Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to the Future

It is humbling to admit that one of the most profound lessons I have been taught since arriving in Sedona is one that still rings in my ears from my earliest spiritual teaching in that small country church in Quincy, Indiana where I first came face to face with my creator. I have said already that my current learning helps to illuminate, to shed light on my childhood training. The lesson is simple and profound, and it is found at the core of every mystery school, every spiritual teaching, from Buddha to Jesus to Lao Tsu.

Rev. Mark drums this lesson into us week after week: "Turn unto me, and I will turn unto thee." That's all it is; and it does not get more profound. It is the cry of the Old Testament prophet, but it runs contrary to nearly everything we have been taught lately: that we can control our world with our thoughts. I have been practicing the latter part of this for decades, only to watch much of the world I created fall into shambles. The key to this lesson is surrender, giving up, throwing in the towel, turning the circumstances of your world over to the invisible, the unseen, God, however we can imagine Him/Her.

It almost sounds like cheating, though it is much easier to say than to do. We have been conditioned away from this truth, even by the health and wealth churches that promise you can change your situation with your attitude. It is the classic leap of faith; keeping in mind that to turn toward God you must take your eyes off the heavens and go inward. It is the divine part of your true self that actually communes, communicates with and observes the Almighty.

Every difficult situation I can think of, would have been served better by surrendering to it: by just letting it be. If I could internalize this one lesson, it would make my quest here complete. I'll let you know how it goes.

Love, John

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Close to Oak Creek, Listening to the Water

My apologies for waiting so long again to get back to you. When I started my journey, I thought I would stop at many spots in the Rocky Mountain West, commune with nature along the way, and then decide where to put down roots. I have to say, that from the time I rolled into Sedona, I have felt at home. People have been friendly and welcoming, though I am careful to say that I am not originally from California. In fact I tell them I have lived in many pristine communities across the West that have fallen plague to swarms of Californians intent on ruining the place. This statement, by way of introduction, lets the local know who I am, and who I amn't.

And so the only times I have left town since arriving, have been for a wonderful time in Santa Fe to visit old friends over the July 4th holiday, and last weekend to go to Healdsburg to pack up my belongings and move back to a real house, near Oak Creek in Sedona. It seems that everyone I have met here is employed as some kind of spiritual counselor, yoga instructor, artist, guide, or various free-lance consultants for this and that. A friend asked me if anyone here had a "real" job. I reply, "NO, that's why I belong here."

My spiritual journey began when I was very young, and though my pace has slowed from time to time, it has been an unbroken string to this time and to this place. Some may say I have turned away from the teachings of my youth. What would my father say, American Baptist pastor; proud of the label: fundamentalist; in the days before it was associated with those who hate and bomb. I cannot say what mystical truths have been revealed to him since he passed into a dimension where he no longer "peers through a glass darkly." My father wrote in my first Bible (given to me upon being baptised at 8 year's old) a piece of scripture, "Study to show thyself approved unto God. . . ."

That could be the title of my life's work; ironic that my study would take me down paths and into strange lands that my father would not have taken or sought. This is as it should be - each generation should be prepared to go further, to dig deeper, to discover what was hidden from Pa and Grandpa. Whatever new thing I learn, I am always returned to my early training. Whatever I have learned, illuminates the past; those lessons are made clear and their value is revealed. So I have moved on from the teachings of the traditional Christian church; I have not moved to a place that is higher or better; it is just further on - further on down the road to find out.

The journey starts, not by hitting the rode in an old Airstream, but by turning back to the source that is most urgently waiting at the core of your being. Okay, too heavy. You access this point by resting, clearing your mind, taking a deep breath, and being easy on yourself and others. It turns out that "the soul"; the piece of God-ness you carry around with you needs to be touched before you open the holy books and try to find God there.

Isn't that handy. Some small piece of enlightenment is available to you at any time without special materials or helpers. Don't think about levitating or suddenly knowing the mind of God. Think . . . lightness . . . you could just be a little lighter.

And remember, all study is spiritual study; all learning is spiritual learning; all knowing is spiritual knowing. The Truth is just another name for the divine, so any pursuit that brings you closer to that end, is holy.

Blessings for the rest of your week,