Posts Tagged ‘Spirit’

The presence of self-remembering

November 23, 2014

I sometimes forget that I am an eternal presence. Just over four years ago, I had a small epiphany and made a connection more with what I call my “eternal presence” – the essence of my soul or spirit who came to live in this body and experience this life – who knows that I have always existed and always will and knows that I am a part of the ultimate divine being (God/Spirit) and remain connected. I began this blog then and write about how my eternal presence connects to everydayness of life and how the everydayness of life connects to my eternal presence.

But, I get waylaid by life, distracted by other paths of existence and forget to stop and come back here to connect . . . to write about the outside. Writing about the outside brings it inside where I – the “I” who is eternal — can connect and process and reflect and give back to me who is thinking, sensing, and feeling her way through this life.

Events, people, writings, readings, animals, objects, thoughts, tasks – in other words: life – comes into my awareness to remind me of what I already know: I am an eternal presence existing in this mortal body, resting behind this thinking sensing feeling experience. Life is poking at me. God is poking at me. I make all of these invitations to the universe to show me how to bring my true self to life, yet unless those invitations show up in the way I imagine they should, I completely miss them.

Until I choose self-remembering . . . and suddenly I recognize them as singular messengers responding to my requests. A phone call from my daughter reminds me that my morning candlelight vigil for her is being heard. The balance in my bank account more than sufficient to meet my obligations. The person who comes upon my path with a word that leads me to a hidden wisdom.

It is the everydayness that makes the eternal interesting.

©2014 by Barbara L. Kass

A Blue Cup Presence

May 10, 2014

Material objects sometimes represent more to me than their momentary utility. A psychologist would tell you that I project myself into these objects, giving them my personality and attributes, a process called personification.

A shaman would tell you that everything has a spirit living in it, including material objects because those materials were made from earth’s resources, and the earth and its resources are nothing but living spirits. And, just like any other spirit, we cannot own them. They only agree to be borrowed for a time in our lives.

Some years ago, my daughter and son-in-law were struggling with their lives. The details are meaningless to anyone but me and them; the consequences, however, could have been so very costly to the person we care about more than anyone else: their daughter and my granddaughter. All of the responsibility for my granddaughter fell upon my son-in-law. He was a very young soul then, barely past the age of 20, and he had to make the commitment to save his own life first.

My resources were limited to taking care of me. While I could cheer him on and babysit, I could not step into his life and fix it for him. I could not run his race or lift his burden. It was his battle, not mine.

A day came very early into this battle . . . a very hot day, where his struggles brought him to my door while running the numerous errands that were his life at that moment. He asked only for a glass of water, and I gave it to him in a cup exactly like the one shown in the picture. bluecup1 (2) He swallowed the water in what seemed one gulp, so gave him another, but this time filled with ice. He was close to being late for his next appointment with destiny so I told him to take the blue cup with him.

I never saw that blue cup again.

Ten years later, I see my son-in-law and granddaughter all the time, and the blue cup in the picture is the mate to the one I gave away that day. My granddaughter rocks the world with her presence and my son-in-law has discovered grace and gifts within himself that amaze and comfort me.

When I look into my cupboard and see that lone blue cup, I am reminded of that day, what preceded it and what has come after. I don’t long for the presence of its mate. I don’t ever ask my son-in-law about it and I don’t want to know where it is. Instead, I imagine that other blue cup still out there offering a long, cool drink of water to a thirsty world.

©2014 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of prayer

January 1, 2012

The only way for human beings to change is for them to conquer their inner darkness and rediscover the eternal dignity within their own lives. Cultivating the noble spirit with which all people are endowed will directly lead to a change in the destiny of humankind. -Daisaku Ikeda (www.sharingbuddhism.com)

In reading God Has No Religion (by Frances Sheridan Goulart), I came across this passage about how one can become the prayer that is prayed. By making the prayer a mantra that is repeated several times a day, a person eventually becomes “transformed into the prayer itself and begins to reflect to others the compassion, love, and nonviolence of Jesus, Buddha, or the spirit who is invoked.” Goulart is obviously indicating that the prayer translates into compassion, love, and nonviolence (as opposed to “please, God, let me win the lottery!” I am not sure how that prayer would be translated into personhood).

This is the same idea as the notion that our thoughts create our lives (which is not really a notion, but becoming more of an irrefutable fact). Self-awareness can be a real beast sometimes. I am painfully aware that I am not living the prayers I pray.

It could be that I don’t have a good working definition of what a prayer is. It could be that I don’t pray long enough or often enough. It could be I am not praying the right words. It could be that I am not pointing my prayers in the right direction.

I was taught early in my Catholicism that we could pray to God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit, and an array of saints, all of whom have a specific function in prayer world, such as St. Jude being the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. A prayer to St. Jude is a prayer of desperation and, in my view, there are a lot of desperate people so he must be overloaded with requests. Mostly, my prayers go to the nebulous God who I define as the universal consciousness – the energy that we are all a part of.

I had always thought that a prayer is an asking, a desire for something specific – an outcome, an item, a direction. I have prayed for strength and wisdom. It has never occurred to me to pray in seeking my noble spirit. If I pray to “rediscover the eternal dignity within” my life, exactly how will that prayer be answered? Does it matter if I fulfill my own prayer or must that gift be bestowed upon me? Will God swoop down and suddenly gift me with eternal insight? Probably not. God’s swooping and bestowing days of a Biblical nature are the products of fairy tales and wishful thinking. I think what will probably happen is that God (i.e., life) will place opportunities for me to witness my eternal dignity.

The answer to every prayer is its intent. It is simply up to me to open my eyes, my heart, my soul, my mind to the presence of God in everyone and everything I encounter.

What right do I have to pray for someone else? Is it right for me to wish for an outcome that might not be the one that person desires? What if someone wants me to pray for something that I know is not good for that person? Like everyone else, I view the world from my own need to survive. I project my hopes, passions, desires, needs, wants believing that my way is the right way, the best way for me, and if it is good for me, isn’t it good for everyone else?

Maybe. Maybe not. I might never know. But I believe that prayer is a powerful way to move the universe.

My friend, Laurie, at Speaking from the Heart sent me a wonderful prayer for this New Year: that my every dream comes true; that I find myself surrounded by friends, laughter, and good times; that my every cup runneth over financially, romantically, spiritually, and creatively; that good health be my faithful companion, peace my guarded ally, and love my perpetual guide. My noble spirit stirs at the thought that I can become the living transformation of this prayer.

How can I go wrong with that?

©2012 Barbara L. Kass

the presence of free will

July 24, 2010

On my internal quest to reconcile the God of my childhood with the reality of who I am, I struggle with the all-encompassing definitions of God.

In the July 2010 issue of Science of Mind, the 22nd daily guide, the quotes and text define God as humans being God. A quote from Emma Curtis Hopkins says “No word can express your understanding of God. You are It.” I can interpret this two ways. First, “It” is me. In other words, I am God. A second interpretation is that I am my understanding of God. My question is: If this is true, is it true for all humans? Even the ones who commit atrocities against the earth and their fellow creatures? Are they God, too? Or, are they expressing their understanding of God? Our entire history up to the present moment is full of examples of people behaving stupidly, disregarding other’s beliefs, disrespecting boundaries, and preying upon the weak and helpless to express their God or their understanding of God.

A second quote says “The only God man knows is the God of his own Inner Life; he can know no other.” This quote indicates that God is a manifestation of our own creation. You are reading this and you know what God means to you. What you might be thinking is that I don’t know what God means to me. I suggest that you suspend that thought for a moment and consider that I am God struggling to define my presence and define myself through this human being everyone calls Barbara.

As a human, I have my human conditioning, limits, beliefs, and free will. I choose whether or not I believe in the existence of God. I choose whether or not to become more conscious and aware. I even choose how God is expressed through me. In spite of my belief that we are all God (the One, Spirit, Divine), I don’t believe that I am a marionette dancing to the pull of strings upon my body and soul. When I am in touch with my own eternal spirit, my true presence who ventured into human existence, the touch of God is inherent in my being. In those moments, God is no longer struggling to define his/her/my/itself. And it is not because I discovered who God is or how God behaves. It is because eternity’s wisdom becomes one with my human existence and my feelings, thoughts, choices, and actions come from the all-knowing, the all-understanding. This knowledge and understanding are not whirls of timeless memories of all that has ever existed. Rather, they are intentions and ways of being that I have evolved in my eternal presence.

Because I came from God, because I exist within God even with my free will, all that I express is God. The only decision I need to make from moment to moment is how I want the God who is me to live and be seen.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The Presence of God

July 22, 2010

No, it’s not the second coming and not to be confused with a second helping .

I am talking about the presence of God in my life, in my being, in my beliefs, in my thoughts, in my feelings . . . you get the picture. What is God to me?

The third step in Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program is: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I take the liberty of substituting “Him” with “it” or “Her” or “the concept” or “that guy” or “the Oneness” or “Spirit” or “the Creator” or “the Divine” or “(you fill it in).”

When I went through the class at Loyola on substance abuse and addictive behavior, this particular step caught my attention because I am not sure that I have completely let go of the God defined for me through the Catholic church in my youth. And I am not real keen on that God. He is not a nice person. Adults used to hold God over my head like a sword threatening to chop it off to make me behave like they wanted me to. God was mean and liked to smite people. There were all these commandments to follow. Sunday mass was as boring and tedious as watching knitting on television.

I’m not likely to turn my life over to the care of someone like that.

But I believe that I belong to and within a greater, larger, all-encompassing power. I have not fully defined my relationship with that power or named it “God.” I don’t know who or what “God” is.

My true presence knows but is currently silent on the subject. I always take this as a signal that I need to do some inner exploring. For my presence, whatever God is just is. There is no need to define. For the squirrely human that I am, definition is everything.

Hmmm . . . I think it might be time to write a book. Books can take a long time to write, so I need to get started right away.

You never know when that second coming is . . . well, coming.

And just in case it happens tonight, I am going to have a second helping of ice cream.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of plants

May 5, 2010

When I discovered that plants were made of the same spirit as I am, it occurred to me that they might very well have souls, too. The spirits of trees, grass, and other plant life is so dense where I live, I see them in abundance, and can hear and feel their life force. Indoors, I can also feel their absence, so I learned container gardening to surround myself with that feeling all the time. When I lived in a condominium, every spring I would dress my deck in anything that flowered and bloomed in the sun. I was so plant smitten that when I spotted a potted plant (to honor my plants, I will someday figure out their names, but for right now, they are all called “plant”) placed next to the dumpster, I had to rescue it. Evidently, people had moved out and decided to throw it away. It was perfectly healthy so I adopted it. The plant fit in well with all the others and flourished.

When I moved to a townhouse, I recaptured the decadence on that deck. Each spring, nearly every square foot was occupied with something growing. I left enough space for a small table and two chairs so I could sit outside and enjoy that abundance. In the late fall, just before the first frost, I would gather them all inside and nurture them throughout the winter. The plant I had rescued grew to the point where I had to separate it into three separate plants.

Then, I moved again — during the blizzard that paralyzed Washington DC and Maryland this past February. I got just about everything into storage and the place where I am living, except the plants. There was not enough space for all of the plants, so some had to be left outside. Exhausted from moving, I left some of the larger plants in my car overnight, intending to find space for them inside the next day. One of those was the plant I had rescued from the dumpster.

By morning, though, that plant was frozen. Its leaves were limp and dark. One of the plant’s offspring I had left in the car nearly suffered the same fate, but it still had some bright green leaves. I felt awful about leaving that plant to freeze to death. I remembered reading a proverb that once you save someone’s life, you are responsible for that person. I had rescued the plant, and I was responsible for seeing that it survived. Now, I had failed it.

All the rest of the winter and into the spring, I consoled myself with the fact that two of its offspring survived. But I would still look at that dead plant with its now brown shriveled leaves and regret that I had not taken the time that night to at least drag it into the garage. I kept the soil moist by watering it when I watered the other plants because I had full intentions of transplanting one of the offspring into that container.

The warm days finally arrived last week. I took all of the surviving plants outside and cleaned out the debris from the dead plant. As I pulled the dry and brittle leaves away, I saw tiny sprouts of green at the base of the stalks.

The plant was not dead.

Somehow, it had survived my neglect and bad decision, and kept enough of itself alive until the sun and my occasional watering gave it strength to grow again.

People say, “it’s just a plant.”

But it is also life and a lesson remembered.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Listen to the story

April 11, 2010

We all need to tell our story.

I wake up all the time with stories about the earth, people, events, animals, the great beyond. I am not clever enough to think of this stuff on my own. I know they gotta be coming from somewhere.

Sometimes, I am just driving to work listening to music and BANG — there is this story idea or an essay that starts unraveling in my head and it is all I can do to not stop right there in the middle of the road and start writing it down. Other times, it happens when I am walking in the woods close to where I live (at least then I am smart enough to carry a pen and notepad with me). While I don’t drive mindlessly, my route is so well-known to me that I am autopilot much of the time. The same occurs during my walk in the woods. Some part of my brain becomes free to receive, imagine, and play.

I think (and I have had concurrence from my friends on this) that it is Spirit, the One, the whole that we all are, talking to me. I don’t think these are all just my stories and ideas. I feel connected with a spirit, a source that is more than just me when I am writing. I feel that someone “out there” is waiting to read what I write. Just like I read what other people write and get that little light bulb in the head effect or realize some ultimate truth within myself in another person’s words, I could be that channel for others, too.

I get a feeling that something wants to be said and needs my hand to say it. I think that is the presence of Spirit asking to be heard. You’ve been hearing Spirit, too, and are acting on it, which makes it doubly important to listen. Written words allow us a special connection to each other. The written word lasts much longer than the spoken word and can always be revisited and reinterpreted. The spoken word tells a story that may not ever be undone. There is no way to recapture words spoken. They are out there to tell their story. The written word allows us time to pause in telling our stories, to stop and actually listen to the story we are telling so that we can tell it in the spirit it is intended. If you ever start telling yourself a story in your head, stop and write it down. Then examine it for the message Spirit is giving you.  

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass