In our modern world we have technology that allows us to change the environment we live in. If it is too warm in our home we can turn on the air conditioner.
This instrument conditions the air. It changes what it was and influences it to become something else. Yes, it is still air, but it has a different quality now, namely a cooler temperature. We can also turn on the heater when it gets too cold.
There are now air purifiers that change the condition of the air we breathe. In an extreme scenario it is even possible to take the air out of a space, creating a vacuum.
People also condition the spaces they are in. They change the space by their very nature. It happens by itself, because of who we are. You have heard the saying, “Everywhere I go, there I am.” This is meant to be somewhat humorous, but it admits the truth that we are who we are, at all times in all spaces and places. Even when we try to be different, we are ourselves trying to be different. You cannot escape who you are in each moment… and neither can others who happen to be in the same space as you.
You have heard the scenario of someone entering a room and taking the air right out of it. It usually happens when a beautiful woman or charismatic man has entered; usually someone so captivating that everyone recognizes the energy that has just entered and filled the room.
By the same token, we have all experienced someone walking in and instantly causing the space to be filled with tension, anxiety and fear.
This is air conditioning. (Okay, it may be a little corny, but don’t miss the meaning.)
Humans are air conditioners. We change the spaces we inhabit by our very presence. The question is what are we bringing with us everywhere we go?
We are a complicated species. There are countless emotions and gradations of feelings, judgments and opinions we carry with us at all times. We carry fears, hopes, confidences, expectations, regrets, wishes, and much more. Some of our feelings are subconscious, some even repressed or suppressed. All of it makes us who we are. The reality is that none of us can really hide, even when we are alone. Society itself is an expression of our collective energies and levels of consciousness. We all contribute to the world we have even if we feel insignificant.
Just as light shines forth, so do we. Even light conditions a room… with light, even as the sun changes the condition of our sky with its brightness.
Intention is a most powerful force in making us who we are and setting the condition we bring. It sets the tone of who we are right now and is the directional compass in determining the person we are moving towards becoming. If one’s intention is to be a good person, they will move in that direction. If one’s intention is to be hellacious, the universe will allow that. To be warm-hearted or cold-hearted is a common understanding of how people can be. Earth is a place where one can become the lowest low or aim for the highest levels of spiritual development.
The earth itself is an air conditioner. It is set to mirror…us; to respond to us in both subtle and gross ways, some we can see and others so subtle it escapes our physical senses. But earth is also conditioned with wonderful qualities like grace and beauty. Life itself, I believe, is conditioned with love, so that whatever else happens, there is a divine energy that is always available to us. Love is the condition we were created in, no matter how we came to be born, or what the specifics might be about each of our entrances to this life.
Because of the complexities of life itself – what with each of us being like a universe unto ourselves, the question is… What ‘condition’ do you carry with you?
What do you know you bring with you into the spaces and places you go? What air do you bring to the mixture of air from others? Do people breathe in peace when you are around? Are you a toxic mixture of anger and jealousy? Are you living in desire and pride? Perhaps you are carrying with you joy and love. Perhaps courage is the prevailing energy of your being right now. Whatever it is, it does not stay with you. You share who you are without even trying.
To be aware of your own energy is useful knowledge. To know thyself is wise. To consciously choose to grow in a positive direction is a gift… and to actually do so is a blessing, one that makes you and the world a better place. And to be a blessing is a condition the world could stand to take a breath of… at anytime.
Someone called me a wise man recently. It was a childhood friend who was introducing me to someone. It felt strange to be called a wise man, though I am 60 years old and hope I have at least some wisdom. But I don’t think of myself as a wise man. I do think of myself as a man who seeks to be wise; so, why wouldn’t I, at some point become a wise man or at least think I may be?
Probably because I can point out any number of mistakes; current and past; and because I know there are more to come. Probably because I have been in situations where another needed help and I had no clue what to say or do. Probably because I never feel like I know enough. Maybe I am wise but am not wise enough to know I’m wise. Maybe it’s not wise to think of oneself as a wise man… you know, what with pride and all.
I think of myself as lots of other things, and even know that I am those things, including being smart. But wisdom is an achievement beyond mere smarts. Even geniuses are not wise just because they are super smart. And children can exhibit great wisdom though they have relatively little life experience.
So where does wisdom come from?
Wisdom comes from God as a gift of grace. It engages knowledge to a certain extent but surpasses it. It is said that Solomon was the wisest man in the world. When God asked him what he wanted, he said he wanted wisdom. God responded that because he asked for wisdom before anything else, all else would come.
Wisdom waits for us to call upon insight from the divine world.
It is hearing spiritual guidance and following it. It involves trusting God’s revelation within us. Wisdom goes beyond calculating mere facts and possibilities. It accesses vision that is deep and expansive. It sees eternal truths and applies them to immediate circumstances.
Wisdom can come from anyone who is willing to see beyond the mere surface of things. And it can come in the form of humor, the arts, or personal life experience shared in conversation. I have taken to collecting bits of wisdom found in the witty sayings that come through my own mother. They are contained in Annie Ruth’s Truths, which are folk humor and witty comments that often lend themselves to deep truths. You can find some of them here on the website. My father, a minister, shared wisdom in a more serious manner. His Sunday sermons were well thought out and shared with deep caring and gravitas.
I find that when I do say something one might call wise, I am grateful. Gratitude is the proper response to wisdom. That, along with humility keeps the door open for more to come through.
However we grow in wisdom, and however much we grow, I am reminded of my grandmother’s saying about maturity and transformation… “I’m not what I want to be. I’m not what I ought to be. But thank God, I’m not what I was!”
There are coincidences, and then there are synchronicities. A coincidence is pretty much contained in the word…. co – incident. Something that happens at the same time as something else. There is no deep meaning to it (at least as one can figure) and seems random. However, a synchronicity is when something happens that aligns with another happening as a way one can see a connection that binds the two in some way. It is much deeper in meaning than a “mere” coincidence. It can act as a sign, a guide, an affirmation, or a confirmation in one’s life… if… you can see the synchronicity.
Now, there is the synchronicity of my wife Jeannine speaking what I think. It happens so often, it is clear it is not just coincidence. I will be thinking something, and she will say it, perhaps 5-15 seconds after I have thought it. Why didn’t I say it? Who knows? Why does she say it? Who knows? But invariably I will then tell her, “I just thought that!” And she will give me a knowing look and say, “There are no private thoughts.”
Now, moving on… I recently received a Father’s Day letter from my mom. I didn’t know it because it was a week past Father’s Day. I got the mail, saw she had sent me an envelope, and I put the mail on the kitchen counter. I had wanted to watch a show I taped, so I made an ice cream cone and plopped myself down to be entertained. I had not made an ice cream cone in almost a year and had forgotten we even had ice cream cones. After the show, I opened my mother’s envelope and there was a $100.00 check plus a $1.00 bill with the attached note to the bill that said, “Have an ice cream cone or two!!” Love Mom,Happy Belated Father’s Day. So, this was not just coincidence… it was much too co-ordinated. But what could be the deeper meaning of a simple ice cream cone note? That energy moves beyond its borders and affects us in subtle ways. Would I have had an ice cream cone had I not touched the envelope? Did the energy of the note make its way into my consciousness and “communicate” to me though I hadn’t opened it yet? What do you think?
Lastly, I was recently doing yard work, and had some small plant clippers I used to cut back some vines. I gathered up the vines and bagged them. Then I went back to cut more, and could not find my cutters. I look all over, and they were not to be found. I went into the garage and found another cutting tool. I said to myself, “Well, I am sure they will turn up.” The next morning, I woke up, and went to make a cup of coffee. Out the window I spotted a robin hunting for food. I had seen this robin on many occasions, hunting in our yard. But I had never seen it where it was now. It was standing on the play structure, on the base wood about a foot off of the ground. It was just standing there. I found myself curious and went for a closer look as to what it was doing. As I got closer to the window, it hopped off and landed… right next to the cutter I had misplaced! How I could have missed that yesterday I do not know. But there it was in plain sight… shown to me by… a bird!? So, coincidence or synchronicity?
I have experienced life being more synchronistic as I continue to open myself to spiritual growth. The sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s guidance, signs, and messages is not contained in only one mode of communication. The creator can use all of creation to speak to us… and does. Hence the challenge of Jesus is clear when he said, Let those who have the eyes to see, see… and the ears to hear, hear.
This morning, as I do many mornings, I go into the Jacuzzi in our backyard for 15-30 minutes and allow the experience to slowly awaken me. I commune with the water, the grass, the flowers and garden, the trees, the sky and the surrounding mountains. I take in the new day. The sun is hovering at just the right height, shining through the trees; not too hot yet. And there is shade enough, but not so it hides the heat. Half of my body is in the warm water, the top half in the coolness of the air. It is a perfect little paradise. I like to sit in a little pool float and watch it all. I watch nature, even as it watches me in its own way. It is both prayer and contemplation. It is communing with the day and communion as I drink in the beauty and soak in the peace. It is the recognition of grace, of allowing my being to acknowledge, with gratitude, that I am still here.
Today, I found myself contemplating how the float moved in the water. Even without the water jets blasting, the wind moved me around, as I drifted on its breeze. When the jets were turned on, the movements became more intense. I spun and drifted from side to side, sometimes hitting my head against the sides of the pool. I realized that life is a lot like this. It can move us around, bump us up against things, spin us around, and blow us from place to place without us having much say in it.
Then, I decided I didn’t want all the movement. I wanted more stillness and calm. I placed my legs over the side, in a position where they acted as an anchor. I would still move around a bit, but not near the amount I did without an anchor. The jets were still going, but I was not so affected. It allowed me to enjoy the bubbling of water without the dizziness of the spinning. And when I turned the jets off, I was even more still. Again, it was a moment to realize the parallel to everyday living.
We are all in the waters of life. Many people drift along, being blown here and there, drifting without an anchor, not knowing where we are headed. And when life turns on its jets and bubbles up beneath us, it can be intense. Life can come at us without our permission, so to speak, and present us with situations and circumstances that may be surprising, unwanted, and uncomfortable. Life can spin us around, and we can drift, being pushed around by powers that seem to have us in their control.
It helps to have an anchor. It helps to have an anchor in real boats in real water, and it helps us humans, if we can find an anchor in our lives; one that can keep us more grounded and still; one that can keep us from drifting. Now, most anchors work by digging into the ground beneath the water. I had an imperfect anchor, using my feet against the sides of the small pool. Still, it worked at least enough for me to be inspired in seeing the power of being connected to something that could help me become more still. Being still, I was able to focus more and longer on the magnificent beauty of the trees. I was able to look more deeply into their being and body for any message they may be trying to convey this day. Each created thing is a word about God, and can be used to communicate, as all of life can coalesce to speak to us in a moment. And it did speak. It is the reason I am writing this very blog. I got the message from the water, the float, the trees and mountains, grass and flowers, from the heat and coolness of the sun and breeze, from the spinning and drifting… all uniting in a message of the power of having an anchor.
For some people their anchor is family. For others it is nature. For others it is their spirituality. There can be as many anchors as there are people. However, some anchors don’t work very well. If one turns to drinking constantly to escape the turmoil of life, they are prone to finding out it does not work very well. Family can be an anchor, but most families have moving parts (called family members) that we cannot control. They are human beings, who have their own life and wills and path. It is hard for a human to be our anchor, as they are in the same water as we are, and made of the same stuff. Some people use exercise as an anchor, going to the gym religiously. Our physical bodies are glorious creations, and we can hone them all of our lives, but they are, after all, going to age. They are prone to injury and sickness and we know they are going to die eventually. They are temporal.
Inviting into your life Divinity… God consciousness – is the only thing I have experienced that is always able to keep me from drifting too far afield from my own self, life work and purpose. I am grounded in a still, transcendent reality, even while on the chaotic sea of life. The divinity within life, that is life – is eternal with no beginning and no end. It is unconditional love and is always there, pouring forth its graces toward us. It is stronger and surer than anything life has in its creative, diverse but impermanent appearances. As an anchor has weight, the weight of Spirit cannot be measured. But it can be experienced when we live its constancy. It can keep us still, keep us calm… no matter how intense the waters of life swirl around us, or bubble up beneath us; no matter how deep the ocean of our burdens may be.
It helps to realize that the very life we live is already anchored in the Giver of life itself. But it is up to us to be conscious of and stay connected to this ANCHOR of life.
I am introducing a guest blogger this month. Clifford Cephas is a friend and wonderful thinker who loves to analyze and mine words and subjects for the gold they have buried deep inside. I will be including his writing from time to time. This month, he is allowing me to begin sharing his thoughts about one of my favorite shows ever… The Lion King. Even in this short intro, you can see the attention to detail he brings to his thinking.
LION KING BLOG: INTRODUCTION
by, Clifford H. Cephas
Have you ever been truly inspired by a book, movie, poem, song? I have found that usually what touches us the deepest are things that are infused with truth deeper than what is communicated on the surface. The Lion King has inspired multiple generations using several forms of media. My grandchildren still watch it on VHS when they come to my house. The truths underlying this movie, play and story are powerful principles. It has been a pleasant task of mine to remind myself and my acquaintances of these truths which make this story so popular.
The blogs that I will write will be excerpts and adaptations from a book that is being written called Lessons from the Lion King. It has been my determination to not be amused as I am being entertained. When the word “entertain” is broken down, the prefix “enter” means to come in or go in, and the “tain” means to hold; so our entertainment is something that comes into us and holds us. When we are not entertained the item is not holding us, and sometimes not even entering us. At the same time the breakdown of “amuse”, the prefix “a” means not or no, while “muse” means to think or be in deep study; so when we are amused we are not thinking or not in deep thinking. Usually amusement is solely for fun and not for learning purposes. I believe that we should always have our thinking caps on, being ready so that whatever touches our hearts can educate and expand our minds.
I was inspired to start doing this kind of mental and spiritual exercise in a Sunday School class wherein the curriculum involved a movie and the lesson called for the students to analyze the behaviors of the main character from one scene to the next in the movie. That particular movie did very little for me, but the principles of the Lion King have informed and changed my perspectives about several things, each of which are delineated in a scene from the movie.
I do not believe that the writer of the Lion King intended for Bible lessons to be taught from the story. These are truths that were reactivated in me as I repeatedly viewed the movie, dissecting the words of the characters and looking for meanings. I hope the blogs that follow will entertain and cause you to think, even meditate, on some of the deeper meanings that this story can convey.
If you do not have a copy of the movie, I highly recommend that you get one, or go onto the internet to view the scene that is being discussed. You may not always agree with me. That is perfectly fine. I am not the ALPHA and OMEGA. I am just a jot who has a tittle to communicate. (Matt 5:18)
CONFESSIONS: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest is a new autobiography released this month by North Atlantic Books, about a man who has become a major change agent in our times; and who has been a powerful mentor in my spiritual, intellectual and academic life as well as my own personal growth. The book is a must read for anyone who wants to see into the life of a modern Christian mystic. Matthew Fox is that mystic.
I earned my Doctorate of Ministry in the school he founded, The University of Creation Spirituality, and was privileged to teach there as well.
The book details an amazing journey of a dedicated man of God, whose vision, creativity and will power allow him to accomplish much. His story grabs you right from the introduction. You won’t even want to take a break as you read on through the first couple of chapters; as he shares his journey to the priesthood and early years becoming a Dominican. His passion challenges us to check in on our own journeys and life callings.
In the Introduction, Matthew graciously points out that we all have a story – and with humility wonders why anyone as ‘ordinary’ as he is would write an autobiography. Still, he is able to tell himself (and us) that “…many people need others’ stories to realize spirit in their own.” However, as the reader plunges in, not only do we see the power of spirit in Matthew’s life; we also see that this is the story of a man who is far from ordinary.
Matthew opens his Confessions telling us that it “…may assist others today who find themselves either passing from religion to spirituality or trying to integrate spirituality back into religion.” Matthew has been a huge catalyst in my own passage from a traditional religion to an expanded spirituality… and for that I will always be grateful.
He has a way with words and can pack a lot into a few. He shares a story of a student who had AIDS. The student had a dream in which Matthew showed up wearing a white coat like a doctor. He gave the man an amazing bit of spiritual knowledge (read the book for what was said), which the man took back into his waking life. This mystical advice literally helped the ailing man feel stronger and fuller. Matthew takes a moment to remind us matter-of-factly that… “Yes, the universe is a very interesting place. And very connected.”
He takes us to his ordination, where he shares a moving experience of feeling a powerful connection to the lineage that came before him; of feeling a powerful sense of ancestors as a litany of saints and priests were read while he lay prone, giving himself to God. This “morphic field” as he later learned to call it, was the transparency of time and space. He shares how his interest in spirituality and science would lead him to work with scientists and write books in this vein, which I have greatly benefited from.
We see in Matthew’s journey how passion, intellect, vision and his recognition of the power, wisdom and vitality of youth… combine to manifest breakthrough – even during a simple lunch meeting. We sit with him as he hears a young 20-something man tell him of his thirst to create “revelry”. Matthew connects that to the word revelation. We witness him seeing that the same root word is in play here… and see him recognize in this young man the hunger for sacred joy. We witness the closing of the generation gap (he is in his 50’s) and watch as he envisions a new idea that could have a societal breakthrough… and eventually does! All this over a lunch!
Like the title of this blog says…. A MUST-READ!
Parts of Matthew’s story unfolds in a rapid-fire litany of what he wants to get across… and before you know what has just hit you, he has laid out something that you have had no time to avoid. And now that you know, you become responsible for the knowledge. We see how he takes responsibility… how will we? This is part of his writing genius. He draws you in, informs you, preaches powerfully, and gets you turning pages to find out what he has to say about big issues, and how you can help, no matter how small or inadequate you may feel.
Here’s an example:
Spirituality is required to wake people up and empower them to face the deep crises that earth is undergoing today, and the poor who constitute so much of humanity, and the young who are in despair, and the indigenous people who are being wiped out.
I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to simplify our spiritual heritage as we move, more lightly, into the third millennium. As we move beyond denominationalism to a deep ecumenism. And as we listen to the Spirit working through young people, as it so often does.
There are insights into his early depth and courage of spirit. Take this thought for example, in one of his journal entries when he was still in his twenties: “Sometimes I think that what I’m looking for will occur only at death.” His search for usefulness and where he might work with the most effectiveness guides his early endeavors including starting a groundbreaking magazine while still a student, called Listening. Furthermore, his prolific reading brought him into contact with minds that seeded future endeavors and sets the stage for later efforts including the many books he would write and programs he would start. He shares one of his favorite paragraphs of a book from a German Jesuit on “Priest and Poet” that I can see supported his innate passion, which years later blossomed into a wisdom school that combined creativity, the arts, science, theology and deep ecumenism, including the wisdom of women and indigenous peoples.
Confessions allows us to see the arc of Matthew’s journey from his youth to the present day. He is a spiritual warrior and his journey is a model of ongoing praxis… of contemplation and action.
The ground that Matthew covers in his life and career is stunning. And he is still pushing the boundaries and preaching and teaching us out of complacency. The personal connection I have experienced with him ranges from student to colleague; from mentor to friend. A chief period of amazing growth for me was in his school, The University of Creation Spirituality. I echo the sentiments printed in the book of a former classmate, Dr. Suzanne Lopez:
Going to the University of Creation Spirituality was extraordinary. It wasmore than I could have ever dreamed of or imagined. My experience at theUniversity of Creation Spirituality was the best educational and most meaningful,inspirational, transformative experience I have ever had. I would goagain just to be there and be supported in continuing to evolve my soul insuch a profound and visionary container.
That comment exemplifies the effect of Matthew’s transformational work in the world, and this book challenges us to look at our own lives and ask… am I doing enough?
Every so often I have reported the presence of two white-tail bucks hanging out in our yard. This year one deer (we think it is one of the two bucks) has been hanging out almost everyday. It has gotten so use to us it doesn’t even move when we get close to it.
Well, my wife awakened me one morning this month with news that the deer was in distress. I got up and found it on its side, unable to get up, and struggling for breath, eyes rolling and mooing every so often. It was a sound recognizable in any living creature. It was the sound of suffering. We called animal services and an Open Range park ranger came to assess the situation. They saw nothing externally wrong with the animal we had come to call “Bucky”. After summoning another ranger, they tried to help it up with no success, and after measuring its antlers surmised that the animal was old… and was dying. They said as far as they could tell it was just its time.
They told us they were surprised; that they had never seen a deer in this state in someone’s yard, and that if it had been coming as often as we said, then it seems it had, for some reason, chosen our property to die on. They decided it was best to put the buck out of its misery since it was clearly suffering and unresponsive to the help being offered. My wife and I were present as they shot our dear Bucky.
It was sad to see them drag this beautiful animal around to their waiting truck, hoist it up on to the pickup bed, clean up the blood with our water hose… and drive off. One of the lasting things I also heard the rangers say was… “He’s strong.” They were referring to the amount of time it took for Bucky’s body to stop shaking after the shot to the head. We were told it would be one or two minutes, but it was twice that. It was not pretty to watch.
After the rangers left, my wife and I spent some time honoring the blessing we had experienced by this animal showing up on our property, and feeling comfortable enough to come back almost daily, and stay all day – from sunup to sunset. We wondered where it went at night. We wondered why it chose us.
He would sit in three areas throughout the day, all of which were perfect spots to view us without being seen by neighbors. He would sit and stare at us as we were in the house, washing dishes or working in the office, or lounging in the Jacuzzi. Once it walked by us, and pooped. We figured that was a sign of endearment and acceptance on Bucky’s part. At least that’s what we decided to think.
We are left with the legacy of having experienced this deer for two years up close, and being the final witness of its life, and death. We are honored, sad, and ultimately blessed, because Bucky was a great teacher for us. He showed us what peace looks like on a daily basis. He showed us what sitting meditation looks like, how to be completely relaxed, and even what it looks like to chew your food… and just chew your food. He showed us what it looks like to simply observe…to just look, see and observe. Bucky was a priest… a great one at that. He was a living word about God, a great example of living in the present moment; he was a prayer and an answered prayer at the same time… and a great meditation teacher.
We loved Bucky and I think he sensed that. Perhaps it is one reason he stayed… and even let us witness his passing on. At least that is what we have decided to think.
Yes, we are sad, but thankful. Farewell, Bucky… you will be missed.
My father use to tell me that when I got an idea, I could be sure that I was not the only one to get that same idea. He believed ideas developed out of our common humanity… and were in the air; out in the ethers, and that we humans are like antennas, able to pick up the transmission. The question was always who is going to pick up the idea and DO something with it?
Have you ever “received” an idea, and later learned that someone had “taken” your idea and turned it into a moneymaker?
How did that make you feel?
Well, I have had a number of these. My latest is that for many years I have been dancing on a bicycle. As a former Broadway stage dancer, and still tap dancer, I was always bored with just riding an indoor bike; and for that matter, just running on a treadmill, or moving boringly back and forth on an elliptical glider. I set out to transform my own workout, and developed creative ways to use those machines that made working out a lot more fun. I even bought a bike and treadmill, placed them in my garage and had a field day exercising in private. I tried doing this in gyms but always felt self-conscious. When I was Editor-In-Chief of Soul Mag in 2005-2006, I even wrote an article in 2005 about these new ways of using traditional exercise machines.
Okay, you get the gist. Now, jump to present day. I am reading a weekly magazine called The Week, and I read an article about women getting Botox in their scalp because it keeps them from sweating and messing up their hair while working out. The article goes on to point out that SoulCycle is “infamous for killing hair.”
I wondered… “What is SoulCycle?”
Well, now I know. It is a company started by two women in 2006 who had the same thought I had. This is only a year after I had my article printed in a magazine! Yep, they stole my idea!
Of course, I say that in jest, but it does shed light on the reality that ideas are in the air, and no one has exclusive rights on tapping into the pulse of cultural evolution or what the marketplace is ready for in terms of new products and ways of doing things, including exercise.
The great surprise for me was in reading the story of SoulCycle. Just two people who wanted to have more fun on an exercise bike. Instead of it feeling like hard work, they wanted it to be inspiring. They put their heads together, and made a business plan. They committed to making the idea happen not only for themselves, but for others. They bet on the fact that they weren’t the only ones who felt this way. I did my work out in secret thinking I was the only one crazy enough to do this. Boy was I wrong! And this has been going on for nearly ten years… and I didn’t know.
Where do ideas come from? Sometimes from need… sometimes from inspirational moments, or a stroke of genius. Or, sometimes, it is the normal development of something already in use.
The point is… what ideas do you have that may be useful in the world, that are still waiting for you to do? There is something called the idea avalanche. It is the reality that some people get tons of ideas, and then get stuck as to what to do. And of course, the opposite is true, some people have few ideas, and so latch on to the one or two… and run with it. And of course, some people’s ideas get discovered after the person has died, and someone else implements their idea and makes millions.
Humans are a rare creation on this planet, in that we can have ideas at all. Perhaps the Divine has given this gift as an inspiration and challenge to us all. As so many in the world struggle, others are inspired with ideas that are designed to help. We are never without a way to make a way out of no way, no matter how dire our situations are.
Ideas are visions of what could be. They are the magic in the mind before we see it in the world. If you have seen any of your ideas brought into the world without you… do not be dismayed, depressed or tempted toward apathy or cynicism. Look at the ideas you still have… that you have not seen done… or not seen done like you see them. You still have the power within you to GO FOR IT.
Okay, so my exercise ideas have been marketed. Great. Sometimes things show up when we least expect it, to give us a boost… a wake up call… and a challenge, to keep going, until one of our brilliant ideas gets out there.
So, come on idea people… get that business plan going and manifest that unique thing… before someone else does. Or, you’ll be left writing an article… like this one.
A few days ago I meant to take a picture of the water sprinkler’s dew left on top of the bushes in my back yard. The sun was hitting the droplets just right so that they revealed their colors inside the clear water. Each droplet looked like a rainbow drop, and the whole bush looked as if lit up like a Christmas tree.
I meant to get my camera and take a picture of it.
But I got distracted as soon as I walked back into the house. Distracted by duties at hand, work that needed to be done, wondering where I put my reading glasses, washing a stray dish to keep the kitchen clean and neat, and throwing a way food left too long in the fridge.
It was the fridge that sparked my realization that it would be great to make some mint water. So, I went back outside to gather mint from the garden. That’s when I suddenly remembered the picture I wanted… and meant… to take. But the sun had changed positions, the clouds had moved in and the droplets were now mostly dry. And they were only clear again, no longer reflecting the sunlight like I had seen it 10 minutes before.
I felt sad that I had allowed the mendacity of life to distract me from just running upstairs, getting my camera and dashing back down for the photo shoot. Perhaps I didn’t realize how fleeting this sight would be. But although I missed the picture, I didn’t miss the miracle. And the sheer beauty and awe of what I saw will be the picture I will hold, but only now in my mind, and not my camera or as a screen saver on my computer.
Perhaps it was not meant for the camera anyway… but for me. Perhaps it was meant to be a special, private moment where, instead of me taking a picture, The Creator was instead showing me one… from the limitless picture album of real life.
I recently went on what could be described as a pilgrimage. I went to see an event in memory of a spiritual teacher who has had a profound impact on my spiritual development. As we looked at videos of some of his lectures, I was grateful to have been in his presence when he was alive. And to be with those who are still learning from his works and appreciating who he was and still is for us, was a joy and a privilege.
There were more than a few synchronicities that played out over the weekend of this conference.
One, has in connection to guardian angels.
Two, was regarding how one goes about showing appreciation for someone no longer in body.
Three, was the impact of seeing the Grand Canyon.
For some reason, guardian angels are up for me. I was not raised with the Catholic nearness to this phenomenon, but have always been intrigued. I have had readings where the facilitator would tell me what my guardian angel was trying to communicate. I was always fascinated that my guardian angel couldn’t or wouldn’t contact me directly, if they were real at all. In any case, my hyper-awareness of the topic allowed me to take in several interesting occurrences over the weekend of June 12th. The last day, I noticed there was a guardian angel statue on the tiptop shelf of the bedroom linen closet. I had not noticed it in the three previous days we had been there. I went to my computer, which was on from the night before, where I was surfing the web about the subject. I went to my email and noticed I had an update waiting. It was a receipt from being at the Grand Canyon, from buying drinks at the café. I had not noticed the name, but now was looking at the emailed receipt from The Bright Angel Café! When we first arrived in our cottage, there were two people talking on the balcony below us – they were talking about guardian angels!
My point is simply that there are times we are being poked, as it were, to pay attention. The universe – Divinity – knows how to get to us, and if we are paying attention it can lead to new points of awareness for us at specific points in our development. Why this now? I don’t yet know. But I am going to find out.
What is poking you?
The next issue was one of paying respects to someone whose ashes were presented, namely the said spiritual teacher. As I watched people go up, I witnessed elaborate expressions toward the box with the ashes. I also saw people barely glance at the box as they walked by with barely a gesture of any kind. I wondered what I would do, and didn’t really want to be watched. But I did want to go up and do something. I could have sat there in appreciation, but somehow I felt within that I wanted to do more to show my profound appreciation… even though I knew he was not in that box. Did I want to bow? I didn’t think so, since I am not use to bowing before anyone. Of course, I am aware of cultures that have made a beautiful cultural norm of bowing to other people. In any case, by the time it was my turn, I still didn’t know what I would do! But when I stood there, I knew!! I slowly dropped to one knee, bowed my head in thanks, put my hands over my mouth and gestured my hands toward the box as I rose. This I realized, in the midst of it all, was between the teacher and me, wherever his spirit was. It was my own internal acknowledgement, and it did not matter who was watching. It was still a private moment.
I remember when my father died, that at his burial I stood motionless after all had left. For some time I could not move… did not want to leave his side. Being the only son, there was some honoring that that expression was able to deliver. I stood there for what was perhaps 10 minutes but seemed like an eternity, until a friend came and gently let me know that it is all right if I leave; that my father has undoubtedly received my expression of honor, appreciation and gratitude for what he had been to me and done for me. Now, to honor the spiritual teacher was a moving moment for me personally, and to do so as part of a public watching was, in reality, adding to the group appreciation that we all took in as an outpouring of love.
Who would you bow to out of deep respect?
Now, going to the Grand Canyon after all of this was a powerful experience of realizing (again) that The Creator is more than we can humanly fathom. But we do get glimpses as we look upon great sites like the Grand Canyon. We can feel the power and majesty, see the beauty, and try to understand the vastness of what we are seeing. Still, it is only a glimpse of Divinity’s reality and greatness.
I could have bowed down at that site also… in acknowledgment of all that I know God to be (as well as what I don’t know). And I did. On one knee I got down as I raised my hands. My wife took a picture of that. It may turn out to be a favorite.
And now I am back to everyday, common life. It will be interesting in the days ahead to see what remains of such powerful experiences, knowing that we cannot stay on the mountaintop, but must come back down to earth, so to speak. At least there are pictures to remind me of it all… and perhaps more stays in me than seeps out. Here’s hoping.