Category Archives: Believe

UNLIMITED

In the musical Wicked, Elphaba, the “wicked” witch sings a song called “Defying Gravity.” In it she sings a wonderful line: “Unlimited, . . . My future is unlimited!” Later in the play she sings that line again, but instead of singing “unlimited,” having experienced some hard knocks, she sings “I’m limited.” However, despite the fact that she is feeling limited at that moment, she holds fast to her original vision of being “unlimited” and life is transformed for her.

How often we get bogged down with thoughts and feelings of our limitations. Instead of keeping our focus on our dreams and visions, we so often focus on the day to day things that we all must do to live in “reality.”

Does living in “reality” preclude us from feeling unlimited and keeping our focus there?

It is those who have not allowed themselves to be bogged down, or held down by the way things are that have been the movers and shakers in our world. It is those who have constantly stretched the limits imposed by “reality” who have created new spiritualities, new cures, new technologies and new ways of being. Where would we be without such unlimited thinkers?

I was reading Wayne Dyer’s new book Excuses Be Gone. In chapter 4 he reminds us that we are unlimited. “Know that you are a soul with a body rather than the reverse” (p.75). That is, our souls are from eternity and are eternal – where there are no limitations. Remember this! If I could be or do anything I would want, without any current limitations imposed on me – what would it be? Ask yourself this question. And when you get the answer, this is what we need to keep before our eyes – not the limitations of “reality!”


WHAT WE HOPE FOR

NOTE: I meant to post this on Christmas Eve, but a very good friend of mine had a stroke at the age of 40 the day before Christmas Eve. He’s only 40 years old. He remains in critical condition, but is showing signs of improvement. Please keep him, his partner and family in positive thought and prayer. Thanks!

Last week I stopped in a drug store and noticed that the Christmas stuff was already marked off 50%. I had no intention of buying yet another Christmas decoration; but I almost felt as if I was lead to look. In the midst of the plethora of decorations were some simple, painted wood block words. One of them said: “Believe.” I felt something as I picked it up, an energy, . . . and ended up buying it. It now sits front and center above my fireplace, and as I pray and meditate in the morning I look at it. As I walk through the living room a hundred times a day, I look at it. It becomes a mantra, a reminder – “Believe!” “Watch your thoughts.” “Your beliefs create reality.” I’ve just begun reading Wayne Dyer’s new book called Excuses Be Gone, in which he talks about scientific studies that have been done which prove that what we believe can literally create our reality, bring healing and affect our lives, positively or negatively – depending on what our beliefs are.. Scientific proof!

I can’t help but think that I was lead to buy that wood block word. I will keep it in my home year round, as a reminder.

Again, some, including myself might find a lot of the movies, songs and hype that surrounds us this time of year a bit sweet and syrupy. But it is good that collectively this time of year, many people are lead to positive thoughts and feelings – and frankly I’ve seen examples time and again where such thoughts create reality. I have seen and experienced kindness and self giving that is admirable. What a grace that we have this time of year that so many humans are thinking good thoughts and believing good things. What a great thing it would be if we carried such thoughts and beliefs through the rest of the year. Imagine the reality that collectively we could create in our world!

I love the song “Thankful,” made popular by Josh Groban. The song is written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager and Richard Page. The text of the refrain and the music wonderfully express our desire to turn our attention to what is good and hopeful:

“So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can’t see”

I hope that the little wood block word that I was lead to serves as a reminder throughout the year. Imagine the world we could bring into being if the good will that is felt this time of year was always in our thoughts!


GOD IS WITH US???

I recently heard a sermon by a bright young priest at an independent catholic church. He began with a story of his Mom, in her mid 30’s huddling her 6 boys and 1 girl together in her arms, . . . at their daddy’s funeral. He said that as she held them close, she kept repeating, almost whispering “God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .” What struck me is that he said that these words, normally heard and spoken in happiness this time of year, came from a place of deep fear, uncertainty and sadness within her.

When I think of the reality of what many in the world will celebrate in a few days, it is far from the pretty, warm cozy picture that we try to create. It was cold, dirty, smelly, bloody and fearful. Joseph was perplexed by his pregnant wife to be. Instead of a warm, cozy home, they had to leave home and when they arrived in Bethlehem there was no room for them. The child was sought after and almost killed.

“God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .”

Sometimes our lives can be messy, dark and cold; but the reality that we shout these days is “God is with us!” To some in difficulty, such words might ring hollow. But as sweet and sappy as some of this season can be, perhaps we need this time of year when we are reminded of what is good in the world, what is good in the human spirit and when our thoughts turn to “peace and goodwill toward all.” I can’t help but think that since a lot of us are thinking such thoughts, a little bit of it might actually manifest itself in our reality.


I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

As I continue “Just Sitting” – my Zazen practice – I remain intrigued by what it’s doing, yet at the same time trying to be unattached from expectation that anything will come of it. This simple (and not so simple!) opening of the body, spirit and mind connects us directly to Source Energy, God, Spirit and when you think about it, that’s freak’n amazing!! I find myself more aware, looking to see what this silence will bring.

Most of the time I find it difficult not to think, and simply concentrate on my breathing. The mind, the ego will not easily shut up. It does NOT want to give up control! Yet, what a relief it is to stop the incessant chatter within! I can only imagine what this must do to the brain. I can’t help but believe that in the process of this silence of the mind, the brain is literally making new connections. I am convinced that in this silence I am more lined up with Source, and Divine will becomes my will. In this silence the ego is shut up and I somehow feel more directly connected to God – I let go of control. I get out of the way. Maybe that’s what “let go, and let God” means. Normally when I give up control, I find myself, at least apprehensive, if not downright fearful. Yet as a result of this silence I find myself looking forward in hopeful expectation to see what will unfold in my life – and that of the world (because it‘s not just about my life, but affecting the world). Instead of a problem to be solved, life is becoming a Mystery to be lived. I look forward to the journey!


ANYTHING POPPING UP?

Hold on. Ya never know what Life is going to bring!

When we find ourselves in a difficult place we often feel as if things will never get better. And sometimes, depending on the circumstance we find ourselves absolutely devastated. We just need to hang in there. Something’s bound to pop up. Even in the devastation of death itself, we are given visions of hope beyond this life.

“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.” Again, Isaiah places this positive vision before the people, at a time when everything that they knew and loved was destroyed, cut down to the root. Instead of wallowing in the pain, he insists that this is not the end! What seems dead will come to life. Better days are ahead!
When we are going through a difficult time, it’s hard to believe that things will get better. But if we just hold on, hang in there, they do. I sometimes think of an old friend of mine. Devastated from a break up of one he loved so much, he was unable to look beyond that present moment and he was found dead in his garage, his car motor running. He was in his early 20’s. I wonder where life would have taken him had he decided to live. I know he would have done well. He was a bright, capable and good looking young man. I am certain that within months after that breakup, life would have gone on and I’m sure that he would have done so well in life and in love.

We just need to hang in there. Eventually something’s gonna pop up! “A shoot SHALL sprout from the stump . . .”


Supernova

Like a dying star
Convulsing – trying to hold on
The heat – intense as gravity folds in on itself and energy ceases
Unable to escape the intensity – I collapse inward and finally explode

Will I fall into the inescapable darkness?

Or find myself thrust outward in a burst of creative energy
Forced and forged by this seeming death
Exploding into newness – Supernova my name?

Elements strong and bright
Silver and gold are forged in this heat
Gravity’s intense pressure – beauty’s unlikely birthplace


Raising What Was Left For Dead

Have you ever felt absolutely, utterly lifeless?  Have your choices ever left you wandering in a valley of despair and regret?  Have life circumstances, broken relationships or betrayal ever left you paralyzed and with a sense of utter hopelessness for the future?  Has an addiction ever held you so tightly within its prison walls that you felt no means of escape?

In such times it is difficult to believe in the reality of any Power that could lift us beyond what seems like a living grave. . . . Yet, that is our hope and, frankly, that IS our reality.  There IS a Power that can lift us up.  If I look back on my life experience I see clearly how this Power has raised me to new life on various occasions; and I need to call on this Source again.  Traditional religious language would call this “salvation.”

I try to do it all myself.  Or rather, I get so caught up in paralysis that I do NOTHING.  But once I am able to call upon this Power and DO SOMETHING that will help connect me to It (like prayer, meditation, reading a meditation, etc.) – EVEN IF I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT AND DON’T FEEL A BIT CONNECTED IN THE PROCESS – once I do this Something begins to lift me.

Today as I meditated, I chanted a hymn from the Camaldolese Morning Prayer.  The words of the first verse struck me:

“God’s glory, Christ, our new dawned Day,
In deep compassion for our earth
Has raised what we had left for dead,
And healed what sin* had brought to birth.”

*Read here “weakness, addiction, sickness, brokenness, betrayal, poor choices, etc.”

The Power is there to raise what we had left for dead.