MIGRATIONS

migrant: wanderer, drifter, gypsy, nomad, itinerant, transient, wayfarer

Our lives are migratory.  When we accept impermanence, fear and insecurity will be replaced with a peace beyond understanding.  All of Creation, including mankind, consists of evolving, migratory species.  The violent events of our nation, the worldwide pandemic are leading to unknown horizons.  We move with the changes under the direction of our moral compass or our souls die in the fires of turmoil and anarchy.  Heaven or hell – we can choose what our inner reality will be.

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There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and an time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8

 

let go – let God

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In the King James Version of the American Standard Bible there are 400 verses that mention the word “peace”.  The BARNES’ NOTES commentary on a passage from Philippians 4:7,

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…..”

writes that “this peace is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our needs, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God.”

“….shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The commentary goes on to say that ‘shall keep’  was translated from a military term meaning guarded and preserved lending further definition of peace as freedom guarded from the intrusion of anxious fears and alarms.

LET GO – LET GOD

In my first recovery meeting room, those framed words were hanging on the wall in front of me.  “What in the world does that mean?  Let go of what?  How does a man do that?”  Not an easy undertaking for an alcoholic dedicated to self-will run riot for his entire life.  “Absolutely not, I will not surrender anything to something I can’t see, touch or talk to.”

I was urged by the others, sitting at the tables sharing their stories, to embrace steps 1, 2, and 3, the surrender steps of the 12 step program which had graced their lives with sustained sobriety.

1) Admitted we were powerless over  alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. 2) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3) Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.

Surrender – once and done?  Not really.  It became a daily practice which for most of us continues even after years of sobriety.  It directly affects the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding.  Without surrender I will not enjoy peace. Without peace, life once again becomes unmanageable and insane.

This way of living, sober-living, is not about religion and Bible passages.  Neither is it about performing the 12 step programs perfectly until completion.  It is the way we approach all of life’s challenges and surprises.  It is an ongoing surrender to the energy which we call Higher Power.

One of my most trusted prayers is the prayer of St. Francis.  It begins:

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace…..”

When I reflect on those words, it is not a request to send me out into the world as a peacemaker among friends, peoples or nations.  No, it is directed inwardly to create a space within which is free of worry and anxiety.  The world’s insanity will probably not embrace peace in this day, but I can.  Join me?

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Epiphany

EPIPHANY.  It’s dictionary definition is “a moment of profound insight.”  The Christian tradition celebrates this feast as the last of the 12 days of Christmas sometimes calling it Theophany or Three Kings Day.  It is the day when the Magi, having followed the star over Bethlehem, arrive to witness the arrival of God incarnate, Jesus, the Christ.

three kings day“We observed his star at its rising.”  Matthew 2:2

In the dialog presented by the author of Matthew, the birth of a peaceful Savior greatly disturbed King Herod and frightened all of Jerusalem with him (Matthew 2:3) leading the King to order the murder of all infants less than 2 years old.  The scriptures don’t tell us of what Herod and Jerusalem were afraid.  Competition?  Losing power? Change?

Even though Jesus has been with us for the past 2000 years, our world hasn’t changed, has it?  Those in power want to hang on to their power; they are afraid of change.  They are afraid of competition from a spiritual entity which could usurp through the sharing of a peaceful message the materialistic and egotistic power which they wield.  Jesus had an uphill battle from his birth to bring God’s message of peaceful existence to a corrupt and heartless humanity.  That humanity crucified Jesus in hopes of neutralizing a lifestyle totally contrary to the ways of greed and degradation which the world loved and pursued.  But, they failed to realize that the God-spark, that divine DNA within each of us, cannot be quashed.  It cannot be denied its rightful place as heir to our divine nature.  Jesus’ spirit lives on forever having been victorious over physical death and human depravity.  He reigns!

That star over Bethlehem typifies the light of Christ.  The book of Matthew tells us that the star drew the Magi from distant lands with earthly gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh, but they then bowed in spiritual reverence at the cradle of a Savior, a messenger of peace.

Happy Three Kings Day.  The light of Christ continues to shine independent of one’s religious tradition or lack thereof.  It is the light which overcomes our fears, which relieves our anxieties, which blazes on eternally to remind us that who we are in Christ CANDLEshould be the brightest star in our personal universes.  It is God’s light which shines into the deepest recesses of our fears bringing, through Jesus, a reign of inner peace and serenity.  It is truly an epiphany worthy of celebration.

Lord, let it soak in, let that light enter all my fearful spaces and create from my spark of divine DNA a beacon of comfort to mankind.  Amen

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 4:7namaste rainbow

toil and trouble

Staying out of trouble does not come naturally for me.  Advancing age eliminates most of the physical temptations but, my mind still functions at full throttle and sometimes I get in over my head with the ego employing many of my character defects in very unspiritual ways.  I can’t help it; the devil makes me do it. CANDLE

Truthfully, there is no one to blame except myself.  I have experienced the mercy and grace of a loving and forgiving Father who stood with me in the depths of my personal hell of alcoholism and then led me miraculously to a life of recovery.  That Father traveled with me to the “far country” or, perhaps, he led me there to change the incorrigible reprobate which I had become into a man willing to heed the wisdom of a higher power’s truth.

Staying out of trouble nowadays means keeping my mind on the important things in life, observing the troubling events of life, sorting the two like dirty laundry and putting whites in this pile for a bleach wash and heavily soiled colors in the other pile.  Wash and tumble dry.  It’s a simple household chore that can become a wardrobe fiasco if I don’t pay attention to the need to separate the two.  Just as bleach will change my favorite blue jeans, issues beyond my control will color my attitude if allowed to fester.

So it is with serenity and peace of mind.  Simple attention to the essentials of clearing the trash and sprucing up the pretty things will keep my spiritual house in good order.  When there’s a thought to launch a verbal assault on someone’s opposing opinion, I must observe that thought, process it in a bath of compassion, and then let it go.  No, Larry does not always do that and the results are predictable.  I feel initially victorious, then questioning, then angry with myself for not walking that mile in the other person’s shoes to gain insight into his/her mindset.

I have yet to master the art of ego denial, the need to be right, the desire to have the last word.  My Father tells me that it is unnecessary to come out on top and often I will argue, “But you don’t understand, this is very important, I must retaliate to validate who I am.”

“Really?  Larry, are you saying that My validation is not enough for you, that My mercy and grace will not suffice?”

The need to jump into the fires of political turmoil, the need to feel I am the last champion of a pressing social dilemma, the need to correct an errant theology all become festering soul sores if I don’t run them through the laundry first.  Let God do the sorting and I can then start the washing machine.

When all things are viewed first through the eyes of a Higher Power, my life can be serene and peaceful.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 smiley 3

 

 

 

renewal

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As always, my blogger mind, upon rising this morning, said, “Hmmmm, what shall we write about today?  Politics, injustice, evil, government, religion…..blah, blah, blah?”

And as always, I first read the posts from bloggers whom I follow.  The ongoing tragedy in Puerto Rico from one, today’s challenge from another, a prayer for the world from another, and then, a post that nailed me between the eyes.

“Bingo, says I.”  Mike has bottom-lined where my life has been for several months.  The agony and frustration of living life on this earth, observing all the discord in the news and on social media, fussing with family and neighbors over things beyond my control and forgetting that the God I bow to everyday is totally and unequivocally in charge of the situation.  That higher power doesn’t need my help, doesn’t want my advice, and certainly doesn’t need me to defend its grace and authority reigning somewhere beyond my understanding and comprehension.

So, where does this leave me?  More importantly, where does this take me?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I am tired of second-guessing everything going on in this world and I am weary of chastising politicians and religious leaders who are seemingly out of step with the march which I follow.  It drains the soul, my friends.

The Buddha advises us to realize the impermanence of this life, to direct inward the actions and thoughts needed to change the world, and to be the observer and not the owner of life’s injustices and suffering.  We do that through the ‘right thinking and right behavior’ of the Buddha’s path.

According to scriptures, Jesus said he was the Way and the truth and the life.  His journey through the Gospels assures us, as the author of Philippians 4:7 says, that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds.


Going forward, all I have to take with me is that faith which demands nothing other than living a life of love and compassion with my fellow sojourners on this earth.  That’s a pretty simple directive and I know I will screw it up occasionally, but, it seems like a great way to travel the highway of life, hang out in the slow lane, and let my cup overflow.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”  Psalm 23:5

namaste rainbow