Jeremiah 18: 1-6
“Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.”
I love this image from Jeremiah about how we are molded. Notice too that the potter does not give up. If a piece of pottery turns out bad, the potter tries again and again until something of beauty is created.
Isn’t it true that in life we have to try again and again until what is good and beautiful emerges within us? That’s why spiritual practice is called “practice.” It’s something that we have to work at, just like loving another. And when we do work at it, mold it and shape it, something beautiful emerges. Ask anyone who works out and watches their diet. They do this to literally mold and sculpt their bodies. Our spiritual practice requires the same discipline as it molds and sculpts our character and the inner beauty which is obvious in one who is centered.
What also strikes me is that you and I ARE the potter. Through our words, our behavior and our love we literally mold the lives of others. Anyone who is a parent knows this full well.
Am I willing to be molded today? Am I still willing to change? And can I see and keep my attention focused on the beautiful work of art that I am?
Matthew 13: 44-46
“It is like a buried treasure found in a field. Rejoicing at the find they sold all they had and bought that field.”
What would I sell everything for? What would I give my life to?
If I want to know what I would sell everything for, I simply need to ask myself what it is that I give my time and energy to. That will tell me what I’m giving my life to.
When you ask that question, are you pleased with the answer? What IS it that you are giving your life to, that you are daily putting your energy into? Is it something that is of eternal worth, or is it something that will quickly fade with the passing of time, or the passing of your life? If you’re not pleased with the answer, what could you do to begin to change that?
As a musician I am sensitive to music’s vibration. This vibration contains within it the power to literally move us. Just think of it, something we can’t really see, a vibration, unites hearts, makes us cry, moves us to dance, to exercise, to relax and to inspiration. At times it gets us motivated and keeps us moving. At other times it slows us down and is like a peaceful calm to our spirits. It lifts us up to inspiration and places on our lips words and melodies that can unlock the depths of the heart and give expression to what may otherwise lay dormant within us.
If we can perceive that this invisible vibration has the power to move matter, is it such a stretch to believe that thought can move matter; to believe in a Force, Universe Energy, God or whatever we want to call it, that has the power to change and move matter?
Are my thoughts in vibrational harmony with what I want to create and who I want to be on this planet? Do my thoughts sap the Life Force from me, . . .or do they create an energy that makes me dance?
Matthew 13: 31-35
Again we have this image of the mustard seed that grows into a large bush and a little yeast that makes the whole loaf rise.
Yesterday we reflected again on the energy created by taking one small step toward making a dream or vision we have a reality. It is the daily small steps that lead to great results. A little done consistently is better than a lot done sporadically, so say physical trainers.
The important thing is to rise above the paralysis imposed by thinking that we have such little to offer – only a small seed, only a pinch of yeast. We may think that what we have to offer is not much. We may think that the task of changing our relationships or behavior is impossible! But if take one step, if we slowly allow the seed to germinate we WILL see a difference in our lives and the lives of those we touch.
No, . . . not “that!” 🙂 Although with my foray in singledom that doesn’t sound like a bad idea! Haha! . . . But, I digress!
Sometimes we get stuck in life. We think and we dream. We dream and we think about what it is that we want to do, what contribution we want to make in this life, how we want to help and affect others, what kind of Partner we want, what kind of community we want, what kind of health we want, or what kind of job we want. We think and dream, dream and think. But sometimes, that’s where is ends. We think and dream, but don’t take one step in making the dream reality.
Some of us get paralyzed by perfectionism. We fear making a mistake and so we end up doing nothing. Or others are paralyzed by messages from their past which are like a heavy weight around their shoulders which holds them down and keeps them from sharing the light they have to offer to the world!
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if we find ourselves paralyzed in some way, all we need to do is take a small step, one small action that will take us in the direction we want. It’s amazing the momentum that one small step can create!
Perhaps someone needs your encouragement today to take that step. We can’t actually take the step for anyone. Only they can do that. But we can encourage each other. I am grateful for those who encourage me to rise above the lethargy imposed by my past and take steps in letting the light within shine for others.
Today, lets just do it for God’s sake! . . . And the sake of others who need what we have to offer!
A couple of days ago I had two moments of awareness that connected my past with how and why I was reacting to events in the present. I was having a difficult time understanding why, at times, I suddenly feel very lethargic and lacking in self esteem. I also was grappling with why I react to and withdraw from drama with such vehemence. I became very aware that these two reactions are directly connected to messages that I received as a child from my father and mother. These points of awareness were all I needed to begin moving beyond or above the way I was reacting to a greater place of peace and joy.
Oftentimes we walk through life asleep, unaware of how our past if affecting our present. Many people walk their entire lives blindly replaying messages from their past in their present circumstances. It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day.” We live the same reality over and over and over and over – until one day we wake up and we get the message. Only then can we move on in life! Watch the movie sometime and be aware of this message of waking up.
Eckhart Tolle describes what he calls the “emotional pain body.” He describes it as if it had an existence unto its own. It is that entity which carries the memory of past pain and hurt. In order to survive -as all entities are want to do – it needs to feed on more pain and so it is activated by things that people say or do that suddenly tap those memories. Most of us are unaware of this and so we react and create more pain, reliving the messages from our past and feeding the “pain body” within us. The key to freedom is becoming aware of the “emotional pain body,” aware of why we are reacting so. Once we are able to step outside of our reaction and simply observe the pain body, the connection is broken and we are able to detach (See Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Namaste Publishing; New World Library, copyright 1999, pp. 36-39).
Perhaps the next time we find ourselves welling up with some emotional response which takes us from a place of peace within, we need to ask why we are reacting. This point of awareness will lead to a greater place of freedom where we can then rise above the emotional response, detach from feeding the “pain body” and get on with living!
This concept that God would choose a specific people over and above all others has always seemed unfair, if not antithetical to the very nature of how God would act. It seems to me a primitive understanding of the nature of God, which has set up this “my God against your God” mentality throughout history until this present day. We need not look far to see the violence that such a tribal notion of God has created in the world. I read this in Jeremiah today: “At that time they will call Jerusalem the Lord’s throne; there all nations will be gathered together to honor the name of the Lord at Jerusalem, and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.” Jeremiah 3: 17. I felt sad at the reality of Jerusalem today, a crossroads of major religions, yet far from being a place of peace. My God, not yours.
In light of such a reality, I am so grateful for the “new” spirituality that is emerging more and more. It lives outside the confines of any one religion or any one concept of “God.” The unprecedented globalization that we experience today is bringing to consciousness the tribal nature of a “my God against your God” mentality. Go to any bookstore and look at the spirituality section and you will see there a large selection of spiritual books, not based in any one religion. Look at 12 Step programs which are hotbeds of personal growth where people of all religions (or no religion) come together. One concept of God is not thrust on anyone. Everyone chooses their own concept of a “Higher Power.” And it works! People don’t get caught up in a “my God against your God” mentality, or fights over whose belief system is correct. They get caught up in growing as human beings and doing good for themselves and others! Period! And isn’t that what being “Godly” is all about?
I believe the Christ knew this and tried to break through this tribal mentality of God. And he got in trouble for it! For in his day, just as in our own day, there were upstanding religious people who felt very threatened at the thought that their particular “God” or belief system wasn’t the best and the one to which all should aspire.
Instead of fighting over belief systems or worrying about whether or not mine is the best, can we look at what is common among them and what makes us grow in love and self giving toward others?