For millenia, mankind has searched for truth. However, trying to find truth is like trying to catch running. You can’t catch an action because it is in constant motion, timeless and eternal. Only when we remove the illusion that truth can be found can we actually see truth.
I like this quote:
“The most important journey we will ever take is the 18 inches from our mind to our heart.”
Yea, the most important journey we will ever take is not an outer journey to some distant land (which I used to think so), but it is our inner journey from our mind to our heart. I think deep thinkers and philosophers such as Henri Nouwen and John O’Donohue are good at expounding on such inner journeys between the mind and the heart for readers to ponder and meditate upon. :)
I like what John O’Donohue wrote here in his book “Eternal Echoes” about our own individual prayer life too:
“You can only pray through the unique lens of your individuality. There is no need for you to be in any way guilty about your reluctance or inability to mimic the formal prayers of your religion or the pious prayer of others. If you listen to the deep voice of your heart, that voice is at one with the unique melody of your soul. Your deepest prayer is the prayer of your essence. When you move deeper into the inner world and enter the temple of your essence, your prayer will be of one pulse beat with the Divine Heart.”
Yea, our individual prayer is unique and beat with the Divine Heart in the deep recesses of our soul, and is at one with the unique melody of our soul.
Lately, I have been reflecting on how exciting our inner life of our soul is, and the outer life of the world pales in comparison. The writer of Ecclesiastes is a case in point – he wrote about how he had everything his heart desired yet at the end of the day he hated his life because he found his life meaningless, for the shallow things of the world cannot fully fill and satisfy the deep longings of his heart. We are made to have a sense of belonging, and the still, small voice of our intuitive mind knows we belong to the invisible realm from which we came.
I am reminded of a verse in 1 John 4 “Greater is he in you than he that is in the world”. Yes, Christ our true identity in us is greater than the spirit of religiosity in the world that puts people in bondage to fear and guilt. The deep in us affirms our belovedness and innocence whereas the shallow in the world tells us we must do something in order to become. Grace is deep; the law is shallow.
I am also reminded that John O’Donohue wrote that the human mind is in itself a world with huge mountains, deep valleys and forests of the unknown. So in a way, the physical terrain of the earth is mirrored in the metaphysical landscape of our inner self, except that there is so much more in ourselves. We can explore the highest mountains on earth – the Himalayas in Nepal, we can navigate the deepest part of the oceans – Marianas Trench in Pacific Ocean, we can ski to the furthest ends of the earth – the North Pole and South Pole, but we may never be able to fully plumb the depths of our being – the fountains of the deep from whom rivers of living waters flow, nor fully scale the heights of the unconditional love of Christ or our true self. This makes our inner journey exciting because there is much to discover and understand about ourselves in all our fullness – our humanity and our divinity.
Proverbs says that counsel in the heart of man is like deep waters, and a man of understanding will draw it out. It also says somewhere that the spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord (our true self) who searches the innermost depths of the heart. As a saying goes, still waters run deep. So I learn that whenever we take time to be still and meditate, the still, small voice of our heart will unfold the mysteries of our true identity and give us the wisdom and understanding that we need for our situations. He makes us lie down in green, fertile pastures and leads us beside still waters where we see ourselves in the mirror of our Beloved. Our soul is restored and our spirit is refreshed when we know we are beloved and experience the perfect love that casts out fear.
“Thank you for being my authenticity-mometer, my temple of truth. How beautifully you carried my sacred purpose until I was ready for the hand-off. You reminded me with truth-chills whenever I walked in the right direction. You tripped me up with truth-aches whenever I dared to walk in someone else’s shoes. What is so remarkable is that you never failed to communicate with me when I was living a lie. I may not have been ready to listen, but you never abandoned your faith in my possibilities. I now know that my true-path is encoded in the bones of my being. Not a temple that I visit, but one that I am.” – Jeff Brown
I think this article “APOLOGIES TO MY (SWEET) BODY (from a head-tripper in transition)” by Jeff Brown presents an interesting perspective about the body as our temple of truth, a divine vessel of God, that is in a continual communion with our soul and spirit just now. I think it is about finding healing and wholeness from the shame and guilt imposed by past religious and societal abuse and repression, and accepting the human body as divine and beautiful.
I also like the concluding part of the article, such as this one:
“I look forward to the day when humanity fully embraces your divinity and recognizes the unity at the heart of creation. A unified consciousness still exists outside of our habitual awareness, but it sings to us from deep within, a symphony of God-music that is calling us home. Where body, mind and spirit appear to be flowing in disparate directions, they will soon be revealed as inextricable branches of the same waterway. On the river of Essence, everything flows in the same direction —towards the ocean of wholeness.” – Jeff Brown
Yes, we are indeed fearfully (worshipfully) and wonderfully made, a craftmanship created in Love.
“Seekers wander along so many paths
Struggling to find the Beloved
Becoming lost in prayers and chants
Searching and seeking
Dances and Ceremonies
… Struggle and suffering
Oh my Dear Friend
Look at the flowers
And tell me:
What did they do to bloom so beautifully?”
It is true that unlike many seekers, flowers do not wander far and wide, nor do they go through rituals and ceremonies. Yet they bloom so beautifully; in fact they are the most noticeable and attractive parts of the plants.
Bees and butterflies are drawn to them for sustenance on their nectar. Masters like Jesus and Buddha taught their disciples to ponder about them and feast on the significance of their beings. Inspirational writers and poets wax lyrical about them and remind readers to stop and smell the flowers. Painters and photographers love to capture their beauty in their works of art. Lovers and friends express their affection and devotion to one another through using flowers.
What have flowers done to garner so much attention? Nothing. How do they bloom so beautifully? We know the answer by now. They simply be still and know they are who they are. Blue, red, pink, yellow and violet are the many colours of their enlightenment, much like the colours of a rainbow. First a bud sprouting from a stem, then petals, then a full bloom – a flower awakens fully to its own divine nature.
They bear testimony to the gentle power of being still. Silently, they enthrall the world with their beauty. They inspire others to be like them. They give fragrance to remind the world of peace and wonder. They also give and perpetuate life as their pollen are spread through pollinators like wind and insects. Some of them also make a transition for fruits to bear in their place, giving to the world more sustenance and more love, peace and joy.
Watching the rose blooming and listening to the music in the above video gives me a spiritual high. :) I think flowers not only awaken people to their true divine identity, but also inspire people to honour their highest self and thoughts, for no one remains untouched or untransformed in the beauty of their presence.
Here’s another video showing a desert bloom with evocative music as well. It reminds me of a Nature documentary I watched when I was a child – “The Living Planet” – and one of the episodes showed how flowers seem to appear out of nowhere after a long-awaited rain in a dry desert, and the whole desert landscape was transformed into vivid colours. Apparently, the seeds of the plants/flowers have lain dormant for a long time in the barren ground, waiting for that fresh touch of falling rain so that they could awaken anew and take root. In the same way, whenever we receive the water of the living Word reminding us of our divinity in our humanity, we can’t help but bloom and shine, like those flowers.
Flowers also appear to live in the present moment, and let our heavenly Father (our highest self or the divine Universal Unconditional Love) clothes them. Similarly, when we live in the present moment and trust our heavenly Father to provide for us, to clothe us, we will remain in peace and good health.
My understanding of the gospel has changed from an evangelical viewpoint to an inclusive viewpoint. The evangelical view of the gospel tends to revolve around the finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross in terms of penal substitution. For example, about a couple of years ago, I used to think that all of God’s blessings have been freely given to me through the cross of Jesus Christ. While that sounds like good news to me back then, it doesn’t sound that good to me today because my mindset has evolved since then.
After all, come to think of it, does God need Jesus’ sacrifice in order to bless me? Why not bless me right away? Is God the kind of Judge that requires payment for some “sin debt” before He is willing or able to bless someone?
So, my answer to the above questions is: No, God is not that kind of Judge who demands an eye for an eye, unlike what most religious christian institutions and preachers said. I have come to think that the reason we are blessed is because we are already one with Christ and co-heirs with Him. Christ is simply a manifestation of our true identity – spiritual beings on a human journey. Christ is not exclusive, but rather inclusive. We are already one with God because in Him we live and move and have our being.
If all things work together for good, then why this and why that? It is an age-old question which no one has any answer that can fully satisfy every single soul. Circumstances will always change. When good things happen to us, we often don’t say “Why me?” And when bad things happen to us, we often ask “Why me?” This is human nature. This is life.
For example, sleep is a good thing. When I get enough sleep, I will do well during the day. When I don’t get enough sleep, I feel tired easily during the day. It makes me realise how important sleep is. It makes me appreciate the times when I get enough sleep.
Sometimes I forget to be thankful when good things happen to me. Then when problems arise and challenges happen, I long for things to be peaceful and orderly again.
It can be a never ending cycle – after all, circumstances are not always good all the time, neither are they bad all the time. So our moods tend to go up and down based on how circumstances turn out in our life. When good things happen, it is easy to say “God is good”. When bad things happen, it is just as easy to say “God is not good”.
So the question is: How do we liberate ourselves from this up-and-down cycle? This is the question that only we ourselves can answer because no one can fully answer for ourselves. To answer the question entirely for you is indirectly to rob you of the opportunity to go through the process of working it out on your own because only you know best what is best for you because we are our own gods/divinity. We can only offer a listening ear and share some food for thought. What may work for us may not fully work for you, and vice versa. Follow your heart. You are a Light and a Blessing to everyone, whether you know it or not.
It was a gradual process for me to deprogram myself from the cultish christian institutional system and mindset. I stopped going to the church services in early 2011, as I have been learning and evolving in my own belief system. I found that the sermons no longer minister grace and peace to me as they used to, and I found myself disagreeing with many of the things the preacher said, such as the concept of sin, hell and the separation mindset of “us versus them” or “christians and non-christians”. I have come to see the futility of man-made labels such as “christians”, “muslims”, “buddhists” or “atheists” because such labels tend to create divisions among people. To me, we are all spiritual beings on a human journey.
Along the way, I have revisited some of the belief systems that I have studied in the past, such as Buddhism and New Age. Somehow, my foray into Christianity has helped me to see these belief systems in a new light because I am beginning to see the similarities in their basic teachings on love, compassion, unity and harmony. At the same time, I am also looking at Christianity in a new light because I no longer see it as something that is exclusive and discriminating. Once I peel away the old layers of religiosity and illusion from these belief systems, I see the source of love revealed in the core that unites different religions/faiths/belief systems/philosophies/schools of thought.
I agree with this quote:
“I begin with an observation from Meister Eckart, who says that “Divinity is an underground river that no one can stop and no one can dam up.” There is one underground river–but there are many wells into that river: an African well,a Taoist well, a Buddhist well, a Jewish well, a Muslim well, a goddess well, a Christian well, and aboriginal wells. Many wells, one river. To go down a well is to practice a tradition, but we would make a grave mistake (an idolatrous one) is we confused the well itself with the flowing waters of the underground river. Many wells, one river.” – Matthew Fox
As for detoxing from the harmful effects of condemning religious christian teachings, I find that talking about it and blogging about it helps in my process of deprogramming myself and finding greater peace.
“Confronting a trauma helps people to understand and ultimately assimilate the event. By talking or writing about previously inhibited experiences, individuals translate the event into language. Once it is language-based, people can better understand the experience and ultimately put it behind them.”
(From “Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions” by James W. Pennebaker)