Spiritual Guidance, a deeper look

I would like to talk about spiritual guidance. And I would like to talk about it from a perspective that Jesus gave us, that I think is very interesting.

He said, If you had a child who asked you for bread, you wouldn’t give him a stone. If he asked you for a fish, you wouldn’t give him a serpent. When we ask for spiritual guidance, do we think that God might give us a serpent or a stone? Should we think of something less? Or should we think that when we ask for guidance, we’re actually getting it? Is that a revolutionary idea?

When we ask for guidance,  we put something in motion. The first thing we put in motion is our expectation. Our expectation is extremely important because, if we don’t expect something, we’re not going to be able to see when it does occur.

When it does occur, it goes right past us. So, we don’t see it.

When we ask for something, we are to expect that we have received it. This is the principle of prayer. If we don’t expect to receive it, why would we? How could we see it? How could we know that it is unfolding through us?

If we expect to see it, then we will look at every situation, every person, place and thing, every situation that is unfolding in front of us right now. We’ll look at that and think, and understand that spiritual guidance is actually happening. The things that we think should occur, don’t always. The things that do occur, do occur. It’s happening now. Maybe they’re not like we expect. Is that wrong? Is our prayer not answered because things don’t unfold as we expect they should?

That’s the self-image. That’s the part of us that tries to manipulate, the mind of God.

How can we manipulate the mind of God? How could we think we could possibly, intellectually, grasp all the possibilities that might be unfolding through us right now? We can’t see them because we’re so focused on certain ideas. We think, This is how it’s gotta be. We think this is the only thing to happen to make me, or to make me free.

But the Infinite is truly… infinite. The Infinite sees all possibilities. We see what is in front of our eyes, and we hear what is in front of our ears. We don’t know, what is possible. And so we say this is what has to happen. I have to have this happen to make it … right. This has to happen to be the answer that I’m seeking.

Sometimes things unfold in ways that are totally opposite of what we’re thinking. We’re looking for the answer in one way, and it comes in some entirely different way.

Haven’t you ever experienced this? You’re looking for an answer in one way, but it comes in a different way. This has happened to me so many times, I’ve lost count.

Spiritual guidance doesn’t come necessarily as a message. It comes as the events in our life.

We say, “Well, this is not the event I’m looking for. So I must not be guided. This must not be true, this must not be real. This must be something other than an answer.”

How many times has this happened? It happens all the time. We’re looking for one thing and it comes in a different form, but we don’t recognize it, because we’re not prepared to recognize it.

Paul said that all things work together for good for those who love God. He didn’t mean that, because we love God, God is going to do special favors for us. What he meant is if we recognize that there is a higher intelligence working through us now, and always … when we acknowledge the guidance of God, then everything begins to fall in place.

We’re not just randomly floating through space. We’re not here on this planet randomly. God is helping us out. Every one of us. It’s very easy to lose sight of this truth. Very easy. It’s very easy to look out at appearances and to see and to listen to things around us, and think that they are working in ways that are not for our highest good.

But we’re probably wrong. We’re expecting one thing, but we’re getting something else. We don’t always know what we need. We don’t always know what is best for us. We don’t know what is best and highest for us.

We think we know, because we’re looking at it from the level of the self-image, this thing that we have created that we call “I”, we call “me”.  We put it on this planet, we’ve dropped into this world, and we’ve tried to force the world to make it work for this self-perception. But it doesn’t work that way.

Spiritual guidance is something we never lose. It doesn’t go away. It’s not here today and gone tomorrow. It’s always with us. And whether we accept it or not, it is happening.

We get very lost. We get feeling like we are very lost and we are off on some thing that makes us feel like we’re from, maybe another planet.

We’re not. We’re not from another planet. There’s no planet that would rather have us than earth. And we’re here. We made it. This is probably the fulfillment of some very beautiful dream. We’re here.

We’re asking for guidance because we’ve forgotten why we came here. We’ve allowed ourselves to forget.

That’s not a bad thing. Our job is to remember.

You say you can’t remember. I can’t remember either. So I hope you’re in good company.

Our purpose on this planet, is to be who we are. You’ve heard this a million times, and it probably means absolutely nothing at this point. But all of this will pass. Everything you see. All that you think you are … is going to pass. What’s going to be left is the you, that you know you are.

You’ve never been without spiritual guidance. You’ve never been wandering in a far country. Your self-image has, your ego has, but you have not. You have never been without the guidance of God. Never. Ever. It can’t happen. Because you are an expression of the Infinite. You can’t get out of God.

This very moment, you are totally connected with God. Do you think God has abandoned you? Is that possible? It’s not.

You are an expression of God. Your soul is an expression of God. You’re created in the image and after the likeness of God. This is a biblical statement you’ve heard so many times, you will probably discount it. You may have forgotten what it really means. Most of us have. This writer, this Hebrew writer, so many thousands of years ago, got who you are. He got who I am. The image and likeness of God is not this body, this flesh and blood entity. This is not going to regenerate and live eternally. It’s not going to be here forever. Someday this body is going to die, this person that you see in the mirror is not going to be here anymore. But I will always be here. The I that I am, whoever I am, in whatever form I may take, I will always be here.

So, I pray for guidance. I’ve got some issue in my life. I don’t know how to resolve it. I need help. God help me. How big of an issue is this, in terms of our cosmic reality? It’s not very big. How many of these have we had? How many times have we been so backed in a corner that we don’t know what to do, with ourselves, with our life, with our situation? Totally lost. We need answers.

And if those answers don’t come, what happens? The universe stops spinning! Really?

So far, no problem I have had ever stopped the universe from spinning. It’s threatened to. But it’s actually never worked. I thought it would. I thought that if the issue I was involved in wasn’t resolved, that I life would come to an end. Not only my life, but the whole universe was going to come to an end. It never happened.

What am I looking for with spiritual guidance? I’m looking for a solution to some issue that is here today, right now. It’ll be gone tomorrow. Or the next day. Or maybe, it’ll take a week. But I know it’s going to be gone. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to be gone now, but I know it will be.

All things are working together for my highest good. That what Paul thought. For those who love God, all things work together for the highest good. This doesn’t mean that God is doing special favors for us. To love God is simply to acknowledge, that we’re expressions of God, that what we are is God being God, as us.

We’re not a drop of water from the ocean. As Rumi said, we’re the ocean expressing as a drop of water. A very different perception. It’s the holographic universe, the whole contained in each part. All that God is, is expressed through me. Is this part of God that I am, ever been lost? I don’t think so.

 

 

Spiritual Guidance

Audio: full talk: Spiritual Guidance

Video synopsis: Spiritual Guidance

“Is there a man among you who will offer his son a stone when he asks for bread, or a snake when he asks for fish? If you, then, bad as you are, know how to give your children what is good for them, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).

If we apply this logic of Jesus to the notion of spiritual guidance, we can know that our need and request for guidance is being fulfilled at this very moment. This is true even when it appears we’re being given a stone rather than bread, or a snake rather than a fish.

Stones and snakes are not really stones and snakes. They are more likely answers to our prayer for guidance. They just don’t look like the bread and fish that we’re expecting. When we ask God for guidance, we are to believe that we have received the guidance we seek. This means that everything we do, everyone we encounter, every new unfolding circumstance is part of the solution to our desire for guidance.

In some cases, our circumstances may take an unexpected turn that seems to have no relevance to the greater good we seek. But Jesus also cautioned against judging by appearances. This is good advice, because intellectually, there is no way we can have all the facts about unfolding events. Neither will we fully encompass all the possible scenarios that can present themselves. While we’re looking in one direction, our answer can sneak up behind us.

Think of how many times this has happened. You get something fixed in your mind, but the actual solution unfolds in a very different way. What may look like failure or a misstep from one angle, turns out to be the exact right thing for the whole picture.

Paul reminded us that all things work together for good for those that love God. We can reframe this thought to all things are working together for our highest good, as we trust that God’s guiding wisdom is fully in play, right now. Our every step is the right step, our every move, the right move.

Hold this thought. Know this truth. At this very moment, God is guiding you to the highest and best solution to your need.

 

Spirituality and Fatherhood

Click for audio: Spirituality and Fatherhood

“Do not call any man on earth “father”; for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).

While this saying of Jesus may appear to reduce the role of fatherhood to irrelevant, it’s really a call to understand who and what we are as spiritual beings. Bodily incarnation obviously requires a father and a mother, even if neither actually stay around to raise their offspring. We all have an earthly father.

What Jesus is implying is that souls do not give birth to souls. Our bodies are the physical offspring of our parents, but our soul predates them both. Our parents provided the door through which our soul entered this earthly plane. Jesus is reminding his followers (and us) that the source of their being is not found among their ancestors, but rises from the eternal spring of infinite life.

When we tie our identity to our biological heritage, we tend to limit the way we think of ourselves. What if you realized you have had many incarnations, thus, many parents? And what if you realized that you have also been the parent of more children than you care to count? I’m referring here, of course, to the idea of reincarnation, which you may or may not believe is possible. If the source of our being is truly one heavenly Father, however, then the birth and death of a single body becomes incidental. What appears obvious and fixed in relationships, is suddenly not so obvious and fixed.

We can also look at Jesus’ statement in a slightly different way. We consider the intuitive side of our being the feminine. The intellectual side is the masculine. Jesus can be saying that that self of us that is born of the intellect–the self-image–is not to be thought of as our true identity. The soul, our heavenly Father, is our real Self. That part of us that is fathered by the intellect is tied to the body and subject to environmental whims. The soul is indestructible. Approaching our life experiences from the soul level gives us the advantage of retaining our center of power, for we see from a much larger context. Of any negative appearance, we know that it shall pass, and we will come out fine.

Jesus sometimes had a strange way of saying things, but a little consideration of his words can open some interesting doors.

The Goal of the Goal

Click for YouTube: The Goal of the Goal

Click for audio: The Goal of the Goal

“For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37).

This passage represents a partial response of Jesus while under interrogation by Pilate. When Pilate asks, What is truth?, Jesus makes no reply. Among Christian theologians, however, there is no shortage of answers as to the nature of truth, and Jesus’ purpose on earth.

Stripping this statement of its theological implications, we can see Jesus is simply saying that he understands the purpose of his incarnation as that of giving full expression to his soul, unhindered by the restrictions of the body-based self-image. Pilate, firmly established in his own position-oriented identity, could not grasp the profound implications of Jesus’ statement.

Think of Jesus as a window who is saying he is here to let in sunlight, to bear witness, not to himself as a window, but to the truth of the sun. The window may be dressed and beautified in a variety of ways, but always its purpose is to bring sunlight into the house.

You and I are designed to bring the light of our soul into everything we do. Our desire for greater freedom is the warmth of the spiritual sun shining from our innermost depths. We feel this warmth and we are inspired to find new ways to express it. All our endeavors become the means to the end of bringing forth the light. Our window can be as complex as a career or as simple as a kind word or gesture.

Try beginning your day with this thought: I enter this day with the single purpose of bearing witness to the truth of my soul. In all that I do, I let the light of God shine through. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth of who and what I am as an expression of God.

 

 

Seeing Through the Fog

Click for YouTube: Seeing Through the Fog

Click for audio: Seeing Through the Fog

It is often when your world is shrouded in fog that you gain your clearest vision.

We all have moments of doubt, times when the road ahead seems shrouded in a fog of uncertainty. Perhaps we are on a path that felt right when we started on it, but now seems unclear and confusing. Our original inspiration has evaporated, and we are in a quandary as to what to do. Or, we may have experienced major changes in our conditions that have left us baffled. People or things that served as anchors are no longer present and we feel adrift in a sea of apprehension.

In such times, it is good to remind ourselves that the inspiration that brought us to this ever-changing life rose from our depths. Our circumstances are simply the temporal clothing of the presence of God expressing through us. I always draw comfort from a verse given by Emma Curtis Hopkins:

He who hath led me to this way,

still on the way will show.

He who hath taught me of this way,

still more will make me know.

We naturally seek stability and predictability in our circumstances, for we feel safe when we achieve it. However, it is when our trust shifts from God to circumstantial stability that we begin to move away from that creative live-wire of faith that brought the seeming external stability in the first place. Drawn by the power of the sea, we built a magnificent sand castle on the beach. We admired and identified with it for a time, only to have it washed away by the restless tide of change. But the sea and its eternal inspiration remains. It is this living, ever moving ebb and flow that never leaves us that is as quick now to inspire and guide as ever.

We live in a world of change and absolute stability. Focused on that which changes, we gain and we lose. With God as our anchor, we lose only to gain. In our moments of uncertainty, we open our hearts to the assuring truth that God is with us, that new ways of being in this life are now unfolding for us, that the apparent end we are witnessing is only a new and fresh beginning to something at least as beautiful as we once had.