Back to Basics – Breathe

Back to Basics

And know you are breathing.
Love, even closer than life.
Love in our midst, always waiting.

We work to make ourselves worthy,
Striving to justify our place.
It is finished, it is done.
Breathe and know you are here.

But wait, you say, isn’t there more?
Yes and no, breath is all you need,
In this moment, in this place.
The culmination of all time and creation in one breath.

One prayer.
Breath of Love,
Breathe me now,
Until time runs it’s course.

Soul Sherpa

Soul Sherpa

Where are you going brother?
Up to the top you say.
It’s quite a journey,
And you’re carrying quite a load.

I’ve never climbed this mountain,
The one you’re eyeing with courage and fear.
I’ve been on a number of climbs before.
At the summit, you’ll find bedrock.

At the camps along the way,
You’ll find some rest.
Once refreshed though,
That inner drive will carry you further.

You can do it on your own.
You can trust that inner will.
If you might allow me,
To help carry all that you’ve brought with you.

As you get closer to the top,
I’ll wait with your things, those you may need,
And yet might keep you from the summit.
You’ll need to summit by yourself yet, you won’t be alone.

We all must make the final push on our own.
A soul sherpa like me can help get you closer,
The final push is up to you.
I’ll be here when you return, if you decide to.

Humility, suffering and heaven.

Can anyone take away our suffering? Has anybody seen our collective humility? In the gospels there are several renditions of the rich young ruler story who approaches Jesus and asks what he might do to “inherit the kingdom of heaven”. The answer is simple but it becomes complex because we don’t like what it says to us.

Our wealth, our power, our position, our prestige and our health often get in the way of our deeper sense and experience of God’s presence in our lives, experiences and hearts, here and now.

The rich young ruler was told, the one thing you lack… “to sell all you have and give to the poor, and you shall find treasure in heaven. Come follow me.” Before we run ahead to the story’s conclusion, let’s take a pause and think in our own lives why Jesus might be giving this advice? Is it to shame those of us with means? To simply help the poor? I might suggest that it is so that both the rich and the poor will know the Love of God. A theological two-for!

As you know in your head, the math works out. The problem is that fear, sadness, jealousy, loneliness, and anger keep showing up within you and thus you need to try NOT to feel or sense those things. How can it be that you have so much and yet you are suffering inside?

Suffering is universal. If you could “buy” your way out of it, someone would have figured out how to already, and could charge a lot for it.

Your ability to be able to be okay with inner suffering (being okay with suffering is another way of describing peace) is proportional to the amount of “wealth” you perceive yourself to have in relationship to others. The more you’ve got, the harder it is to accept all the internal stuff going on with you that you don’t want to be. Certainly, you say, “if I just had more resources, or purchased this or traveled there or got this job, or that thing, or this position, then certainly I would no longer suffer inside.”

Stop kidding yourself.

“But I’ve worked so hard to achieve, to make, to save, to succeed…” you say. “All so I can avoid suffering! And you say I CAN’T avoid suffering?”

Silence ….

If you’re feeling sad, angry, scared, stupid, misled, self-righteous, etc. at this point in the blog, stay with that feeling you don’t want for 1 minute. Or 2 if you’re feeling really brave.

Further silence if you dare …

“When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he had great wealth.” – Matthew 19:22

Point made… still had his great wealth and still suffering. If you’re finding yourself with an abundance and are still suffering, you are in good company.

Looking forward to hearing about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

It’s not what you think you think.

Your reality is wrong. You think about reality in the wrong way. I can tell because you’re either reading this so far with curiosity or you’re reacting in a defensive way. Either way, proving to yourself, your reality is wrong.

Your reality is wrong because you want it to be. Your brain is built to optimize survival. You’re able to read this today because your ancestors learned to focus on what matters.

Focus is most often our biggest problem. Modern society has been able to engineer a safer, more secure way for us to live and thus survive longer. Physically it is a good thing, mentally and spiritually, not so much.

Our brains are built for survival. They incessantly scan the environment, decide what matters, and make our physical body respond. Mostly, not helpful in our modern world. For those of you reading this with much testosterone running through your system, you have a survival brain turbo charger too.

So what do we do?

Accept who we are. Our survival brain tells us to strive for more, better, faster, even when it comes to “chilling out”. Many of us have set out to improve ourselves through various means. If asked most of us would say our goals include… love, truth, peace, joy, etc.

How can you know to want those things unless you already know what they are? How can you become what you already are? How can you seek what you already have?

In the New Testament of the Bible, a story is written about a prodigal son, a “lost” son. He’s lost because he carries the wrong perspective. His older brother is lost too. A reticle may be in order… “parable of the lost sons.“

The correct perspective is there in the story and thus also within you. Do you see it? Can you hear it?

What inner thoughts, voices or feelings are occurring within you now obscuring your perspective?

A perspective available to you…

“My child, you were lost and now you are found, let’s have a party and celebrate!” and “you have always been with me, everything I have is yours, come to the party!”

Need help finding that perspective? Look far and wide within and you shall find it.

God’s view from within you.

In I Corinthians, Paul says, “ don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

How have so many of us missed this for so many years? And how do so many of us continue to miss this?

As I’ve journeyed, observing my inner and outer experience, as well as journeying with others, there are three things I’ve noticed, which obscure our acceptance of Paul’s statement. Note the three things intertwine with one another and make it difficult to see and accept our role as “temple of God’s Spirit.”

First, most of us are raised under the cultural doctrine of original sin and that we are someway, somehow flawed and unworthy of God’s love… and or love in any form. There are many problems with that perspective but let me cut to the chase. If God is “within” you, so is God’s love so you can stop looking outside yourself for what you already have. Jesus tells the Pharisees… you can look over there , or over there, but the Kingdom of God cannot be observed as it is already “in your midst.” (Luke 17)

In chapter 31 of the book of Jeremiah, the covenant of God is recorded as, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”… in our midst.

Second, since we’re always trying to fix ourselves to be worthy, we forget that the healing power of Love within us is already “fixing” anything we think may be broken. Now some of you will say… but you don’t know how broken I am. You’re right I don’t, but God does and still loves you in spite of your perceived brokenness, so much in fact that God has hidden God’s Spirit within you, within each of us.

Third, as humans we avoid risk. We are biologically speaking, survivors. Thus if you suddenly accept that God’s love is within you and that Love is so powerful that you can live your life in a radically open and loving way toward all people and all of creation… most of us would say… “that sounds amazing!” Truth be told, our humanness wants to run from that responsibility and risk. Realize that what we seek as humans is security and comfort. What God’s Love within embraces is risk, adventure, vision, fear, courage, awe, sadness, frustration, joy, etc.

To embrace what you are , “God’s temple of the Spirit”, is to turn your little self over to the Love of the universe, the Almighty who has always seen you as beloved and is inviting you into Love.

It is finished. Happy Easter indeed.