. . . Not all moments of time have been as special as those above . . . like the self-checkout at Martins–that dang machine kept telling me to do what I was already doing. Oy! Or the dude that pulled out in traffic blocking all three lanes so that the lane I was in could not turn right until the light turned green and then sat there on his phone. He got an earful—probably just as well that he did not hear me.

. . . A verse from Isaiah seems to unify these bits of piecemeal together . . . Chapter 30 verse 21 . . .

With your ears you will hear a word from behind you:
“This is the way; stay on it,
whether you go to the right or the left.”

. . . Or perhaps, this . . .

“Subtlety is a beautiful journey of the dissolving away of “objective” existence… The importance of this journey and of the growing awareness of subtlety is not in the ever more subtle qualities themselves so much as in what is beginning to appear to itself, as beliefs that what is True is other than itself become fainter and fainter and our attention upon our beliefs becomes less and less demanding…”

May all the nuances of your journey carry you forward in Grace and Peace.

Why Me

Why Me

Why me?

Do you ever ask yourself this question?

I do. I did, just yesterday, as I was driving to pick up my grandchildren from the bus stop. I was in full-on pity party mode which, fortunately, passed quickly once in the comforting presence of my grandson and granddaughter.

This morning, in the bathroom, I asked myself the same question. However, this time my blessings had overwhelmingly grabbed my heart and I was feeling profoundly grateful.

There is no answer to that question in either context except possibly, “why not me?”

This may have been what Paul was talking about in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where he says:

In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua.

Jeffrey, 40ish—a homeless man and food pantry regular, has the most cheerful disposition. Being around him is like watching birds bathe in a bird bath or puddle of water. There is just something so whimsical and joyful about the way birds splash, shake and flutter as they clean their feathers.

Abused, abandoned—he has experienced his share of physical, mental and emotional health issues and near-death experiences which he freely shares with anyone willing to listen. Yet this man inhabits gratitude and thankfulness as playfully as birds immersed in bathing.

Freely occupying a space of awakened Trust, this beautiful soul does not feel sorry for himself and graciously praises God with every breath.

I hear your doubts, “it’s just an act to get you to feel sorry for him;”he’s in denial,” or “he’s just crazy.”

No. While driving around town, unbeknownst to him, I have seen him walking and there is a spring in his step and a genuine expression of peace and contentment on his face.

Is he a sunny side optimist?  I do not think so.  My impression is that he makes the choice to be thankful in all his life’s circumstances and only he knows how difficult that decision is from one moment to the next.

“In everything give thanks . . . “

Simple, to the point . . .

. . . thank you, Jeffrey—your example is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Breathe

Breathe

Every now and then some little something will grab my attention and spark a bit of creative energy. Each wee tidbit, however, does not have enough substance on its own for a full post. Yet, when all these small sound-bites, sightings, feelings, happenings, etc. combine, they become a journey of sacred moments.

Today was a day chock full of holy occurrences.

As my five-year-old grandson’s Kindergarten class was settling, preparing for me to read aloud, one little girl said: “I like your hair, it’s changing color. Some of it is white.” Precious! Then after picking up my grandchildren from the bus, there was a brief respite where the three of us were languidly lounging in a huge, purple beanbag chair with a sleepy puppy. Heaven! A friend called to see if I would be interested in being a judge for some school projects—I wasn’t, but thanked her for thinking of me. To which she responded, “I think of you a lot.” Loved!

Or yesterday . . .

Wednesday is the day I volunteer at the food pantry. There were quite a few boxes to be broken down before they could be recycled, which I did with great enthusiasm.  I was thrilled that manual labor brought me such purpose and pleasure.  Exhilarating!

Even though I did not feel like it, I went to choir practice—it was dark and cold and I just wanted to stay home where it was warm and cozy. Afterward, though, I felt refreshingly enervated and woke up the next morning with my spirit singing. Joyful!

The day before that . . .

. . . was a day with absolutely nothing to do and I enjoyed doing it! I sat in my recliner rocking away, watching the birds and feeling so profoundly grateful for a cousin who would give me the gift of this website. My heart felt like it was bursting with pleasure in the silent solitude. Thankful!

By now you may be thinking, “But what about those days when life is not rosy and lovely?”

I get it. Sometimes it seems as if days can turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years of one hardship after another. This crazy world is filled with overwhelming unfair and undue pain, grief and suffering.

And yet gratefulness, here we breathe . . .

My mind wanders back in time to when I was in labor with my sons, and was told to breathe. Seemingly I am still giving attention to the intentional breathing practices I learned in childbirth class.

. . . just breathe.

My yoga instructor ended our session today by having us concentrate on our breath, the “divine energy that sustains life.”

Could this be what Paul meant when he said “pray without ceasing” in I Thessalonians 5:17? Some translations say “pray regularly,” “pray constantly,” “pray continuously,” or “never stop praying.”

Breathe . . . in . . . out . . . regularly, constantly, continuously . . . in . . . out . . .

. . . sometimes that is all we can do; and maybe it is all we need do . . . each breath–this very here and now sacred, eternal moment.

Visit the link below for a treatise on the connection between prayer and breath.

www.chaimbentorah.com/2019/04/hebrew-word-study-breath/