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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Spark

Spark

What on earth keeps us going? What is it that gets us to the end of this, our roller-coaster ride that we call life. Of course ego claims the rights to our existence. We live in a dangerous world and ego has carried us over the line, like some Saving Private Ryan Marine type figure, exhausted but mission accomplished. I’m afraid that I can’t agree and here’s why.

Suffering is only in the eye of the beholder, and that eye is our fragmented psyche-soul, the one known as ego. The psyche is here to help us ‘experience’ what appears to be reality, this space-time simulation of existence. It’s the software that helps us feel every up and down on the wave of life. Its settings are either winning or losing, exhilaration or pain. All relational battles that cause us dismay are felt here. All circumstances are interpreted by psyche as a high or a low.

And so we travel along the illusion of time, picking up little victories here and there, along with the painful defeats that edge us ever closer to rock bottom. Now, the power of positive thinking or its New Age equivalent will get us so far. Shiny faced successful gurus point us in the direction of their secret, one usually packaged for the self-help marketplace. Now of course things seem to go better when we’re positive, the power of attraction and all that. Yet, a downer usually lurks around the bend, as we sail along reckoning we’ve got this life thing cracked. The downer in question may be a result of our presumption, but often it’s sent along for our own good. For there’s nothing worse than an ego in full flight, gliding on the winds of its own achievement. No, the downers are needed for us to reach our ultimate but unknown destination.

Now some of us feed ego with all the ammunition that it craves. Paranoia, sees defeats lying along both past and future timelines of our lives. If the sun shines it’s too hot. If everything is freezing over, it’s hell in reverse. The little interpreter within our heads is skewed, leading us into the wilderness of depression and despair. Ego, loves it, feeding our darkness to justify its role as saviour.

Religious belief, particularly the Charismatic/Pentecostal brand that predominates much of Western Christianity, gives us a measure of relief, albeit temporarily. For to be involved, is often not to think, and that definitely nullifies the contradictory ups and downs for a while. Cleverly interpreting the highs as God’s blessing and the lows as Satanic attack, we ride the Christian life, quoting the relevant Bible verses until the big one blocks our path. The Transpersonal Crisis shakes up everything, dislodging our stoical belief in the protection of God, the One who looks out for us. No wonder, such a crisis leaves us disillusioned and broken, for we later discover that ego was the sponsor of our religious ride, an ardent ‘Amener’ who backed our every move.

So then what are we to do. Well, I reckon that we need to turn our attention away from the psyche-soul, our sensor of life, and turn to another hidden participator in the human experience, the real power behind our being, viz. our spirit. Now before you think I’m getting a wee bit too esoteric, please let me explain. When I make something, I leave something of myself in the work concerned. Hopefully in my own writings, there is something of me transmitting itself to you, an inexplicable touch that is received within. Similarly I believe that Source has deposited something of its own Being within us, a spark from the Divine Fire of Creativity. An altogether other that lies deep within our consciousness, waiting for our day of awakening. A pin-hole of Cosmic Consciousness that lets in the Light, that we call God.

Such a spirit is altogether different form our wounded psyche-soul, not having a trace of defensiveness in its essence, for it has been birthed in the Divine. When all around is a high or low, spirit sits quietly, confident in its own Being, waiting for its time of appearing, waiting for ego to burn itself out in the pursuit of happiness and security. And burn itself out it most surely will. So, let’s step back from the spin of ego, smiling as it attempts to recruit us in its dervish dance of salvation. No, rather embrace the Queendom within, the portal of Divine Love, where all is well and shall be well.

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Growing A Church?

Growing A Church?

Now I’d better own up before I proceed. I used to be a church junkie, albeit a slightly reticent one in my somewhat zealous youth. You see, I believed the evangelistic take on God and his kids. God is working in the world and His agency is the institution belovedly known as church. Back in my Irish homeland, as soon as one came into an experience of the risen Nazarene, one was instantly ushered into a sheep fold under the name of a ‘sound’ church. I was never really sure what a sound church was, for those who embraced the standard orthodoxy seemed to be asleep to me, the only sound being my snoring during the pastor’s sermon. No, for me it was a more radical version of Jesus community, or so I thought. I was a founding member of a Charismatic, (yes, speaking in tongues etc) fellowship that attempted to do things differently. I should have known better though, for all life-giving religious or spiritual movements eventually conservatise, becoming clones of their older predecessors. Northern Ireland was, and still is, peppered with man’s attempt to get Divinity into a box, much like any other Bible Belt area of God’s good Earth.

That being said, I want to look at our fixation at growing a church, to use a trendy but ineffective term that’s doing the religious rounds. If one has a church, a group bang in the centre of Divine Will, then why not grow it – the bigger the better right! Well no, at least in my experience. Here are a few reasons for small is beautiful.

1) God isn’t obsessed by church like most of His/Her kids.

Jesus groups were to be transient expressions of God realignment, not the be all and end all. Packed buildings of Jesus people on Sunday mornings aren’t on God’s agenda.

2) Spiritual life is best shared through conversation and friendship.

The Nazarene hinted at this when talking about the two or three gathered into His name. When a few folk, with open and respectful hearts tune into the Divine in conversation, there is an opportunity for Presence to manifest and flow between those present.

3) Growing churches was never a Divine suggestion.

Growing things is frankly more to do with market share than the Way of the Kingdom/Queendom.

Institutionalised faith needs institutions and institutions need cash to survive. Once established, rigid faith groups frankly need bums on seats to keep going, and of course as we all know failure is never on the agenda for those believing God is with them.

3) Growth is an organic experience and one that is deeply personal.

The numbers game in religious circles, patronisingly disguised as a concern for the lost, is nothing to do with true growth.

Spiritual growth is the growing awareness of who we are, and our place in the Divine Heart. Such growth often follows times of great personal darkness. It cannot be manufactured on the assembly line of programmed religion. Rather it takes place in the desert of aloneness, when Light invades our Darkness.

4) Growth of our group encourages religious competition.

I’m afraid I have to smile when a new church opens up here in Lincoln. The pastor priest will always claim to be in total harmony with the existing churches in the city. Their targets for membership are always the ‘unchurched’, especially the young unchurched who are susceptible to subtle, or not so subtle, love bombing. What often happens though is a case of sheep transference. When the shiny new religious stall is set out, Jesus people sniff out a better pastureland and hop the church fence to enter the new field of fellowship. And so it continues, throughout the ages. Like competing supermarkets, religious groups are in the marketplace of desire. the subliminal message is always this: ‘Our take on Jesus is more authentic than that of other groups, so come aboard!’. The merry-go-round world of church membership falsely feeds the growth dreams of model pastors/priests. We are getting new people so we must be fulfilling God’s agenda.

5) Big numbers inflate ego’s group identity.

When we get high on our numbers, ego is lurking, willing to elevate us to a special status, that of God’s chosen.

Growth is put down to God adding to our numbers rather than our clever marketing or manipulation of broken folk looking for answers. Ego, looks over its sacred empire and gives itself a pat on the back, while giving God all the glory, at least publicly.

It’s empowering to be a member of a large and cutting edge group, though in time the ride will end in disillusionment and tears. It’s at this stage that God may get a chance to have a wee chat with us and bind up our self-administered wounds.

6) Church and its size is irrelevant in the great scheme of things

While caught up in the church growth delusion we tend to see life as a life-saving operation. It’s a case of getting as many folk as possible into the Jesus lifeboat as possible before they check out of space-time. And as most of us know who’ve sailed the seven seas in such a craft, it’s really a delusion, for the boat of salvation is merely a church expansion programme. Divine Love has birthed all and will embrace all, church membership or not. To limit a spiritual coming home to joining a church is a big mistake. For often we leave the integrity of our God encounter at the door to play a different game, one driven by the need to belong and be accepted; a shinier version of the game that we played in our wilder days.

So there you have it. Some wee thoughts why it’s best not to get involved with your church’s expansion drive known as evangelism. Since the days of my evangelistic zeal I’ve discovered that God is big, very big indeed. Faith groups are only part of a world that is loved, a Love without restraints that waits at the city gate for those with ears to hear to listen and respond. The Voice is everywhere, even, dare I say it, in the back pew of my old hemorrhaging church.

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roller-coaster 11

Roller-Coaster Religion

In our youth many of us loved to visit theme parks with their precarious, spine-tingling rides of terror. It was cool to be scared and come out safe and sound at the other end, before heading back for another go. It’s got me thinking about the religion of my youth. I reckon it was a roller-coaster ride to beat all roller-coaster rides. The big one where Cosmic powers laid down the tracks of my life, taking me on a topsy-turvy  spin of life and death. I guess I’d better explain.

I got on the roller-coaster when I was converted, when I bumped into the Divine at the Theme Park of Northern Irish religion. now at the time I believed that God was the owner of the Park, but I was mistaken. Like me He/She was just visiting, looking for lonely souls like myself, a Divine pick-up if you like. No, I was quickly ushered onto the Charismatic/Evangelical roller-coaster ride, not by Divine Love, but by the ride operators at the Park, the teachers of a faith, full of excitement and thrill.

At first things sped along nicely, as I ate my Bible snacks on a daily basis, drinking from the fizzy fountain of answered prayers. Just around the first bend though, things started to pick up. We weren’t on this ride for fun, rather we’d been recruited by the Divine, who incidentally was wistfully watching from the sidelines, for the Battle of all battles, the titanic struggle of Good v Evil, or Jesus v Satan. My wee psyche had inadvertently been hijacked for a cause, one that had strapped me in for the long-haul, by the vows of group commitment. For beside me, to the right and to the left, were my brothers and sisters, those fellow warriors who joined me in the cause – an army we were told that would storm the Gates of Hell. Boy, was that a rush. One mass of screaming solidarity flying around our God ordained track of Spiritual Warfare. We couldn’t lose with God on our side or could we?

Of course we had some wonderful ups along the Way, when we glanced far below the Face of Divine Love, smiling at us. Unfortunately we mistook this for Its approval, rather than the compassion that awaited us on our dizzy return. Anyway, it was an adrenalin blast, as we danced, sang, spoke in tongues and fell on our faces in the frenzy of devotion. And there sitting in front of us were our elders, who’d ridden the ride for many years, knowing each twist and turn, stoical in their steadfastness and control. All we had to do was copy them and everything would be all right, as we soared into the very heavens of God.

Of course, the downers followed the ups. There were casualties as we peaked and headed down into the tragedies of life at lightening speed. No matter how euphoric the ride, things got messy at times, both personally and collectively. We were bombarded by the fiery darts of the Evil One as we attempted to claim Northern Ireland for Jesus, through the cries and screams of intercessory prayer. And boy, did he pack a punch, knowing how to hit us in our spiritual solar plexus. Depression stalked our downward path, yet we cranked up and efforts and prepared ourselves for the next upward surge of Spirit. The Sunday sermon told us that it wasn’t an easy ride following Jesus, and so it proved, though not for the reasons that the preacher promoted. For a ride with Jesus and the Devil wasn’t a bed of roses, one that we could easily escape from. If we jumped, Evil had won and we’d pay for it for the rest of our lives. If we stayed we pleased Jesus but had hell to pay.

I managed to stay on the ride for 16 years or so, before I was pushed off , so to speak. Having lost my firstborn son Ben, to cot death at 5 months, I began to doubt the supposed All Powerful Designer of the Ride. Yet, even this wasn’t enough to have me get off the Revivalist track. It took some plain old rivalry with my leader friend to have me finally pushed off, an act of unintended mercy, that paradoxically saved my future, psycho-spiritual bacon. And of course, there was God standing by the kiosk of Compassion, granting me all the time necessary, for my cold-turkey detox from the adrenalin-fuelled track of Revivalist religion.

Eighteen years later, it was time for us to be reintroduced. Not on the Fairground Rides of Programmed Religion, but in the aching emptiness of a human heart. And so it has continued, a courtship of Aloneness, a Union in the fields of Self, far from the victory screams of Satan-obsessed souls.

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Awareness Lane

Awareness Lane

‘Two roads diverge in the middle of my life,

I heard a wise man say’

Larry Norman ~ singer-songwriter

I think we’d all agree that life is a journey of sorts. A space-time walk through a kaleidoscope of images and experiences. For some it’s a simple passage, for others the most complex of trips, full of twists, turns and unexpected reversals. It’s amazing that so many of us make it through to old age, even those 60s rock stars who refuse to accept that the glory days are now but fading memories.

One thing regularly appears along our space-time Path, viz. Will Junction. I’d better explain! Life conspires to bring us to a fork in the road, one where we’re presented with two choices, the way of Ego & the Way of Love. Just when we’re sailing along on a seemingly steady course, up ahead lies the dreaded divergence that none of us like to face. One road is wide, a busy, noisy highway if you like, the other a narrow, silent, country lane.

Those of us who wish to get ahead in life, believing the promises and fears of ego, appear to be automatically wired to head down the highway, joining the crowd, those seeking the security of a cultural nirvana. Safety in numbers seems to be the way to go, as we eagerly rush towards our material and status destiny. As long as we keep our inner rev counter at full throttle, we can navigate any obstacles that come our way and make it. So the narrative goes, that regularly broadcasts itself at every junction choice. This is Ego road, the one that ultimately leads to our physical, mental and spiritual burnout. A road of promise, but a road of destruction.

Thankfully, we’re regularly presented with two roads throughout our earthly sojourn. We are not locked into the GPS directives of ego. For, another Path, runs parallel to desire highway, a lane most natural, at one with All. Here, we leave behind the craving to have, swapping it instead for the contentment of being. Letting go of our adrenalin-fuelled drive for status, we discover a sense of quiet ease, as Life takes us where it wills. And beside us on the Journey, walks Another, a reassuring Presence, that ultimately All is well, and shall be well. Here, we catch sight of, perhaps for the first time, a Natural order and balance in our space-time dream. Life and death, joy and sadness, appear to dance together, to carrying us further into that quiet acceptance of Mystery. On this Lane of Awareness we say little but observe a lot, for in our focus lies a revelation of sorts, a knowing that we are already Home.

So how do we tackle these circumstantial junctions of choice, those planted there by Divine Source. Well, simply through the exercise of the most potent of our gifts, viz. will.

Will, is an internal switch that seems to set our psyche-soul direction. It can be a frenzied fan of the Highway, or the calm sponsor of Awareness Lane. If activated by our spirit core, it flows effortlessly in its default choice, leading us into the Path of Peace. Will is our helpmate, once freed from the fear-driven shackles of ego. A most powerful aid in life’s journey, as it paradoxically submits to Divine Desire, that Cosmic Energy that carries us back into the Bosom of Ultimate Source.

So, safe journeying, my fellow travellers. May all roads lead us to Being. May the Lane of freedom, teach us the shocking heights, depths and width of Divine Love.

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Running In Circles

Running In Circles

Trying to escape all things Divine is extremely hard work. For the more we run away, the more frustrated we tend to get. Why? Well, we always seem to end up back at the place where we initiated our attempted break for freedom. Life appears to conspire to bring us back to what we run from, with God being its favourite drop off point.

For those of us who’ve been raised in a religious belief system, the most logical tactic for our planned escape is to ditch God completely, converting to a quasi-confident atheism, with all its promised allure. Out of mind, hopefully out of sight, is its beguiling mantra. Just take up a rigidly atheistic viewpoint and the Divine will leave us alone to enjoy our non-belief in peace. Alternatively, we may prefer to take the slightly less dogmatic agnostic approach to bathe our religious wounds, while swaying to and fro between the opposing belief branches of promise.

Of course, Divine Love lets us have our day of supposed freedom, glad to see us free of our prior religious shackles and metaphysical misconceptions. For God really is into liberty, even if it involves being ignored by those who run a mile from belief systems that go by His/Her Name. So off we dash, running along the remaining track of life, entering each new bend with a renewed vigour and vim as we head for our godless utopia. The old ways lie far behind, distant memories of past metaphysical illusions and pain. ‘Thank God there is no god,’ we cry out in our paradoxical, liberated fervour.

However, the trouble is that we’re not running along a straight track, one that follows the flying crow into the remainder of our space-time existence. For, much to our amazement, we find ourselves running around a circular path that takes us right back to the big Mysteries of life, and eventually bang into a Presence, One that stands tall to block our illusory progress. Yes, at some stage we experience the Track Designer Supreme, stepping out onto Its creation to catch us totally unaware. Thankfully, we’re not frog-marched back into the tepid bath water of our religious past, but into the pulsating Rapids of Spirit Life, an Energy Flow that wells up from our hidden depths within. The Life abundantly as promised by the Nazarene, the Spring of Self from which gushes the endless Source of All.

Only then does it begin to make sense – this topsy-turvy Journey race that ends in healing tears of joy and release. No longer the hurdles of ego, no longer the fear of stumbling on the relational blocks of others, no longer the nightmares of finishing last in the adversarial affairs of humanity. Just a Presence, One that lets us collapse in a heap of sheer relief, just a Presence that allows us to rest before standing up once more to re-engage as Children of Source.

Remember, contrary to ego’s advice, there’s no  place to run and no place to hide. Best to cut short the Great Escape race and fall into the welcoming Arms of Divine Love.

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Suspicion

Suspicion

In the world of metaphysical thought there abounds the negative vibe of suspicion. For me, it’s clearly observed in the mutual wariness between the dogma-defined Christian Tribe and its experiential next door neighbour, the Spirituality movement. I picture these two clans of thought standing back to back at the garden fence, unwilling to acknowledge that the other may just have some valuable glimpse of ultimate Truth.

I guess we’re back into the analogy of blind men each having a hold on the Elephant of Mystery. Holding onto the Trunk, the Christians believe that they have it all worked out in the person of Yeshua and all his extrapolated  traditional add-ons. The Mind, Body, Spirit folk have their hands on the Ears, believing that they convey Cosmic Consciousness, the answer to all our dysfunctional ills. And the result? Separate teacher-gurus, publishing houses, conference circuits, rituals and sub-cultures.

I guess that I’ve jumped into the wide chasm of mistrust between both camps, in my desire to write for both. We do so love our sense of Divine ownership, our compulsive, obsessional belief that we have it all and don’t need to cross into the mindset of the other. All that I need is my big black Bible, a good church and, of course, Jesus. I’m saved and on my way to the sweet by and by, unlike the other lot! Alternatively, I’ve had enough of the Nazarene and the guilt trips of his hypocritical followers, for I’ve found my inner Self, the authentic home of Cosmic Love. I’ve finally cracked the Me thing and don’t need an external divinity, thank you very much. Just top up my supply of crystals and mantra chants and I’ll be fine with my free-flowing chakras. Let the other lot do the us and them thing, for I now love everyone even though I don’t engage with them.

And so the partially sighted march on into certainty, brushing aside the challenges and opportunities for further growth which the other tribe provides. The meeting of minds rarely occurs, though in the case of contemporary, Christian writer, Rob Bell, it has taken place, though at the cost of being demonised as a heretic by fellow admirers.

So, is there really anything to learn from each other? Well, I most certainly reckon that there is. I’d better explain.

The Christian Tribe

Can the Christian band of brothers and sisters learn anything from the Spirituality movement.? May, I humbly suggest that they can. Firstly, the generousity of Divine Love and its inclusive nature. We are all born in the divine image, despite the protestations of guilt ridden St. Augustine. Something deep within, very deep within in most of us, possesses the essence or imprint of Divine Love. Hidden by ego and its swirl of fear-fuelled defensive postures, there is a pearl of great price lying there in the sands of our pained psyche. Only ego sees and us and them – God or Cosmic Source sees all mankind through the Window of the incarnated Tao-Logos, the Beloved Son. We followers of the Nazarene can afford to be much more expansive in our view of the Queendom and who populates it.

The Spirituality Tribe

The SpIrituality Tribe tend to focus on the positive sides of life. All very good, methinks for such a take on Self and others is much-needed in our pessimistic media-driven world. I love the exhilaration of celebrating this mystery called Life. Yet, there is a brokenness in our space-time world that many spiritual folk choose to ignore. Violence isn’t one of the main topics at Mind, Body, Spirit conferences. The violent execution of the Nazarene is irrelevant to our Self growth and meditation, goes the party line. Sometimes the Galilean gets a quick acknowledgement as a spiritual, wisdom teacher, before being airbrushed out of the main tribal metanarrative. Yet, I reckon the tragic end, and claimed resurrection of Yeshua bar Yosef cannot be ignored. It challenges our cultural and metaphysical take on Reality, especially Source Reality. I’d love the Spirituality gurus to discuss the Nazarene more often, something that might help their ex-Christian followers reconcile with their religious pasts.

Of course, I could go on and on. It’s a topic for further discussion and mutual respect. Meanwhile I’ll continue to try to do my little bit in encouraging the estranged neighbours to look each other in the eye, for, it’s there that we can truly glimpse Other. Left to our own devices we head into exclusivity, together we get to have a clearer picture of the Mysterious Elephant in the Cosmic Room.

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Freedom

Freedom

 

I guess that everyone’s after it; freedom, that is. It’s often used as a raison d’être for the vicious violence that swirls around individuals, communities and nation states. Everyone who fights sees themself as a freedom fighter of sorts. Yet the very fact that one fights is a sign that freedom lies a long way off. For true freedom isn’t just the rearrangement and temporary pacifying of our psycho-spiritual subpersonalities, but a much more radical process.

Freedom is ultimately the freedom from desire, the beguiling energy that draws us into the obsessive acquisition of both things and people. Unsurprisingly, mass market advertisers hate genuine freedom – for it’s their negating nemesis. Rampant, restless desire is their mistress. They use her to fatten their wallets and those belonging to their clients, the wealthy multinationals of our world.

It’s hard to escape desire’s clutches for its tenacious tentacles wrap themselves around our every waking moment. Newspapers, TV, Radio, and the Internet, all pulsate with demanding desire. ‘If you get hold of this then you’ll be free and happy!’ It’s one big lie of course, but that’s what makes human culture tick. We all operate within a subconscious con-job. No, freedom isn’t to be found within the citadel of establishment or the hippy tent of countercultural values.

Surprisingly, freedom is found within and only after an awakening to some disturbing wee facts. We are not autonomous creatures as suggested by cultural norms. Far from it. Rather, we’re constantly responding to a network of encroaching desires, a subliminal matrix that controls us like a puppet on a string. Desire disguises itself in the most intriguing of ways. It can come in materialistic, relational or, even more deviously, metaphysical forms, pulling us towards the illusory goal of acquired happiness and pseudo-freedom.

Authentic freedom usually comes after we imagine we’re going under; when the last of our desire attachments are cut away by the pruning Gardener of Divine Love. Each little snip results in a pain-filled howl, yet bit by bit, we arrive at a place where the only desire left is the one for Source. The bloom of Union will come after the Winter of angst-filled death, the hellish stripping away of our skewed desire web. Realigned with Source, we can tentatively re-emerge into the desire-flux world of men. This time though we’re not easily fooled, for our eyes have been opened. We’re now free to engage or disengage with oncoming transmitted desire. We see the matrix for what it is, the Deceiver of all deceivers.

So, best to let the illusion of personal autonomy go and jump into the embrace of Divine Love. The Dancer and the Dance, a Union of freedom, one beyond desire.

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Post-Christmas Portal

Post-Christmas Portal

 

It’s a bit of a downer to be told that the Nazarene was probably born in September rather than December. So much for the snow and all things Christmassy. The old Germanic pagan feast of Yuletide was hijacked or redeemed by the European Christian establishment and turned into a food filled celebration of the coming of the Light – of the World, that is.

So here we are, half exhausted by the rigours of winter and the crazy guilt trip merchandising of 21st century capitalism, waiting for the big day. The post feast mid-afternoon nap beckons, restoring some sense of normality into our mid-winter orgy of plastic tv and family.

Am I turning into a grumpy Mr Scrooge as we get closer to the annual event? Well, I hope not, for despite my disdain for all things Yuletide, there is a ray of hope, viz. the days after Christmas. What do I mean? Well, once the turkey and accompanying indigestion has slipped away, once the adrenalin-fuelled rush has dissipated and normality, whatever that may mean, returns we have a door of opportunity.

To do what, you may ask? Well, to get in touch with Something or Someone that has waited throughout the festive frenzy to get a word in edgeways, and a simple but profound word at that. ‘I’m here,’ whispers the Word of words, the timeless One. Here to behold and acknowledge the one called me, psycho-spiritual warts and all. A profound gift that reaches to the womb of Self, proclaiming that all is well and shall be well.

Divine Love, is the Supreme Authenticator, the One whose words really matter. The words of friends, family and work-colleagues can only put a band-aid on our sense of rejection, our feeling of not having made it, whatever that might mean. For, it’s only Source, the Transcendence that thought us up in a Creative fanning of the Divine Fire, that can set our hearts aflame with the energy and wholeness of sheer being, a being without the need for human endorsement.

So as we retreat once more into our protective ego shell, having packed away the plastic smiles and pretend bonhomie, let’s leave a door open within the empty caverns of our tired psyche-soul. One is waiting to approach, to touch and to restore a knowing beyond the empty games of men. Presence is there for us all, no matter what Linus label we cling onto.

Yes, our post-Christmas portal is worth waiting for. A time to welcome the September visitor Tao-Logos into the inner cloisters of Self. A sublime meeting of Fire and Spark, Dancer and Dance, Spirit and spirit, one beyond the somewhat shallow celebrations of man.

Happy Christmas

Dylan Morrison

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I'm A Holy Roller ~ Get Me Outta Here

I’m A Holy Roller ~ Get Me Outta Here

We glibly follow the Nazarene in many guises. One of our favourite ones is the serious disciple, the  believer whose big aim in life is to make Jesus, Lord. We play numerous church and individual basedl games in our zealous attempt at convincing ourselves that we’ve finally handed over the control of our lives to the mysterious Galilean. Now, as a recovering Holy Roller myself, one who played loads of complex Spirit games in my youth, I want to examine why so many Charismatic/Pentecostal folk eventually leave their initial, revivalist brand of choice.

May I be blunt? We can play an extremely plausible role within Spirit-focused faith, or indeed, within the many modern New Age alternatives and still not have yielded to Divine Love. I’d better explain. Ego, our wounded, and often frenetic, psyche-soul, adores religious or spiritual disguises. It’s a past master at the whole Angel of Light thing. Since time began, long ago in the mythic Garden, ego has wrapped itself in its psycho-spiritual skins to hide from the Innocent intimacy of Source, fearing that it has been spurned by Love and placed under a divine fatwa.

The Evangelicals among us were told that ‘the Satan’ used to lead the Heavenly choirs in their harmonic songs of adoration. In other words, a religious worship leader, or alternatively, a pseudo-spiritual vibrational expert. Maybe there’s some elements of truth in there, for ego, the faithful foot soldier of the aforementioned adversarial system, can certainly put on a good show. Ego loves religious devotion with all its directed hoop-jumping. It will commit itself to great depths of suffering and pain, all in the name of God. It will ‘serve’ and ‘love’ till it’s blue in the face and about to expire. Add a controlling pastoral or authoritative voice to the mix and ego will splash its cash to get some of what it appears to have.

Paradoxically, it’s all about trying to impress the Divine while being terrified of its pronouncements. Many of us, whether religious or spiritual, have played this game in our time, on the ever-spinning hamster-wheel of devotion. And yet, we all eventually fall off. Well, to be more accurate, we’re simply pushed off by the intervention of Spirit, in the form of Life. So let’s be clear; ego has vast resources of psychological strength, yet even these remain limited. At some stage in our sojourn Divine Love comes calling, loudly proclaiming, ‘Enough is enough. Time for aReality check!’

Now, it’s at this critical stage in our journey when we Holy Rollers, start rebuking everything in sight, in one last desperate attempt to remain in our religious delusion. ‘God would never let this happen to me – I’m a Holy Roller – get me outta here,’ we scream in frustrated sincerity!

And yet, in reality, this is the day of our salvation. Not the religious joining of a faith system through confessional game play, but rather, a felt and all too painful salvation. For Divine Love has decided to take us through cold turkey, weaning us off our devotional drug in a way that only Transcendence can manage. When Love strikes it heads straight for the dependency jugular. Yes, you’ve guessed it, ego. It only asks one thing – a surrender of control, an end to our illusory state of independence and strength. Of course, like some great lion with a thorn in its paw, ego doesn’t lie down lightly. Thankfully though, Source knows us better than we know ourselves, and the final act of compassion comes swiftly and decisively. We, or more accurately ego, is floored for good. Time for some thorn removal therapy methinks!

I look fondly back to my somewhat heady days as a Holy Roller. Divine Love was extremely gracious to me in many, many ways, and yet, all along It was planning to snatch me from the jaws of ego in the blink of an eye. ‘Do you miss it all’, I’m often asked. Well, to be honest no. Better to have ego, healed and reintegrated, rather than running around in its blind religious fervour.

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Treadmill Revivalism

Treadmill Revivalism

 

Not long after we join a church or para-church movement we’re told, either bluntly, or ever-so subtly, that we’re all on a mission for God. Out there in the big wide world are millions of our fellow-men and women, those who don’t know Jesus like we know Him. The Christian life is one big mission, the evangelising of the whole world no less. If we don’t get it done nobody else will, and to accomplish it we need to commit to our sect of choice.

Of course, there are many varied brands within the Christian flock, but we’re told by much older experienced hands that the holy grail that we singularly seek is  revival. Now I’m all for revivals when they come along, but I’m not so sure that Divine Love is obsessed with them. And lets face it, numerous revivals have been claimed, when they are really no more than subtle mind-control events, hyped up with seductive music and a touch of show biz glamour.

In my dour wee homeland of Northern Ireland, a revival took place in the early 20th century. At the heart of it lay the fiery preaching of WP Nicholson, a travelling evangelist from my home town, who literally scared the hell out of folk. Gifted with the blunt language of the common man Nicholson painted a burning end for those who didn’t respond to his particular take on salvation. So effective was he that his converts returned a mountain of stolen tools to  the Harland and Wolf shipyard, builder of the ill-fated Titanic. Yet, can terror or hell-driven conviction for sin really be the sign of Divine Love at work. I tend to think not.

Anyway, when we’ve signed up to our beguiling new Christian movement we’re informed that something big, really big, is just around the corner , like the visit of the aliens in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, only holier. Yes, you guessed it – God has plans for a great world revival and we’re at the heart of His planning committee. Of course as a new convert, one eager to please both God and man, we tend to believe such sacred spin. And so our addiction for pre-revival disciplines begins.

I’ve done them all in my time. Prayer and fasting are the biggies for many revival heads. The game plan is simple: the more we pray the more God turns up. The more we fast the more powerful or influential our prayers. Now this raises a few important questions. Why does God not come at the first sign of a request from His followers? Why does giving up our daily sustenance twist God’s arm even more. One begins to wonder if God is really into this penny in the slot, type of faith dynamic.

In my own Charismatic sect of choice, we discovered that an ancient Celtic monastery in our town had established a 24 hour prayer and praise regime during the early medieval period. For over a couple of hundred years Celtic hymns and contemplative prayers were offered up without a moments break. Three 8 hour shifts of chorister monks at full throttle, copying the daily routine of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Hundreds of monks travelled from my wee town to the pagan lands of Europe with much success in their attempts to introduce the wild Germanic hordes to the love of Jesus. So, inspired by our ancestors pious dedication we began. The task of continuous prayer through the hours of darkness was handed out to the men of the fellowship. If one refused, a not so subtle demotion in the eyes of our zealous leaders resulted, doubting one’s commitment or indeed manhood. The dear women of our group theoretically covered the daylight hours, when they weren’t being model wives and mothers.

Yep, the Prayer Watch, as it was known, marked us out as one spiritual notch above the rest in the religious Bible of Northern Ireland. As dragged ourselves out of bed at some unearthly hour to tumble down to the church offices to pray with our prayer partner, the spirit was willing but the flesh extremely weak. Boy those were the days – days of madness in hindsight. Of course not everything went to plan. I well remember the night when my partner and I got stuck in a snow drift and couldn’t fulfil our obligations. The poor duo who we were supposed to relieve on watch, had to do our stint as well. I’m sure many employers wondered why once a week their model Christian workers would turn up to work fit for nothing, catnapping their way throughout the paid working day.

I guess we were peer pressured young idealists willing to join the revivalist treadmill. After all, if we put in the effort God would surely deliver – wouldn’t He? Of course it was a recipe for psycho-spiritual burnout. A presented but unreal God who expected us to put in a good penny’s worth in order for others to discover him for themselves.

Is it any wonder that we eventually fall off our religious treadmills, exhausted and somewhat disillusioned by the modus operand of our particular revivalist sect? There is much madness in the Christian world whilst wisdom, true wisdom lies within. So, if you’re tempted to sign up for a spiritual gym with the carrot of revival set temptingly before you, best return to the privacy of your own Self and listen for the still small Voice.

Next week I’ll tackle the crazy practice of fasting as a prayer enhancer. More crazy tales of a semi-starving religious junkie.

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The Search For Wholeness

The Search For Wholeness

 

After we realise that we are a separate entity of sorts, following the awakening of infancy, we set off on a journey that lasts a lifetime. An inner angst that all is not quite right drives us along a path that searches for wholeness and completeness.

Of course our newly formed ego pulls out many tricks to try to get us there. For a young child popularity seems to be the golden chalice to return us to our original state. Yet this desire to be number one in the eyes of our playground others just initiates us into a path of conflict and competition, one that can last well into later life. No wholeness there then.

In our teenage years the wonders of sexuality and its promise of a deep union with another, preferably an attractive one, beckons. Sex is the new healer we are told by mass media and the advertising industry. Just find the right sexual partner and all will be well – a libido utopia that promises much but ultimately deceives. For in seeking an appropriate partner to complete us we are actually looking for one with the negatives and positives of our early carers, viz. our parents. Behind the hormonal urges we are looking for a replay of our early wounding and affirmation. Hoping to get it right the second time we project and transfer the memories of past events onto the one before us – our better half as we foolishly believe. Of course reality eventually kicks in and we either settle for separate lives, giving up the dream of marital wholeness, or continue on in a numbing illusion to our end of days.

Of course some of us were sold the god of a particular religion as the key to wholeness. If only we believe and receive the divinity of choice with its rules for right living then all would be well. It certainly works for a while, especially in the heady days of our 20s and 30s. Initiated into an instant family of fellow believers we once more set about the reconstruction job of our early family life. Often the leaders of our local religious brand become our parents in our dance of restitution and recovery with god smiling benignly upon our efforts. Eventually though the old sense of being half-filled returns as our projected parents let us down once more, revealing their fragile feet of clay. Indeed they too are searching for wholeness in their role of leading others. But that is a story for another day.

Of course the pharmaceutical industry jumps in to take the edge of our inner angst, this feeling of  being somehow flawed. Antidepressants, whilst initially helpful in treating our dark depressions can never take us to the place that we desire. Every alternative addiction is tried and found wanting. Initially, tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, money, career development etc all promise much but with a heavy price. We feel worse and less of a person than when we started.

So this sounds all rather depressing. Well, yes I guess it is, and yet that is our experience for much of our lives. There will be occasional highs of connectedness and well-being but generally we feel like half a person or three-quarters at best. A little hole resides deep within, one that many of us choose to ignore, for heading there only triggers past pain and rejection.

So can we find a level of wholeness. Well, I believe we can, but it takes courage and dare I say it a measure of madness, according to ego that is. For, rather than trying to move people and things into the missing jig-saw space within our sense of Self, we just let go. Finally getting the message that we just are, Something other moves in like a flood to fill our angst strewn caverns. In giving up, we find what we have always searched for, A Source Presence that holds us in the palm of its hands. The bigger picture that we’ve missed in our days of frantic search. In going through the pain of  fragmentation we come out on the Other side, the Reality behind the screen of isolation and despair. The Cosmic parent who has not cracked our sense of Self through rejection and judgement. Our carer par excellence.

The Nazarene knew what lies beyond and lies within. Our wholeness lies in the depths of spirit under the fear-fuelled world of ego and illusory relationships. It is ours to give; a gift to our space-time Self.

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Little gods

Little gods

 

The major religions claim that we are made in the image of God, or the  Divine Source. Most of their adherents walk around believing it but without much of a clue as to what it may mean. I guess that sums up most of our metaphysical  beliefs. We just believe them and continue merrily on our way.

In this new little series I thought I’d look at two aspects of the Divine that we can reflect in this space-time reality, viz. creativity and compassion. Today we shall look at creativity.

I guess it’s pretty obvious that Source must be a creator; by definition we wouldn’t be here unless it had done its thing. And what a creation it’s come up with. Surrounded by our man-made concrete jungles we’ve lost touch with the wonders and simple complexities of the Natural Order. To gaze and ponder on a wondrously blue dragonfly is to touch base with a drop of the Mystery that is God. Multiply such experiences by a thousand fold and we are closer to believing that there is a purposeful Designer somewhere out there, perhaps even within.

Yes, Divine Source, this Transcendent Creator is full of intelligence, an intelligence bursting with the passion of expressing itself on the canvas of space-time. Creating is part of the Divine DNA – it can’t help itself, dancing its way through the virtual-reality fields of Being. And, its masterpiece is us, those little humanoids that populate planet Earth. Like a mischievous Rembrandt, the Artist has placed something of Himself in each and every one of us.

One such aspect of this Spirit brushed image is our own ability to create. Like the Divine, we too can’t help ourselves. We have been hot-wired to create. Each of us has been equipped with a well-spring of creative energy with which to express the wonder of our individual perception of Being. Such creativity, brings a flow and sense of purpose to our daily lives. Show me a creator and I will show you one that has phoned Home. In the act of creating, we know we are linked to something much bigger than our psyche-soul; in releasing the energy within we are opening up a conduit with the Divine, a pipeline back to Source.

May I suggest that much of our internal angst stems from a blockage of this creative flow. Stuck in the rat-race we work to survive, often in jobs that call for little or no creativity at all. As we take our dutiful places within the production line of our material world, we yearn for the fields of freedom, space where we can be Me. If this sums up your particular situation what can be done?

Well, I reckon that we all have a little creative project on hold within us. Swamped by the pressures of supposed ‘life’, it lies waiting its release. It lies bubbling under the hardened rock of our ego demands and fear-based control. Getting in touch with our creator within is the first step to release. Being brutally honest with ourselves in the silence of contemplation enables us to hear the whispers of our liberator. Once we know what we really WANT to do, will is on hand to energise our escape from the confines of our non-creative life. As we take the first steps towards our creative project, power flows from somewhere deep within. It is the energy of Divine Passion, released like a caged tiger on the plains of ordinariness. With one leap we are free to be a more authentic version of our Self. Once complete, a new creative surge will present itself to carry us even further forward.

I’d better make clear that this new creativity may or may not be part of our daily 9-5 job. If it is, then much  workplace stress will disappear. If not, then it will find its river course in another slice of our space-time existence. One ounce of creativity outside the workplace will enable our psyche-souls to bear the load of much hum-drum grind. Yet, once experienced even the predictability of our regular jobs may begin to change. For, once the creative genie is released from the lamp of ego boredom, anything is possible.

So, may I suggest that as we set out along the path of creativity, we are on a journey that will inevitably lead to a meeting with the Creator of all creators, the Source I Am. To jump on the creative train is an act of faith or trust, one that can take us to places that we can’t imagine – a place of inner Knowledge and Divine encounter.

Now where DID I put that manuscript?

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Inner Core

Inner Core

 

It’s been a funny few weeks, with my health scare and all. Last Wednesday I saw my friendly maxillofacial surgeon who confidently informed me that I had a case of solar keratosis rather than fully fledged lip cancer. Still wants to take a lip biopsy to confirm his diagnosis but it’s all good news, at least better than it was at my clinical dermatologist’s. Certainly a weight lifted off me and my good lady Zan as we walked from the clinic with a spring in our step. I’m still listening for answers within. Why now is the big question, as I’m on the verge of launching my new book! Is there a connection, a little thorn in the flesh perhaps to keep me grounded in the One I purport to write about.

This has got me thinking again at the power of the psyche-soul. The slightest sign of bad news and its off on one. Like a little defense force it pumps us full of fear, narrowing our inner world down to the goal of survival. Useful I guess for our Neolithic ancestors who ran when an enormous big beast jumped on them from a great height. But today? I suspect that we all have a psyche-soul that’s a bit oversensitive  and paranoid about making mistakes. Having left us open to the primal wounding of infancy, it’s not gone to make the same mistake again. Like some form of psycho-spiritual AWAC , it’s all too ready for signs of danger on our ground of being. Ready to launch counter strikes by our fighter sub-personalities at the drop of a misperception we fly on the wings of feeling.

So when my clinically cool dermatologist mentioned the word ‘pre-cancerous’ my personal little airforce sprung into action, stunning both body and soul into a form of lockdown. The border crossing through which spirit-breath flows and energises our everyday life is closed with immediate effect. ‘No time for this spiritually minded stuff,’ the psyche soul declares. ‘This is an emergency, code red.’

Yet in Reality it isn’t of course. It’s just a blip on the world of form. It just doesn’t feel like that as body and soul conspire to rule our conscious world, pumping it full of dreadful scenarios.’Take tour pick,’ it kindly offers. ‘ All will end up in the big wooden box – oblivion, with no beyond.’ Such a cheerful chap this psyche-soul, armed with its sense of impending doom. What power to sway and send us down the corridors of despair within seconds of its ‘Warning, Warning’ red light.

So how are we to stay sane, equipped with such a potent battery of survival powers. Well of course it’s not the whole story. Behind this little ‘me’ lies another, one from One, the Divine Spark that needs no defending. Non reactive and constantly at peace, this Self gets quickly overlooked in the frantic fray that follows an AWAC warning. Battlestations are where it’s at, but deep within we’re undisturbed and gently pulsating to the calming energy of Divine Love. So it’s all about which layer of reality we plug into. Unless we are a walking, talking Spiritual Master, our psyche-soul early warning system will always kick in. It’s what we do about it that determines our future level of peace.

Psyche-soul tends to see itself higher up the spiritual plane than it really is. It’s a ‘me’ tool for our space-time experience, a self for this world of matter and form. It was not created to control, but to be the junior dance partner in the Waltz of Being. In other words, its perceptions must be seen in the Light of a higher knowledge. The AWAC of psyche-soul isn’t the be all and end all of  perception. It’s limited in its range of Reality perception. No, for a genuine overview of our Being, spirit breath must come into play.

And how do we achieve this when all hell breaks loose? Well, we need to look within, beyond the emotional skirmishes of consciousness, to the place of peace, that dwelling place of Source. Passing down through the layers of fear we’ll find the eye of the storm – the stillness that whispers ‘Enough’. Walking in solitude, meditation, prayer; all help us leave the chattering fears of our AWAC behind. In Silence we touch base with Headquarters and the One who really knows.

So maybe that’s why we’re here in the first place. To walk through this induction process of awakening; to discover in the realm of soul that we are much more, a little drop of the Divine Ocean having its human experience.

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Families ~ Blessings Or Curse?

Families ~ Blessings Or Curse?

 

In the first post of this little series I looked at the pros of cons of mothers on the development of our fledgling psyche. Interestingly most folk have kept their comments to themselves after reading it. Perhaps I have unearthed a pain not yet reading for the Light. Perhaps the post was way off mark. Anyway, today I wish to look at fathers and how they influence our psycho-spiritual makeup.

Contrary to popular myth it was the women folk who ruled the roost within the human communities of ancient times. The warrior Amazons of folklore representing a hidden truth that the modern male prefers to ignore. Somewhere in the dark annals of history a shift took place and men rose to the top of the tribal pecking order, at least in theory if not altogether in practice.

Today we again live in a time of flux where the relatively recent social order is once again shifting. Women are once more emerging from under the male dominance of social norms. It is difficult being a mother and indeed a father in such a whirlwind of social change, no matter how beneficial it may prove to the future of mankind.

Having said this, I wish to look at fathers in light of the traditional Middle Eastern take on fathers, one that prevailed in 1st century Palestine at the time of  the Nazarene. Such social norms greatly influenced the religious take on God, pushing the concept of the Divine feminine to the edges of acceptability or into the so-called heretical realms of goddess worship. Yeshua’s contemporaries perceived God as a Father due to their belief that fathers were the source of life. This Divine Source  was by their definition in control as of right. The One who provides the gift of life wields the authority to govern it. Middle Eastern fathers were thus perceived as governors in their own home and as such to be honoured and obeyed.

This model of fatherhood was left unchanged by the developing Christian movement as it spread westwards. Today our Western view of fatherhood is slowly changing but vestiges of the old hierarchical order still cling to our daily family affairs.

So what of our fathers? How have they shaped our psycho-spiritual development. Let me first start with the negatives. Absentee fathers are the plague of our modern world. Willing enough to sow their seed in an act of sensual pleasure many ‘dads’ aren’t so keen on hanging around for long. Many of our inner feelings of abandonment and loneliness can be attributed to the absence of an authenticating male parent. No matter how well our single mothers pour their love and nurture into our fledgling psyche-souls there is a wee gap. At the risk of appearing sexist, I believe that fathers who run away are depriving their kids of something deeply valuable. It is one thing to be loved by a single parent; it’s an altogether different level of assurance to have two parents, both present and engaging in a mutual love. The world appears to be a safer place for those of us fortunate enough to have been raised in such an environment.

Of course many fathers hang around but might as well have left. Fathers who are severely dysfunctional imprint disorder and confusion onto the psyche-soul of their deeply observational kids. Violent mood swings or emotional apathy are vicious psychic wounds that remain with us well into adulthood. Unaware of how messed up our fathers really are we give them the benefit of the doubt by believing ourselves to be at fault. Our childhood reasoning goes something like this: “If I take the blame, then  dad will love me”. Such faulty programming goes with us into life as we seek the approval of further father-like figures, whether future husbands or work-place bosses.

Of course some fathers are dysfunctional in an altogether way, attempting to micro-manage the life of their child.  Discipline and training are the cover stories for what in essence is a form of bullying. The bullying dad who makes his son or daughter do the right thing is a deeply insecure individual, most likely a victim himself of past parental abuse. In this camp we often find the religious zealot who believes that it is his duty to instil the fear of God into his offspring. Nothing of course is further from the truth, but many fathers use God as their cover story for emotional and often physical abuse.

So enough of the bad news! How can a father aid our healthy psycho-spiritual development. Well, obvious as it may seem, he must be a man who is secure enough to change and admit his own frailties, even to his children. If he has frozen on his own path of discovery he will do the same to his kids. Above all he will be a channel of unconditional love, even as one who sets out boundaries for his children. The children must know that they are loved not because of their performance but just because they are.  If dads can convey and model this to their young families then they have sown a seed within their children’s psyche that will bear much emotional health in adulthood.

A father who understands the keys of human development and adjusts the manifestations of his love to suit his child’s stage of maturation is a wise man indeed. For the loving boundary setter of early childhood must morph into the dependable supporter as his growing child sets of on their own journey of Self-discovery.

Above all, the father who believes and trusts that Divine Love is within and authenticating  the life of his child has the right idea. At times of suffering and pain, the good father will be helpless. It is in such times of turmoil that there is nothing left to hold onto but One who is All in All. It’s not easy to believe, for the pain of fatherhood can be psyche-shattering at times. As I stood over the open grave of my wee baby son Ben, back in 1984 I gave him over to the One from whom he’d come. It was as painful as hell but it was the only way. To do otherwise would have been a one way trip to insanity.

So, if  you’ve been deprived by a lack of input or indeed damaged by abusive acts of a loveless man what is one to do? Well, the best plan is to call a spade a spade and get those inner memories out into the open. Left in denial they only fester away and manifest in mental health issues or physical illness. Find an external authenticator, one who can reprogramme those inner tracks of hurt with unconditional love. For some of us this requires therapy or the listening ear of a deep friend, for others serious reading and a willingness to delve into that place of rejection that we’ve never wanted to visit.

May Abba,  the Cosmic Parent of the Nazarene and all mankind, guide us on the Path of inner healing and peace.

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Where Does God Hang Out?

Where Does God Hang Out?

 

Ever wondered where God hangs out? Now I know that God is everywhere, but what I’m trying to get at is where does the Divine hang out with us. Where do we really experience the intimacy of the One who fills all in all.

When we observe those who believe in a Divinity, it would appear that for many it’s a sacred building wherein lies the Reality of Transcendence. For each Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, millions worldwide head to their local, Mosque, Synagogue or Church in their search for God. An alien observing our religious practices would have to conclude that the Source has instructed It’s followers to meet up with It in the dedicated structures of ‘holy’ buildings.

I once remember sitting at the back of  St. Mary’s Basilica, in the historic city of Krakow, Poland, with my eyes focused on the isle in front of me. A recovering Protestant like me couldn’t believe my eyes. For on a regular weekday morning, a steady stream of teenagers would walk into the cathedral and immediately drop to their knees, making the sign of the cross as they devotedly stared at the altar. Back in Northern Ireland it was a Herculean task to drag a hormone tossed teenager into a church on a Sunday morning outing! Of course, Poland is still a Catholic fuelled nation, one whose identity is closely tied in with its faith of choice. Nevertheless, it was the perception of the young folk concerned that God somehow hung out here more than anywhere else that slightly disturbed me.

The danger for all religions is that a place and its related rituals, be it group prayer, worship via song, sacramental acts of remembrance or the sermon-homile become the only place for Divine contact in the eyes of their adherents. More worryingly is the underlying programming that one must  attend and support the associated institution in order to keep in touch with the Divine. Holy texts, tradition and guilt are all used to keep the faithful on the hamster-wheel of religious attendance.

Unsurprisingly the Divine may touch the hungry soul in such an environment. If the individual in question only looks for Divine Love in their hallowed environment of choice then that is where It will manifest from time to time. An act of mercy, rather than the outcome expected for putting the attendance penny in the slot of the religious fruit machine.

Many of my old Christian friends often look at me with saddened eyes before asking if I don’t miss the regular meeting together of the saints on a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening in my church of choice. My answer tends to shock them a little; it’s always an emphatic but hopefully humble no. I’m afraid I’ve attended too many Christian circuses in my time to appreciate the spiritual nuances of being in a sacred building doing my sacred stuff. I have to be honest; churches tend to give me the creeps.

Here in Lincoln, we have one of the most striking Gothic Cathedrals in the world. Tourists come by the coach-load to pay their £8 and see the ecclesiastical wonder that meets them. Yet, it does nothing for me, failing to touch any sense of the Transcendence within. Lincolnshire, being a very rural county is peppered with endless little Anglican parish churches, striving to survive the ravages of time. Occasionally I will go in to have a wee peep. Again nothing but the ghosts of times long gone, war memorials to the fallen brave of our past military misadventures. Not a spark of the eternal grabs my open heart.

Of course many folk find solace and meaning in their shrine of choice. For many ritual is faith and faith ritual. Yet, I’m afraid, no longer for me.  I’ve left behind the past scenes of my holy encounters, the waving arms, the rock fuelled worship, the teaching times of human wisdom. Yet, let me make clear that I’m not here to judge my fellow travellers, only to point towards another way for those tired of their building devotion. So where is this place where I and Spirit touch. If not in the purpose-built sanctuaries of man then where?

Well, let me answer with a simple little illustration.

This morning as I left my local paper shop to jump into my car I had an encounter. An encounter with Other, via the most touching of forms. Suddenly I spotted a mother duck crossing the road in front of me. Walking with great confidence and assurance she was followed by her three, little, fluffy ducklings, eyes devotedly fixed on their mama in front.

‘There’s mimesis for you my son,’ whispered my inner Voice.

‘See how it’s done! Follow me.’

Enough said.

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