GRACE

Audio PODCAST version of text below.

Grace
The grace of God flows freely through me.

This is today’s Daily Word. Interesting.

Do you know why people in pain chose alcohol – or other drugs – over God? Because God does not ‘operate’ in the physical. God can ‘only’ (I say it lightly) work with the physical through us, those who has a living soul in them. People do, among many other. Though God’s energy is everywhere, like a cobweb runs through all of existence, decided action is a privilege of human beings.

God waits. God waits endlessly for humans to turn to ‘him’, chose ‘him’ and allow ‘him’ to work through the person’s faculties.

So, why don’t we chose God if it is so easy?

I am writing below comes from a personal experience.*

When you experience rejection, abuse, neglect or similar not so nice experiences as a child, you make a decision about yourself which is, in most cases, ‘I am no good’ (or similar). As an ‘unlovable’ being you perceive God as a distant punishing figure, if at all, and turn away knowing that you are alone. As a result of that, you take on a ‘strategy’ to cope in life – which is so colorfully laid down in the system of the Enneagram.

The foundation of the ego – our defense mechanism – is hurt feelings that are mostly acted out either as a narcissist, a victim or a bully. I know it is hard to recognize it because all these are covered up by layers and layers of tactics and mechanics. 🙂

*As a child, when I learnt that I was ‘no good’, I decided to become ‘helpful’. I looked around and found that what people around me needed is someone to let their frustration down on. Most of them were mentally ill of the torture and fear they had had to endure, it made them mad. So, I toughened up and offered my services as a ‘scapegoat’. I spent the past 45 years doing that in many ways.

You see the truth is, that, at the end of the day, it is just old pain and anguish that is the result of not allowing God to come in and help which is Grace.

Grace is not a miracle.

Grace is a turning back, facing the music – the original pain, the decisions we made about ourselves, the struggle we have been through – and laying it all down at the feet of God. It is surrendering.

This is NOT EASY at all. That’s why we chose a distraction be it alcohol, drug, sex, games, films, relationships, cooking … anything that keeps our minds off the hurt, the anger, the resentment, the pain, over God.

It is because in God, or with God, we must become vulnerable, we must go back to the original sin which is turning away thinking that God has forsaken us, and forgive. We must forgive the wasted years that we spent on making it ‘right’. We must cry the tears, howl in anguish, feel the penetrating fear of thunder until it dissipates and we are left as an empty vessel for God to fill.

Practically, what it all means is that you must stop fighting and distracting. Honestly, in my experience, it takes courage and perseverance and long … long … time. And then, one day, you decide to take on God’s offer and allow him to work through you. Not instead of you though! 🙂

Week 3

Rule 3
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

So, this week  we were contemplating about ‘God’s humble abode’ and asking the question: Who is the Lover?

I do not call myself ‘the Lover’. It just does not fit.  Love, in my eyes, is supposed to be kind and caring. The God I know – see week 1 – is a fierce God, like Zeus. It moves me restlessly to go beyond and beyond again of what I think I am. There is never a moment of ‘rest’ until I arrive face to face with ‘him’ so I can truly know myself.

I am more like a bohemian rhapsody. I am neither happy, nor unhappy. I am neither lost, nor found. I am not a devotee or an atheist. I am a helpless wanderer, a gypsy, a wayfarer, a vagabond, a nomad, a tramp.

My abode is inside of me. Like a snail, I carry my home with me wherever I go.

As I am starting a new journey once again, I feel scared. I feel helplessly scared. Anent’ I too old now to start all over again? Not as if I have ever finished anything ever. I start it and Life just carries me on.

It maybe hard to understand me and my life if you look at it through the lens of the world. The world wants us to be ‘reliable’ and ‘fit in’. I cannot do that. I am not sure why. I am just not set up that way. Naturally, it makes me a loner and a traveller.

So, I keep on going, wayfaring, going beyond what I know of myself, looking for my true abode where God resides so we can meet face to face.

 

Weekly Contemplations W3

Week 3 – Rule 3

Rule 3
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

This week, as we are contemplating on Rule3, we will also be asking ourselves the following question:

WHO IS THE LOVER?

At the beginning of your meditation or contemplation time, I would like invite you to read (listen to) this poem by Rumi

The springtime of Lovers has come,
that this dust bowl may become a garden;
the proclamation of heaven has come,
that the bird of the soul may rise in flight.

The sea becomes full of pearls,
the salt marsh becomes sweet as kauthar,
the stone becomes a ruby from the mine,
the body becomes wholly soul.

Kulliyat-e Shams, 21

I would love to know what you have come to realize!

If you are interested, please read more about the inspiration that resulted in me walking this 40-week journey with Rumi and Shamz HERE (CLICK)

Week 2

If you dont like reading, listen to the PODCAST version of the text below.

Rule 2
The path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs (false ego) with your heart. Knowing your false ego will lead you to the Knowledge of God.

Have you noticed that when you start focusing on something, it starts appearing in front of your eyes? 🙂 As I started contemplating on these Weekly Rules by Shams, I started to have profound experiences both in the physical and in my meditations. WOW!

This past week, I contemplated on my ‘false ego’ – nafs – and how it prevents me from the knowing of God (my Divine Essence) and getting close the indwelling God by asking myself the following questions during my meditation time:

What is my false ego ( my nafs) like? or Who is it that I am NOT?

In what ways does this knowledge help me move closer to the Knowing of God.

On a personal note, I know it is hard to answer these questions. When I first came across them I did not know what to make of them. Now, I know that I do not need to understand these questions intellectually, I just need to allow my inner wisdom’s  guidance to reveal the ‘answers’ to me. By answers, I do not mean the ‘solution’ because there is none. God, Spirit, us as humans in Spirit, we are complete and whole as we are, there is nothing to fix. Even though, it often does not feel that way, it is still true. The questions above can guide us shifting our consciousness via our thoughts back to the ‘knowing that we are part of God’. For me God is not a person. By God, I mean, the Big Oneness, a level of consciousness where there is no separation, no false emotions, but purity, simplicity, neutrality and Loving. 

So, what these questions revealed to me – again 🙂 – is that my ‘false ego’ runs of something I call ‘Crime and Punishment’! Dostoevsky was a genius! 🙂 My ‘false ego’ runs on the fuel of guilt. This underlying painful emotion makes me a ‘fixer’ and a ‘punisher’, someone who thinks it is her job to see all the ‘imperfections’ of the world and fix them or force others to fix them. Also, because of the guilt I feel all the time, I think it is my responsibility to make it all happen.

It is really hard for me to ACCEPT life as it is. It is often challenging for me to embrace the fact that actually all is well even if it does not seem or feel that way. We all move through life by learning, making choices, course correcting, learning, crying a little, laughing a little, and the whole cycle again. No life is worse than the other. Everyone has the power to make changes in their lives if they chose to. I am saying this with great compassion because I know how hard it is to actually do it. It is CRAZY HARD! But possible. Each life, mine included, resembles the consciousness that we live with. It shows how far or close we are to the ‘knowing of God’.

So, these questions helped me to realize what it is that I can ‘do’ for myself so I can move closer to God. 

Because I am run on guilt and punishments, I take on a lot of responsibilities that are not mine and neglect the one responsibly that is actually mine. It is not my job to fix the world or to tell others how to live their lives. It is, however, my job to chose a life that reflects who I truly am. My misplayed sense of responsibility prevents me from being with God in ‘his’ Loving and Care for me because I am constantly on a quest for saving the world or people from their doom. 

I am realizing that what I need to practice is ACCEPTANCE, finding that place inside of me that knows that no-one needs saving because God resides in everyone. By connecting with the Essence of God, I maybe able to see and know that all is well beyond a mental concept. I’d love to have that experience when I can look at people who are in great pain and sorrow because of their circumstances or mental dispositions, and feel compassion but not an urge to do something for them. Instead of condemning people for their ‘stupidity’ and ‘ignorance’ I wish to know that they are making the best choices available to them and they WILL move on when they have learnt the lessons shelled in those experiences they are having.

It is such a giant learning for me. I hope that my understanding how my ‘false ego’ works, I can guide myself easier towards experiences that enlighten my way towards more Loving experiences in Life. 

I hope that these weekly contemplations and my sharing help you to find your own answers and move into greater Oneness with the consciousness that you call ‘God’ (or Divines or else). 

 

Weekly Contemplations W2

Week 2 – Rule 2

Rule 2
The path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs (false ego) with your heart. Knowing your false ego will lead you to the Knowledge of God.

This week, as we are contemplating on Rule2, we will will aslo be asking ourselves the following questions:

What is my false ego ( my nafs) like? or Who is it that I am NOT?

In what ways does this knowledge help me move closer to the Knowing of God.

If you are interested, please read more about the inspiration that resulted in me walking this 40-week journey with Rumi and Shamz HERE (CLICK)

Week 1

Rule 1
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame,
it means there is too much fear and blames welled inside us. If we see God as full of Love and compassion, so are we.

Ok,so … The first week has been a disaster. I am actually laughing at my self. Why is it that we make these ‘commitments’ so serious that every inch of my body is incomplete resistance as a result of it!

Nevertheless, I have contemplated … What is God like for me?

I have asked myself the questions below, and came up with the following …

How do I see myself in the world?

How do I see the world around me?

How do I experience my immediate environment?

How do all this reflect the way I see God?

I am in a ‘split-state-of-mind’ so to speak. There is a part of me who knows and feels that God is the source of Good: beauty, creativity, kindness, smiles, and more. When I meditate, I sit in the silence and after a while – after my mental craze has subsided – I start feeling the presence of Good; the Loving Kindness, the Care and Love that is available for me (as long as I reach into it).

At the same time, God is also a negligent parent for me. I am angry with God and I am angry with myself. I look around myself and I also see havoc and mayhem. Ignorant people running the show and I feel victimized. I feel helpless. I need God to sort this out and make it right. I need ‘him’ to make this pain and anquish to go away.

But God, the God that resides in the silence does not descends and sorts things out. This God, is not the God. This God is a creation of the phantasies of a young child who was neglected and uncared for. A child’s plea for help who had grown up too fast and became resentful and demanding as a result.

The God I often see as myself is harsh and unforgiving. L:uckily, I am also aware of the God who lives in the silence; the Loving and Caring God who walks with me, cares for me, hugs me when I sleep; who appreciates me even when I hate ‘Him’.

Weekly Contemplations W1

Week 1 – Rule 1

40 Rules of Love – My 40 week journey of LOVE.

As I was looking for some material for contemplation during the Christian Season Epiphany that lasts until the 1st March this year I ran into a book called 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (find the book here).

At first, I thought that Shams Tabrizi wrote a book – which is very unlikely – and started to look for his ‘rulebook on Love’. Since he was a rather particular Sufi mystic, I thought,  that he might have left some notes behind. Well, nothing like that. The book – see above – is a fictional story that does, however, include 40 rules on spiritual Love that were supposedly filtered out from different quotes and writings that is now credited to Shams. 

Who was Shamz Tabrizi? He was a 13th century mystic, Rumi’s teacher and companion. READ this beautiful summary on Shams life and his impact on Rumi.  HERE (CLICK)

I have not read the book yet. But I will as part of my 40 week journey on LOVE. I love these so-called ‘rules’. They are thoughtful and deep. It reminded me how much we are glued to the phantasy land of rom-coms that tell nothing about the Truth of Love. They do not make it real or even believable. But there is a kind of Love that is beyond warm and fuzzy emotions and fantasies, a Love that Rumi and Shams wrote so beautifully about. We spend countless hours trying to find our soul-mate in another person and we fail to see that the Love we are so desperately searching for is right there within us. It has always been there, all the time. Personally, I think it is important to find the true meaning behind the word ‘LOVE’,  understand it and experience it as a spiritual quality.

So, as a result, I decided to find my own meaning and experiment with Sham’s LOVE. Every week, from the second week of January, I will contemplate or meditate  – and I kindly invite you to do the same – on one of the ‘rules’ of love that is credited to Shams. Find the first one below. I would be happy if you shared your finding with me!

Rule 1
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame,
it means there is too much fear and blames welled inside us. If we see God as full of Love and compassion, so are we.

The questions that I am going to ask myself this week – and you are welcome to do the same – are:

How do I see myself in the world?

How do I see the world around me?

How do I experience my immediate environment?

How do all this reflect the way I see God?

My Path to God by Shams Tabrizi (CLICK)

Epiphany

I choose to live my life as a loving, harmonious, delight-filled experience

Epiphany means “manifestation of the Divine,” and I am a unique, valued expression of the Divine as I walk in the world. Today I celebrate life around me and as me. … I accept the gifts life offers me. My mind and heart are receptive to the blessings of abiding peace, abundant prosperity, unconditional love, glowing health, and unlimited creativity.

Today I let my light shine brilliantly. I anticipate and welcome
opportunities to give and to be a blessing. As I expect and look for the
best in others, I become even more aware of the spark, the light of the
Divine, reflecting from them. SOURCE

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10