Trending Towards Holiness

comments 27
Christ / Course Ideas

At the tail end of this last week I came down with a pretty decent sinus cold, my third in about four months.  I invite you to listen to the voices with me, some inner, some outer…  Taking vitamins?  Getting enough rest?  Gotta’ be stress-related.  Your system is weak.  You need more balance in your life.  I take [insert the product here] and I never get sick.  You should probably get more exercise.  You’re not eating enough green vegetables.  Think positive thoughts.  The trend is not good.  Believe you are invincible, and you will be.  Damn, dude, that sucks.

On and on it goes.

I rolled up all that mumbo jumbo into a ball, soaked it in model airplane fuel, and lit it on fire.  I’m working on giving up on tactics altogether, by the way, since I realized you can’t just have a little bit of a strategy and leave the rest to Grace.  When the smoke cleared and I quit coughing like a Vicks Vapor Rub beta tester, I asked Hafiz what was going on.  That helps me keep in mind the fact that everything happening is holy.  (Have you read that one?)  He told me the Beloved was sending me a few people who needed my help.  He told my they arrive in the night, or when I’m looking the other way, bearing their packages of pain and discomfort, and they crawl inside my heart to take refuge.  Then they’re pain starts wicking out, and I feel it oozing through me.  He told me to stop calling it a symptom.

They need your help, he said.  He told me to think of myself as a doorway to the sea beyond me, and dissolve them.

Easy for him to say.

So, I have been care-taking these beings.  Getting to know them a bit.  Sometimes I lose the plot and start giving them informal lectures about getting back on track, or an exasperated litany of what-for’s, but mostly I just sit with them, like a sky holding an earth.

Eventually you realize, these guests are not strangers.

* * * * *

Prayer for me has long been the mental reaching out into expansiveness.  I invite the presence of Love for a visit, and then listen.  I reflect upon the connotations of the word “holiness.”  I take a few moments to forgive every useless thought that dares to make itself readily apparent.  I imagine what it must be like to slog through eons of empty space and almost crash into a planet like ours, with billions of holy insanities crawling all over it, many of them with wires running out of their ears.  I place the word “Jesus” into my heart, and in a magical instant all those wordless, intangible sensations I have come to recognize as His Presence fill the room, as if that word was a seed dropped into the planter of my heart, which took root, and produced an entire orchard.

These practices are like queries of the unknown.  Like the sonar array on a submarine, I ping the unknown.  I jostle the darkness.  Then… my heart can hear the response.  I feel that flutter of recognition, that twinge of knowing, that pause in the flow of time that wasn’t supposed to be there.  My prayer is like going outside periodically to get a feel for the temperature, or dropping a knotted rope into the water every so often as the boat slides along.  It keeps me in contact.

Buddha.

The sensation of a vast emptiness arises.  Good.  It is right here beside me if I need it…

When the guests of sickness arrived, and I chose to suspend day-to-day operations briefly to tend to their needs, I realized… there’s reading the flyers, there’s glimpsing through the window, there’s visiting, and keeping in contact, and then there’s permanent residence.  The latter, I believe, is what we are called to accept.  I realized each time I visit Love, but hold something apart, that something wanders around this world unattended, then eventually gets found seated near the highway, counting cars in a base 2 number system or some equally crazy madness.  These parts are gently sent back to me by the Beloved, in desperate need of care-taking.

What is needed here, is to step into Love, but hold nothing back.

* * * * *

We have the sensation in our daily lives that even though we can contact the places we hold most dear, the world we inhabit can still contact us.  So we practice the ever so refined art of ducking and weaving.  Drink in Love.  Avoid the fried food.  This is living in between.  Our circumstances can still happen to us.  We still have a lot of management responsibilities.  This feeling of being vulnerable, of being susceptible to what is not wholly desired, is our clue that our desire isn’t quite yet whole.  We’re split somewhere, and maybe we don’t even know where.

We’ve done nothing wrong.  I knew one thing even prior to spelunking through the Unknown in search of a post, and that is this: there is no cosmic force that metes out illness or suffering of any kind on any scale in direct proportion to any type of opinion, judgment, observation, perception, or intention.  Our pain simply comes home, looking for a way back in, like a lost child in need of warmth and attention.  If you’re like me, you’re still not entirely convinced the business end of Creation is you and I.  It’s a bit much to get into the realm of practicality.  But we ping this concept with our imagination, and our heart says, “Yes!” when the echo returns.  Then we go do something else for a little while.  Then we ping again.

How long do we do this?  What remains for us?

Acceptance.  Acceptance of all of it.  Acceptance of power.  Acceptance of grace.  When all our lost selves have returned home, been welcomed and fed, and dissolved into the light of our presence, I am convinced we will remember where we have always dwelt.  There will be no distance any longer.  Prayer will not be a ping out into the darkness to verify our current range to Love, but a continuously flowing recognition of the Reality that we are, and have always been.  This is what I heard from a friend, before he dissolved.

27 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. I think I was reading your post when you were reading mine. Thank you again for the inspiration to move towards Acceptance and stepping into Love, ‘as if that word (Jesus) was a seed dropped into the planter of my heart, which took root, and produced an entire orchard.’ The image takes my breath away…

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    • Thank you. I think you are right. We were both peaking around the virtual corner, reading one another’s posts. Morning on one end and night on the other probably. There is some knowing that was on both sides of the globe at once yesterday… Pretty awesome. The founders of the Internet had no idea… or maybe they did… Thanks for reading and for hearing, too…

      Michael

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      • It’s eight o’clock in the morning here in Bangkok, 12 hours in the future for you? Hope you feel a bit better today…

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        • Yes, 12 hours in the future. Although that brings up an entirely different topic doesn’t it. Our now’s are simply different shades of daylight. And thank you… I’m on the mend.

          Michael

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          • I’ve been thinking about writing a post on the subject of time differences. Maybe you’ll suggest something that’ll inspire me. On that subject, thanks again for this post, it got me started on something else and I reblogged the bit about the orchard growing in the heart. About to press Publish, you will receive a small pingback, thank you…

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  2. I can’t truthfully say that every sickness I’ve ever endured came and went without a whimper, but I have definitely run a fever or two that did some psychic furniture rearranging with a much bigger view.

    Hillman used to say, that when well-meaning friends would say to him, “Have a nice day,” he would reply, “Yes, but I may have other plans.”

    “This feeling of being vulnerable, of being susceptible to what is not wholly desired, is our clue that our desire isn’t quite yet whole.”

    Yes, I must remind myself daily that I am not getting a prize for anything, and ultimately who knows what, if anything, a life adds up to? …and who’s counting anyway?

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    • I love that quote from Hillman. I love that he says ‘I’ may have other plans, because it strikes me as one of those double entendres… like, the world might throw something at me, but I’m integral to the world, so it IS my plan kind of thing? Even if I’m wrong, I still like the quote! Ha!

      Your closing paragraph is something of a daily mantra for me. Like, why am I pushing for this arbitrary outcome I’ve decided is meaningful? What happens if I just walk around and imagine things today and be “unproductive”? Relaxing that Pavlovian reflex to accomplish is a challenge. I’m with you on that one.

      Michael

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      • “I love that he says ‘I’ may have other plans, because it strikes me as one of those double entendres… like, the world might throw something at me, but I’m integral to the world, so it IS my plan kind of thing?”

        Yes, ‘zactly Michael!

        Yeah, the thing about outcomes, is none of us really has a big enough measuring tape for an accurate count, right?

        But, as William Stafford might put it, ‘the river knows.”

        Debra

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        • I agree. In a sense there are no outcomes. The world of form will continue parading and masquerading and contemplating and revelating. The silent Presence within it will never change. So, there is no outcome or point of arrival on the one hand, and the sensation that everything important has already been decided on the other. Outcomes are like our own way points on a journey we still think is ours to measure or control.

          And so I think you, again, for the daily reminder. I should be okay for a few hours… 🙂

          Michael

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  3. Really great post. Funny enough I was tempted not to begin reading your post as I am feeling like I am coming down with something and should take myself to bed. I love your openness in the way you share how you try to apply the spiritual principles you are learning into your every day life. I love the humour as well as the thoughtfulness. Your prayers sound a bit like mine and what I sometimes call meditation…but it is listening to God which is a great part of prayer.

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    • Thanks, Teresa. Yes, listening to God… It’s like holding a seashell up to your ear. At first, you discount it as white noise. Then after a while, through desire and willingness and Love, you begin to discern patterns in the noise, and then eventually, you discover you really are listening to the Sea. It is a wonderful process. The next person picks up the shell and says, “what the hell was that? Just a bunch of white noise…” We walk away with our daily nourishment tucked in our heart. Listening to God seems like it calls on every cell of our Being…

      Michael

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  4. ~meredith says

    “I invite the presence of Love for a visit, and then listen.” How right. You do. ~m

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  5. What is there to say? hmmm. I cannot simply click “like” or what ever that clicking thing is that puts an avatar of me there and walk away when I am so deeply affected. Basking in the words of my very smart, very poetic, tuned in, pinging back brother. I resonate on the deepest level with every single holy word – which find me today, gathering my mad highway car counter slivered self – pinging praying napping loving my way to the space of the ever continuous flow. You help me to know that it is – it is, Michael. The smallness of the day to day was recognized, loved and transcended yet again. So funny, so true, so beaconing/beckoning home. May your tissues be soft 🙂

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    • I think you said it, sister…

      Ping, Pray, Nap, Love. Such a practice.

      Gather. Accept. Welcome. Love. Transcend. I’m glad this found you where you were and helped widen the view from the momentary motor vehicle stare-down. Each and every time we find our way back to peace, it is a wonderful thing.

      Michael

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  6. Tracey says

    “This feeling of being vulnerable, of being susceptible to what is not wholly desired”…. or “to what is not *Holy* desired….” (Is that a double entendre too? My brain is under the influence of advil, sudafed and some chinese herbs that keep me healthy. Cough, cough). Oh, and being 32,000 feet in the air too- gogo wifi!

    Another blog entry that helps my whole body exhale, relax and feel loved. Thank you Michael.

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    • Good one! Yes, what is not wholly desired probably has some absence of holiness in it somewhere, as figments, fragments, and those ephemeral do-nothings we call fearful sensations are want to do.

      Glad you enjoyed it, and have a great visit.

      Michael

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  7. Pingback: connectedness | dhamma footsteps

  8. Lovely relevant post michael for us all to be conscious of… and I just love your words… ‘Our pain simply comes home, looking for a way back in, like a lost child in need of warmth and attention’… I must admit though that the cold hasn’t caught me for quite a while… Hopefully most of my cleaning and releasing has gone… but never say never and IAM prepared to go with the flow….. Barbara… p.s. looking forward to reading your post tomorrow…

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    • Thanks, Barbara! I’m not at my computer most of the day tomorrow, so the post is up. It’s already the 7th somewhere, right?

      Michael

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  9. You are really wise and articulate! Sometimes I don’t quite understand, but I feel like I understand the essence of what you are saying. My life, I feel, is a prayer in its self. I used to sit down and pray, but it was mostly to feel the presence of the great divine, and to connect with my soul, now I feel like I constantly live in that presence and with that connection. I feel Love pulsating in me all the time, and I feel all the choices I make I am being moved to make. I know you probably think it is silly and girly, but I really like this quote from the book Anne of Green Gabels: “Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’d go out into a great field all alone or into the deep woods, and I’d look up into the lovely blue sky that looks like there was no end to its blueness, and then I ‘d just feel a prayer.”

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    • Thank you, Line. Your expression of your life itself being a prayer is beautiful- not girly at all. It is something to which I aspire to sustain, and a I think a whole and natural way of being. As for the quote, I couldn’t agree more. So many find and feel the presence of wholeness, and connection with it, via the natural world. The world itself is a door… 🙂

      Michael

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  10. I am telling you…do not walk RUN towards the calming call of Cool Touch Kleenex. It is a complete skin saver to savoir.

    I hope the nose attached to one who knows is finding the relief and upgrade it seeks. -x.M

    Like

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