Have You Ever Felt Like You Were In A Dark and Dreary Wasteland?

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A Book of Mormon Parable

And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream….
I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies…
And after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field…
And I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
I did go forth and partake of the fruit; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted….
And as I partook of the fruit it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also….
And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.
And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and [there] I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
And I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit…
And they did come… and partook of the fruit also….
And I beheld a rod of iron, which extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.
I also beheld a path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain their path which leads unto the tree by which I stood.
And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
And then there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that those who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost…
I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
But after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And… [some at the tree] because of those that were scoffing at them; fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.
But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths…; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.


And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God (to each heart), which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 8, 11

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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

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“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….”

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  • 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

What are Lessons from the Bhagavad-Gita?

gitalogoThe universe is already infused with a spirituality and significance. We only have to open our eyes to see it for what it is.

The universe is a vast, organic entity that in itself is divine. As part of this cosmic whole, individuals are already transcendent, already divine.

Each spiritual life has its place and its own kind of beauty. Thus our actions are significant and meaningful.

The Bhagavad-Gita introduces Krishna,  a teacher who represents the divine universe.

Krishna teaches that deep knowledge enables us to make right decisions. Inaction is never a choice; the only choice is to act wisely for the higher good.

Disciplined action is essential. We are to be warriors for justice and right action. There is much in our lives that we can’t control, but we can control our actions. Relinquish attachment to outcome and instead focus on wise choices and correct, disciplined action. This is the path to freedom.

The word “yoga” means discipline to accomplish things. The yoga of action teaches us to restrain ourselves from selfish goals or desires and push through to victory and strength.