Category Archives: Mystical Experience

Between Two Worlds

Spiritual Awakening

I live the depth of my life in two layered worlds.  I have been deeply formed by the Christian message and the life of Jesus.  My life has been dedicated to my conscious and active choice to model my living after this great sage.  It is also true that I have journeyed to find fellow travelers seeking authentic relationship to the Universe, and that journey has moved me beyond Christianity into the broad world of enlightenment and spiritual awakening.

These worlds, for a time, seemed quite separate.  I couldn’t find seekers in my church communities and it was hard to find devotees of Jesus exploring other traditions and spiritual teachers.  These worlds have been coming closer together inside my own journey for the past two years.

It started when I began studying a Hindu meditation style and wondering about what a guru was.  Quite clearly in my meditation, Jesus reminded me that my dedication to him made him my guru and there was an invitation to go deeper.  And so I did.  Jesus and I had been in a strained relationship for years, even though I still modeled my life choices after his example and teaching, so I made amends, got back in my Bible and started to pray.

The experience for me was like the colors after a rain storm.  The text was vibrant in a way it hadn’t been before.  The teachings were wise beyond any reading of them I had done before.  I had eyes to see the meaning now.  I had ears to hear.  I can’t explain how profoundly those scriptures, that had been living in my bones for years, transformed into teaching that explained the process of spiritual awakening.

The Lord’s Prayer was one of those texts that blossomed before my new eyes.  I could see that if I held Jesus in the light of enlightened spiritual teacher, everything changed.  I wondered why everyone didn’t appreciate Jesus more?  I don’t know about you, but I can have intelligent conversation just about anywhere about a teaching of Buddha without fear, but Jesus seems to trigger defensiveness.  It occurred to me that I’ve never had anyone say to me that if I didn’t believe in Buddha’s teachings I’d go right to hell.  Unfortunately, many Christians have stated that if I don’t believe in Jesus, that’s exactly what would happen.  It’s so sad.  That kind of judgement masks the message of love that I feel is the only reality of the Universe.

For these next several weeks I will be offering a daily devotional looking at the intersection of spiritual awakening and the teachings of Jesus as found in the Lord’s Prayer.  Open your eyes anew to the vibrant and relevant teachings of Jesus.  Join me as I knit the worlds together and open our sight and hearing.

The devotionals start tomorrow February 28th.  Please Sign Up to read and pray along.

Being the Door (Teacher)

My favorite roll in my Spirit Play class is that of the door teacher.  It’s hard to explain what to do in this role.  The teacher takes on a particular presence of hospitality and loving witness.  It might not look like the door teacher is doing much during class.  They just sit by the door.

The Sacred Doorway

The Sacred Doorway

But really, they are a living threshold between the known and unknown, between our physical sacred space and the rest of the building, between the Mystery beyond and this tangible eternal present moment.  If I imagined peeking through a key hole into the door teacher, this is what I dream her internal process might be like.

“First a breath for myself -to be fully here and ready.  I open my lungs, my eyes and my heart.  I am ready.

Good morning child.  Wait.  Stop.  You are here.  You have arrived.  Take a moment to catch up with yourself.  There is no rush.  Take a moment to stand here and look in my eyes.  Your name tag and your coat are not as important as stopping here for just a minute so you can fully experience my joy that you are here.  We are here together!

Now that your coat is hung and your name tag on, you can say goodbye to your parents.  Tell me friend.  Are you ready?  Are you ready to walk down that hall and enter a holy space?  Are you ready to listen and to work and to play?  If you are ready, then you are free to enter.  Please go into our room.  Sit on our rug.  Join the storyteller to prepare for our story.  If you are not ready, then please sit here next to me.  Sit here in my safety and love; in the still point between being gifted to us for our class and your own choice to enter.  You can stay with me as long as you would like.

My children are here.  My children are getting ready.  I embody the closing of the door, the creation of our sacred circle of safety and delight.  Our class has begun.

I sit here by the physical door.  If the circle is too much, if you find you cannot get ready, I am waiting to receive you.  Here next to me you can hide if you need to.  You can grow calm in the presence of my calm.  I am serene, beaming my love into our room, witnessing wiggles and miracles and each beautiful being who has joined us today.  I witness unexpected kindness.  I witness conflict.  I witness insight.  I witness the whole human drama played out right in this one room.  The circle of our community is playing within my beating heart and before my wondering eyes.  The children have walked through my open heart door and dwell there for our learning time.  This is meditation.  This is practice.  I am listening with my whole self.

And then the time comes for the children to get centered again on the rug, to end their formal sacred play with us.  I bless this room and say a silent gratitude for each of these souls, present and transformed today.  I open the door, open the seal of our class and resume my post, ready to send you all out into the world again, changed and loved.

Good morning.  Your parent is here.  You are ready to be on your way to whatever your day holds.  But wait.  Stop.  You are making a crossing.  Take a moment to stop in this doorway, to look in my eyes and receive a blessing.  I am so happy that you were here with me today.  My love goes with you until we see each other again.  Your heart and mine have touched today and neither will be the same again.

The last child is gone.  I take another moment, to breathe, to close my eyes and  feel my heart.  I feel the affect of this love, of all the love that moves between us.  I see that we are the same.  I see that we are different.  I practice seeing you as you are.  I practice seeing myself as I am.  We are Light and Glory and we are Muddled and Distracted.  I practice being love and doing church with all that we are.

I forgive myself my inattention, my slips, my mistakes made today.  I dedicate this practice of teaching to the increase of Love and Life everywhere in the Universe.

May it be so.  May it be so!

Open your hearts door teachers!  Feel what it is to be love and be loved.  May the threshold that you are move you deeper into your own integrity, service and joy.

How do the Waters Open?

I went to my first Bat Mitzvah last week and was moved by the service and the many messages within the readings and Torah.  The part that I keep talking about, though, was a midrash that the Rabbi shared.  Midrash for those unfamiliar with it are stories written as a way to work with and fill in the Torah text.  This particular story was written to illustrate the parting of the waters as the people fled slavery and Pharaoh’s army.

Go Forward

Go Forward

The story goes that God told the people to go forward.  And then they came to the water.  God did not part the water for them to show them the way through however.  God said, “Go forward.” So the leader of the people, even though it may have seemed crazy, even though he maybe didn’t really understand why went forward.  He walked into the water.

He walked in and God still said, “Go forward” so into the water he went, deeper and deeper.  Finally the water was up to his nostrils and he was terrified that he would drown, but he kept walking in.  And that my friends, that faith is what parted the waters.  The practice of listening to the command to go forward and the action of following, even to the point of risking one’s life is what engaged God and parted the waters.  I don’t know about you, but I am seeing in every story, the story of transformation.

I admit that even though I have been through this process countless times, even though I mostly live in a profound trust of the messages I receive from Beyond; this weekend I felt like I was up to my chin in the water and cursing.  I was afraid down to by bones.  I could not see how anything might open up.  I was trying to look over my shoulder to see if there was any way at all to go back.  But there was none.  No tracks, and a force ready to re-enslave me is all I saw.  And when I looked forward all I saw was endless water enveloping me.  I was sure I was going to drown.

And I’m teetering there.  Maybe I’m survival floating; remembering that even in the waters I can hold my breath for a bit and then go deeper.  I want to move forward, so I’ll keep doing so until something opens up or I drown.  Wisdom says that something will open up one way or another, even if I can’t anticipate it.  Even if everything looks shades of impossible.

Do I Know You?

Today I had the lovely opportunity to meet a new person who does incredible artistic work.  She obviously pours her soul- her whole self- into her work and the work pours itself back into her, a mutually sustaining practice.

Labyrinth- Holding on and Letting go

Labyrinth- Holding on and Letting go

I find that the more I engage my own soul purpose, more of these people appear in my path.  They inspire me, help me and show me that the life I can’t quite dream up for myself is indeed possible.  I find myself feeling recognition when I meet a soul which has found it’s beautiful and unique expression.  For Marilyn, who I met today, her healing, her medicine, her work is creating Labyrinths.  She spread several out on her floor.  She had gorgeous paper paintings on the wall with beautiful designs.  One of them was a butterfly pattern in a circle of blue and white.  The circle border was the path leading into the contour of the wings.  She stood reverently before this painting, arms upraised tracing various configurations as she moved in, out and around the design.  It was beautiful and sacred to watch her.  It was like dance and worship and beauty reflecting beauty.

As I sit remembering, I am savoring the experience of simply being present with someone as they speak and dream and share about a pursuit which captures them and brings them deeper down into its mystery and our own mystery.  I appreciated her dreaming and scheming and listening as we looked at a design I hoped to incorporate.  I could see and feel the creative spirit moving through her.  She had me walk a new design that was a long rectangle so it could be used in a hallway.  At the end/center of the path, she had drawn concentric arches that invited one into a threshold instead of an ending.  Standing in the several thresholds of that path, I was moved to say, “yes” with every step to remind me that I am choosing to walk into the center of everything.  I am choosing my own dying, my own birth.  And we had opportunity to sit in some silence, a gift for her she said.  The silence is rich.  It is one more threshold.

So tonight I am grateful.  I am grateful to see the Beloved, the Divine Friend in the eyes and the art and the work of another.  I am grateful that my own reflection in their presence brings me into my own holy center, from where my love and my art and my work emerge.  I am not only grateful to Marilyn, but also to the many many countless people who have gifted me with their deep selves.  Some of them have shared their work, their story, some a simple gaze that speaks more profoundly than anything.  We are present here together in this beautiful, difficult, wonderful and amazing world.  We are gifts for one another.  I thank the Universe to be witness to such unfolding Light as it is constantly born among us.  I thank the Love beyond all Love that I can look around and meet so many eyes and think, “Oh yes, I know you.  I recognize you.”

Yes to What?

What is that?!

What is that?!

I had a discussion with a friend about the creative process and the idea that Life comes in all forms, even if at first it looks ugly or unsettling.  Sometimes what we turn away from holds a profound gift that we never get to if we are unwilling to look deeply, look past appearances and see what might be there for us.  The process of choosing Life is a parallel to the creative process as our engagement with Spirit can quickly move from what we thought we knew into a more complicated, wilder, more dangerous feeling arena.  Holding with grief, pain and sorrow is uncomfortable.  We would rather get their gifts of wisdom without actually having to touch them, feel them or hear their stories.  But they don’t give their wisdom so freely.  You have to be present to win.  And not just in the room either.  They demand our complete attention at least for a time.

Heart

Heart

This is also true of those beautiful versions of Life that we say yes to.  At first it may feel easy to say yes.  There is at least some enticement or attraction.  But even this may feel just as terrifying as facing sorrow.  The beauty too comes in inexplicable and unexpected forms.  It can be profoundly disruptive.  One session with my healer, we worked on the pericardium energy channel.  We talked about what my pericardium might look like (This is the essential sac around the heart that keeps out infection).  I imagined mine as more of a masonry wall then a flexible membrane and part of my work was to dismantle that wall and free up the beautiful and soft covering that kept my heart safe, but would allow me to feel everything pressed up against it.

This was something I could say yes to!  What a beautiful and lovely vision.

And then there was the gritty work breaking up the wall; piece by piece with a heavy maul, and my bare hands, and my broken fingernails.

And then there was the terrifying prospect of feeling decades of pain I had shut out.

And then the even more terrifying prospect of feeling a new sense of ecstasy and belovedness.

This is what I was totally unprepared for.  This shocking and familiar sense of belonging that I have experienced in brief transforming bursts before is beyond my ability to explain.  But now…. now it was infused with a deeper, more profound love than I had ever felt or imagined.  It came wrapped in a form I was totally confused by.  I had no idea even how to say yes and to tell you the truth, the power of that ecstasy probably said the yes for me.  It was a baffling, stumbling and clumsy yes.  But worth staying engaged with, worth sitting in the middle of disbelief and anguish with, worth the risk of my life falling apart.  It felt like the only Truth and the way Home.  It takes that much to move completely into the process…to give yourself over in surrender to what makes no logical sense, what feels impossible, to what Spirit is moving through you.  It takes everything.  What is calling you to surrender?  Are you brave enough to engage it and say yes?

Winter Solstice 2015- Darkness is my Mother

2015-12-21 10.51.46

It is the holy of holy days.  It is the day we wish would never come.  It is the long night we wish we didn’t have to sit through.  The light is in short supply.

I sit through this darkness, and lose track of my daytime senses.  I let myself dissolve into the void.  It is the coming apart before creation.  It is the letting go of everything I know or thought I knew.  It is the absolute blindness of not knowing what may happen next, or if, really, there is anything next.  To trust in this moment is a stretch, feels scary, feels like dying.  And I choose to nestle further into this womb space that feels like a grave which it is; both.  This is when practice is essential.  This time when I lose myself to the darkness is the exact time when all my hours of meditation, all my yearning prayers, all my striving and hoping come into a still and profound silence.  In this space may the practice meditate me, the prayers pray me, and the stillness hold this present infinity…ever moving and motionless between the breath.

In the middle of this darkness I choose my own undoing.  I unravel my self.  I don’t need it here in the middle of this breath or the whole Universe breathing.  I need only the emptiness which is the fullness of everything.  It is here encircling me, nurturing me like the fertile soil, like the fecund sea.  I give my self into that liminal space.  The darkness is my mother.  She gently destroys all that I cling to.  She strips me and prepares me for birth, for creation.  I can’t take anything with me but this soul force and so I open my hands ready for everything I can never be prepared for.  I let go.

Sit with me tonight and be undone.  Sit with me tonight and wait for the darkest of the dark to envelop us.  Sit with me through the hours stretched out seemingly endlessly.  Sit until the darkness turns, the earth turns, my heart turns.  Until the dawn, which has always come, proves herself trustworthy again.  I cannot see her from here.  The darkness is all there is.  How will you open to the darkness?  How will you wait for the turning?