Let Your Love Grow

We must never be too small in our understanding of love. Love knows no bounds and wherever we limit love, either by how little we expect of or are willing to participate in her, we set up the gates of hell; whereby all too easily one may unwittingly, often casually, enter into destruction. Thinking or living in such a way is the antithesis of Life since all life stems from Love. Like planting too large a flower in too small a pot we can, without expanding our hearts, be vessels that confine and choke rather than release love. The worst result from such a hardening of the heart would be that others might admire us, undoubtedly for some other quality we possess, and might endeavor to become like us and thus end up “twice the child of hell” we are. It would be a tragedy after once having moved and laughed with the innocence of a child to become rigid as a board and calloused to joy.

If we are to be free we must labor my means of kindness and gratefulness to enter more deeply into Love, who is Herself freedom. We must be willing to tear down old walls that have encased our hearts and caused us to fear, withhold or withdraw; the best old walls can hope for is to be foundations of new creation and possibilities, otherwise they are simply relics, reminders of what was or might have been.

There is hope in new life. As the first breath of a newborn brings with it a million possibilities, so can a flash of love permitted within us spark a universe of hope and joy and peace, expanding forever forward as light into darkness. Allowing love to develop is as simple as not hindering her. Love and life naturally grow, flower, and spread; if we are not increasing in love we have decided (either intentionally or unintentionally) that we do not want to. Even if our heart has been broken or our spirit damaged in the past, we can commit, “Today I will be loving and allow myself to be loved. Today I will let Love have her way in me.”

In closing, it’s important to examine ourselves continually to be sure that our joy, hope, curiosity, and love have not grown cold, for as Jesus once stated, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”


In Marnac, France: A Brief Record and Some Thoughts

We’ve been in the South of France now, in Marnac at Annie’s house, for four (or is it three or five) days… I’m not sure. Without a set schedule acting as a clock, ticking away the seconds of our lives, time is already seeming to run together; like trying to recall buildings or fields which have zoomed by on your left and right after hours of driving along an unfamiliar road. At a certain point sights and memory becomes blurred and you just remember that you passed them, when and where seems inconsequential.

                It’s been a great trip so far, so far as great goes. The land, food, scenery, weather, culture, my wife… all has been beautiful. Nights have crept by slowly, lingering longer than I’d prefer most of the time. Jet lag has, of course, reared her ugly head and I’ve sat up several nights until the wee hours of the morning, until being awake is utterly unnatural for a diurnal creature.

                The second night was particularly difficult. I first couldn’t drift off because of having crossed six-too-many time zones; secondarily I was lying awake due to angst. I began to contemplate my life in the way that leads to no conclusions and brings no consolation or comfort. “What am I doing?” and “Am I wasting my time and gifts?” These are the sorts of ponderings that kept my mind reeling and produced that dreadful feeling that something must be wrong, in the pit of my stomach; similar to feeling ill as a child because you’ve told a lie and fear you’ll be found out. It’s all conscience I guess. In both cases one feels they’ve misbehaved, whether the incident was a fib or a failing to be what you’re supposed (or what others have supposed of you) to be. It’s amazing what a little solitude (whether in the South of France, a monastery, or a prison; although, admittedly, I’ve only experience warranting me to speak of one of these three scenarios) will reveal in us. When we can’t go on doing the doings that we usually do that define us to one degree or another, we are forced to deal actually with who we are and not what occupation we have landed ourselves in. These are quite different realities. When most people can’t sleep (or so I’ve been told) it’s because they are worried about work or similar worries and requirements that are being demanded of them, the few nights I lay awake in bed at night are due almost exclusively to an internal ache, in wonderings on the meaning of life, mine and everyone’s, and about whether or not I’m fulfilling my role in the large scheme of things. In the end, after several hours, I decided once again that I am loved and that I love and that this I want to make certain to focus my energy and life upon. Time and again I have settled on this as my eternal and only actual purpose. How I decide to fill my time, so long as I’m adhering to love, seems to have been left wholly up to me and I’m free to do what I please. It was this meditation that led me off to sleep.

                I don’t know exactly what Love looks like or that it could be confined by definition, but I can feel when I’m not allowing myself to love or to be loved. It feels a bit like the sick feeling I mentioned before; a subtle knowing that something isn’t right. Other times being out of love feels like distance; sensing that something which should be near is far away and not knowing where or why it has gone.  This feeling doesn’t mean that anyone else has done anything wrong; simply that I need to find my way back to the Place I can hear calling me.

                In the end, heaven (either now or later) must look like or actually be Inner Peace.  Peace with the world, with others, with ourselves, and in turn with God. To cultivate and experience this peace and be a vessel of it in the earth (and beyond) must be what It means to, “Become a child of God,” as John put it. Releasing this peace upon others, as Jesus demonstrated and instructed his followers to do, is to release the “Kingdom of God” and join Jesus in proclaiming the good news, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Any notion that ceases worry and allows or even leads me into rest must be true, so tomorrow when I wake up I will, once again, apply myself to Being Love.

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What Are You Waiting For?

A couple years back I lost a dear friend of mine. He was 38 years old. I had seen him just the week before at the local pub and we had spoken of the next time we would get together. We’d made tentative plans to convene after I returned from a two week trip that I had scheduled to India. I checked my voicemail upon arriving back in the USA 16 days later; there was a message from his girlfriend… Bob was dead. He was healthy and active, in the middle of building a home for himself on some beautiful mountain land. He passed in his sleep.

It is delusional to assume that we will be alive tomorrow. The reality of life is, first of all, that it’s short; secondly, death will surely find us all.  In order to get the most out of each day we must live in each moment, our eyes and heart firmly fixed on the beauty and life that is here, right now, and that is inviting each of us to participate by being present and grateful. When we are living in the present the world and our existence is not only a more beautiful place but we experience a greater openness to adventure and to following the desires of our heart. If we aren’t always looking toward tomorrow then tomorrow’s fears have no hold on us; worry is rarely a side-effect of living consciously.

It would be great if each of us would allow some time each morning to meditate quietly on the reality that today may quite possibly be the last day we get to spend on the earth. How could such a perspective change our hearts and lives? How do you treat your spouse or your children if the words you are speaking to them may be your last? How do you allocate your time if you have 13 breathing hours left? Many will rightly argue that we can’t live our whole lives worried that we might die… I am suggesting quite the opposite. That we might be concerned with living each day with as much joy, kindness and hope that we can muster! Remembering death, reflecting on her imminence, instead of causing us consternation, can be exactly the motivation we need in order to seize each day and cause gratitude to spring up within us for the Life we are all partakers of!

“Memento Mortis” was a sort of mantra practiced by a group of monks in Greece (as well as by others, I’m sure). It means, “The memory of death,” or “don’t forget you have to die.” The monks considered anyone who forgot this truth, who lived for tomorrow instead of today, to be a fool. This daily recollection causes us to have to deal with a very real question, “Am I living my life, today, in a way that is causing myself and others joy? Am I pleased with the direction things are heading?” If the answer is no, then it’s time for things to change. This doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job or run off. You don’t need a change of locations or relationships in order to live each day to its fullest (though you may very well need to do these things if you know they are a hindrance or are detrimental to your quality of life!). It’s about taking little steps.

Ask yourself what’s one thing you can adjust in your heart or life today that will move you toward greater peace, joy, and freedom. Then you simply need to be courageous enough to actually do it! By cultivating beautiful, joy-filled lives we are adding to the beauty of all humanity and creation. The little changes we make in order to be more present and loving have a ripple effect and tremendous impact on our own lives, environment, and everyone we meet. You may not be here tomorrow so don’t let this day pass without moving in the direction of joy and gratefulness. Be ready to make decisions today in the name of freedom. Tomorrow may never come so, honestly, what are you waiting for?

Hills: Where Growth Happens

“I’m not going to make it!”  I almost shouted inside myself, to myself, as I kicked my legs forward with all the strength I could muster to finish climbing a hill on a morning run. The run was timed this particular morning and I knew that the few large hills on my circuit would be the greatest hindrance to achieving my pace goals. I was struggling! Wind was leaving my lungs and fatigue was setting in intensely on the second and largest hill when suddenly a Voice spoke within me saying, “Hills are where growth happens.” I pushed it into high gear.

It’s a glorious thing when life goes smoothly. When all our endeavors seem to succeed, the family is great, our health is in order, and all our needs (and most of our wants) are met in abundance. I don’t despise an easy season or take them for granted because, as is the nature of seasons, they do not last forever. These times of life, when we seem to be cruising are great, but they are not where growth, change, or personal development occur in greatest measure.

The hills of life are bound to come. Times when we look ahead and we notice that the next miles all seem to be uphill and we know in advance that we are going to have to push, to be committed to finishing, if we are going to make it through. These are specifically the moments when we can take great joy, knowing that trials lead to perseverance, develop character, and will shape and prepare us for life that still lies ahead. We don’t need to pretend life is good or easy in these times, but the key is that we must continue to find joy, moment by moment, and in doing so we can cultivate and remain in the realization that life is beautiful and we can be content, in good times or in bad, with little or with much.

It seems redundant and even common sense in our era of self-help gurus and motivational speakers, but there is truth in the practice of being present in the moment and grateful for the little things. I was nearly overcome by joy a couple of days ago on another run, feeling the wind on my skin and watching the sunrise over the mountains. With such beauty surrounding me how could life possibly be bad!? With breathe in my lungs and sun on my skin how could I possibly despair? Not only must we experience these small delights and consolations, but we must make them meditations. Once we have taken the time to notice beauty or these spiritual and natural pleasures (there is no difference, actually) we can recall them throughout our day to maintain a space of joy, even when we are in the difficult seasons of our journey. Recalling a kind smile from a dear friend can sustain us through the most difficult of days, even if that smile was received a month ago!

If you are in a trying season of life remember that it’s not the easy part of run that causes you to be more fit and able; hills are where the growth happens. Take a moment, right now, to bring to memory something beautiful; a sunrise you witnessed, the last time you laughed till you cried, the kiss of a lover, the smile of a friend, or even a quiet moment where you felt at peace. Allow the feelings of that moment to fill you; re-live it! Very often the medicine we need for now is the memory of yesterday’s joy. When we fix our eyes on what is good and beautiful it conditions and prepares us to embrace life in this moment, regardless of circumstances.

Peace and greatest joy to you.

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Time and Money

“To be religious you must have time and, even more, independence of time. You can’t be religious in earnest and at the same time live in actual things and still take them seriously, time and money…and all that.” –From Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

 

I knew, upon reading this quote early this morning over a cup of coffee that I needed to create my next blog post around its content. Above, the reality of pursuing Reality, the Divine or spiritual path is stated simply, beautifully and is assertively truthful. You can’t really have your mind on spiritual development if you take the world seriously, “time, money… and all that.”

No two lessons are learned more quickly when one embarks on the spiritual journey than, first, time is infinite and is no finite resource (if it really exists or is of any consequence at all) and secondarily, money, being anything but eternal in nature, is simply a tool for trading and should be paid no more attention to than bread, or nails, or any other possibly trade-oriented commodity. To be caught up in time is to be worrisome and wearied, whereas a fixation on money keeps one trapped in a perpetual prison of “not enough”, and strangely, the more money people get the more they seem to obsess over it, making the logical decision to not care about it at all if you desire freedom!

“But we have a limited amount of time,” and “well, you need money to survive,” are surely two rebuttals that many would aim at such statements. I am not ignorant of the means by which the world goes round, but I do believe that we can orient our thinking (and truly our experience of reality) to be focused more on the eternal than limited to the temporal, ever fading material world. We recognize the difference in those around us; between those who are worldly focused (time, money, etc.) and others who have conducted deep work and have cultivated a rich internal life in addition to addressing the external. The former are fearful, lose sleep due to worries, and seldom experience personal fulfillment or are sure of their inherent worth. The latter seem to possess an extra “something”, a spark that separates them from the masses and overruns their life with love, joy and peace. They feel fulfilled whether as brain surgeons, street sweepers, or monks. It’s not a vocation, accumulation of money, or other worldly success that will enable one to exist in a this realm of freedom; instead we must be brave enough to begin to journey within and discover for ourselves, “Joy unspeakable” and “Peace that goes beyond understanding”.

My teacher, Jesus, once made the statement, “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add even a single hour to your life?... Oh you of little faith.” He also said that fools store up for themselves money and goods, worrying about amassing treasures for themselves in this world. He wasn’t making these comments because money and things are “bad”, but because he knows that focus on time, money, and things will never cause us to live the lives of beauty and fulfillment that we are all capable of and intended to know.

I’m writing today simply as a reminder. Don’t worry about money and time; no amount of worrying can cause you to have more of either. Instead, decide today that you are going to pursue joy. That you are going to see beauty and life in those around you and will fix your mind on those things. Know that if in your heart you seek first the Kingdom of Beauty and Love, everything else will be taken care of for you. Deepest peace and joy to you today.

The Watercourse Way

                Every culture, group and even individual is on a course, a path and way of moving and living that is being utilized (intentionally or unintentionally) to arrive at what is perceived by each as the desired destination. For instance, the United States, a nation to which I belong in some sense and that I love in spite of her flaws, moves forward with a sort of bulldozer mentality and a Bulldog determination. This way of leveling every obstacle in one’s path is indeed a path, albeit one rooted in a sort of violence and greedy hunger.  It is the way of a market economy, a colonization mentality, and a fame based, instant gratification global social scene. There is a deeply ingrained sense in our current culture of needing to be rich, be known, and be “someone”. I've often struggled with this all-too-powerful pull on my life and I continue to contend with its currents and influence; I wrestle with the desire to be appreciated, loved and understood (as do most, I think) and strive to rest in the knowledge that I Am Love and to remember continually that whether or not I'm understood or appreciated has no bearing on my inherent worthiness or goodness. I'm writing today for and to those who are like me; who in their heart of hearts despise the pressures toward conformity that seem to be crushing from every direction. I'm writing because there is a way of flowing and being that is rooted in peace, not competition, in love, not vain or personal glory. There is a “Watercourse Way" (I believe this term may have been coined by Alan Watts. If that credit is incorrect I beg your pardon); a way of moving, flowing, blessing, and living rooted in connectedness, sensitivity, and a gentle responsiveness of heart and spirit. I am admittedly no expert in this mode of being and in reality I didn't choose to live this way. This way is me and my life has become this way… I simply write because I know that others are of this same Spirit and Path and if any personal discovery I've made on the journey is of any use to another it is my greatest joy to share. As my teacher, Jesus, once said, “Freely give as you have freely received.”

                                Water moves and exists in specific forms and patterns. It has been said that water travels along the path of least resistance. This may be true, but one must not confuse this tendency with laziness or complacency. Water, chooses the path it does because of an adherence to its essential nature; it must flow. It's with great sensitivity that water courses, escapes, nourishes, and carves out new paths. A person who lives the watercourse way does so with a Spirit sensitive to the gentle tug of Life leading it forward. Water, unlike the aforementioned Bulldog, has life in itself, is Life itself, and has no need to consume the life of another to continue on its way. Water participates with all that surrounds it, allows itself to be drunk of by others, by any who are thirsty, and flows cooperatively and in relationship with its surroundings.

                Living the watercourse way applies to all aspects of our existence and on every scale; from moment-to-moment interactions all the way to the most grand patterns and seasons of life. It’s a way of living life in a participatory manner, as opposed to exerting or imposing our ideas and will upon others. When I run in the morning, my visual field is filled with strands of blue energy which I see connecting all things, indeed weaving all things together into one wonderful, cohesive “reality”. I see millions upon millions of these blue, spider web-like tendrils, so intertwined that there is nothing separating one life (whether plant, animal, rock, human, air molecules, etc.) from another. This is the ocean of life I run in, move and flow in. When we realize our connectedness to all else we are filled with a sense of joy that causes us to flow with the rest of creation in an organic, unified way. This is an example of moment-to-moment watercourse existence. (I apologize if this description was too mystical for some of you reading but it is my daily experience, it is true, and for experiencing the world as I do, I am unapologetic).

                On a larger scale the watercourse way of living could be described as following your heart, passions, or tug of the Divine within you. In different seasons of life we are led into different ways of being, thinking, different roles and activities, endeavors, etc. To live according to the watercourse way is to allow yourself to move between these seasons with fluidity. To not cling to the past season or fight the Current of Life in order to remain in established or societal norms. It also means not attempting to manipulate or determine our own future. We remain in the present. We go where we are drawn. It can feel like following a path of least resistance because when we follow the nudge of the Spirit within us there is peace and rest that accompanies us on the journey, but we must not be naïve; the watercourse way will often be difficult and as rivers flow gently in some stretches and rage violently in others, so our life will not be easier or without trials simply because we have decided to “go with the flow”. On the large, lifetime scale, the watercourse way means recognizing that seasons change, dreams change, and that it’s okay to allow ourselves to be carried into new and unknown places of life and being.

                I have come to love this way of living and interpreting or experiencing life because it is utterly full of adventure. Some may view this way of being as unstable or unpredictable and they would of course be right, but it is exactly this unpredictability which, in my opinion, allows greater potential for joy. We enjoy movies with twists and surprise endings because of the exhilaration that accompanies not knowing. If we learn the ending to a movie before we have watched it we say that it has been spoiled. Many of us are trying too hard to make the movie of our life “stable” or predictable… the question is really, “What kind of movie do you want to live?”

                The watercourse way is not for everyone. Trying to cultivate stability in our lives or future is not wrong but if you happen to be one of those persons who feel a call out from the norm and are willing to accept the risks of this adventure, the watercourse way invites you to do so with grace, freedom, and peace. See the connectedness of all that is and realize that you are nestled safely within the Life that surrounds you. Participate gently and with great joy. You can allow yourself to be carried along the path that is Life instead of fighting tirelessly to create your own way. This is the watercourse way as far as I can tell. You and I are small streams, but allowed to flow freely and eventually come together, we form a sea of beauty, life and diversity that is peace, freedom and joy everlasting.

The Part of Life Called Death

“Death is not a tragedy when it comes at the end of life.” -B. Manning

                Death is not antithetical to life. Death is not evil. Death, as we experience it, whether physical or experiencing some sort of emotional or spiritual death, is simply an aspect of the cycle of life; a stage among stages, a season among seasons. The sooner we understand that death is a part of life the sooner we can stop fighting or fearing it as something that must be destroyed or overcome.

                In the truest sense, you will never die. Science describes a process of the transformation or conservation of energy. When energy in the form of a chunk of Pine in your fireplace burns it doesn’t just “go away” when we watch it turn to smoke and ash. The energy that was wood is transformed by fire and converted into a different sort of energy. The same quantity of energy or “Life” remains, though it adopts a new purpose and appearance. In religious texts a similar phenomenon is cited as occurring at the point of shedding our biological body.  For example the bible states that “… in the twinkling of an eye… the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will all be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52). These sorts of verses are interpreted by many to mean that we will metamorphize into some new, glorious body, in which we will never be sick again or feel pain, etc. At the very least it is clear that the author of these words was attempting to communicate a specific point; if you were afraid of death, don’t be, because there is a wonderful transformation that occurs after this experience of life.

                There have been a number of saints in the past, including Sadhu Sundar Singh, who have stated that the main confusion surrounding death is that people think that they die. An incredible shift begins within us when we realize the truth of these words. There is no end of life. What we have been calling death all these millennia is simply a moment of transition from life to a new form of life. Even if one has no ear for spiritual ideas or thinking, the scientific understanding of conservation of energy, mentioned moments ago, still holds to this truth.

                What about experiencing an emotional or spiritual death? It is recorded that Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it will bear much fruit.” I write these words to whomever is reading them as encouragement. I have known and know emotional and spiritual dying. There are moments we all endure when our joy and hope seem to dry up and disappear, as do the leaves in the cool of fall. Do not be dismayed. With every dying of this kind comes new understanding, new maturity… new Life. In the spiritual as in the physical, there is no actual death if we can only see it; there is only life merging, growing, and transforming into new forms of life. Keep your joy, maintain your peace, and allow your heart to believe that at the end of every dark tunnel is another eruption of light… after all, without darkness how could we know the glory of Light?

                I pray that today your life is filled with peace, not fear; joy, not dread. May you continually see Life wherever you look and passionately love whatever Life you see. There is no need to fear, for Love never ends which means Life never ends. May you be forever in Love. Amen

“The last enemy (lie) that shall be destroyed is death.” –Paul the Apostle

The Reality of Relationship

There is no reality outside of relationship. Love is tasted by knowing a Lover and through loving another. Life is accentuated by death. Peace is magnified through turmoil. Creature, Creator, Created; the delicious harmonizing of Beauty that we understand as God and Reality is being continually and constantly invented and we participate to the degree that we are aware of the interplay and interdependence of all things.

                We cannot touch the beauty of the Present while thinking of the past, or maybe even more distractedly, of the future. As long as our heart and mind are busy in the not-now, we are bound to a reality that is less than Reality, more of a dream… and not just any dream either. A life caught in the dream of either past or present is one most often plagued by fear, anxiety, and sleepless nights. How often do men lay awake in their beds concerned about the work they must do or the children they’ve reared? Worries about pasts that can’t be changed or futures which will most likely will never come to be are the most worthless of concerns and no amount of pondering or catastrophizing can produce a different end.

                By living outside this moment, this space of Now, we cause ourselves to exist outside relationship where true Existence is not even possible. To stay outside conscious connectedness for too long is to begin to experience the symptoms of death even while continuing to saunter about in the “land of the living”. The sacred experience of realizing All Is One is only available in the Present; witnessing with our whole being the life that is dancing through us and through all that surrounds us. There is a peace we come to Know when we Know we belong, that we’ve always belonged and will always belong. A peace that surpasses understanding. I believe the good news that Jesus spoke of, “The Gospel”, is this word of Eternal Belonging. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who feel they are out of relationship or somehow disconnected from the Source, you are invited to forever be a resident in the Kingdom of Heaven. This Kingdom is in you, is now, and is a place you may dwell where there is no more pain, or shame, and every tear that you shed will be gently wiped away. This is the Reality hidden in the depths of deepest Relationship.

                We choose to be in Relationship and to be Present. We decide to focus our attention on the individual in front of us (be her a person, plant, rock, deer or the wind) realizing that as we gaze in affection and adoration we are being changed, released into a fuller expression of our Self; actually conforming to the Self we are at our foundation, living from the Love that forms and possesses the core of our Being. Look reverently at the quiet beauty that surrounds you and fills to bursting every life you lay eyes on today. As we gaze upon this Glory, which is concealed in all creation, we are in turn “transformed from Glory to Glory.”

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Heaven and Earth Collide

“Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” -Browning

                There is much talk floating around out there, that heaven is some place in the sky… floating around out there. When we think about it much at all we realize that the idea of “heaven” and attempting to conceptualize it is difficult, it’s hard to wrap our minds around. Thinking about heaven is generally fruitless simply because heaven is not something meant to be thought of but to be experienced, tasted and enjoyed. Heaven may be more accurately described as a state of being rather than a place. And that state of existence is fully here, now, available to all. As long as we see heaven and earth as separate, the “spiritual” somehow removed from the “physical”, we will never experience the fullness of reality as it was meant to be enjoyed and we will most certainly not understand many if not most of the teachings of Jesus and other great spiritual teachers from throughout history.

                The earth and heaven are not different places. Heaven is a dimension of love, peace, joy and the like. These elemental aspects of heaven are not emotions (as we often relate to them), they are better thought of as pure energies that cause us to experience the sensations of what we would, in rather limited fashion, call love, or joy, etc. Our experiences of these as emotions are of course legitimate, but the experience mustn’t be confused with the substances themselves (just as when we taste honey we experience sweetness, but the sweetness alone is not the substance that is honey). Why is this important? Because as we learn that these substances, ones that most people experience every single day to some degree, are the substance of heaven, then we can quickly realize that earth is saturated or, as the opening quote above states, “crammed with heaven.”

                A scripture was written that urges us, “Do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” All too often upon reading these words people have raised their gaze to some imaginary place beyond, attempting decidedly to shift their focus off of the “corrupted” place they are currently living in… the earth. These words were not penned so that we might become escapists wishing and waiting to be someplace else, but so that we might look more deeply at our lives, relationships, nature, and the entire universe, in all is beauty, splendor, and physicality. The “unseen” mentioned is not a place of angels sitting on clouds but of a reality called “Love”, which coincidentally is what God is. What we focus on we become. As we fix our attention and aim toward love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and the like, we become and expand those realities and thus the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray is answered through our lives, “…on earth as it is in heaven.”

                Although this topic could be expanded on indefinitely, a brief introduction to this understanding can be enough to shift our understanding and perspective. Once we realize God is everywhere we can begin to see God everywhere, and as we see God everywhere we more deeply realize God is everywhere… and so the cycle of glory and transformation perpetuates itself. Where I say God, insert the word Beauty if you must. All creation is crammed with Beauty and the substances that were mentioned (love, peace, joy, etc) are the substance of Beauty.

                This kind of thinking, of seeing, is critical. As we stop looking at somewhere or sometime afar off and begin to be present and conscious of the wonders surrounding us, we start to participate in the expansion of the Kingdom of God (of Beauty). The joys of heaven, which we had unintentionally relegated to a later life, become our living reality. When heaven manifests in us it manifests through us. Others can experience it as we live it and in turn it begins to exist in and through them. The spiritual journey is largely one of more consciously seeing and then continually spreading beauty, peace, joy and Love. This is the role we all have as Children of God (Children of Love) and it is a most glorious calling and responsibility.