Around this time each year, Christians reflect on the message of Jesus' life and ultimate death on the cross. This 40-day period of reflection, known as Lent, offers us a chance to do more than reflect. It offers us a chance to fast, i.e. to give up habits, behaviors and practices that do not benefit us. The intent of a fast also is to get closer to the Spirit of The Christ within us all.
Christians believe and know that Christ died on the cross. Many Christians then see any burdens or troubles they encounter as crosses they must bear.
I have another idea: instead of carrying your cross when a challenge arises, look at it as a messenger of some aspect of yourself that needs to be healed, then set your anchor of faith down to lift you up to a higher level of being.All religions Catholicism, Episcopalism, Muslim, Hinduism, Judaism or any other...help us deepen our Faith in a power greater than ourselves. These teachings help us to go beyond our limited views on life and about life to a greater understanding of dynamic force at work.
Without religion as a base, and Faith as an anchor we become steeped in our own ego-centered interpretation of things.
Ultimately, if we believe nothing else: we must believe in a power...an energy...a spirit...greater than we are in our essence!"Trust me"...most of the time we are wrong.
Please forget those spiritual folks that tell you that YOU are God. Please.
Believing that we are God can lead to lots of egocentric behaviors, as we've witnessed in many current world leaders....believing in their own innate powers to do and be whatever they choose to be with full violation of human decency and compassion. While it is true that we must believe that we have the power within us to do all that we need to do, we should not become steeped in this egotistical view. Eventually, we'd run into a wall.
Get this: we are... NOT... God!
|As powerful as a wave in the ocean may be: |
it is NOT the ocean
Like a wave in the ocean: we are a one tiny manifestation of God, i.e. his presence and power in the world. Then...we are a mere one of "zillions," or a word that has not yet been conceived.Not one of us has God's full power even in the best manifestations of his essence. Become humble and like a little child and know that it's his presence within us that doeth any of the mighty works we claim to do.
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, ad the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." John 14:10
|A wave in the ocean contains all the key ingredients of the ocean...|
but...it's still a WAVE.
Indeed I'm seeing spiritual teachers who previously focused only on the spiritual now offering some new perspectives on Spirituality and being grounded in our physical selves as being "good people."
|Deepak Chopra is author of "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,"|
one of many of best selling books by this prolific author and spiritual teacher.
Deepak Chopra, who wrote the recent book, "You are The Universe," writes in a recent piece: "How To Keep Your Faith Everyday":
"In other words, God is embedded in existence itself, including your existence. So you are to keep faith with consciousness containing divine qualities, and the place these qualities appear are the following:
in ourselves; in others if you see them n the light of awareness; in everyday events and in life itself.
"The qualities to look for are the following: love; compassion; truth; beauty; forgiveness; charity; wisdom and presence."
Earlier in the piece, "How To Keep Your Faith Everyday." Chopra had written:
|James Redfield is author of one of the most|
popular spiritual books of our time:
"The Celestine Prophecy."
"All the world's wisdom traditions each that each seeker must find a path to the divine, and most of these traditions echo Jesus' words that the Kingdom of God is within, along with the Old Testament dictum, "Be still and know that I am God." These are clues to the action you can take, which is to go within every day, through meditation or other contemplative practices, and to experience the divine in stillness. Ths stillness is your silent mind. Your divine nature is the presence of awareness. According to this strategy, God becomes real as you come closer to your own source, pure consciousness."And from James Redfield, we see this recent, important piece: "Has Your Spirituality Become Part of Your Ego?"
These authors and teachers, Chopra and Redfield, are and have been powerful leaders for many, including me, as I picked my way along the wide pastures of spiritual studies. But, if you're like me and you've become saturated with spiritual reading and studies, the only place to go is within the silence of your Soul to be led. Then, through your very breath and your struggle to make sense of life in each of those breaths and the moment, you'll understand that life is only about the quality of interactions each moment of every day. The way to having a higher quality of interactions is by having some foundation, through the teachings of those who went before, in becoming a decent person.
This Lent, try to make things less complicated. Begin to see the roots of your Essence. See if you do not have something greater than yourself present within you each and every moment how you could have... would have... navigated some of the tricky passages you've taken in life...from babyhood to adulthood.
Once you find that core, tie a knot ...a BIG KNOT... in your center, so you never lose your place in life. And so that you know, without a doubt, that it is to this place within to which you can always return.Have you got the anchor in place yet? No worries. Just keep reaching in...you'll begin to find that place.
Meanwhile, if you're still spinning around searching for that center by going to workshop after workshop, retreat after retreat, do something simple. Really simple.
Go to a church. Get to know and interact with the community. You may find that many of these church-going, seemingly simple folks, have more holiness than those looking within and seemingly journeying on a "spiritual path."Some people got turned off of religion because of the politics surrounding some religions. If you are a true seeker, you would leave the politics alone. Ignore them and go to the core of the teachings. There are so many pearls in religious teachings. So many! While I do not espouse that you go too deep into far-fetched ad unrealistic teachings that don't offer any real solace but dictum: Do not throw out the baby with the bathwater! You will know if a teaching works for you, as it will because the practices should and will bring you peace.
Although I'm a Christian and celebrate the Holy Eucharist with gusto each week at my local church, I respect every religion. Indeed, so much so that I was thrilled to be introduced to a book that serves as a mainstay in Hinduism: The Ramayana.
The book may seem like a far-fetched tale, but, oh, should you get beyond the fantasy of the tale being told, you will find priceless pearls.
|This is a powerful book: I was introduced to The Ramayana|
by a Hindu friend. It offered new perspective and deep insights
into the way we walk in life.
|Rama and Sita are pictured here.|
Almost all religions are centuries ...centuries...old. (You can read about many of these religions on this blog by typing in the search bar.) The reason they have survived is because they are time-tested and offer truth. We should not turn our backs on our religion for "spirituality." We will end up getting lost.
It's wise to always keep a certain level of skepticism, but it's just as prudent to open ourselves up to other teachings beyond our own. Many religions are centuries old and the teachings and wisdom of each has been proven and time tested over and over and over again throughout many generations.
|Don't be tossed around by the storms of life. |
Hold on to your faith.
Tie a knot to your Faith.
Peace be with you during this period of fasting...this Lent.
Stay anchored in your Faith.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As a special gift to yourself, I recommend you reading...if you have not already done so..."The Shack." Then, go see the movie, now in theaters everywhere. ("The Shack"). You'll be glad that you did.