Some days things go well, other days things go „so so“, again other days, nothing seems to go anywhere.
There are these condensations, it seems, these unique moments when it matters, exams, competitions, business deals, contests, and we will hear the question: „Did you win?“ or, when it is a student,"Did you get an A?"
When I was in a job competition for a professorship and didn’t come in first place, a deep sense of guidance sustained me beautifully with a quiet feeling of peace and calm. My daughter Zoë with her spiritual sense helped, too, when I left the auditorium. The search committee had picked someone from inside of their circle - I was a new face and had applied from the outside.
It was really this losing which transformed for me once and forever a familiar observation into a timeless guideline: „Sometimes you win and sometimes you… learn.“
So learning we do - on a transformative journey we are; Picking up experiences, little victories and big defeats. And big victories now and then. On this way we learn that we don’t get a healing, we rather claim a healing; that success is within reach when we refrain from being superior to others but rather endeavour to be superior to our old selves (as Ernest Hemingway wrote); that forgiveness is not a contract, but of gift of wideness.
Life’s goal is not in accumulating little victories and avoiding the big defeats, the goal is more humble and bigger at the same time: to support the awakening of a spiritual perspective of everything, in which mercy and modesty are much more important than anything else; in which giving is more important than getting. What is really important? What does really matter? What is there to learn, truly?
In a poem by Fennella Bennetts, based on Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth, learning is mentioned in the last verse:
"Now I would learn to know this Love
Through meek and patient ministry,
Until my life has grown anew
And Love is All-in-all to me."
So the question at the end of each day can move safely from „Did you win?“ to „What did you learn“? And in the very best of moments the answer will be: „I learned Love."
Here is a perspective for those struggling with addiction. An open path that has something to do with blue. And with healing experiences in dealing with addiction in my practice.
Desire or yearning for drugs is bad, right? Desire must be quenched and gotten rid of, – or is this not the case? Is there somewhere a „yes“ instead of a „no“ moving us forward? I have noticed something that gives my work, for people struggling with addiction, wings and a faster way to freedom. A deep joy and authority.
There are sometimes elements of character that seem to make some individuals prone to addiction. Here the help and a warm glow comes from discovering the innate freedom and authenticity of pure, healthy being, which feels like a divine „override“, like inner strength and joy being rewritten.
But another way of looking at addiction is a search for the yes. It is honoring desire and looking through desire to find a ticket for a journey we all will go on.
Author and teacher Mary Baker Eddy states:
"Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.“
Since letting this truth do something with me, I honor any desire as prayer. Rewiring desire and uncovering the goodness of desire as something prayerful and potent. As an expression of spiritual individuality for space and belonging. A yearning for the real thing.
As somebody who has loved the color blue since I can think – my mom had to rebuy blue in my box of watercolours often – I love Rebecca Solnit’s fabulous remarks on blue in her book „A Field Guide to Getting lost“:
"For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains."
She arrives at a fundamental spiritual lesson:
"We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something (...) rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire (...). I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance?"
So no one who struggles with addiction should ever hear that the desire is wrong or that he or she is wrong. The object can be better, should be the very best. But nothing is wrong about anybody, nothing is wrong about desire. As the color blue hovers above and in front of us - while we stand on the shore of the Pacific, or on the bluffs of the Mississippi, or stand on a boat bridge at Lake Chiemsee – we can cherish the longing for more. And let this desire draw us onward and upward:
"Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal. Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God. God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.“ (Mary Baker Eddy)
Every desire is prayer.
For further reading -
Spirituality and depression are one journey by Keith Wommack
Beneath the surface by Nate Frederick
Listening for blue: An Icelandic art project which invites you to Explore a glacier
A guest post by Amy Baldauf
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the phrase – “Life is what happens to you while you’busy making other plans” (John Lennon). And yet, do any of us really take these insightful words to heart? If so, the moments when we find ourselves frustrated, confused, lost, or downtrodden about current, future, or even past situations and scenarios would then, ultimately, define our life.
That’s right. Think about that. These heavy feelings, constantly being present in our thought and then manifested in our experiences, would shape how we are and how we choose to live. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like the type of life that I want to lead, or the kind of life that I envision myself leading in the future.
But how can we change our habits, especially when it comes to our ways of thinking? Thankfully enough, there’s an answer to this, and it’s as simple as finding a way to uplift our thought.
I’ve often found that believing in something better, or at least finding ways to value and choose positivity are valued by most people, uniting us all, regardless of our beliefs, in some respect.
But what can bring even more comfort and reassurance is to bring our thought up to a higher, more analytical level – which includes recognizing our lives as a part of, and expressing something much more than just positivity, or wishful thinking. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, describes this as ‘divine Life’. With this distinction, “[divine] Life is not limited” (Science and Health, p.469: 4-5).
While divine Life can be described in more nuanced and philosophical ways, I like to think about what it practically means to us. How can we demonstrate divine Life in our own experiences?
What we can think about are the qualities associated with Life. These include: liveliness, being, wholeness, discovery, persistence, motion, effortlessness,seamlessness, abundance, health, and now.
In thinking about these qualities, each one, individually, situations that try to present themselves as difficult, tenuous, difficult, or stressful are in fact in direct opposition to these qualities that we know to be true, and that we want to see in our experiences.
So whilst it may be tempting to define our lives as having the right schedules, getting that job, or just being busy, what if, instead, we defined Life as demonstrating even one of these qualities? For example, what if we chose to focus on effortlessness in our lives?
How do you think that would feel? And what would life be like if we weren’t too busy making plans?
This seems like the right way to think and act. And I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start, right away.
That’s the right sort of plan to make.
Amy Baldauf is busy not making plans. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @amyirja on Twitter.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and as a writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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