In the Still Hours of the Morning

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Thomas Kempis  1379 – 1471

If we live in peace ourselves, we in turn may bring peace to others.  A peaceable man does more good than a learned one.

In the still hours of the morning,  I had decided to hope. As I quietly got out of bed, I assured myself that peace can be found. I crept down the stairs with hope in my heart.  Stepping over my dog who laid sprawled on the mat, I opened my livingroom door.  By simply hoping, I was already beginning to perceive peace.

However, that was not the way my day ended last night.  Last night I was worrying.  Christmas will soon be here and I still had a lot to do.  I had been doing a lot of rushing around.  I upset a friend because I hadn’t rung her in two weeks.  My husband was sad that I hadn’t spent time with him in awhile.  I was conscious that I hadn’t phoned my mother in ages.  Even my teenage children commented that I was always disappearing after dinner.  I LOVE Christmas but I craved a ‘Silent night, Holy night’ leading up to Christmas.  I knew I had to stop and slow down.  God knew that too which is probably why he woke me up at 4:30 this morning. I needed time in silence.  When all around me is awake, the noise can be quite deafening to my spirit. Where did I go?  I lost myself because I lost my way.

In the still hours of the morning, I crept into my living room.  Turning on the Christmas tree and lighting a candle, I created the ambience to be a cosy haven. Propped against my cushions and covered in a fleecy throw, my heart was leading me back.  I discover that I am still here. My hand is being held in a loving grasp as I begin my day in prayer.  All is calm, all is bright.

As I contemplate the quote from Thomas Kempis, one thing comes to mind.  In order to ‘live in peace ourselves’, we must persue times of silence. Peace does not materialize out of chaos.  Peace is found from that wellspring within.

 

Thought For Thursday: Paulo Coelho

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” –Paulo Coelho

The force with which we sometimes proclaim to others that our way is the only way leads to disharmony within that relationship.  It is an indifference towards our own kind and a particular arrogance that results in conflict and animosity. In short, it cost us friends and it is the impediment of peace which can result in war between nations. I am not promoting conformity but empathy and the understanding that since we have not walked in their shoes, we may not get their choices.

Also, we may think that we know something without a doubt but most of what we may be sure of is not worth fighting about.  Our haughtiness is disrespectful and an ugliness which permeates our own spirit.

My suggestion for us all is this: Choose what you value most of all, then respectfully communicate your thoughts on that, leaving out all the bitty things which doesn’t matter and above all listen without interrupting.

No Time, No Money, No Space…No Worries!

time-travel2-photo-courtesy-of-junussyndicate-on-deviantART

Sometimes it is so easy to get frantically worrying about things.  There seems to be never enough time, money, space or balance in life.  Occasionally, I lose sleep worrying.  These days are busy days for me.  Our family is leaving for New York next Tuesday for the happy occasion of my daughter Brittany’s wedding.  Although, we had plenty of time to plan things, I found myself frantically trying to schedule last minute dental appointments, a doctor appointment, eye exam, shopping and the writing of a speech.  When my poor husband asked me for the address of the place we are staying at….a simple thing, I nearly cried just to have one more thing on my ‘To Do’ list. Then I was gently reminded by that still, loving voice: When was the last time you meditated?  When was the last time you asked God for help?  With whose strength are you trying to accomplish all these things?

Oh dear!

So I gave my morning to God yesterday and all the anxiety lifted away.  I realize I had been on top of things really, but I was panicky and getting inwardly grumbly.  I had ceased to be comfortable in my own skin and my communion with God had declined.  I was doing it in my own strength but my emotional strength was not strong enough.  I had begun to believe the lie that I had no time to pray or meditate.  After allowing my spirit time with God, I spent the day, calm, cool and collected…that is until about 3:30 AM when I woke up worrying again.  Did I think to pray and meditate then?  Truthfully, no.  not until 9:30 AM.  A whole six hours later!

I have this to say now:  God’s strength is reliable.  Without Him, we can only do so much.  When I spend time with God, the dormant love in my heart becomes lit again and chases away the fears.  Knowing God is for me and loves me and loves all those around me allows me to rest in the peace of His strength.

Something else I know is this:  God’s grace is reliable.  He is always forgiving and always loving.  I have been blessed with the added time to write this blog post today because my loving husband decided to offer to drive me to work and save me commuting by public transport.

If any of this resonates with you, then please remember to have a spiritual start to the day.  Give half an hour at the start of a busy day for communion with God.

 

Namaste

 

 

Communicating In Peace

 

technology

There are many ways in which we communicate with each other.  In fact because of technological advances, we now spend more time conversing with one another via email and texting than letter writing, phone and face to face. When we use these modern devices to communicate, we often do it in short hand or text speak.  As a relatively shy person, this at first seems great. It also seems great when you are a very busy person.  You can always choose the time to respond to a text message or email that is more convenient to you such as when you are riding the bus or train.  On the other hand, it can all get a bit out of control. For instance, my teenage daughter tells me that boys who are fearful of rejection will ask a girl out by sending a facebook message or texting.  That same boy will also break up with the poor girl the same way.  Texting gives power to people who wish to harm but are too cowardly to do it face to face.  We often hear of stories where someone falls victim to the cruel actions of a malicious person when they receive a hurtful text or message.  Of course, it isn’t the only way hurtful words are communicated.  Some abusive people have no problem being verbally abusive in person or over the phone.  Still others may not have meant to be abusive but allowed their anger to get the better of them.

James 3:9-12 says: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

If we are really wanting peace and harmony in the world; if we are truly wanting to grow spiritually, we really need to reign in our anger and take a hard look at how we communicate.  How do we react when someone says something that touches a nerve within us?  Do we retaliate by saying something which we know touches a nerve within them? Try taking a step back within yourself and release any negative emotions that come up.

Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

The world is a reflection of ourselves. What we give out so we will attract back. If we want to attract harmonious relationships, we need to be harmonious ourselves.  One of the first steps we need to all take is to begin practicing non-judgementalism.  We need to stop criticizing all those who are or think differently to who we are and how we think.  There are many cultures, traditions, orientations, religions and beliefs in this world. Many people consciously and unconsciously divide themselves from other people for millions of reasons.  The first step we can take as an individual is to stop mentally dividing ourselves from others.  Matthew 7:3 says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Peacefulness exists when we stop judging others for the mistakes they make and that includes ourselves.  If we make a mistake, then let’s recognize it, learn from it and rectify it if we can and then release it.  When we do it, we are practicing non-judgmentalism towards ourselves which will then make it easier to practice it towards others.  Wayne Dyer also said, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

Another way we hurt others is by slanderous remarks. I have known Christians to even give the reason that they are ‘…telling you so you can pray for them better.’  Maybe they have good intentions but most likely they just love to gossip and use prayer as an excuse to do so.  They probably have convinced themselves that they mean well.  Ephesians 4:29-32 says.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  If we can remember with gratitude how much God has forgiven us for and how unworthy we are then forgiving others should be easy.  In fact, it is a gift of love and compassion which we should be giving freely.

 I love Ephesians 4:2 which says:Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.’ So when someone slanders you—bear with them in love.  When someone viciously attacks you verbally—bear with them in love.  When someone misunderstands your motives—set them straight but bear with them in love. When your toddler or teenager throws a tantrum—bear with her in love.  And when your mother in law looks you straight in the eye and says she rubs the statue’s belly to get a parking space—bear with her in love.

Last thing I want to say about communicating in peace is that sometimes what comes out of someone isn’t what is really being said.  If they are being surly or malicious or slanderous, they are coming from a hurt place themselves—bear with them in love.  Send them a prayer.  Gift them with a kind word when the moment is right.
lotus

Spirituality- Part 2

Beckoning

The Beckoning:

At the end of part 1, I gave the definition of spirituality as relating to things that we perceive without using our 5 senses or our reasoning mind. Did you take time to think about what things do we perceive that does not involve our mind or senses?  What did you come up with?  Here’s what I came up with:

Experiencing God’s Love

JOY!

Dreams

Dreams

Intuition

Intuition

 

Visions Source

Visions
Source

 

Inspiration Source

Inspiration
Source

One of the spiritual senses we often experience is what I call a beckoning.  It is felt like an instinct that says, ‘Come.’ Sometimes it is felt like a gentle nudge and other times the feeling is almost overpowering. Who is it that beckons us? I believe first of all it is The Divine Spirit or God who beckons us.  We are loved by the greatest spirit of all with such an intensity that He will never cease to beckon us. God wants to spend time with us.  God wants to show us many things.  God wants to serve us.  God wants us to serve Him by serving humanity and all living creatures.  Those of us who are parents will understand something about this love.  If we had all the power to make our children happy and to give them divine perfect direction on how to carry out their lives and if we could all give them all they needed to inspire them and to encourage them to love all living creatures and to be the best they could be, wouldn’t we be trying to spend every second we could with them to ensure this?  God wants us to be the best we could be and to have joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.  He doesn’t want us to be what we are not.  He only wants us to discover our true selves and to enrich and grow our spirit as many times as we would let Him.  However, God is also a gentleman in one way.  He doesn’t push us, he lovingly beckons and allows us to choose to walk in the direction he is leading us. The Reverend Ed Bacon said, “(spirituality) Is the experience of feeling unconditionally loved so powerfully that you know there is some power greater than you are loving you.  It’s filling you so much that you want to love other people.”  If you cannot think of God in the personified sense and by that I mean as a supreme, loving, thinking being but you prefer to think of God as a powerful force than feel free to do so.  I still believe that even a great powerful force is beckoning to us and that force is also within us.  We have a soul and a spirit.  Our spirit exists in a sense on two planes.  The earthly plane while it resides in our earthly body and a heavenly or spiritual plane as well.  Please don’t misunderstand this to mean that I mean it literally but there is a connection that our spirit has with the spiritual realm, our mind and body don’t perceive this realm but our spirit is connected with it. Someone else is also beckoning us. It is our own spirit who is connected to God and desires a greater connection to God.  Our spirit is also desiring that our mind(soul) and body connect deeper with God. What we are really desiring is a whole connection with God.  In Genesis 2:7 God breathed into his (man) nostrils the breath of lives; and man became a living soul.  Watchman Nee explains it this way:

Of these three elements the spirit is the noblest for it joins with God.

The body is the lowest for it contacts with matter. The soul lying between them joins the two together and also takes their character to be its own.

The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body to communicate and to cooperate. The work of the soul is to keep these two in their proper order so that they may not lose their right relationship —namely, that the lowest, the body, may be subjected to the spirit, and that the highest, the spirit, may govern the body through the soul. Man’s prime factor is definitely the soul. It looks to the spirit to give what the latter has received from the Holy Spirit (God)….

So our spirit has a connection with the divine spirit or God and our soul look to our own spirit as our reference point to God.

What is inspiration?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Inspiration is the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. In the literal sense the word means ‘an act of inhaling’. From the Latin inspirare “inspire, inflame, blow into.” The Latin spiritus means breath and spirit.  So you can say that the word inspire means to inhale spirit. So besides our spirit or God’s spirit beckoning us, our spirit is also quickened when it is inspired.  When we look at the night sky full of stars or hear profoundly beautiful music, our spirit reacts to it and we gasp or catch our breath and if we allow ourselves, we bask in the divine presence of God.  When we do, we then feel motivated to some kind of action to paint a picture or write a poem or story or reach out in love to someone.

Inspiration is a divine force that motivates us to action often in a way that expresses something of our true nature.  We can also be inspired to change our lives in some big way.  Job 32:8, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

However, if you are reading this than the first thing you want is to begin your spiritual awakening.