Thursday, March 26, 2009

Neither Judge Nor Jury

We've all heard the expressions 'judge not a book by its cover' or 'all that glitters is not gold', but I think that the story that I read to my son, when he was young, really defined these expressions best.

Many years ago, a child lived with his father atop a hill.  They were quite poor and had little; a rough hewn cabin in which to sleep, produce and locally bartered food to eat and the clothes upon their backs.  The cabin had one small window that they kept sparkling clean as it was their only source of natural light.  Every day this young man would stand at the edge of the hill when the sun started to go down, and gaze across the valley to another hill top.  The sun would reflect the most magnificent gold emanating from the other side. He wondered what kind of a house would shine as brightly as pure gold, and figured that this must be where a king or rich person lived.  Who else could afford such opulence?  He longed to go there and see the home of these very wealthy people.  This went on for a very long time.  He began asking his father if they could travel to the other hilltop city and visit the people that dwelled there.  His father repeatedly said no, but one day after seeing his son's sadness, agreed.  They set out on this journey after little preparation.  When they arrived at the other side, tired yet looking forward to the magnificent structure that would await them, they could not find the king's castle.  The son approached a young girl wearing worn out clothes and asked if she could direct them to the king's castle.  When she told them there was no king or castle the young boy was very disappointed.  She went on to say how she would like to visit the other side of the valley where, obviously, there did dwell a king.  The young traveller revealed that he and his father had journeyed several days to reach her town and turned to point to where they lived.  The girl excitedly asked about their king and regal castle.  When it was explained that no such castle or king existed, she did not believe them.  She turned and pointed across the valley, just as the sun began to set.  Look, she pointed excitedly, there!  Over there, where the sun reflects the gold of the beautiful castle.  The son and father looked at one another.  She was pointing to their village, in fact to their very house!  That is no castle said the father, that is the sun reflecting off of our one tiny window of our very small house.  After further discussion the young girl, boy and father realized that the setting sun and window panes of each other's small abodes had cast an illusion that could not have been further from the reality of how they each lived. 

How often do we assume that someone else has it better or easier?  This story pointed out to me just how far from the truth our assumptions very often are.  When someone appears to have every thing they desire monetarily, do we ever question if they have good health or good relationships with their families? Likewise when people are healthy do we ever stop to think how they are doing financially?

When we judge, for the good, the bad or anything that lies in between, we factor into it our own value system, which in turn can become the DNA of many untruths.   Longfellow said 'Make not thyself the judge of any man'.  I think he was on to something!

May today bring you light, love and the pursuit of truth.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Please Hold While I Connect You....

I am the recipient of an incredible gift in the form of spiritual teaching.  As mentioned in one of my blog entries, being a student of spirituality and working at my own spiritual growth has been ongoing over the course of seven and a half years.  Just as those who diet can reach plateaus, spiritual learning can, at times, be confronted with stumbling blocks.  Yesterday I had an amazing experience.  

While on the way to a spiritual meeting I expressed to a very dear friend of mine the phenomenon of feeling totally connected for an extended period of time, only to have it replaced with almost total disconnection. Later that evening, as we were preparing to leave, our spiritual mentor addressed exactly what we had talked about.  He read and then handed me a single page that could have been composed as if he was in the back seat of the car and listening in to our conversation. 

Life Ebbs And Flows

A friend approached me recently and told me they were
having a hard time with the fact that they felt they had
"lost their connection" to spirit.  They had been having
wonderful experiences and now they felt empty.

I told them something that was told to me many years ago
that has been very helpful to me.  It's very simple.

"The sun rises, and the sun sets."

Ebbs and flows are natural in spiritual experience.
Nothing is lost in the times when it may feel like you have
"lost your connection".  Relax and enjoy life, and trust
that the next flow will be there when it should be.  Think
of life as moving upward on a spiral.  You will experience
similar things as time goes by, including ebbs and flows,
but each time you will be at a higher place on the spiral.

Another helpful point...

As you are "climbing the spiritual ladder", every kick in the 
butt can be a boost up the ladder.  Sometimes real friends, 
or life, gives us a boost by kicking us in the butt!

It's all ok.  Don't forget, life is eternal, enjoy it as fully as possible.

- written and reprinted with the permission of Thomas Walsh

Just as the tides ebb and flow in the course of nature, and our bodies respond in kind, so do our minds filter in and out our thoughts and spirit.  When the lamp plug pulls out from the wall and we have to plug it back in to get a connection, we do not panic.  We simply plug it back in. The electricity is still there.  When we make a telephone call and an operator places us on hold, the line is still open.

I leave you today with a lovely excerpt by Longfellow.................

The little waves, with their soft, white hands, 
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Wishing you light, love and the ability to undertake and overcome all challenges.