Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This “rule”, known as the Golden Rule, comes from Matthew 7:12 in the Bible and is taught in some form or another to most small children in America, no matter the parents religious belief. Seems simple enough, but it certainly isn’t easy. If someone has harmed me, or cheated me, this little sentence becomes pretty radical.

I am reading a book called The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra. As a person who lived and breathed fundamentalist Christianity for 25+ years, this book is a breath of fresh air. I have been questioning my beliefs for about 5 years now, not a churchgoer anymore, but always a lover of Jesus. I am finding answers to some of my deepest questions, bringing new clarity to the question, “What would Jesus do?” The simple answer, after reading about 50 pages, is love. Not just those who agree with him, or those who are kind to him, but everyone.

In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…..God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the the righteous and the unrighteous.  Whoa. Can I really do that? And that seems pretty unfair!  This passage is speaking of divine love, the kind of love that is so beautiful yet so hard to live by. The images here are sun and rain – the basis of life, the source of nourishment. Inside each of us is a level of awareness that is as steady as the sun and as life-giving as rain. According to Dr. Chopra, this is pure Being, and without a connection to it, loving your enemy is impossible. This is a clear dividing line between everyday mortal consciousness and the higher state of consciousness Jesus was teaching about.

How do I apply these lofty ideas to my day to day life? That is the basic question for me. In general, I’m not persecuted. My workaday world is one in which I find myself having opportunity to help and serve people who are in distressing situations. My boss is pretty great most of the time. I have no coworker issues.  But I have plenty of judgmental thoughts, or I disagree with someone else’s actions or stated beliefs, or I see political posts on Facebook that make my blood boil.  What do I do?

On a daily basis, I meditate. I used to try to “pray”, as prescribed by the Church, but my soul never seemed to really connect with who I perceived God to be. Meditation has brought calmness to my soul, and a sense of connection to the greater universe, what some might call cosmic consciousness. As situations arise and negative ideas or thoughts permeate my brain, I try to pause and think about it. There are times that the right response is righteous anger, as when someone innocent is being harmed, but most of the time, the best action is to let the thoughts either settle or drift away, and  look for the loving response.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….and love your neighbor as yourself.

These words from Matthew 22 are the basis of the God kind of love, whatever your personal beliefs are. This isn’t about being a monk, or a nun, or about going to church on Sunday, or being a follower of Jesus, or of Mohammed, or Buddha, or anyone else. This is really talking about a change of mind and heart, and it is not a struggle to simply love when the mind has found its god-source. It isn’t a struggle anymore. Just as a mother doesn’t have to think of loving her baby, loving the god-force by loving others comes as naturally as breathing.

The Hope of Loving
 
What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving, or being loved.
I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover’s warm gaze.
We weep when light does not reach our hearts.
We wither like fields if someone close does 
not rain their kindness upon us.
 
  – Meister Eckhart

 

 

What do I want?

Good morning beautiful world! I decided to free write here this morning and see if I would be brave enough to publish it for my growing cadre of followers. Thank you for reading. Deciding to have a blog was something I’d been wanting to do, but when I wrote my first post, it was because I had something burning in me. I am finding that this isn’t usually the case – but I am not going to wait for inspiration to “hit” because there would be nothing here most of the time. And I realized that it is my blog so I can do anything I want! So sometimes there will be amazing profundity flowing through my fingers, other times it may just be a few photos or a poem I have found. Heck, maybe I’ll post a recipe some day.

I keep going back to the questions “who am I, what do I want, what is my purpose?” Sometimes I want a voice thundering down from the sky with a very clear answer.  The question that is bothering me the most at the moment is  what do I want – relative to my daily work. I go to a job every day that is at times tedious, but does give me opportunity to interact with people and achieve part of what I know my purpose is – to encourage others and help where I can. I make a decent income to maintain my minimalist lifestyle, and I have everything I need and more.

I decided in February to invest in some organic products – skin and body care mostly, as well as some superfoods – with the intention of growing a business. I love the products, but am somewhat uncertain as to what I really really want to do. I have never been one to want to sell anything, yet I would like to break out of the box of “just” going to work every day, and I know if I put some work into it, I could have a little flow of income established, at the very least. Sigh. I think I’m feeling a bit lazy about it at the moment.

So I go to the Spiritual Law of the Day, and find that Thursday’s is the Law of Intention and Desire. Of course! So I  will go about my day, following the rhythm of life, putting one foot in front of the other, looking for opportunities to make a positive difference in at least one person’s life. And I will look for synchronicity – those amazing things that happen that affirm that my life is one strand in the larger web of life. Letting life unfold, making choices as situations and opportunities arise, the answers will come.

The Essence of Desire

I did not

have to ask my heart

what it wanted,

because of all the desires

I have ever known,

just one did I cling to,

for it was the essence of all desire:

to hold beauty

in my soul’s arms.

–St John of the Cross

 

Uncertain weekend

uncertain sign

Texas. Everything is here, even the town of Uncertain. I found this town on a map a couple of years ago, when I was wanting to find a cabin by a lake. Last weekend my desire was fulfilled. My sweetheart had also been wanting to go there for a long time, so we  were happy to find ourselves there together, fulfilling our mutual thirst for being in nature, getting in touch with the vibration of the universe.

We rented a cabin for two nights very near this swampy, lily pad engorged body of water.

Cypress trees

Lily pad bowl

The first thing we noticed, after the long hair of the Spanish moss draped cypress trees, was the wonderful smell of the woods. Living near a big city, and refineries, this was a real treat.

Spanish moss lives off the air, is not harmful to the trees, and is actually related to pineapples!
Spanish moss lives off the air, is not harmful to the trees, and is actually related to pineapples!

Dragonflies were everywhere!

Dragonfly

Dragonflies start to grow in water and then move into the air and fly. When this spirit animal shows up in your life you may be called to transform and evolve. Symbol of metamorphosis and transformation, it inspires those who have it as a totem to bring about the changes needed in their lives in order to go to reach their full potential.

When this spirit animal shows up in your life, it’s an indication that it’s time for change. Just like the dragonfly changes colors as it matures, you may be called to live and experience yourself differently. Stay open to the enfoldment of your personal journey.  http://www.spiritanimal.info/dragonfly-spirit-animal/

The second morning we sat out under the trees on the edge of the lake, enjoying the stillness of the water, the intermittent sound of the frogs, the sight of the insects glittering on the surface of the water, and an occasional glimpse of a bird, although they were not easily visible. In the distance, I heard the sound of a boat. At first I was annoyed at this disturbance, but as it passed it had a certain beauty of its own, making the trees dance in the wavy reflections in its wake. The frogs stayed quiet for a minute as the sound faded, then, as if in answer to the vibration song of the boat’s motor, burst into l song, and at the same time, I seemed to feel the joy of the frogs — my entire body tingled and I almost wept. It was a wondrous experience.

Later that day we took a guided tour of the lake. It was hot, but it was worth it. Our guide, Chas, had grown up in the area and was very knowledgeable.

The trees look like they are dancing
The trees look like they are dancing

 

This place made me believe in dryads. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryad
This place made me believe in dryads.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryad
My favorite photo. The reflections are amazing.
My favorite photo. The reflections are amazing.

I definitely want to return to this magical place. I made friends in unexpected places!

First time to hug a tree. I really felt happy about it, and I think the tree did too.
First time to hug a tree. I really felt happy about it, and I think the tree did too.

 

Expansion of Happiness

I am finding, as I embrace uncertainty, that I am happier. Certainly there will be difficulties and sorrows in life, but there are ways of living that not only increase happiness when the sun is shining, but that will also keep the storms of life from tearing up my (or your) soul.

Here are some ways of being that I have found that ultimately lighten my burden and increase my happiness:

  • I don’t feel a need to please everyone.
  • I don’t feel a compulsion to explain myself anymore (most of the time!).
  • It’s ok if some people don’t “get” me.  The ones who count, do.
  • I can be unavailable sometimes.  I don’t have to answer your question immediately.
  • Conversely, I don’t have to ask so many questions, or know all the answers.
  • I don’t have to be anyone else’s idea of perfect. I am the only one I have to please – and it is ok if I’m a little bit (or a lot!) crazy.

I am realizing every day that there is no limit to my capacity to experience happiness. I’ve been going through a lot of transition the last couple of years — I divorced and moved from a house to an apartment, my two youngest children left home withing 14 months of each other,  I have a new wonderful love relationship,,  my elderly father is becoming more dependent and childlike as his once brilliant mind fades — just to mention a few real life situations. But as I let life unfold, and take care of me first, which is what the list above is really about, I find that I have joy even when the road is bumpy, and a greater capacity for extending love and compassion to others.

“Although relatively few of us were told during our upbringing that the expansion of happiness is the purpose of life, most people sense somewhere in their soul that more joy ought to be part of the equation. How, then, do we move from a state of constriction to a state of ever greater freedom and happiness? the first step towards genuine awakening is setting the intention..deciding to live a life that reflects our right to happiness. This requires the recognition that we have the capacity to change the plotline of our life, even if we’ve been acting from the same script since before we can remember. It requires the recognition that we are the only one who cares enough about our happiness to make it a driving force. It requires believing at the deepest level of our being that we are capable and deserving of love.”  – David Simon

 What do you do for yourself, to increase your happiness?