Can You Know Things That Will Happen?

The frigid Michigan wind chilled me to the bone as I hugged my inadequate dress coat tighter and hurried through the darkness to my company’s annual Christmas party at a posh hotel.

I hadn’t looked forward to attending this occasion. It was just another obligation- a component of the treadmill life I led. Parties held for the sole purpose of prescribed merriment are particularly fearful occasions for me, and this one simply mirrored my loneliness as I entered the dimly lit ballroom full of chattering couples and shimmering lights.

The entryway table displayed an array of door prizes. I’d never won a door prize before. I’d never won anything in my life and didn’t expect to, but my eyes gravitated to a handmade teddy bear propped in one corner. Instead of the cute cuddly child’s toy one would expect, this bear was particularly ugly, and my attraction to it was unexplainable.

I didn’t want a teddy bear, and there was no room for such an unnecessary item in my cramped apartment, yet I reached out to pick it up. The moment I touched the bear , a stillness welled with me that seemed to dance apart from all the music and the chatter of the party.

As the party goers faded into the background, I was overcome with a feeling of absolute certainty that this teddy bear belonged to me.  It can only be explained as an unshakeable knowingness that supported not a shred of doubt, not a molecule of uncertainty, as if the ugly little bear was already mine.  Never before have I felt such certainty, such a powerful sense of knowing the outcome of an event before it had unfolded.

Throughout the evening I felt preoccupied by the awe of this experience. I was wondering when the drawing for the door prizes was going to occur so I could receive my teddy bear and leave.

At last the moment arrived as the music stopped and the lights brightened. The emcee began drawing names for the door prizes. As each recipient stepped up to claim his prize, everyone clapped and cheered. Still, the ugly teddy bear remained on the table.

Then I thought I heard my name called and I stood, but it was only after I stood that my name was actually called. Why had this happened? To have such a powerful knowingness about such an insignificant thing? My sense of awe about winning the bear and hearing my name held an aura of divinity about it.

But why such a waste of divine intervention? The magical encounter faded over time like a dream….I resumed my customary struggle with life that seemed drab, empty, and purposeless, but that experience led me to feel that I needed to pursue a new path to find meaning.

I was alone, lonely, unskilled, unfulfilled and broke. I had prayed to God for guidance before, but now I prayed in earnest, “Please God, I feel trapped here. I want to move to Arizona to be near my son, but I am scared. Should I take the chance without having any clear direction on how to support myself there?” Something inside me shifted, and my inner being began to flood with the identical sense of certainty I’d experienced when I first laid eyes on the teddy bear. I felt a lightness growing from within, and my consciousness became permeated with the secure knowledge that I was moving to Arizona. I knew it as surely as if the move had already been accomplished. It went beyond faith to a knowing.

Without the magic I’d experienced with the teddy bear I would have dismissed this divine guidance. I quit my job the next day, and two weeks later moved to Arizona. My career never recovered from this move, but my life bloomed in emotional and spiritual ways.

Today the teddy bear sits high on a shelf overlooking the life my new husband and I share. We have learned to join with God to communicate in  a way that heals any challenges or difficulties that arise and to share that love and learning with others.

  • When God Spoke to Me – a true story by Georgianne Giese, edited by David Paul Doyle.
Advertisements

How Can I Feel Spiritual?

headerphoto1If we are to experience spirituality we need to employ more than the usual empirical, conceptual, and analytical mind. We need to be in tune with our imagination, intuition, and contemplative mind. We need to focus on the spiritual, the transcendent.

Metaphors of parables or poetic thought are often more effective, because metaphors suggest rather than direct. Take for example this poem by Rumi (Barks 1995, 36)

Out beyond ideas…there is a field. I’ll meet you there. 

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.

Spirituality in its purest form is an inner, subjective experience. Pure, non-verbal experience of being is the spiritual field within.

Most religions contain language and practices intended to facilitate experiences of pure being and connection. Individuals often have their own unique interpretations of the tenets of their religion. Each uses the parts that speak to them.  Religion can be a sociocultural program for developing spiritually and for bringing spiritual realizations into everyday life.

Outside of religious preaching, prayer, testimonies, hymns, scripture and rituals some people find spirituality in service, relationships, touch, books, movies, music, meditation, dreams, gardening, promptings, insight, stillness, yoga, hiking, sunsets, birds, mountains, trees, unity, families, children, elderly, feasting, fasting, animals, light, water, flowers, challenges, trials, sacrifice, knowing, hard work, candles, chanting, dancing, singing, clean living, etc.

When these activities are done with a focus on spiritual experience and a shift in transcendent consciousness we can have a mystical experience.

Mystical experiences can occur during intentional practices or intentional living that can be designed to create conditions conducive to transcendent experiences.

Williams James wrote:

One may say truly, I think, that personal religious experience has its roots and center in mystical states of consciousness… Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness we call it, is but one type, while all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness… No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.  (James [1905] 2005, 313)

  • Spirituality and Aging by Atchley

How Can I Find My Stillness Within?

0814meditation04The practice of mindfulness helps us “be where we are.”  Anchoring the attention in present moment reality, acknowledging whatever we are experiencing and letting it be, helps us to let go of reliving stressful memories from the past and imagining stressful situations that may or may not become a reality in the future.   Mindfulness is the skill of “being where you are.”

Sylvia Boorstein defines mindfulness as “the aware, balanced acceptance of present experience . . . opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it”.   The body with its sensory experience is an excellent anchor for present moment awareness because it cannot exist in the past or in the future.  Thus, whenever we come back to the body, we come back to the present in which there is probably no problem.

–Adapted from Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven Hayes, PhD

————————————————————————————————————-

Create moments of stillness in the midst of activity. Stopped at a traffic light? Waiting in line? Riding the bus?

Value these times as an opportunity to close your eyes and go within or say a little prayer. “Wherever you go, in the midst of movement and activity, carry your stillness within you.”                                               — Deepak Chopra

————————————————————————————————————–

Expand the field of your awareness around your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression.  Follow the breath now as if your whole body is breathing – holding it all in this slightly softer, more spacious awareness.  Let go of the need to do anything about what you are experiencing and just allow yourself to be.

from Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, Segal, Williams, and Teasdale [2002]  

Why Do The Righteous Suffer?

Job-camel-copyRighteous living does tend to bring its own rewards, but it doesn’t protect people from suffering or hardship.

The story of Job is a fantastical poem of God making a bet with Satan, but it was written in the Bible to teach a real-life lesson.

Job is a rich man living with his large family and extensive flocks.

Job is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil.

Yet, Job receives news that his livestock, servants, and ten children have all died due to marauding invaders or natural catastrophes. He goes on to lose his health, looks, and friends.

Job is miserable, but can now better empathize with other people’s pain.

Despite accusations of sin, Job begins to understand that bad things happen to good people. That being “good” doesn’t protect you from tragedy. He learns that horrible things happen to innocent people all the time. He sees it in his own story and in the world. He realizes that it is an illusion to believe that if you do good you will always be “blessed” with good fortune.

He realizes that justice in this world does not exist in terms of suffering and ease. The world is filled with injustice. It is erroneous to believe that people always bring upon themselves their own suffering, or that their suffering is equal to the exactness of what they deserve.

Job’s friends suggest he must be a sinner and his children must have brought their deaths upon themselves through their own erroneous actions, but Job knows it isn’t true.

This teaches us that our sufferings or ease in life are not the point and we shouldn’t get too attached and reliant upon our current conditions.  We also shouldn’t judge others, assuming they have brought their own hardships or misery upon themselves through bad decisions because we don’t know their whole story.

We learn from Job that meaning needs to come from something other than how well we are prospering.

“Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return,” states Job.

Job continues to praise God because that is all that really matters in the end- our relationship with God and His love.

Job learns that we can’t fully understand or comprehend God, but Job decides to persist in pursuing wisdom by staying loyal to God and avoiding evil. Besides some confusion and lamenting, he decides to fully accept whatever circumstances he finds himself in.

In the story- Job is materially rewarded in the end by God, perhaps to symbolize an eternal reward, but this may or may not be someone else’s story. Whether or not we prosper or suffer, God’s love, comfort, and sustenance are always there if we tune into His presence and work to show that love to others.

  • The Story of Job/Old Testament

 

How Can I Recognize The Spirit?

rainbow2Miracles heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification.

The children of God are holy and perfect spirits.

By recognizing your spirit, your perception and perspective is corrected.

Spirit is at the center of life.

Miracles are God’s intercession through the Holy Spirit to your spirit or Christ within.

The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. It separates the light from the darkness.

Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.

Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others. Miracles are expressions of love.

A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking.

The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement.

Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with Christ for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.

Spirit is in a state of grace forever.

Your reality is only spirit.

Therefore you are in a state of grace forever. 

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive, so shall you behave.

You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.

The Atonement itself is one, uniting all creation with their Creator.

A Course in Miracles

 

 

Let Go And Rest In The Stillness

The-Kingdom-Of-God-IsBe still, become aware of Me and of our oneness, and in that oneness find perfect peace and understanding.
Feel yourself in My presence. Let the wonder of our oneness sink into your consciousness. Stay in this raised state in the present moment, not giving a thought to the past or future, but only the now.
Whenever you feel it slipping dwell on Me. I am your guide.
Your close relationship with Me is more important than anything else, for all stems from this relationship. Live in the ways of the Spirit. Every atom in your body will vibrate with life force.
Let nothing disturb you. Live from day to day seeking always that inner stillness which nothing can ruffle. Let my joy flow through you.
I AM always there. The key is to be in a state of permanent connectedness.
God Spoke to Me by Eileen Caddy

Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own negative thoughts.

In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. It is your spiritual Being, or Christ within.

How easy it is for people to become trapped in their  conceptual prisons of interpretation and the illusion of control.

Spiritual awakening is awakening from the dream of thought. Rest in the stillness beyond thought.

Let stillness direct your words and actions.

Mastery of life is the opposite of control. Let go and let your inner stillness guide.

Stillness Speaks by Ekhart Tolle

 

 

How Can I Find Spiritual Strength?

The moment we recognize our divine worth and the strength our spirit possesses when in tune with God’s love and power manifested through the Holy Spirit is the moment we recognize our true potential.

“If they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” – Ether 12:27

“As to my own strength I am weak, therefore I will not boast of myself.. For in His strength I can do all things.” – Alma 26:12

“By small means the Lord can bring about great things.” – Nephi 16:29

“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” -Alma 37:6

The Book of Mormon