I sometimes do a Vision Board Collage or Treasure Map for the New Year instead of just a list of goals. Last year I made two Vision Boards. They were somewhat different but on both I had drawn a tree with leaves pointed upward with sparks shooting out.
Throughout the year I would look at the boards and wonder what was significant about that tree. A few months ago the story of the burning bush came to mind and since I’m not familiar with the Bible, I googled the symbol of the burning bush, read a little about it and then forgot about it until today.
Reading something spiritual first thing in the morning is my routine. While reading this morning my mind was wandering thinking about doing a Vision Board this year and then thought of my burning bush drawing again. My mind went back to reading my book, I turned the page on my Kindle and couldn’t believe the next thing I read…..
“Do you want to have an epiphany? Do you want to stand in front of the burning bush? Here’s my burning bush…..” I love these moments of synchronicity and know it must be important to be so obvious.
Before these words, the author was talking about clearing your mind to order to be able to follow the voice or intuition. That’s when it all came together for me. In the story the burning bush was the voice of God talking to Moses. Moses didn’t want to listen, seemed crazy to listen to a voice coming out of a bush. He resisted several times but eventually listened to the voice and things did work out in the end.
If I take this as a message for me it would be to skip the same list of goals and resolutions I have every year, try to listen to my higher power and at the very least develop a better connection so that the voice becomes clearer.
A couple of days ago I wrote about hosting a rather chaotic party “Surviving a Whirlpool”. The next day a wallet was missing which contained a lot of important info. After searching the house from top to bottom, I emailed those in attendance to ask if anyone had seen the wallet during the night and where I thought it had been located.
Most responded with beliefs of what could have happened to it based on what they remembered that night. It even escalated into stories about who would have had a motive to steal it and how it could have been done. Each story led me to a new place to look for the wallet so I spent most of the day searching. On the second day I started believing the story that it had been stolen which led to all kinds of mental images of the crime.
This morning it was found inside a shoe, nothing missing, just lying there waiting to be found. I guess how it got there really doesn’t matter and still remains a mystery.
This incident reminded me that in order to make sense of a mystery the mind forms beliefs, opinions and stories in an effort to understand and before you know it the beliefs become so strong they are perceived as reality. We all had created quite the drama around the missing wallet.
So now that we solved the mystery of the wallet, what happens to all the stories and beliefs about it that seemed so real? I guess when you find the Truth, you just have to forget about any stories or beliefs that got you there and let them go….
There is a birdhouse on my patio that contained four baby sparrows. Three left the nest and I missed their exit. Now there is one all alone in the house and I’m determined to witness it leaving the nest.
The only way the loner knows there is something more outside is when it hears “The Call”. This Call is different from any other bird call in the yard and I can recognize it even if I’m away from the patio. The Call from the mother is relentless. She gives the Call and then goes to the opening to feed it and repeats this routine most of the day so that the Call will be associated with something wonderful coming from the outside. When the mother leaves for a while you can hear a faint calling coming from inside the box because now it’s known there is something wonderful outside of the box but the sparrow is not yet brave enough to venture out and find it.
This Call and response routine went on for two days. At one time there was a community of at least ten sparrows flying up to the birdhouse trying to coax it outside. I’m ready to give up myself but have invested so much time now I don’t want to miss the finale.
Today I saw it venture out of the box. The young sparrow poked its head out of the hole and then back in again several times. There were no other sparrows on the patio for guidance …the exit team had taken a break and everything was quiet. It looked out one more time but this time without any hesitation took a final leap, flew across the patio and into a nearby tree. I saw at least twenty sparrows fly out of the tree a few seconds later and together they all flew to the next tree. I couldn’t see the young sparrow in the distance but assume it is now flying in its new world outside the box.
Would the bird have taken the leap of faith without ever hearing the Call? Probably survival instincts would have eventually forced it out into the world but certainly it must be easier if the Call is heard and more importantly….if it is answered.
I think about the mind a lot, who is doing the thinking and it’s relationship to the brain. There are numerous concepts about the Universal Mind or Universal Consciousness used by different paths regarding the role that mind plays in self realization. It all gets very complicated and the terminology of the different paths make it even more difficult. But then, that’s the way the mind likes to work, to try to understand everything and figure out complex concepts and is part of what keeps the seeker seeking.
Like many, my first exposure to eastern thought was “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Yogananda frequently uses the analogy of a radio when talking of the mind. You can have a radio that works perfectly but it does nothing without some kind of energy source. Even when the perfect radio is plugged in to an energy source it’s still worthless without being tuned into a particular station or frequency. Only static exists if it is not tuned into exactly where the frequency can be picked up. Our bodies are also electrical devices and consciousness is providing the energy source to keep everything going.
I worked for a short time in a mental institution on a closed ward of severely emotionally disturbed patients who had been hospitalized most of their lives. They were totally in their own reality which was just as real to them as ours is to us. It could be the hardware (brain) or software (mind) not functioning properly but regardless, they were tuned into the wrong station to be functional in our society and there didn’t seem to be any way to help them change the station.
All of us have the problem of slipping off the station of our true reality and living on the static fringe of our perceived reality. I like to think that most of us have the ability to keep fine tuning our radio until we have the clearest station we can get….and maybe that’s what seeking is all about.
“O Lord, with the soft touch of intuition I will tune my soul radio and rid my mind of static restlessness, that I may hear Thy voice of cosmic vibration, the music of atoms, and the melody of love vibrating in my superconsciousness.” ~ P. Yogananda
For those of us who are seekers or ex-seekers, the word Home is one of those words used in an effort to relate a state of Being. I’ve looked up the definition of Home and some I liked were:
- A place where one dwells permanently.
- Social unit formed by a family living together.
- An environment offering affection and security.
Our physical home may or may not fit those definitions but almost everyone has their own concept of the word Home. I like the last word of the first definition…”permanently”. In a world of impermanence, we could use the word Home interchangeably with the Absolute (where one dwells permanently). You are already Home…it’s not about how to get there, not about waiting for it to open its doors and welcome you in.
The word homesick is defined as “sad or depressed from a longing for home while away from it for a long time”. When we are not present, we all suffer from homesickness which can manifest in many forms with the symptoms and cures being discussed and analyzed endlessly.
I’ve read that your physical home is a reflection of your inner home. Now that’s an interesting concept. Is it aesthetically appealing, is it secure, is it chaotic, does it need attention, is it in need of repair? If it is perfect in every way, are you content?
“Home is where the heart is”. The earliest author given credit for that quote is Pliny the Elder AD 23-79. I guess none of this is exactly a new concept.
I’ve been a pray-er for as long as I can remember. As soon as I became aware that there was a power in charge and there was a possibility of a direct line to that power, I was all in.
Who I pray to and how I pray has taken different forms throughout the years depending on the spiritual practice I was involved in at the time. I’ve gone from simple praying to a personal God figure for help to a more cerebral kind of praying to a scientific quantum level of connectedness.
Praying to myself seemed strange so I used the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” during meditation which means I honor the divinity within myself. However, that also plays to the illusion of calling forth something for guidance and help that is hiding out someplace waiting for permission to show up. Now that I’m drawn to nonduality…who am I praying to?
Even tho prayer is not a major part of my life like it once was, I still like the connectedness and need to stop analyzing it and just enjoy the silent conversation….with whatever it is….
I never understood the Christian idea of original sin and the concept that we are all sinners until I heard a theology professor interpret sin as simply a pulling away from God. Through our human conditioning, we perceive ourselves as separate individuals and lose touch with our connection to Oneness which causes suffering.
To use the much over-used metaphor of the wave and the ocean, we could say that when we are only aware of being the wave, that could be interpreted as living in sin. When we are aware that we are the entire ocean perceiving ourselves as the wave, we are saved.
For the last few weeks I have not been able to do some of my regular spiritual practices or reading and find that I feel more like an isolated wave than the ocean. Things don’t seem quite right. I’m aware that my thinking is different, my body feels more tense, my mind works overtime and my peace is fading.
Does it take constant vigilance and effort to ride the wave and enjoy the ride? At some point shouldn’t the ride become effortless?
The definition of sin is a transgression or violation of divine law. The story goes that we are all born with original sin, there is no escape unless we receive the holy spirit (or whatever the tide-turning event may be).
As a seeker I guess I have been looking for the holy spirit in one form or another….calling it many names. Maybe the answer is just to accept that the nature of a wave is to appear to be separate from the ocean on the surface….underneath there is no difference.
Sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite. I see myself as a spiritual person, a seeker possessing some clarity and think I have life in perspective. All this is easy and flowing when my life is easy and flowing. It’s when life brings me difficult situations that I pull out all of the tricks in my “awareness/enlightenment bag”.
I’m in a difficult situation now caring for a parent and all thoughts unpleasant are arising from the past. I want to be the spiritual me and see the situation as growth, a challenge, opportunity, practice, learning compassion, staying with the here and now, integrating the past, acceptance, what is. All the words and concepts help when I’m away from the situation but when I am immersed in it….they are not to be found. Emotions are set in the default mode and don’t respond to reason.
During these times I want to whip out my bag of tricks to help get to a place of peace and clarity. I need to meditate, I need to do more yoga, I need to drink alkaline water, I need to eat more organic foods, I need to stay in the here and now, the past does not define me….anything to help.
Maybe the conditionings of the past will never leave…maybe this is who I really am…and the spiritual me is the illusion. These are the thoughts that scare me the most.
This morning there was a broad-winged hawk sitting on the back fence. I kept an eye on him while I was busy in the kitchen and after an hour realized he must be patiently waiting for the little chipmunk that travels back and forth from the shed to the bird feeders.
Yesterday two bloggers I follow had written on the art of waiting, “The Path of Waiting” and “Relaxed Resistance” so I was already contemplating the practice of mindful waiting. Now here I am watching the patience of the hunter in action. The only movement was the turning of his head almost in a complete circle. I noticed there were no birds at the feeders, there were no small critters running around, all probably waiting for him to leave. Two hours went by, he had not moved and continued to wait.
I became interested in what type of hawk this was, so I called up my bird app and stood at the window with binoculars identifying markings, reading about its habits and what it eats. When I glanced down at my tablet, I heard a thump, looked up and saw a red cardinal hit the window. Coming up behind the cardinal was the hawk showing a huge wing span and within two feet of me grabbed it with both feet and flew off. He carried it to the fence, landed for a moment, then took off into the woods.
A two-hour wait would have seemed excessive to me but I’m sure the hawk didn’t have to worry about keeping a clear mind, being anxious with anticipation or have any impatient thoughts about when this would be over ….all he had to do was wait.
I had just watched the master of waiting, the champion of patience and his reward….but my heart went out to the cardinal.
I recently commented to a couple bloggers on the subject of thoughts which made me realize how my own understanding of thoughts has changed over the years. I commented that thoughts are also “That” and when I begin to analyze them or try to control them…I am creating a separation.
The study of thoughts has always been of interest and a large part of my seeking to include analyzing them which is never ending and controlling them which is frustrating. I thought I had it when I discovered that I could be the “witness” observing my thoughts…there it was…I was not my thoughts and didn’t have to take responsibility for them, just watch them go by like clouds in the sky.
Now I am realizing that the notion of “I am not my thoughts” is also separation. I have to admit that seeing the clarity of “thoughts are also That” doesn’t give me a sense of freedom yet but is still a work in progress. However, there is a sense of relief that comes from not always analyzing where thoughts come from and wondering why they can be so annoying….. but that they are just as much a part of me as my breath or my heartbeat.
I’ll probably always be interested in thoughts and will continue to watch and get involved with them but now they are considered to be who I am and I’m not struggling so much with them. Now maybe I can see life through my thoughts rather than perceive life as my thoughts.