Monday, January 31, 2011

The Watcher

Between every grain of sand
the Watcher sits,
counting many things
and carefully dividing them into
countless pieces,
creating of itself
a thing unnamed, a division
of one into many.
It divides
that it may create, and as its creation
makes of itself a precious thing,
a thing so valued
that one day, it shall end.

The Watcher made an ocean
to teach us of a wave.
It made many collections,
circles, spirals, stars,
things of no number
to remind us that we all are countless,
and we all are counted,
and we all
are the counters
of things.


Mistakes. We all make them. In fact, mistakes probably make up the majority of our lives....

but try not to make the same mistake twice...

try to avoid negative patterns of behavior...

Every mistake is an opportunity for growth. However, to grow, you have to overcome your flaws and faults.

Laziness is a cause for mistakes. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath... all of these are causes of mistakes.

A mistake, in a sense, has less to do with external forces and more to do with our internal qualities. Fix the inside to fix the outside. Try to know yourself. Every mistake you make is a marker of your spiritual path, your progress, and those obstacles that still hinder you.

Remember, we all make mistakes... but with God, all mistakes are turned to blessings. God knows we are flawed. God is that which takes what is random and creates the miraculous. Don't worry too much about previous mistakes... but be sure to put them in God's hands, and all will be made perfect again.

There is no limit to forgiveness. You can ask for it... but you already have it by default. God doesn't blame you for that which is beyond yourself.

In a sense, it should be comforting... and horrifying... to know that the only person you're letting down is your own self.

Friday, January 28, 2011

From the Epic of Gilgamesh

"No one can see death,
no one can see the face of death,
no one can hear the voice of death,
yet there is savage death that snaps off mankind.
For how long do we build a household?
For how long do we seal a document!
For how long do brothers share the inheritance?
For how long is there to be jealousy in the land?"

The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth. It comes to us from Ancient Sumeria, and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in cunieform script. It is about the adventures of the historical King of Uruk (somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE).

Thousands of years... the same questions... the same human experience.

Who are we to assume we know anything?

These questions have been asked before. They have been answered before. But no amount of answers will stop the fate of mankind. We are born to die. Nothing can stop it. How do we live in the face of death, knowing it is with us from the moment we begin to breathe?

How do we transcend from a life in denial to a life that embraces death?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From 'The Laws of Thinking' by Bishop Jordan

"You must produce your cause... but make sure it's in line with God's cause. If it's a contrary cause, you will get contrary results. John 10:30 says, 'I and the Father are one.' You must be in alignment of purpose with God if your actions are to bring forth the manifestations He desires. That's critically important. That's why it is vital to suppress your intellect and your ego even as you are proclaiming yourself to be 'I AM.' Even as you partake of the divinity that God has granted you, you must not try to impose your own will on what God desires of you. You must be open to hearing God and to producing and creating what He has in mind for you to create.

When you can set aside the ego (not an easy thing for anyone to do) and keep your mind still and at peace, you open yourself to being a conduit of ideas that come to you directly from God. As long as there is that agreement of mind and purpose, you experience the constant, eternal inflow of ideas and inspiration from God."
 From The Laws of Thinking by Bishop E. Bernard Jordan.

I am sick and tired of the New Age movement shoving it down our throats that we are God. Yes, We are parts of God. But people don't seem to know what that means. It doesn't mean that you're going to get rich or that you can imagine a perfect life and then just start living it. Actually embracing God means embracing personal responsibility for the condition of humanity, on both a small and large scale. It means that you're the person at the office who carries the weight of everyone's bad day. You're the one who must stand strong when all others crumble and turn away. It means forgetting yourself and living in servitude... everything about your nature must bring peace and happiness to others. It must be your central focus and only goal in life.

Truly embracing God requires worlds of sacrifice. Just ask Jesus. He forsook everything... even his own life. Are you ready to be tortured on a cross for God? If not, then stop calling yourself God, it's an insult to all of those who have sacrificed their lives to change the world.

Know that we're all a part of God... that what resides in God also resides in us... but don't let this be a cause for pride. If we really knew what it meant to be a part of God, we would all feel very, very ashamed at how badly we have failed ourselves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It is so easy to ask and receive...

and yet, hardly anyone asks...

and even less ask with their heart...

and so even fewer receive....

I don't know why it's so hard for people to be genuine. I don't know why it's so hard for people to just believe in something and love it. I don't know why faith is such a challenge for the mind. It is a beautiful way to live.

Don't approach God as a force or an idea. Approach Him as a person, as an entity, because He is one. No religion presents God as an intangible idea. Even Eastern religions describe it as the Higher Self. It is a Self. A being. A person inside of you. Communicate as you would with a friend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Falling to the Wayside

How easily they fall to the wayside....
How easily they are captured by brilliant, glinting lights....

I have reached a point where the dust is clearing and things are beginning to settle. There are a few more upheavals on the way... the chance that we might not be able to keep our house, the possibility of having to sell, foreclose, move.... It is a terrifying thought. I have no family to help me, no place really to go. Perhaps God will spare me, or perhaps it is necessary for our plans. I don't know, but I will follow.

What I am noticing is the faith of others around me. When I lost my only parent, my friends rallied together and tried to shoulder the load right along with me. They grew in their faith, became passionate about spiritual insights, unknown possibilities, transformation....

And now, a little more than a year after the fact, they are slowly settling back to who they used to be. Dating, parties, work, and school... drama and conflict.... They tried their best. They did more than average and without needing to be asked. And perhaps, in many small, wondrous ways, they have changed....

But they grow tired of the chase, of the endless striving for God. It is a heavy task. Perhaps I do not find it so heavy because I am passionately in love with my Father... but for those who are not so irrationally in love, for those who do not starve for grace, what is there in religion that can outweigh the temptations of a worldly life? Only God can take us to a place and time when we realize our own mortality and emptiness. Only then will I see them pursue the divine with such a hunger....

I continue through this transformation that life has demanded of me. I continue to strive for God, and for God's plans. I am beginning to think that they don't want to hear it anymore. They don't understand my relationship with the Father or why it drives my every waking thought. It's okay. They don't need to understand. What I do, I do for God, and no one else.

But I pray that some day they will look at my life and see all of the things God has done... all of the amazing, miraculous ways God has helped me... and they will seek a path for themselves....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Father's Gifts

My Father's gifts are priceless and irreplaceable.

Life. A lifetime and an instant... I don't know how to describe it... only that somehow, all of this is inside of me... somehow, the external reflects the internal; you are alive in my heart and so you are alive in my life, in my dreams, in my world. Life is the gift. Life is God. It is too much to say, too much to truly understand... and yet I know all things are by your will, that my life is merely a moment, less than a second, and yet prolonged before my eyes that we might know each other.....

Our Eyes. And seeing you... seeing the seed of you, the creation of you, the death of you and the insurmountable presence of you... It is not truly sight, no more than one can see music, and yet you are there as surely as an orchestra of sound, as clear as the colors of the world, and I watch you grow....

The Heart. It broke once, a long time ago, when there was nothing to catch it and nowhere left to fall. My heart was lost but you gave it back to me, a new one, a better one, a bigger one, greater than the ocean. Inside the heart is stored the seed of creation, all of your secrets, all of your wordless murmurs and nameless love. Where does it spring from? Is your heart inside of mine? Was it always, or did I have to welcome it in? I ask for reasons, explanations, justification... but it does not change that you are inexplicably, wonderfully, permanently alive within me....

Our Hands. With them, I can move the world. With them, I write words to glorify your Name, putting sounds to the soundless, placing syllables where only the heart exists. Hands are small and limited. They are soft and reduced by age, chipped nails, dry skin. But through them you have showed me how to nurture and grow, how to give affection, how to build and how to take apart. My hands are your hands, just as my work is your work, just as my written words are a lowly imitation of your voice....

The Voice. Or rather, the absence of voice, and the gift of total silence... the gift to sit, and sit, and sit in the center of your peace....

The Mind. It is not your knowledge that I value, which can only be known through the heart... it is the mind you gave to interpret it, the creativity and imagination to apply it, and the ability to learn swiftly and study well. The blessing of a logical mind is the ability to ignore extraneous information... to cut out what hides the truth, to not get bogged down by meaningless details. You have taught me the value of information and the trappings of minutia. This world is a logical fallacy. All truth resides only in you, only in the irrational acceptance of what is, only in relinquishing my smaller self....

And your greatest gift to me, as always, is you.... Your presence beside me, your wisdom and your endless mercy. God, if I could not have you, I would not have myself... if you were taken away from me, I would take my own life. This is the madness of faith, the passion of your nameless, consuming love. Perhaps I am your least obedient child... perhaps I am your lowliest servant, your sometimes-saint and your mute prophet... but dear God, perhaps in my weaknesses you may find a seed of strength, you may find the tools to do your will. I am nothing next to you, with nothing to offer except a devoted heart... and through my heart, dear Lord, I ask that you take all of me, that you may use my fragile talents toward your higher tasks, that you might forgive my failures, as I am in constant failure to your light....

Dear Lord, I did not come to you to be perfect, nor did I come to you with the aspiration to do great things. I came to you on bloodied knees as a child lost in the night. I came to you with no voice, with no words, no possessions but a shattered heart. Dearest Father, I came to you simply to know you, and all that you grant me is too much for my poor self, too much for my empty pockets, which are filled by your love. I throw all else to the wind, all else to the emptiness of the world.... I came before you not to be perfect, oh Lord, but to be broken, to be destroyed, and to be made into whatever you would have me be. I am, in whichever way I can be, your servant... your wayward child, your stubborn infant, your flawed reflection that finds beauty only in the sound of your voice.... Dear Lord, you have stricken me with a thirst unquenchable, with a cup made hollow, a terrible absence only made full by your love.... 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Speaking with Atheists....

I was terribly disheartened yesterday when I discovered that a close friend of mine is slowly becoming an atheist.

I didn't know what to say when he told me. He was my first serious boyfriend; the relationship lasted 3 years. When I first fell in love with him, it was because I thought his faith was as strong as mine; he claimed to have had the same experience as I did when I had first found God. He went on to say, "I think of God as an idea... I think the universe is progressing toward what some day might be God, like an ultimate goal."

I asked him if he believed in a personal God. He said no....

This is a radical 180 based on the man I once knew. I understand, at least in part, why he is becoming an atheist. First, he is a mechanical engineer and very smart, and I know that intelligent, scientific, logical people have more difficulty seeing God. They focus so much on the mind that they forget the heart, which is ultimately where God resides.

But he is also from a Muslim country, Kuwait. When I met him, he was still submerged in the culture of the Middle East, where everyone praises Allah or else they are at risk of being targeted by religious radicals. Everyone prays 5 times a day, studies the Koran from front to back through school, and can't denounce their faith unless they want to alienate their family. I can understand how, after coming to America, he wants to be exactly the opposite of the oppressive religious atmosphere of his home country.

And yet, the way he talked to me was as though he had forgotten that I was once very atheist myself... far more atheist than I hope he ever becomes. I wanted to tell him that I have walked the opposite road and that the only thing that awaited him were empty facts, measurements, theorems and endless questing. Atheism offers no real answers; only answers that lead to more questions. Atheism, eventually, can lead a brilliant mind to bitterness, dissatisfaction, and misery.

It stabbed my heart. To see God losing one of His brightest children... not to be lost forever, because I don't think anything is lost forever, but to be blocked from the greatness and profound understanding that may have once fulfilled his life. I wanted to pluck out my eyes and put them in his head so he could see God the way I see Him, but I knew that there was no way for me to give him that connection. Not if he didn't want it.

It is another reminder, just like my father and my brother, that you cannot change the mind of an atheist. Logic is a trap; it is a prison. Atheists have their answers and they cling to them tightly because to embrace God is a terrifying and alienating idea. Atheists cling to logic because logic appears to have evidence. However, once one starts to believe in God, God also starts to show evidence. (How can you begin to see God if you won't even look at Him?)

You can't change atheists by speaking to them. They've already made up their minds, and even worse, they think you're dumb because you're a believer, and they're not going to listen to you. The only way to open their hearts is to pray for them, and to show them that you are not a hypocrite. That there are spiritual and religious people out there that are logical, that are open and accepting, that do not judge and are simply here to help humanity. When atheists see that, they want to become that. What soul doesn't want to be a hero, given the chance? Atheism is rising because religion is failing... but the terrifying thing is that we must not lose our knowledge of God. We cannot let the old ways be erased.

My friend is changing, as am I. Perhaps our paths are different. The faith he once had was not true faith, because it is diminishing under pressure; true faith grows when it is challenged. His faith was simply something that society had forced upon him as a child. Perhaps this is the beginning of his true walk with God, and perhaps he will not find God again until he is much older. I don't love him any less for being an atheist, just as I don't love my brother or father any less... but I do feel the loss of kinship between us.

I will continue to pray for him... that he finds the answers he seeks, and that God never stops working in his life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Think about it....

God doesn't want your words... God doesn't want your promises, your vows, your tears or your pleading, your righteous anger or your defense of faith. God doesn't want your arguments, your rationalizations, your understanding or your various gifts. God doesn't want blood, candles, food, praise, hymns, money, or anything else.

God asks for your heart... your passionate, irrational, uncompromising love....

God asks for all of you....

Every. Last. Drop.

And then, suddenly, you're free.

Our heart is our greatest possession... it is our greatest treasure, our only instrument for communication and communion with God. It is the greatest sacrifice, the most exhilarating leap, to break and give our hearts away, to throw them into the unknown with no tangible evidence that anything is there.

And then God catches your heart and makes it whole, places His Spirit inside of you, rebuilds you, and never lets you go.

God wants you to leap.

Don't look. Don't think.



I am a passionate fan of leaping. If I could define my faith, I would call it the never ending fall... I revel in throwing myself off of mountains, in closing my eyes and hurling through darkness that God might catch me. Be fearless in your faith. Be courageous. Strike out boldly, make choices that you can't take back, treat life with a careless passion, with respect and goodness, and know God's love in all things....

Don't rely on yourself. Trust in His destination, wherever is might be....

Trust in God and the wings He gave you, and you will fly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

From Louis de Wohl's "The Restless Flame"

From Louis de Wohl's The Restless Flame: A Novel about Saint Augustine:

 "Did you observe," asked Augustine, "that this man did not care at all whether we admired him or not? Nor did he want any money from us, although he was dressed in rags and we must have appeared to him like imperial princes in comparison. This man was happy! Are we?"
Nebridius frowned a little. "surely it matters what a man is happy about," he said. "This beggar found joy in his drunkenness. You are seeking it in...."
"Glory," put in Augustine "But what glory? Is it in any way a truer glory than the one [this drunk beggar] has found, hiccuping, belching, and dancing? Am I not as drunk as he is, belching idiotic praise [when giving speeches] for a crowned nobody? And the glory I seek may turn my head as much as the wine has turned his. But he at least is happy - he is walking on clouds - I only pretend I am."
"Tomorrow he will wake up with a heavy head," said Alypius.
"And so do I, every morning - without having been happy at all. My desires spur me on, and I drag the load of my unhappiness and make it worse by dragging it. And where does it lead, all that striving? We hope it will lead to some sort of happiness without care; the beggar has achieved the same goal before me - and I - you and I - may never reach it at all. For the very thing that he has attained by a few pieces of copper, begged I darsay from passersby, I am plotting wearily day after day."
"Would you change with him, then?" asked Nebridius.
"No, I wouldn't," said Augustine. "And that is just the absurdity of it. I ought to, by all the rules of logic. What is the good of saying to myself that I am more learned than he is, since my learning only goes to serve the applause of men as insincere as I am myself?"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found how little such a religious nation knows basic Bible and religious history and how, surprisingly, the top scores on the test went to atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons.

I got a perfect score, but then again it's a pretty easy test. I don't think the link leads to the real test, but it's a small sample of the original one.

If we're going to believe in something and practice it, we should know all there is to know about it.