Can I be at Peace when the Storms come?

zen-stones-1395147656aNVJ. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled the world for more than fifty years, finally after all those years, he shared his secret.

“I don’t mind what happens,” he said.

He did not elaborate, but the statement implies acceptance of what is, no matter how difficult and even if one will take action in relation to what happened. There is an acceptance, a calmness during every step, every second of the action or non-action.

This means to be content as things are now even in the face of things that are hard for yourself or others, and then when the now changes, to accept again. To be in a state of inner peace, nonresistance or nonjudgement with how things will turn out in the future, but being active and at peace in the moment while traveling the journey- striving toward right action.

Every situation is simply met with the thought or statement, “Is that so?”

Always responding to what the present moment requires while at the same time accepting what is.

The ego wants to go crazy with rage, sadness, and frustration when things never work, when items or money are lost, when sickness, accidents or tragedy strikes, when others or yourself are unkind, dishonest, judgmental, forgetful, abusive or controlling, when basic needs are not met, when the news disappoints, when stress overwhelms, etc. but this is a dysfunctional relationship with the Now and the cause of unnecessary suffering and human drama.

Heal your relationship with the present moment. Decide that it is always your friend. Some may object crying, “What about justice, or what about this or that?” But if all injustice was considered, the Now would never be your friend and one would be in a state of constant misery and pain.

So use your imagination to become friendly toward the Now, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results. Life becomes friendly towards you; people become helpful, circumstances cooperate.

Don’t focus on accepting the future when things are resolved, but love the circumstances you find yourself in. Never being a victim of circumstance, but rather the ruler over your own life happiness.  Focus on this happiness even as you seek to make the world a better place.

  • Ideas adapted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth
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Can A Sermon Be Meant Just For Me?

girl patientHe said he would die if I left him alone,” I worriedly explained to the nurse. “I have to stay!”  My stepfather, Claude, a minister at a local church, had been run down by a car in the Houston Astrodome parking lot, and it seemed every part of his body had been shattered…

I sat there alone overnight in the near dark of the hospital room looking at Claude’s mangled body. It reminded me of my own mangled life. I had grown up in a home with an abusive parent, leaving me a timid and fearful child. To escape, I married really young. Nine bitter lonely years and two children later my husband revealed a dark secret so repulsive to me I could barely stomach looking at myself in the mirror. How could I have been so blind? We divorced, but the emotional trauma had been firmly embedded in me and my children. One of my children suffered with bipolar disorder so severely that three times she tried to commit suicide. I lost track of how many times she had run away. She turned to drugs.

Sometime around 3a.m. I sat there in the hospital staring at a “man of God” writhing in pain and wondered if he too questioned a loving God and if he also felt abandoned. Then I heard Claude stirring in his bed.  He mumbled and moaned with pain. I reached over to pull the sheet up to his chest. As I slumped back into my chair, he suddenly sat straight up in bed. I was shocked. It usually took two of us to turn him over, and he had not been able to even raise his head alone!

Without a pause, Claude thanked his “audience” and began one of the most amazing sermons I had ever heard. His voice was clear and strong. I frantically glanced around, hoping someone else would come into the room to witness this. No one did. I, alone, was meant to hear.

My stepfather spoke of the importance of using visualization to create a positive state of mind. He urged his invisible audience to use their imaginations to see their circumstances in a better light. He said that seeing things in a positive vein, as if that was the truth, would mirror that perception in reality. Visualization, he went on to say, was a way to bring healing and hope into expression, because seeing things the way one wished they were would cause them to become one’s experience.

For 15 minutes, he eloquently described how thoughts and actions become reality. It was Claude’s voice- his body- that delivered that sermon, but the source of those words was not of this world. I had never heard him utter the word “visualization” before.  He came from a background of traditional practices and these ideas were foreign to a conservative church like his. Even though he acted as if this were one of his usual Sunday sermons, he would never have said these things in his own church.

I chuckled as I imagined the response he would receive if he repeated this sermon to his own congregation, but I was also entranced by it. This sermon, clearly was meant for me. I perched on the edge of my chair eagerly listening, barely breathing for fear of missing even one word. Every sentence was relevant for me. Every word was directed at my attitude toward life. My heartbeat thundered in my ears and my breathing grew shallow.

A warm fullness filled my chest, expanding in the room. The deepest love I’d ever known exploded all around me. I tearfully whispered through measured gasps, “Oh my God!”

Just as suddenly as it all began, it ended. He fell back on his pillow and was sleeping once again. I stat motionless-stunned. The voice still echoed in my head, interrupted only by the steady beeping of the hospital monitors in the background.

Now I understood why I had needed to stay that night. I left that experience with a desire to return to the roots of my spiritual understanding. I began to visualize God in everything. And my whole world transformed.

  • Interview with Jodi McDonald and edited by David Paul Doyle in “When God Spoke To Me” 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Spiritual Awakening From Depression

depression

“It was depressing staring at my half-painted bedroom wall- another project still unfinished.

Deep, dark blue and throw-up yellow, just like me: Half the time I was dark and blue and the other half I felt like throwing-up with nausea and stomach pain.

How did I even get in this situation?

I was scarcely 19 with a tiny baby  and a husband who regularly used my body as a punching bag to release his pent up tension. How did I blunder into this life of violence with no phone and no car, cut off from my friends? I couldn’t eat  without pills to calm my stomach. I couldn’t sleep without pills to induce sleep. Roy Orbison’s haunting song voiced my feelings : “Only The Lonely”.

I lay in bed mindlessly, trying to put myself to sleep  with the drone of the T.V. Nuts! The shows were preempted by some crusade… this Billy Graham thing was even on the billboards. I left it on, too lazy to get up and change the channel. Man, there sure were a lot of people packed into that stadium. The men, looking well pressed in their suits and “Christian clean, ” paraded up to the microphone: one by one talking about God while the choir sang about God. Yeah, yeah God.

I had declared myself an agnostic. I would have liked to believe in God, but I wasn’t sure He even existed. It all sounded good on TV and in songs, but I figured talk was cheap  and it was all a bunch of hype. All of these thoughts swarmed in my head, yet I was compelled to keep watching and listening.

After awhile the big guy himself, Billy Graham, came to the microphone. His eyes looked clear and direct, rather intense in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. I liked his strong chin that belied his soft southern drawl lilting into my bedroom. Something about him drew me in and I listened as he asked people to come forward and accept Jesus. I really didn’t get that part for myself because I wasn’t too sure about what I believed. The song “Just as I Am” blended into the background like wallpaper, setting the stage as Billy’s soothing words kept flowing like honey about how God loves me and accepts me just as I am. Billy even spoke to those of us watching TV and said we could accept Jesus and God in our hearts right then.

I had begun to ponder how that could possibly happen when tears began streaming down my face. I didn’t hear Billy Graham or the TV anymore. All of it was muted by the strong sense of presence right in my bedroom, a presence so all-pervasive I felt nothing but smoothness and peace where a moment ago there had been nothing but roughness and pain.

My whole body seemed to melt as if thawing  from an ice age. I felt alive and-can it be-actually hopeful for the first time since I could remember. A misty fog wafted into my bedroom, absorbing the dark blue and vomit yellow that was my bedroom that was coloring my world. In its place shone gold and violet. I felt love in every part of my being, and my tears kept pouring. So powerful was this feeling of gold and violet, of all that is sweet and calm, that I  felt totally wrapped in peace.

I sobbed from the depths of my being with relief and, surprisingly acceptance that God really does exist.

I was not lost and was definitely not alone.

The Presence, which I knew without a doubt to be God, was with me and in me. I felt this..  this loving mist, this color and smoothness in every part of me. Truly, nothing existed but me and the Presence, soft and strong and gentle all at once.  Time stopped as I experienced a profound communication that penetrated far beyond words or anything known to me. I received a deep understanding that I was loved and accepted no matter what I had done or what had been done to me.

From that instant I was changed….”

rainbow-connection-over-the-rainbow

  • David Paul Doyle interview of Adriane Romano in “When God Spoke To Me” 

 

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