Spiritual Presence

“I have something to tell you,” the mother of a dear friend calls, as she walks slowly from her daughter’s porch toward the low fence dividing our yards. I look up from under the large brim of my gardening hat to see her smiling, while I shift the garden hose from the plant I was watering to the ground around a thirsty, flowering bush. We have happened upon a dry spell. All of the garden plants, as well as the lawns are thirsty.

“How are you feeling after your surgery?” I ask, continuing to water the garden.

Reaching the fence, she folds her arms easily over the fence’s top, settling into a comfortable and supported standing position. She looks tired, but well.

Spirituality

The previous week, my neighbor had requested that I pray for her mother’s safety during her mother’s surgery.  Even though the surgery was a fairly routine procedure, I was told that my neighbor’s mother might encounter some complications due to the delicate nature of her general health.

With the fence steadying her, my friend’s mother continues, “I was in the hospital, you know, on the table for my operation. I had put that surgery off for a few years because of my other health issues. Anyway, it was an accident. The doctors cut a major something—a vein or artery—during my surgery.  Now, it was a complete accident.  I had to have a transfusion. Apparently, I have an irregularity in my–uh, my–uh…”

“Anatomy?” I fill in the word.

“Yes, in my anatomy,” she nods.

“Anatomical irregularities are fairly common,” I shift my watering hose to another location in the yard. “We are not as cookie-cutter, in terms of our anatomy, as we would like to think—or as the textbooks would have us believe.”

She continues, “Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that you showed up.  Before everything went black because of the blood loss, you started talking to me like this—like we are talking now, over the fence.”

“What were we talking about?” I ask because my curiosity has been piqued.

“I don’t know. I don’t remember, but it was calming and friendly like.  Anyway, I wanted to tell you.”

And, in that moment, I say another prayer for the Grace that abides.

Spirituality & Non-truths

Last night, a restaurant owner told me a non-truth.

“So what?” you might ask.

Spirituality

I made an inquiry about the evening’s menu offerings and was told that there was an issue with vegetable availability. I knew this was a non-truth because the restauranteur’s energetic field went from being its natural, shiny and luminescent self to a dull and deeply non-luminescent haze. The observation of this radical, spiritual shift was painful for me to observe, as I had come to trust this individual to speak truthfully with me.

Internally, I countered with the questions, “Really?  You have to lie to me about vegetable availability?” (Vegetable availability is generally a non-issue in the US restaurant industry, unless an establishment is committed to serving locally-sourced, fresh produce.)

Non-truths, when wittingly thought, held, spoken or acted upon, cause Spirit to become damaged or injured.  Even simple, so-called, “white” lies, such as this non-truth would qualify to be labelled, are injurious to the person speaking them and disrespectful of the inner Light abiding in would-be hearers.

Truths, non-truths and attempting to understand what the Truth might be are things with which all of us struggle—because it is often difficult for us to sort through and articulate our very personal, internal emotional experiences about the world, as well as our being habituated to living the bulk of our time quite separate from the inner sanctum of the heart, where ultimate Reality or pure Spirit resides.

When I first became aware of how critical connecting myself to my perception of my current, working Truth was, I ended up choosing to move into silence.

At the time that I moved into silence, I felt there were almost no words or perceptions that I could safely state without bumping up against some form of non-truth.  Then, I entered a phase where I qualified my verbal observations with clauses such as, “My current perception of the situation is…,” “It may be that…,”  or “It seems to me, at this time, as though….”  My hope was that by couching my observations amid these qualifiers, I could remain open to questions about what the “Truth” was, is, or might be, as well as avoiding further damage to my inner Light.

What I have learned is this:  Words and the manner in which they are used are—potentially—powerful tools and shapers of our experiential reality.  In most cases, I have found it is better to check my perception of “Reality,” with two key questions, “What is going on here?”  and “How, if at all, am I to be involved in this situation or with this/these person/people?”

Silence has become a dear friend and a critical place of refuge, because, more often than not, we are operating, drawing conclusions, making decisions and engaging in concrete actions based upon incomplete, inaccurate or out-right false narratives. Still, there are times when we must speak and act in order to better learn about a situation, place, person, time and to discern the extent to which we should or should not become actively involved in a set of circumstances.

Thus, the next time a group of words leaves your mouth, consider the manner in which you are sharing your personal observations or current, working truth and how you might retool your word choices or what you choose to share, so that you are speaking, as accurately as possible, about your perception regarding the Truth of a situation.  It is one of the best ways to honor Spirit.

Learning to Bend

Over head, I watch the edge of the clear, blue sky growing menacingly dark.  A storm is approaching.

Spirituality

After several days of off-season camping in an almost deserted State Park, we choose to strike camp early, with an eye on the weather and an in-town appointment later in the day.  Feeling the cold front coming in, causing the wind, my skin rises to meet the front’s chilly fingers in prickly protest to the abrupt change in ambient temperature.  The dogs are milling restlessly about our legs as we begin the process of packing.

Diagonally across from our site, a lone, older man has moved in, with an aged, harvest-yellow camper.  He, too, is working rapidly at his site while bent over a large, portable grill.  With the number of pots he is tending, it would seem that he is preparing a feast.  As I pack, I wonder whether or not his extended family is arriving later.

In campground culture, complete strangers often sit down to break bread together, creating impromptu “block” parties, while passing overly full plates of extra food along to neighboring campsites or passersby.  This trait or component of camping is one of the things that restores my own feelings that all-is-right-with-the-world-and-God-is-in-the-heavens, even as other manners of people-laced craziness are present in the world.

As I pack, I think, “I do hope that man’s family enjoys his feast.” Even at this distance, I can feel the hole of loneliness in his heart. This hole desperately needs patching.  Then, at some point near the close of our packing, I hear the man call over.

“Hey,” he shouts above a gust of hearty wind, “Do you all need something to eat before your hit the road?”

“Oh,” I call back in surprise. “I, um, well, we—” I fumble in response.

Unable to finish my mutterings, he breaks in, declaring, “I bet you are vege—, vege— …”

“Vegetarians,” I fill in the word for him.

“I knew it!” his words explode through the space between us.  His exclamation is one of triumph.  “I knew yous didn’t eat meat. Well, I’ve got a whole pot of baked beans cooking and green beans, too. The dogs could each have a pork chop to themselves, if you’d like.”

His invitation is sincere, generous and gracious–hopeful.

“I’m not sure that we have the time,” I call back through the whipping wind.  The sky is foreboding, and I know what the high winds in this area can do with the trees, their branches and the two-lane roads.

The gust of Grace, extended to our site through the person of this solitary man retreats in despair.  I feel so small for having further crushed this man’s fragile heart.  We finish our packing in an empty silence, eventually pulling out to head down the road.

There are no broken branches on the two-lane highway on our way home, but a storm of disappointment brews within me. Then, a branch snaps off of the tree within my own heart—for time not spent in properly receiving another’s generous offer of human communion.  I must remember that in the spiritual realm of the world there is time.  Grace always grants us enough time–to be here for one another.

Spiritual Conversations

Spirituality

Have you ever had one of those days when there are no definitive leadings from the Light or clear nudges coming through? On such days, I want to address the Divine directly, “Please shout something clearly, loudly and gently into my ear.”

Then, I remember that it is appropriate to take a day off.  We all need time for restoration and retuning.

Spiritual Children

Recently I had the privilege of caring for a friend’s daughter over the course of an extraordinarily beautiful and full day.

Spirituality

The young girl, who is eight, brought her unique perspective, humor and joyful personality to every activity, errand and meal we shared, reminding me that life is indeed a surprise package of wonders waiting to be opened and explored.

In the work-a-day, adult world, we often hold back on the brightest inclinations of our hearts, tending to check our natural warmth and curiosity.  And, we otherwise spend our days nursing cranky, broken and injured pieces of ourselves instead of reveling in the very audacious act of living fully. Living in a self-limiting manner, we are like a group of village misers bent upon guarding piles of useless, broken glass.

Life becomes pinched and limited when we fail to remember, acknowledge and honor that aspect of ourselves which would marvel at the activities of a bee pollinating a flower, sense the wind moving through a plain of open grass or observe the light of the sun passing across our resting or moving bodies. Yet, we can reawaken the Self through the conscious observation of our immediate surroundings and through our attentive care toward the heart’s inner most chamber.

In reawakening, we may choose to share the planet respectfully with our co-inhabitants and vow to affirm life with a renewed commitment toward the Light.

Peace to you.