Posts Tagged ‘God and Nature’

It matters not what name I give God. He (She) is more concerned with my spiritual progress than my salutation.

Can limited, finite beings adequately name the infinite? THIS is the first Cause, the One before all things, who separated time from eternity, space from infinity to give home to the universes. He/She is the origin and upholder of the stars, planets, and all contained in the cosmos, the over-soul of creation and the designer of evolution. This majestic, powerful, creator initiated all forms of life and then, with love, bestowed a fragment of his very divinity, the “kingdom of heaven within,” to each of his children. This indwelling spirit patiently waits to act as a loving guide, unselfish friend, and source of transformative power but can only respond after the individual makes a choice to accept the divine assistance.

The name we speak pales in significance compared to how we respond, how we use our power of choice. Each choice enhances or erodes the quality of our life. Do we believe or not? Do we ignore even the possibility that we may have an innate spiritual component? Do we communicate thankfulness and receive direction and power every day?  If we believe, do we seek guidance for every part of our life; or do we do as little as possible—spend a little time each week saying a few words, sharing a few minutes, and then struggle with life?

Prayer: Dear ________, the first source of all things, the giver of life, my infinite and loving spiritual parent, thank you for creating and loving me; thank you for sending the divine spark the “kingdom of heaven within” to indwell me and all your children; help me seek this inner reservoir to guide my thoughts, elevate my ideals, and improve my acts with transforming power.  

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence.

Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

The power and influence of our mind has been long recognized. Over 2500 years ago, The Dhammapada noted: Hard it is to train the mind which goes where it likes and does as it wants; but a trained mind brings health and happiness.

Our mind generates thoughts that yield happiness, mediocrity or misery. The choice depends on how we use our mind—the way we think. Something happens; we react with an instantaneous thought or feeling. The thought-feeling generates more thoughts that focus on the problem; the feelings gain strength and become entrenched. We are in the cycle of misery. Our mind seems to have a mind of its own.  The self-directed mind cannot solve problems started and exacerbated by that very same mind.

Breaking this addictive mental cycle requires that we control our mind.  If all else fails, we can pause, access our inner spiritual power and ask for help to direct our mind; this practice start training this mental machine. This transforming influence, an actual additional energy, provides the power to break the shackles binding us to certain thoughts and to re-direct our thinking. The spirit-directed mind sees a different view, a more balanced and truer perspective and becomes our best friend.

Prayer: My loving divine source and indwelling spirit please quiet my mind and ease my emotions; elevate my thoughts to be conscious of and to reflect your will in my life; grant me a new perspective that I may see the truth; guide my mind to awareness of my blessings; make me aware of simple actions I may take that will shift my thoughts. Help my mind be a benefit instead of a liability, to bring me happiness instead of misery.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence

You never see a U-Haul in a funeral procession

You can’t take anything with you. The house, the car, the toys, recognition, money, club memberships, and all the things you worked to acquire or achieve—none of it goes to the grave or beyond. So how important is it really?  Is this really what life is all about? What do you barter to acquire these material possessions and self-gratifying objects? Are the days and nights of anxiety and tension, taking chemicals to sleep or relax, never taking time for family, for God, or for yourself a good trade for these temporary, unimportant things?

We cannot change a single thing we did yesterday but we can change today. Let us pause, evaluate, and decide which actions help us fulfill the purpose of our life. Are our daily values, goals, and practices selfish and self-driven? Or do we try to align with higher, divine attitudes? Will our actions today reflect more importance on things or on people; will we focus on self-gratification or on loving service? Striving to live a spiritual, loving existence does not mean that we cannot enjoy the possessions and toys but that we recognize their appropriate priority.

Prayer: Dear God, open my path to that wonderful divine presence that dwells within me; let me feel the power of love, the beauty of enlightenment, and the peace of assurance. Guide my actions this day to build those relationships that stand strong and clear in the test of time; let me accept your love, embrace its sustaining nourishment, and use every opportunity to share it with the world. It is my will that your will be done.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein

True science and spirituality need not be foes. Only mediocre scientists or fearful religionists deny or attack the other realm. Any scientific assessment is valid only for material things; it cannot measure anything that is not physical. For example, no scientific apparatus will ever accurately measure a mother’s love for her child. Scientific instruments can measure heartbeat, breathing, and perspiration; they can detect and quantify chemicals released by the body when close to, or thinking about, the object of love; they can even differentiate shifts in brain waves that are associated with these thoughts and on and on. These are all physical responses to love and not the underlying reality. Some quality of love exists beyond these components.

Likewise, science can measure the physical aspects of God (parts of material creation); science can discover the laws that govern the material creation; but some spiritual quality exists outside this purely physical realm and science can never prove or disprove the existence of such non-material reality. Spiritual power is real but the only proof is personal experience; the validation lies in the transforming results experienced in an individual’s life. Participation in this experience requires 1) open-mindedness and 2) access to a spiritual discovery process that delivers results and 3) implementing the process (actually doing the work).

 Prayer: Dear God, open my mind, heart, and soul so that may understand that the Infinite that includes all things. Grant me the harmony to live in this material world as I discover the reality of spiritual power.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

Build a memory of love today; use these to rise out of future darkness

I have experienced the great advantage of almost dying, of being pretty certain that I would not live to see another day. Near death, I had no thoughts of my work, of my money or the possessions I was leaving behind. My reflections centered on the relationships and experiences in my life.

I have loved and been loved; I had sunk to the darkest depths, traversed that dark night of the soul, and emerged with the majestic transformation that comes from finding God in this short life. I remembered holding my newborn daughter and son, the pain of losing a beloved wife to cancer and the blessing of being able to take care of her in her final days—to have the maturity, courage, and wisdom to actually demonstrate love. I thought of the serendipity that led to meeting a wonderful woman at a spiritual retreat, our instantaneous connection, and the wonderful blessed life we share; I remembered friends with whom I had shared deep feelings and beliefs and the thrill and beauty I enjoyed riding my horses in the high mountain country. Relationships, God, and experiences were the true summary of a lifetime. Take the opportunity to build to a memory today.

Prayer: My loving inner spirit, please increase my awareness of opportunities to build, expand, and reinforce the love I feel for someone and to actually do something instead of just thinking about it; help me be aware of any chance to spread the wealth of happiness, peace, and security that I enjoy; awaken in me the unexpected smile, cheerfulness, patience and tolerance; guide me to acknowledge all the bountiful blessings in my life.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence

GOD HAS THE FLASHLIGHT

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.

—Edward Teller

I’d stayed on the mountain too late again. The fall twilight was fading and darkness was quickly taking over the shadows, even at our high elevation. I knew a game trail that ran from where I was down to the lower valley. Getting to that point would let me ride Lady, my mare, back to my camp that was just a few miles upriver. Then I wouldn’t have to spend a cold night on the mountain with no sleeping bag or gear. I led Lady down the twisting, narrow game path. A canopy of overhanging trees from the heavy forest blocked even the dim light of dusk. My flashlight beam pierced the darkness, illuminating where we could safely walk. With the light, we could avoid the intruding branches and find a way around the rocks and fallen trees. The trail narrowed in places so tightly that we had to force our way through. We slid across some muddy areas and stumbled on a few rocks, but at last we broke out into the valley.

I swung into the saddle and let Lady pick the path from there. I knew that she’d take me right to camp. Riding a great horse in quiet, alone time, entirely at peace and full of wonder at the star-filled night sky, I had an epiphany about what had just happened. I thought about the difference between this short adventure and how, as a child, my mother and I would be walking at night down a country road. She’d sometimes let me have the flashlight to lead the way. I’d always shine it far down the path ahead to see how far I could see. Or I’d keep swinging it from side to side, playing with the light. Mom would say, “Keep the light in the path. We have to see where we are putting our feet.”

This time, I used the light differently than when I was a child. I instinctively knew that the trail would be full of turns and obstacles, so I concentrated on shining the light directly where I would place my foot for the next step. This realization gave me a new perception of God and my spiritual journey.

I realized that my experience on that dark trail was similar to the way God seems to work in my life. Sometimes I need direction, guidance about which path to take, to know where I can safely walk. And God has the flashlight. When asked, He lights the exact spot where I need to place my foot on the very next step. He never illuminates the full path ahead but just the one small place where I must step to make the safest journey. Often, the light is just a gentle, dim beacon and not a spotlight showing the way and I must be sensitive to the radiance. Being human, this is not the kind of answer I like. I want to see the full trail brightly lit ahead and know everything about what is coming—whether the trail is full of obstacles and adversity or clear walking. But if I truly trust God, all I have to do is just go where the light shines.

Prayer: Dear God, when I am in darkness, open my eyes to the light of your love and power; break the shackles of night and illuminate my path so that I walk safely, secure in the warmth of your presence.

The Faintest Flicker of Faith

I’ve come to believe that each of us has an inner spirit of truth that helps us recognize the truth when we’re looking for it. This is the inner part of us that resonates when we have an aha moment or when something we read, hear, or see strikes a responsive chord. It’s like an inner tuning fork. These experiences were pretty rare when I started this journey, but they have become more frequent as I learn to provide fertile ground and opportunities for them to occur.

I was camping in a large valley on the South Buffalo Fork River in a wilderness area of Wyoming. I pitched camp in a golden aspen grove and enjoyed the fall twilight. I could see almost two miles up the valley and almost a mile downriver. Deepening clouds threatened a thunderstorm before morning. I checked the horses, read for a while by lantern light, and went to sleep. A few hours later, I awoke to an awesome light-and-sound show, rarely experienced in the lowlands. Thunder bounced off the mountains and rolled across the valley; lightning flashed brighter than any Fourth of July fireworks. I could see the horses in the bursts of light and I knew they were doing fine. After the storm passed, I went over to them, checked everything, and calmed them down. Walking back to my tent, I switched off my light and observed the absolute blackness. Somehow civilization makes me forget the impenetrable darkness of a moonless night in the wilderness. I’m repeatedly surprised by the complete absence of light.

The valley was totally black, not even a hint of light in what had been a two-mile vista before dark. Then I remembered a phrase I had read that said, God ever responds to the faintest flicker of faith. Standing there completely alone, I scratched a match to flame. Seeing this little bitty flame in the vast darkness gave that saying a deeper meaning. I held in my hand the only source of light for miles. This simple statement told me that, if this flame represented a feeble attempt at faith, God would find it and respond to it. I realized that it was even better than that. If I had a barely perceptible flicker and the entire universe was in darkness, He would even find and respond to that. Wow! Pretty awesome. I stayed up for over an hour thinking about that, but I slept like a baby when I finally turned in.

From: Spiritual Engineering 2014, Thomas Strawser

Tate Publishing

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