Our Lenten journey continues. This time of self-examination, fasting or letting go of something, and prayer/meditation. All in service of going beyond the small self egoic operating system into the Larger Mind, the Larger Heart that is the Divine. . . into Wholeness. . . and deepening our relationship with God.
This morning in our collective contemplative pause we explored different ways our relationship with God may manifest. We can relate to the Divine Mystery in first person, as no other than our deepest Self. St. Catherine of Genoa ran through the streets shouting “My deepest me is God! My deepest me is God!” You can use whatever word you choose to return to “My deepest me is . . . ” Divine, Love, Goodness, Mystery, and so on. In this way we can remember ourselves always and that our hearts, as organs of spiritual perception, are already and always connected to that which is Holy.
We can relate to the Divine Mystery in second person, as a Holy Other with whom we can exchange a Holy Gaze. You may relate to God as Mother, Father, Christ, Spirit, Companion, Friend, Nature, etc. Allow yourself to love and be loved, to see and be seen, to devote and be devoted to. When we relate to the Divine in this way, we do not suppose that this image is the totality of God for all images pale in comparison to the Great Mystery. Instead we draw on the practice of relating to God through timeless images as a means of deep connection to that which no image can fully contain.
We can relate to the Divine Mystery in third person, to that which is beyond all and in all, the omniscient and omnipresent nature of God. The author of all creation, the Great I AM, that reverberates throughout everything. This truly is a mystery and yet as we are learning, there is a deeper coherence available in each one of us and in the cosmos that we can recognize and align with. We are all part of an unboundaried, living, breathing Body of God. . . a Cosmic Web of Love.
We are anchoring and tethering.
We are surrendering and trusting.
We are connecting and inter-abiding.
We are freeing and widening.
We are sensing the invincibility of our hearts.
"The state of contemporary society is such that we’re in perpetual motion. We don’t take or create the space to just be, to experience being alive for the sake of being alive—not for the sake of accomplishing something. We’re completely missing the trust that comes from the felt acceptance of the universe.
The universe loves us. It radiates love, but we don’t trust it because we don’t feel its acceptance. It’s like being an infant in your mother’s arms, knowing that your mother loves you because you exist. It’s not about what you do.
I know some of us haven’t had that experience—or the love might not have come from our mother, but from a father, grandmother, a grandfather, an aunt—someone who just adored us, who gave us the sense that we were okay, which enabled us to trust and accept who we are.
Meditation can give us that experience, too, if we let it. I’m not talking about transactional meditation—which is meditation to get somewhere, to become enlightened—but meditation that lets us be and lets us have the powerful experience of being loved and accepted just the way we are. . .
I have experienced universal cosmic love, total acceptance from the universe, yes. It’s not because there’s a universe out there that loves me because I’m so special or unique or whatever. It’s because through meditation I connect to the I AM that is the universe. So of course the universe loves me; I’m part of it. I have a total right to be here and to live my life and figure it out. I feel it in meditation, in simply being; not in reflecting, or unpacking; just being."
— Rev. angel Kyodo williams
“Dear friends: In the universe, an extraordinary moment of civilization seems to be overtaking us. Through the great discoveries of science and spirituality, we find ourselves in essentially a new and different place than ever before in history. It’s a time of enormous expectancy and possibility.
We are called to start not with the old world contracts, now that we know that they are all lies but [with] what we know as the truth, as proved by silence and science. So I call upon the nations to consider this as a possibility: that we should begin a new world with one that actually exists. This is the moment to manifest this world, by showing loving concern for poverty, loving appreciation for the needs of the world, and opportunities for accelerated development. We need to find ways to make these really happen. I make this humble suggestion, that now arms making is of no significance in the world. It hinders its progress.
This will allow and offer the world the marvelous gift of beginning, [of] creating, of trusting each other, of forgiving each other, and of showing compassion, care for the poor, and putting all our trust in the God of heaven and earth. I leave this hope in your hands and hearts, coming as a real inspiration from the heart of God. What does [God] care about who has this or other lands, when the power to begin with the truest history is coming from religion as expression of the Source that has been realized for centuries. Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Indigenous, and Christianity, all religions’ oneness is their nature. Amen.”
— Thomas Keating
“ Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.
And He showed me this truth in all things, but especially in those sweet words when He says: 'It is I.'
As if to say, I am the power and the Goodness of the Father, I am the Wisdom of the Mother, I am the Light and the Grace which is blessed love, I am the Trinity, I am the Unity, I am the supreme Goodness of all kind of things, I am the One who makes you love, I am the One who makes you desire, I am the never-ending fulfillment of all true desires.”
— Julian of Norwich
Lord’s Prayer — Aramaic to English Translation
O Thou! The Breathing Life of all, Creator of the Shimmering Sound that touches us.
Help us breathe one holy breath feeling only you-this creates a shrine inside, in wholeness.
Desire with and through us the rule of universal fruitfulness onto the earth.
Create in me a divine cooperation-from many selves, one voice, one action.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight; substance for the call of growing life.
Erase the inner marks our failures make, just as we scrub our hearts of others’ faults.
Deceived neither by the outer nor the inner-free us to walk your path with joy.
From you is born all ruling will, the power and life to do, the song that beautifies all-from age to age it renews.
— Neil Douglas-Klotz