Blessings of Soul

What are the blessings we count as the divine gifts of our life? Do we see only the good and the beautiful as blessings? What if we should regard every experience and encounter of life as a blessing of soul, a blessing from God? How then would we live?

With such pure and devoted consciousness we will offer thankfulness for every aspect of life. We will begin to realize our oneness with all of life. For this final Sunday worship service before our two month summer recess, we come together to share our prayers of devotion for the blessings of soul.

Two Little Birds

“Two little birds, linked by mutual friendly bonds, reside in the selfsame tree; one of them is engrossed in the enjoyment of sweet fruit, while the other merely looks on with perfect serenity.” This verse is found in the Svetasvatara Upanishad, the Mundaka Upanishad and in the Rig Veda. The two little birds residing in the “selfsame” tree are symbols of our own dual nature: our sense identified limited self-consciousness, and our soul identified infinite Self-consciousness. Our spiritual journey may aptly be defined as the gradual sublimation of our finite self-consciousness into our infinite Self-consciousness. 

Second Nature

When something becomes second nature to us, it becomes a deeply ingrained habit. We want to develop good habits that will nourish us with calmness, patience and courage.

When we work at a task everyday we naturally become knowledgable about every aspect of that activity. It becomes our dedication and focus. In fact, it becomes part of our entire being. It becomes self-fulfilling.

Lead Kindly Light

As seekers of enlightenment we endeavor to realize the full meaning of the scriptural teaching “God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth.” We glory in light of the manifested world around us yet we know that the light of the sun is but one manifestation of the effulgent and transcendental light of God. We wish to open our eyes and directly see the Light of our Divine Creator. How does the Light of God lead us and what path will follow as we walk our spiritual path? 

Thy Piercing Truth

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” We are all familiar with this famous quote from Shakespeare. But the questions must be asked: What is this “self” of ours, and what must we do to be “true” to it? What is our true nature? Often when people change the direction of their lives due to discontent, unfulfillment or disillusionment they will say “I felt like I was living a lie.” What does it mean to live the truth?

Yours, Mine, Ours

Consider the language we use on a regular basis. How often do we use possessive adjectives to describe the things and people of our life? This is mine. That is yours. 

If we bring our awareness to how much of life’s conflicts arise in the separation of ourselves from God and others, we will begin to realize the challenge in the life of yoga. For where we can find oneness in such separation?

Divine Mother

On Mother’s Day we reflect on the divine qualities of Mother: selflessness, unconditional love, a patient, understanding, and compassionate heart. 

We all know what it means to have a “mother’s intuition,” but all souls are potentially intuitive. And yet, for many of us that faculty lies dormant. We often go against our intuition. We lack confidence. We lack clarity.

How do we develop our intuitive faculties?

Always remember to draw from that sacred, infinitely vast cosmic life energy from its source within you. It is that very life-giving power that pervades the whole universe. Awareness of that power helps to cultivate the light of intuition. 

Still With Thee

The inspiration for this Sunday’s service comes from a beautiful hymn we look forward to singing together during the service: “Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh." In my mind this phrase has an interesting and inspiring double connotation. Does it mean that whatever befalls us in life God is always (still) with us? Or does it mean that in calmness (stillness) we realize the presence of God? Does it refer to the idea that “if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." (Psalm 139:8)? Or, to the sage guidance given in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”?

Arise

What will lift our consciousness to the supreme source of all? What will elevate our thoughts to that which is noble and sublime? 

There is the mighty forest that raises our vision to towering heights. And there is the exalted cathedral which inspires our voice to soar in worship. 

There are majestic mountains that both span and scale our horizon. With them we climb eternally higher. There are the stars of the sky. And by their light they remove the boundaries of our universe.

Look upon the lotus as a symbol of the purity and bliss of the soul that dwells within all creation. Look upon the cross as a symbol of ascending power of the eternal, and immortal reality of God.

What power of soul will arise within us?

True Discipleship

What does it mean to be a disciple? The truth and ideal as taught and exemplified in the life of a sage or prophet may not bring the same inspiration among followers. Some will identify with the personality, but not with the source of the truth espoused. Some will be transformed in their consciousness and conduct. And others, though attracted to the teachings, may be totally unchanged in their individual lives. Where is the fertile ground for true discipleship?

To Study God

We all have moments when we ask ourselves or are asked by others: What is my religion? What do I believe? 

Countless philosophers have studied and asked endless questions of the creator and the created, only to find that they must continually ask new questions and study the truth of existence ever more. What is the goal of this constant search?

How do we study God? Do we read scripture? Do we pray for enlightenment? Do we call upon nature? Do we seek a guru? Perhaps we may take comfort in our ideal that to study God, to study the soul and its activity throughout life will lead us on a path to a greater knowledge, love and existence.

The poet-composer Rabindranath Tagore, wrote: “In the freedom of consciousness we realize the sense of unity with our larger being, finding fulfillment in the dedicated life of an ever-progressive truth and ever-active love.” In order to study God, should we not study life itself?

Unfolding Nature

Unfolding the perfection of love, truth and beauty is the activity of the soul, ever revealing itself. How do we guide this effort that we may unearth its treasures? Do we look to nature for her example? Do we direct our lives toward an ideal? What is the nature of unfoldment?

Spotlight of My Mind

What is single-pointed concentration? How can it be achieved? If your work is all-absorbing and you put your body, mind and heart into it, the result is complete self-dedication. In such dedication, time and effort are practically unknown. The practice becomes timeless and effortless. When attachment and worry are present, time can be experienced as long and the effort difficult. But when the devotee sees only the source of devotion, there is no other desire than to keep the spotlight of the mind ever focused on that source.

Finding the Seeker

Upon my recent visit to India I joined an international delegation to attend the Kumbh Mela. Not only did I encounter an age-old cultural and religious practice but I also had the opportunity to meet individuals from across the globe, each one seeking a path, a practice, a dedication to a greater knowledge. 

The kumbh takes place at the confluence of three rivers known as the sangam. It is the meeting point of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati river. And yet, it was the confluence of people I saw—of various cultures, ages, and interests that raises the question: Who is a seeker? Where and how do we seek?

The Eternal Truth

During each Sunday service we say these words from The Eternal Truths of Absolute Monism:   “Truth is One, men call it by various names”.  We know that God is Truth and that we are constantly surrounded by the manifestation of God as Truth.  But how do we gain the wisdom of discernment that allows us to recognize the highest and purest truths?  We will explore how we recognize and express truth in our daily lives and where we can find assurance that we are indeed following paths leading us to the Absolute Truth.

Seek Ye First

In the Sermon on the Mount we find these words of wisdom given to us by the blessed Nazarene: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The words “all these things” refer to material items such as food and clothing mentioned in previous verses. Are we then to believe that if we seek the kingdom of God in our lives, these “things” will be given to us gratuitously and without any effort on our part? This would seem to be a rather shallow and impractical interpretation. We will explore the deeper implication of these most sublime and uplifting words.

Distilling the Essence

Let us try to get to the heart of the matter—why do we hold so tightly to things, to emotions, to desires? Sometimes it seems impossible to loosen our grip. Our attachments are so strong, they overpower us. We become lost in the trappings of our own mind and body. How do we free ourselves?

Think of all the ways we attempt get to the purest essence—to the indispensable quality that determines the true state, to that substance without which it would not exist. That is our path of self-dedication, self-purification and self-realization.

Benevolent Spirit

The third of the “Five Pillars” of Islam is charity.  The first two pillars, faith and prayer, are thus brought into full manifestation by the human spirit through the third pillar—through acts of benevolence, compassion and love.

On the path of enlightenment we must remember that the light of soul shines through our every deed. With that thought in mind, what activity of spirit do we perform?