Religion, Spirituality

Dear God (aka Of Squirrels and Trust)

In the interest of growing a friendship between little Mikey and her higher power, Gran used to encourage the child to reach out whenever the thought occurred.

Mikey was a big letter writer. Perhaps that came from living so far from all of the folks she knew and loved, back in the day before cell phones and computers, back in the day when long-distance meant three-minute phone calls only. So when Mikey had a thought or an idea, she’d share it the old-fashioned way — in words, on paper.

One day, her letter (with a little spell check) read…

Dear God,

How are you? I am fine. My birthday is Halloween. When is your birthday? I will be 6. I can feed Snoopy all by myself and I am almost as tall as Candy (that’s my best friend and she is from Massachusetts and she wears neat shoes). I like pumpkins. Do you like pumpkins? Check yes ___ or no ___. Yesterday I watched a momma squirrel carry her big baby to another tree. It held on around her neck. Gran said it trusted her. Even though it was big enough to run all by itself – it was almost as big as she was! Gran told me some people do that, but it doesn’t work very well. She said the best Moms and dads teach their kids to stand on their own two feet and run by themselves. Not to make Mom and Dad carry them everywhere. That would be very hard for kickball. Plus she said it just makes everybody tired and worn out and cranky and makes the babies have legs like spaghetti. I like Spaghetti. With butter. Not tomatoes. Do you like spaghetti? Check yes ___ or no ___. I think that’s how it’s s’posed to be with you. Everybody says Trust God. But if everyone waited for you to carry us around like that big baby squirrel, your neck would have to get awfully tired, and sooner or later, I think you would just get plain old tired of it. Don’t you have other stuff to do? OK, I have to go do chores. Write me back.

I love you (do you love me? Check yes ___ or no ___)

Mikey

P.S. Mom said when I am 7 I can turn on the stove and make biscuits all by myself. Will you help me stir?

And there you have it. A child’s thoughts on God and trust and squirrels and how those all fit together.

Was little Mikey right with all her thoughts? Who knows. I certainly don’t.

But I have to admit, something about this feels right. And Gran and Mikey seemed to know an awful lot about other things as well — things that have proven true over the years.

Just for today, I think I’ll run with this idea. How about you?

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(C) 2017 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, including the one to feed the squirrels

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Cosmology, Mysticism, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

I’m in the One and the One’s in Me

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Photo: iloveconeflowers.blogspot.com

You know, it’s all well and good and easy to say “We are One” when I’m thinking about a childhood hero. Or mountains. Or the Buddha. Or a pretty purple-tipped coneflower dappled in dew drops. I like that Oneness. It tastes sweeter than cotton candy and I can wrap myself up in it like the snuggest winter blanket, warm and cozy, safe by the fireside.

But let’s face it. Oneness doesn’t mean just being one with all the pretty things. It also means coming to terms, coming to acceptance, perhaps even coming to love, all those things we’d rather not see, rather not allow into our minds, rather not even consider the possibility of their existence. If not exactly celebrating, at least accepting that these aspects are all part of me: I’m in the _____ and the _____’s in me.

Early one recent morning this realization came home stronger than ever. In the midst of morning coffee and front porch sittin’, I was reminded of a movie scene from the evening before. Correction: I was haunted. I didn’t want to remember those three minutes. Titles can be misleading, and while this film had sounded promising, the opening scenes were so repulsive that at first I couldn’t look away – and then, I turned it off and physically walked away.

That’s not typical. Maybe I have a strong stomach due to a wide variety of life experiences. Or maybe I’ve been desensitized by too many years of modern media. Either way, while there are many things I may not care for, neither do they repel me so drastically that I have to pretend they don’t exist. For one thing, I’ve learned not to turn my back on the shadows. Left in the darkness, they loom larger, but brought into the light of consciousness, they burn away in the heat of the sun, like fog on a cool autumn morning.

But this scene I didn’t want to allow. And yes, it occurs to me as I write, my extreme reaction is a good sign of something deep being triggered, whether personal or societal. Yet when the scene presented itself again in the midst of my morning meditation, my first impulse was to block it out. No. Not me. Not me.

But wait – is that true? Do I really believe in Oneness? Or just the fun parts? Because if I truly believe in Oneness, on some level that means I Am that scene. I am the perpetrators. I am the victims. I am the wounded, the sick, the deeply disturbed that good ol’ MCB in her current form finds so repugnant.

Deep tears rising, struggling to accept and allow and integrate this concept in the core of my being. Today as I write, the butterfly that flutters to a standstill beside me reminds me, “Very good, Grasshopper. You are learning.”

I think I’m beginning to understand this better as I come to terms with the auto-immune diseases that have claimed my body in recent years. As within, so without. Unable to tell friend from foe, the body’s cells turn on each other, and it begins to destroy itself.

We see this dis-ease surfacing all around us these days, faction turned on faction, red on blue, blue on red, my flag-your flag, my love-your love, wherever you like but definitely not in MY backyard. And yet what is the truth? There is no “away” into which to cast these less desirable aspects of ourselves – that in itself being a judgment. Who decides what is desirable? What is relative? What is Truth?

I am reminded of the long-ago words of a great teacher of Oneness.He looked at the individuals around him and he saw all – the love, the hate, the cracks about the seams, the light, the dark, and he spoke words that still echo after all these years: “Love your enemies. Do good to them that hurt you.”

Not just the ones on the outside. The ones on the inside, too. For in so doing we honor our connection with all, as he honored his with his father. As another beautiful teacher worded it – our inter-being. (Thank you, Thay. <3)

More words come, those of another man, wise in his own way, who seemed to understand the deeper implications as he penned these words:

“That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy – these are great virtues… But what if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand the need of all the alms of my kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then?” – C.G. Jung

Let’s face it. We cannot share something with another that we don’t have for ourselves – Next Breathwhether that be finances, time, space, or even love, compassion, or a sense of forgiveness. Today, as I practice, please let me remember the full picture, the all-encompassing. Let me not turn my soul on any other, or even on myself, as I sink more deeply into total integration and full acceptance.

And so it is. The beauty, the brutal, the darkness, the light. May I not forget the reminder that dangles near my side: God is as close as your next breath. Wherever it finds you. Wherever it finds me. For that I am grateful.

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(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to breathe easy.

 

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Cosmology, Mysticism, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

WANTED: The Divine (Perfectionists need not apply)

Not sure what got me to thinking along this line on the way to work the other day, but all of a sudden it hit me – how unfair we are to the divine in our lives. We expect perfection of it. No – we demand perfection of it. And then we set out to specify exactly what that means. We tell it what we want, and when we want it. We ask on our knees, but with strings attached, and all kinds of expectations in our eyes. We speak words of love, then forget them when we don’t get our way. Things just happen – and we strike out in pain against the One we have decided must be behind it all. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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Indiana Sand Dunes, Lake Michigan, February 2015

But is that really true? Even if there IS a One, what makes me think S/he/it is causing any of this? What if I’m causing it all myself, and just looking for some convenient scapegoat to blame, like we do in every other area of our lives?

We demand God love us unconditionally, the love we’ve never found on Earth. And yet, we don’t return the favor. If I speak to you, you better speak back. If I give you a gift, I’ll demand one in return. And if I love you – if I DARE to love you – you better be willing to give me EVERYTHING – including your only child. If you don’t love me enough to sacrifice EVERYTHING that has ever meant anything to you, then you don’t really love me. Is that really true? If you were a psychologist and a couple sitting across from you expressed those same ideas to each other, would you applaud with a “Yes, that’s great!” Or would terms like “severe dysfunction” be running silently through your mind and out the tip of your pen?

Wow. That’s an interesting thought. How many ways do we codependently attempt to manipulate Spirit in our lives? To boss around God? To indoctrinate the divine? It’s like we’ve failed at this so many times in our personal lives on the planet that we decided to create something even BIGGER and then apply the exact same rules and behaviors that never worked out down here in the first place. Hmmm… how’d that turn out for ya?

I’ll admit, I DO think there is something bigger, that we’re part of something larger, this God of Many Faces, an elephant far too grand for just one blind man to describe. So if there IS a Divine, maybe it’s time we stop making up rules for how it should be, how it should act, how it should think. Maybe we should just let it be. Maybe we should practice a bit of that unconditional love we talk about so much. Instead of blaming it for everything that happens, and giving or withholding love and approval accordingly, maybe we should try just being with it. Just loving it, exactly as it is, however that may be. Maybe we could even try that tactic with life, just to be different. Loving it, exactly as it is, however that may be. Maybe we could even start trying that with others – and even (gasp, gasp) ourselves. Loving it – exactly as it is.

I wonder, how different would the world be if we could do this? Life? Our relationships – with ourselves, with others, with the greater whatever-it-is that so many of us feel is out there?

I just wonder.

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Indiana Sand Dunes, Michigan City, Lake Michigan, February 2015

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(C) 2015 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
Time for seconds? Come visit – we love company!

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Cosmology, Mysticism, Photos, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

One Needle: Found

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One Needle: Found

How much we are loved – so far beyond our comprehension. All of it, every single little piece – even those hardest to see, to feel, to imagine – all part of the love, trying to reach us, trying to get through, just trying to show us, if we would open up to it, even just once, to the possibility that everything really, truly, is love. I don’t understand it. And I don’t have to. All I have to do is feel it, allow it, be it. And so it is.

 

 

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Time for second helpings? Stop by FrontPorchRambles.com– we love company!

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