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Heartsong

Heartsong

Love is not just joy and peace and comfort, but also a broken soul’s plea, a heartsong to the stars. The heart yearns, and reaches out with all its might, to cross a chasm that is at once illusory and unbridgeable.

Have you ever felt abandoned by the cosmos, and enfolded in its Love – at the same time? Forsaken and supported? Punished and granted precious gifts?

The interpenetration of these is perhaps the very meaning of the life of the spirit – heaven and hell, the kingdom within and the always-forever distance from it. Is it our imperfection that creates this doubleness of presenc-ing and absenc-ing, of grace and suffering intertwined? Or is it that we are just imperfect enough to be able to grasp this complexity – in its perfection – but not given that last drop of light which would reconcile it into a meaning deep, high and wide, within which to bask, not flail?

Fingertips brush in the aether. The moment is the moment… and then it’s gone.

Is that why we stumble, and stand in silence? Is that why the words always seem so inadequate?

“I Don’t Want to Talk About It” – Rod Stewart

I can tell by your eyes
that you’ve prob’ly
been cryin’
forever

and the stars in the sky
don’t mean nothin’
to you
they’re a mirror

I don’t wanna talk about it
how you broke my heart

if I stay here just a little bit longer
if I stay here won’t you listen

to my heart
oh-ohhh heart

If I stand all alone
will the shadow
hide the color
of my heart
– blue for the tears
black for the night spheres –

The stars in the sky
don’t mean nothin’
to you
they’re a mirror

I don’t wanna talk about it
how you broke my heart

if I stay here just a little bit longer
if I stay here won’t you listen

to my heart
oh-ohhh my heart

I don’t wanna talk about it
how you broke this old heart

if I stay here just a little bit longer
if I stay here won’t you listen

to my heart
oh-ohhh my heart
my heart
oh-ohhh my heart

Reorienting into Your Own Path: Belief Self-Torment

Reorienting into Your Own Path: Belief Self-Torment

For a number of reasons, I haven’t posted anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses for a while. There have been some horrible events in the news, and all sorts of doctrinal and organizational changes, but I find myself more interested these days in some of the larger questions. I’ve been trying to write something about that, but nothing I wrote was satisfactory to me. It turns out that I needed a real question for my thoughts on this to spill out. In trying to help ease someone else’s suffering, the words ring true again. Thank you for being the messenger for this lesson! I preserve the questioner’s privacy, but you know who you are. Big hugs.

I seem to be struggling with my relationship with God. I find myself so confused about what to believe. I used to be absolutely convinced that the Bible was Truth. Is this normal for a person in my situation. Any input that you might have would be appreciated.

It is totally normal for you to feel as you do. I do have some thoughts on this in terms of biblical scholarship and the history of the religions of the book(s), but that’s not what will help you most right now because you need first to find your bearings, your balance, and the (for lack of a better phrase) direction of your attunement to God.

Start with what you solidly know and experience for yourself. Be observant and pay attention and even “hold fast to what is fine.” That place where your mind and spirit and soul all connect in gratitude and admiration is where you start. Think of the qualities of the spirit – where do you see caring and forgiveness and love and thoughtfulness and creativity and all those things that you can just feel are *good* things? Let yourself be drawn into that world. Learn from and enjoy the presence of that “energy” in any moment where it happens. Even just noticing it changes you.

Then – and I resisted this one for a long time – think about service. Not big, cosmic service – just little bits of service. Be a little kinder, think of someone else’s feelings, do something nice for someone else, be a listening ear to a friend. Anything that puts your own needs to the side – even for a moment – changes you.

Think of things that you *truly* admire about people you know or have known or have read about or seen. Everyone is complicated, a mix of darkness and light, so you have to think of specific things, how someone made a good decision, how someone manifested an incredible skill, how someone calmed a situation. Those are things that speak to your inner self, to your inner directionality, and they are worth hearing.

For a while, move away from the questions of belief in this or that. That question will always be there for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to address it and be tormented by it right now. Come back to it when you are in a place of spiritual groundedness.

Your body can help you too, and in ways that you might not expect. Sit quietly and relax, listen to yourself breathe. When you are upset, take a few breaths and consciously let it go. Imagine blowing the seeds of an old dandelion into the wind. Self-torment seems to be part of the deal – but you can choose not to do it. Look again at these things when it isn’t self-punishment. Torturing yourself does nothing for you right now except prevent you from insight and focus your energy on everything that would overwhelm you. Love doesn’t want that, and you need to focus on that central thing. Open your heart and listen. Listen.

Try different body positions. Bow your head, raise your arms up to the sky, imagine your feet taking root in the ground, pretend to be blessed by the stars. Your body-imagination is always trying to help you. If you feel comfortable, reach out to the God *above* the God that is caricatured by the witnesses and ask for guidance in love.

Be authentic, be truthful, see beauty, learn when to trust and admire. Start there. In time, the beliefs will sort themselves out. The list of “I believe in this” and “I don’t believe in that” is really not the primary aspect of spiritual understanding. Assume, for a little while, that all the cosmos needs of you is that you pay attention and appreciate whatever you really, truly can. Go a little on that footpath, and see if you get reoriented.

I feel very strongly that each person’s spiritual path is their own, and cannot be regulated or mandated. This is about your own spirit and soul and heart and mind, and nobody else’s. And in that spirit, take what you find useful for you here – and disregard the rest. These are things I’ve learned for myself and from the experiences of others, so they may be very very helpful for you right now. Or not. You are the only you.

Spirit-Opening Questions / Reflections

Spirit-Opening Questions / Reflections

Sometimes the asking is enough. Sometimes the thoughts that resonate or erupt are more important than the answers. Try these – and let your spirit speak to you.

  • In the last 24 hours, what was the simplest sense-pleasure you experienced? Fresh sheets? The smell of rain or fire? Snuggly slippers? A brisk walk?
  • If you woke up with no self-memory, how old would you guess you were?
  • What is one behavior/insight/skill that sets you apart from others and makes you feel special? Is making that a part of your self-identity more limiting or more freeing?
  • What laws would you transgress if you had a context in which it made ethical sense, or compassionate sense, to you for you to break them? What laws would you refuse to break, even to save someone you love?
  • What three things would you do differently if you were totally exempt from all judgment – from anyone – about them?
  • What is something that you have not done, despite a strong desire to do it? Why haven’t you?
  • Can you remember judging something as completely wrong or insane, and later changing your mind? How and why did your view change?
  • When something you have feared or dreaded has come true, what has been the net result?
  • What is one self-limiting thought or behavior that you haven’t yet transcended or released?
  • Who are the people in your life that understand the most about you; who “gets” you? How would you describe your feelings about each? If it’s a mixed bag, why do you think that might be?
  • If you could create your own small community, what would you wish as your ideal location, economy, laws, attitudes? If you could regulate it any way you wished, how would your community treat the people you liked least? Most?
  • What are three moments in your life when you have felt grateful and glad to be alive? How long ago was the most recent?
  • What are three moments in your life that you wish you could more perfectly express in language? If you had to pick only one person, to whom would you choose to express them?
  • What makes your most cherished childhood memories so important to you?
  • With whom do you experience a sense of meaning – in silence?
  • When you think of holding hands, whose hand is holding yours?
  • How have you expressed or accepted love recently? Are there disconnects between the ways you and your beloved express, accept, or share your love?
  • Do you prefer a smiling face or a more serious face? What appeals to you about each?
  • Who in your life is easiest to forgive, and who is most difficult? Why?
  • Imagine sitting on top of a mountain on a beautiful day with the ones you love – each in turn. What differences do you notice in your thoughts and feelings?

Please comment if you can improve the question, or you have another question.

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