RIGHT - I downloaded this photo from sent to me by the photographer at the Unity in Gainesville that I was speaking at a lot. I had no idea how big it would be on the FB page that I placed it on. When I opened my email, I had a gazillion hits and comments about it and I was mortified! OMG. I thought. I am terribly self-conscious about photos and my looks but what really blew me away were the comments - the kindnesses sent to me, some from friends I have not seen in years.
I have been on this spiritual path of seeking for decades, as you know. It has cost me everything, as you also probably know if you know anything about me. I was not, as some have thought, “seeking to find myself.” I already knew myself enough to know how limited I am. I was seeking God and the Truth, but in a very real way. You might say, I was after the Pearl of Great Price. I never thought I’d actually attain it. I thought I’d prove “Them” wrong. You know - Jesus; the Buddha. Love one another, they tell us. Yeah, right! I thought. They’ll kill you, meaning the people in the world. I’d tell Jesus, “No offense; but the crucifixion images are not exactly good for promoting your cause” I thought I was so clever with that one! But still, I persisted. Moving and giving away my stuff. Retreats, empowerments and renunciation, 40 years and more. People telling me to just get a job and with a tone in their voice that suggested how insane they thought I was! No way. I am determined to see if it is possible to live in the world and to live according to the teachings of love and compassion. I challenged these teachings step-by-step and circumstance-by-circumstance. As I have written - I was wrong! Imagine that. They are right.
What has arisen and what I have found is not a confidence in the truth or in myself. It is conviction.
The Truth is true. Period. Conviction and certainty of that leads to an honest evaluation of this old corpse and personality and even as imperfect as I know it to be, to find that Something Beautiful can still shine through? That’s amazing. To hear the responses to other’s questions and to hear the unchanging and consistent application to all circumstances of this - that the Truth is still true - don’t make exceptions; a blessing to behold.
So, I’ve come back to Maryland. I lead a chant and contemplation tonight and what occurs to me most consistently this past year is this: how blessed I have been with the friends I have on the path. Seekers like me need others to support their seeking and then, the seeker can come back and sitting by the fire, tell the stories of this pilgrimage to the community of lovers that have held a place for her while she sought God. I am like one of those sadhus in India but in a Western way; moving with my begging bowl out and friends who consistently voted in confidence for the continuation of this journey and who consistently said, “Keep going. I believe in you.”
Wow. A community of seekers sends one out to see if there is anything beyond the walls of their village and to bring back news of what is beyond. That’s sort of how it looks to me.
I begin a new job Monday bringing to it all of the answers I have found. I bring to this job a conviction that is healing. I get to work with the families and residents of a community with Alzheimer’s and determined to bring Joy, can’t wait for the teachings they have to tell me. It is the best money I’ve ever made. I may have an amazing place to live, of course! Gibbs slap to the head forever doubting.
I kept on seeking, despite the evidence that I might ever “gain” anything. And, here I am to tell you that it was more than worth it, not because of anything I have or don’t have in the world but because the awareness of peace is priceless. It doesn’t rise and fall on the NASDAQ. It is recession proof. It is the shelter that withstands any storm and environmental catastrophic event.
I thank you all for helping me and I sincerely pray that any benefit I have achieved through any awareness of peace be offered for your benefit and for the benefit of all beings without exception. I thank as well the Teachers and especially Khenchen Rinpoche, now teaching in India; Jesus in the Course in MIracles for the teaching of forgiveness that is transcendent. I still have a long way to go but if I never achieve anything else, this peace? it is more than enough.
In all ways.
Sometimes, we’re distracted, trying too hard to do too much and only creating that blur from one object to the other, from one action to the next. Where is the space for the peace? Where is the instant we experience the miraculous? Will we find it when we retire?
Will we experience it on vacation, saving all our pennies for the trip to some mecca of pleasure? The teachings are the same; it is THIS instant.
Right now - where is your mind? In this moment, what is your intention? In this present moment, what is the altar upon which you have lain your life? That altar is your religion.
It’s so easy to say. It is so easy to practice. It is so simple for it is your very nature.
To pray unceasingly, one must do just that. While driving, put down the phone and paying attention, one can also repeat the words of solace.
While with others, there is still a part of one’s self that can be kept apart and that is worshipping at the Altar of the One, that the ones in front of the self become the Self.
This is the teaching.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
I know you have a secret longing, something you have wanted to try and to experience, but doubt and fear have kept you clinging to that old life-raft, even though you are in 2 feet of water. This is how the mind works! Our habitual thoughts and feelings present pictures and ideas that then we challenge by remembering all the reasons it can’t happen - that is for us - for me. That secret longing or wish, has a deeper secret - that of self-doubt and fear. It has plagued me for years, so I know a lot about it! And, it doesn’t mean a thing; nada. The fears and doubts are limits placed by limiting beliefs that we have nurtured and harbored and that keep us landlocked, when it is the shore and beyond we are seeking.
Whatever it is that you are contemplating - just begin today by saying YES.
This one word is the key that turns the mind. Yes. I can do this. Yes. I still am in the game. Yes. I am alive and I am ready for this next adventure. Yes. It is time.
To give yourself support, read a biography of someone who against all odds did something totally impossible and outrageous. Spend time with someone who believes in you and listen to their encouragement. Whatever you do, do not wallow in self-pity and contemplate all the reasons for all of the failures in your life. Begin to believe by being willing to be willing. It might have to start with just that. I am willing to be willing. And for heaven sakes, breathe!
Each of us has unlimited potential that can be expressed through and in the world in the projects, ideas and ventures we are called to create. Brush away the attacking and limiting thoughts that belittle you and sit long enough to remember Who You are. That doesn’t change. Call upon the Highest Good in you, no matter the Name you call it by; and allow yourself the Embrace that encourages and reminds you that you are valuable, precious, and loved.
I believe in you. Really. Go for it. Remember the Company that you are in - the company of Saints.
My Friends, if what follows moves you, please forward in PEACE and LOVE ALWAYS
I ran into 2 friends today at Starbuck's downtown by the City Dock, and we talked of things including one woman's experience with cancer. She is now almost 3 years post treatment and diagnosis and talked about feeling as if she has a big question mark over her head. As if the cancer could reoccur at any time and the inevitable consequence - death.
I leaned over and said quietly, "We all have that hanging over our heads! You just have the awareness."
These bodies- sometimes what happens to them is just baffling! Why this illness or this issue for this person and not that one! The old minefield. The response of many, "It's God's Will," leaves me cold. What kind of a God would will such a thing? And how can Perfection Itself, Love Itself, conceive of or create what is not Perfection, what is not Love? If God IS Perfect, what is imperfect is not of God. Then how can it be? What is imperfect cannot be real if the real is only God itself! It's baffling, but completely logical! The world isn't! The world makes no sense. Don't make sense of the senseless.
The news lately is splattered with images of shattered people who were terrorized by someone who himself is terrorized by anger and fear. The journalists, analysts and all of us, are trying to make sense of such a senseless act. Again, we ask, how do these things happen and we analyze the dream and become experts about fear! Why not turn the mind back to the heart of Hearts and rest in the Peace which passes all understanding? Why not turn from the pull and gravity inherent to this body and find the Mystical Body of Christ? Why not remember the Bodhisattva, Chenrezig, and chanting the mantra, Om Mani Padme Hung, bring the mind again to a state of quiet bliss?
The world doesn't make sense and violence never, never can be understood for to "understand" violence is to make it real and the only reality is the Reality that is Changeless and that the Master Christ alluded to, in pointing to his own chest and saying, "I and the Father are One." I am one with the Source, as are you and as is ALL BEINGS WITHOUT EXCEPTION. There cannot BE exceptions to Universal Truth; what you call God can only BE omniscient, omnipresent, undisturbed, and calm, totally calm.
It is a challenge to find that place within you that IS you, but taking a moment and turning inward, why not seek that?
Someone asks me, "How do you do that?" And the answer, "Pray unceasingly." And another said, "But it takes so much faith." And the answer, "Only faith the size of a mustard seed. What is known as the Holy Spirit is the ground."