Monday, May 7, 2012

Just Keep Going

I am moved to share with my brothers and sisters on a spiritual path today.  I want to tell you what Spirit reached out in a very big way to tell me today.  Do NOT stop.  Keep going.  Keep it up.  If you are struggling, and you are crying out to connect to your Creator and to the Divine within yourself, don't you stop!  Because you ARE going to get there!  You will be rewarded in seeing the very face of your Beloved.  And know this: It does NOT matter what path you have chosen to walk on your journey to unite with God.  If you are sincere, and you are walking your path with all your heart, you WILL make it. 

As human beings, we have a variety of spiritual paths available to us.  I love this verse from the Koran that tells us this diversity is actually perfect!  It is part of God's plan.  Take a look:
To every one we have given a law and a way….And if God had pleased, he would have made [all humankind] one people [people of one religion]. But he hath done otherwise, that He might try you in that which He hath severally given unto you: wherefore press forward in good works.  Unto God shall ye return, and He will tell you that concerning which ye disagree (5:48). 

Building on that, here are some inspired words from the Sufi mystic poet Rumi, exhorting us to persevere in our quest for the full experience of the Divine: Never does the lover seek without being sought by his beloved.  When the lightning of love has shot into this heart, know that there is love in that heart….Mark well the text: “He loves them and they love Him.” (Koran, 5:59)

In response to a sermon about many paths to God, where only one path is the right one, I wrote this to my pastor yesterday:
Dwelling in the heart of God: YES, that is a daily pursuit.
Believing that Jesus is the way: YES.
Believing that if you are sincerely seeking God, there are lots of WRONG ways you can go: I can't believe that.
I believe that faith means resting secure in God's love for you wherever you are on your path.  I'm not afraid of falling down or going the wrong way.  He has written a map on my heart.  Love and acceptance and seeking God with all of our hearts, bending to God's will and humbling ourselves...if we go that way, we cannot help but run straight into God's arms.

Two people came straight to my door this morning with that very message, and in their kind, warm smiles and peaceful demeanor I knew that they were walking in the Light.  I knew that their message to me was inspired and I was meant in that very moment to hear that very message. 

I was just finishing a long telephone conversation with my father, something I do only once every few months.  We were discussing our personal spiritual journeys, and he had said to me, “I would encourage you not to be afraid of owning up to your own truth.  You can peacefully and confidently claim your truth.  The actual Truth is probably so elusive that none of us can ever lay claim to it.  You can claim your truth and when it comes to discussing it with other people, you can do that, but it really isn’t necessary.”  We also talked about love, and how love is really at the core every spiritual journey and every kind of involvement we may have with any spiritual community.  He also told me that he is sorry that I am struggling at times in my spiritual journey, and he said that he himself decided to let go of the struggle.  He is at peace with his beliefs and no longer wishes to be part of a spiritual community.  I then told him that the meaning of the word Israel is “God wrestler,” or “one who wrestles with God,” and he already knew this.  I told him I identify with that, and that because my journey and my relationship with God mean everything to me, I love being in the midst of that struggle. 

As this conversation was ending, I saw a nicely dressed middle-aged man and an elderly woman walking down my driveway.  I said to him, “Well, I know this is not a coincidence! Here come two nicely dressed people carrying a Bible,” and he laughed and said, “Here come the Jehovah’s Witnesses! You go, girl!”  When I opened to them, they asked me what I believed about the connection between religion and politics, and they gave me some pamphlets.  I told them that I go to a Lutheran church and I am in an interfaith seminary program.  They were very intrigued and asked if I had always been so passionate about my spiritual journey, and I told them that I had, and that my father had even reminded me that I talked about God very frequently from the time I could speak.  I told them that I respect their path and am thankful for their dedication in sharing their truth with others.  I said, “I am simply happy to know that there are other people out there who truly believe, and who are seeking God with all their hearts.” 

These Jehovah’s Witnesses showed me two scriptural passages.  They told me that like me, they are seeking the face of Jehovah, and then they read this to me, from Proverbs chapter 2: For if you cry out for insight and understanding, if you search for them as you would for lost money [silver], or hidden treasure, then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. Their translation of this verse was better than what I was able to find just now, and it did not include the word “fear,” which has some heavy cultural connotations.  The man said to me, “if we keep searching in earnest then we will see the face of Jehovah,” and I knew that message was for me because for months I have had the words, “Where do you see the face of Jesus? Where do you see the face of the Divine?” etched in my mind.   

These people were happy for me that I have forever been wrestling with God, and walking with God and seeking for God.  And I was happy for them for the same reason.  They wanted to leave me with the importance of saying the name of Jehovah and calling Jehovah by His name, which also resonated with me because I have been learning about chanting the different names of God, and sometimes I sing and chant, “Allah, Jehovah, Rama, Sat Nam.”  And sometimes I say Yeshua.  And lately I have been seeking the divine feminine who I simply call “Goddess,” and when I call her, I feel her maternal warmth embracing me.  The elderly Jehovah’s Witness woman said to me, with a peaceful smile, “That they may seek Thy name, O Lord. […] That they may know that Thou alone, whose name is the Lord, art the Most High over all the earth” (Psalm 83). 

After they left, I was filled with awe and gratitude at such a beautiful synchronicity of messages sent my way today, by the witness of my own soul, by my father and by these visitors. 

Over the weekend, in my seminary classes, a priest from the African Ifa tradition spoke to us of continuing earnestly in our prayer practices, and putting our hearts into those utterances to God.  She encouraged us to commence 40 days of disciplined prayer to lead right up to our retreat in June.  I started mine that day, and I am feeling a stronger connection as I continually pour out my heart to God, especially before bed and upon rising. 

I am telling you right now: when you reach out to God like that, God WILL answer you.  Once in meditation I received this knowledge from God, that my spiritual name is Anaya, which in Hebrew means, “God answers.”  If seeking God is your passion then you WILL see God, and don’t let anyone tell you that your way will not take you where you need to go.  Keep going and give it everything you’ve got.  Accept no imposed substitutions.  I will leave you with these words from Rumi to that effect:

PASSION can restore healing power, and prune the weary boughs to new life.  The energy of passion is everything! There are fake satisfactions that simulate passion.  They taste cold and delicious, but they just distract you and prevent you from the search.  They say, “I will relieve your passion. Take me. Take me!” Run from false remedies that dilute your energy.  Keep it rich and musky” (IN BAGHDAD DREAMING OF CAIRO, IN CAIRO DREAMING OF BAGDHAD, from The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks).

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