Thursday, February 6, 2020

All Roads Lead to Love

All roads lead to love. That is the message I have been receiving lately, in my life, in my meditations and in my work.

While researching for a tele-class I discovered an interesting book titled "Beyond Forgiveness, Reflections on Atonement" by Phil Cousineau.  In it he writes, "The act of atonement, the experience of at-one-ment, allows you to be conscious that you've never really been cut off, that you've always been one with the only power that is." What struck me while reading the stories of atonement, contributed by a variety of people, is how through a transcendental understanding of those who had hurt them they accomplished total healing. They embraced "at-one-ment" and by doing so were able to begin a healing journey that brought each person to a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their purpose in life. Often the atonement was so profound that it shifted their entire life path. Think of Nelson Mandela inviting the very guard who gravely mistreated him to join him for tea. Love is the foundation, the undercurrent, the mystical force that fuels forgiveness and atonement. Love is the power that enables us to transcend our own limited views. 

A friend recently suggested that I read the book "Dying to be Me" by Anita Moorjami. In it the author echoed the idea that we are all one through the sharing of her near death experience. She states, "I became aware that we're all connected. This was not only every person and living creature, but the interwoven unification felt as though it were expanding outward to include everything in the universe, every human, animal, plant, insect, mountain, sea, inanimate object and the cosmos." She recounts the experience of complete and all encompassing love. 

The message of oneness and love is more often spoken of on Sunday mornings than acted on in our every day life. We tend to find ways to habitually separate ourselves from others. Our neighbors build fences; we see the world as "us and them".  There are the democrats and the republicans, the sinners and the saints, the rich or the poor. We find ways to look down our noses at the individual, the group or our community in order to feel superior. What kind of world would we live in if we could begin to understand that when we judge others we judge ourselves? When we see lack in someone it is a reflection of a fear or sadness that resides within. 

How can we begin to train our eyes to see the need for love in others, rather than reacting in judgement or condemnation? One tool or method to strengthen and instill the power of love is to choose to focus on the virtues that grow love. First, through the love of Self, the careful nurturing of our soul and spirit, we may build the muscle that manifests love. Daily attention to a practice of living the virtues that open avenues toward love will strengthen the foundation. If you practice forgiveness, you build love. When you experience gratitude you expand love. By seeking to create harmony you grow love. When you act with kindness and compassion you reflect love. Live in ways that open the door to kindness, harmony, compassion, forgiveness, creativity, and joy and you will be spreading love throughout your day. 

As Dion Warwick once sang, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love" and it has never been more apparent. As you begin to reflect love in your day—be kind to yourself. Do not judge or criticize your efforts. Each conscious act of love can only build on the next until you one day discover that you are expressing your inner light in a more dynamic and beautiful way. 

It takes courage to be on this planet. I so appreciate all of you are joining me on this beautiful journey.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Let It Go or Let It Be?

It's not a matter of letting go-if you could you would.
Instead of "Let it go" we should probably "Let it be."

John Kabat-Zinn

How often have you told yourself or suggested to a friend or family member to "Just let it go."? It's great advice. Letting go means not hanging on. When we hang on we keep the memory of a negative experience alive. We fuel it with made-up interpretations of who, what, where and why while reliving the emotional turmoil again and again. Letting it go frees us. But is it really so simple?

I'm investigating the "Let it be." approach. Letting it be liberates from having to fix, control or change and allows the space in which to observe and accept. Letting it be feels Zen. It asks that we detach while acknowledging what is.

Case in point. My YMCA is closing. It has been an important addition to my week over many years.  In the scope of life the end of my gym is pretty minor. While understanding that I also realize that anything that causes a deep emotional reaction is a catalyst for growth. 

Three times a week I enjoyed a walk to the Y through a lovely park using the time for prayer and gratitude. Once at the Y I convened with like-minded people who share my commitment to keep active and have fun. These folks have become treasured friends. The closing left me struggling with the unexpected change.  I tried the "Let it go." method and it didn't help. Letting it go did nothing for how I felt about the loss. But as I worked on letting it be whispers of peace arose in my consciousness.  My mind started to design a new path for my fitness, friendships and meditative walks. 

The Y's demise is part of an ever changing and shifting energetic world. Life is not static. Everything is in motion. Remembering that change is constant helped me to let go of my emotions and begin to adapt. Next time you feel accosted by an unexpected happening, an annoying event or person, play around with letting it be. You may find a little space for inner calm and the tools needed for living in love and light. As always, I will be rooting for you. I end with a stanza from The Beatles song, "Let It Be. 

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be