Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Psalm 80 Always Look Within

As we navigate our spiritual journey, we should expect to have trials and tribulations along the way. These experiences help us broaden and strengthen our understanding and faith. There are times, however, when we are caught off guard by these troubles and instead of looking within for guidance; we are seduced into relying on external stimuli for information and direction. Undoubtedly when we make these mistakes, we experience a great deal of suffering in our lives.

Whenever we find ourselves in times of trouble, the first and only place to go is within. Although the senses offer a tempting and immediate array of “facts,” we know that the information they provide is unreal and untrue. The Truth is within us. Instead of reacting to outer events, we need to take a deep breath and go to the Presence of the Christ within through meditation and prayer. This is the only way that we can make a decision that is based in spiritual reality. This is the Christian way.
How often do we experience “God’s anger” as a result of our unwillingness to listen for and to the Divine within us? For me it is less about how angry God is, and more about how my actions and choices have constructive and not-so-constructive consequences. The more I am able to reflect upon my life, I come to the realization that the painful decisions are just as valuable as the good ones. It is the Divine imperative that we have been given the freedom of choice and the ability to learn from consequences of our choices.
Typically we sincerely repent (change our minds) only when we recognize that somewhere along the way, we have lost touch with our inner guide and experience the cost of our poor choices. God and the Law are unchanging. It is we who choose to turn away from God and act outside of Divine wisdom. We must decide that we have experienced enough pain and ask that the Christ Presence within be our guide.
The vine a helpful metaphor to reflect the inner life and our connection to God. In the field of agriculture, cultivating vines takes time, effort, planning, and patience. From planting in the soil to the first fruit typically takes three years. The vine draws its strength and nourishment from the soil but is the channel through which the nutrients reach the branches and fruit. We must not allow worldly considerations to trample our connection to the Divine (all who pass along the way pluck its fruit). Regular prayer and meditation are key to fortifying “the wall” protecting that vine.
We have the solution to any challenge, when we allow the Presence and Power of God within to guide our imagination (you who lead Joseph like a flock). God is at the helm of our inner life (enthroned upon the cherubim), and when we surrender to that Spirit, Divine light shines through. Although we frequently forget, we know that there is nowhere that God is not. Even in the most difficult times, God’s grand plan is at work for good. We always have a place that we can turn to for discernment, the Christ within (the one whom you made strong for yourself). As we begin to perceive that light we are lifted. This is the essence of salvation.
And so it is! Amen!
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