Thursday, March 1, 2012

Re-finding the divine within

Finding my divine [in]side

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This has been the week of REs ... as in recover and repent, even rebirth, resurrection and re-find. That second word, repent, has always hung me up until today's selection from Thomas Keating's "The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living" that I use for centering prayer.

I've spent most of the week healing from a shoulder injury, trading yoga for walking, laps and water therapy. It's helping, but slowly, and takes a lot of energy. Have to remind myself that healing does. Even so, I've been intensely working on a new class, submitting a comprehensive grant and helping my eighth-grader plan her whole high-school career (or so it seems). It wasn't until today, Thursday, that I even got around to centering prayer and I cheated. I read the March 1 entry before prayer. It spoke of repent meaning "to change the direction in which you are looking for happiness." Did not seem as sinister as I'd thought. No less easy either.

So I took that word, repent, as my entrance into prayer. It seemed to coincide with an experience I had in my class when I facilitated an experiment-in-light-exercise. Developed in the mid 1990s by a British Quaker, Rex Ambler, the purpose is to emulate the worship experience of early Quakers. While reading the six-step meditation (there are several variations) and keeping time, I was able to experience it to some extent. The point is to let the light reveal Truth through discomfort. It's not intended as a la-la-la blissful meditation, but as transformation. What it revealed to me was stuck anger; no surprise really, except that I was able to visualize where it is in my body and that it is slowly surfacing. I understand it as something I must face instead of letting it seep out onto unsuspecting others.

Somehow, I also think this idea of changing the direction in which I look for happiness has much to do with this stuck anger. Parts of the anger revolve around not living the kind of life I expected; you know not having the American dream of health, wealth and an easy life. Though the older I get, the more I see it as a misguided, perhaps dangerous, myth. I expected to be working full-time in a career right now savoring some success. But that's because I equated happiness with materialism, wealth and success; basically, on external circumstance.

A lesson earlier this week in the pool awakened me to the fact I often look outside for help, when it resides within. My wise spiritual friend and mentor noticed last week that I seem to think of God as outside myself. She pointed that out once before. I can see that of God within others, but forget it's also within me, probably without as well, but I forget that I am part divine. That's where I can look for happiness and to dislodge the emerging anger.

So, today when I was tempted to search for an online job, I opted for prayer instead and am holding fast to my plans to open a studio for spiritual nurture with the glimmer of grant backing. I do know that if I follow my heart into more nurture work that will be my life as opposed to taking some outside job that will split me apart again. I seek wholeness.

• What does the idea of repent mean to me?
• How does that shift if I use Thomas Keating's definition?
• Where do I seek happiness?
• Where do I view Spirit as residing?
• Can I see my divinity within?

on the massage table,
my aching shoulders
were loosened,

and Jesus had a message:
"You mustn't carry the burden
of worry. I've already done that."
He undid the work of a heavy cross
on my body.

internally, I am
living the resurrection,
rebirthing myself

and re-finding
the divine within

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