My own Loving Presence is my personal connection with Divine Mind. Attuned to my own Loving Presence, I Know myself as whole and holy. As I feel my inner unity, I know: this is all I want; I have found all I seek.
Few words today. Just rest here with me, in the stillness of our Oneness, where our Loving Presences meet in Divine Mind.
Let us be Whole together. Let us be Holy. Let us be One, here, now, today, in stillness, in the certainty of Knowing.
Invite others; invite All. Let us weave our light-web of Knowing Oneness with anyone, with everyone.
Give your Loving Presence to any and All today—that is what they seek; you are their fulfillment. Your certainty in your Self shows them their own Self, shows you both Oneness.
To heal and be healed is to be aware, to understand, and to Know Wholeness. Thus I seek Wholeness, Unity, Oneness within my own mind and heart, and in all my actions and affairs. I focus on uniting the fragments within myself, so that I see only Oneness, which is the Truth of my Self. As I Know myself as the Oneness that I am, this Truth reflects in the world around me, confirming what I Know through my experience in my life activity.
This guiding thought is complex. One of my professors uses the word “unpack” to mean “let’s break this down” or “let’s look more closely at the constituent parts, and see how they fit together.” Unpacking is a necessary skill when studying concepts—because we are trying to get at what is behind, under, in, and around the words. Words are empty; words are symbols. What fills the words? What do the symbols represent? What meaning do you bring to the words? These are the questions that unpacking answers.
In contemplating today’s guiding thought I turned naturally to unpacking. Here is some of it:
To heal and be healed is: “To heal” can mean that I (my body) heal, as a passive action; or it can mean that I can heal another, which is a dynamic action, something that I do. “Be healed” can mean that I am being healed by another or that it is a state of being which requires no action—it just is. The verb is denotes that the two subjects, to heal and be healed are the same thing, they are equal—“is”. What are they equal to?
…is to be aware, to understand, and to Know:These words denote both a process and a state of being—awareness happens moment to moment; each moment of awareness leads to understanding, and each moment of awareness is also a state of being aware; understanding requires its own development (i.e. it must be cultivated), occurs moment to moment, is a result of awareness, and brings about Knowledge. Knowledge is the cumulative effect and result of awareness and understanding, Knowledge is also a state of being—in Knowledge there is certainty, sureness, no-questions, just Knowing.
…to be aware, to understand and to Know Wholeness: means to be both in the process of coming to Knowledge about Wholeness, as well as to be in the state of being that is Wholeness.
What is Wholeness? “Thus I seek Wholeness, Unity, Oneness within my own mind and heart, and in all my actions and affairs.” Part of the clue to unpacking this was found yesterday on this Journey: “The point is to rely on my own Loving Presence to guide me. The point is to turn to the Loving Presence within me, that Knows Divine Mind, in everything I do. The point is to encounter each activity, all day, all interactions by being guided by the Self of me, by offering that activity to my own Loving Presence.” The idea of healing, of wholeness, is the True North on the compass—it is the highest ideal, which when offered to my own Loving Presence, serves to guide my life and activity in a way that corresponds to Divine Mind’s highest ideal for my life and affairs.
The thing about unpacking is that even the unpacking can be unpacked. When working with concepts, there are always layers, always depths to plumb. For example, what does it mean to say that “understanding requires its own development?” Or what does it mean to be in a state of being? Each concept can be viewed in relation to any other concept, and with each connection, more is revealed about both.
Of course, words (and even concepts) are simply symbols. Through them we learn our Self—our infinite, eternal Self. There are infinite concepts, infinite connections, infinite relationships that show you your Self. Some words and concepts expand your understanding and lead you to Knowledge (ideas like Love, Peace, Healing, and Oneness); some lead you to limits and boundaries, walls that you build. How deep will you go in your thoughts, in seeking your Self? Will you expand and include or stagnate and limit?
I rely on my own Loving Presence to lead and guide me toward the meaning of healing. Seeking the meaning of healing frames all my activity and gives context to all my interactions. Though I may encounter disturbances throughout daily activity, I lay them at the feet of my own Loving Presence and continue to ask, “What is healing?” My own Loving Presence directs me as I listen in the stillness.
After yesterday, today’s Guiding Thought makes sense in a new way. One of the themes yesterday was, “I do not know!” and it was a freeing realization. Today, I understand why it was freeing: I do not know, but I can rely on my own Loving Presence to guide me. I may not know, but my own Loving Presence does.
In fact, with new understanding today, I realize that finding the meaning of healing is not even the point. For as long as I live in a world of perception, judgment, and the valuing of one thing over another, meaning is meaningless, because it is only the preference of one idea (perception, judgment, value) over another.
The point is to rely on my own Loving Presence to guide me. The point is to turn to the Loving Presence within me, that Knows Divine Mind, in everything I do. The point is to encounter each activity, all day, all interactions by being guided by the Self of me, by offering that activity to my own Loving Presence.
The point is for me to get out of my own way! I do not know! When I approach my life and activity thinking that I know, thinking I have an answer (or the answer), thinking “I got this”…I am interacting through ignorance. Not intentional ignorance, but the ignorance born of limited perspective, opinion, and interpretation. Freedom comes in giving those meanings I have created, in my limited way, to the Loving Presence within that has direct communication with the Infinite and Eternal.
What is freedom, but living and acting in the acceptance of what is Infinite and Eternal? What is freedom, but knowing my Self as this expansiveness? With this, is another clue! Any time I act or think in a limiting way…I am not letting my Self (my own Loving Presence) guide me. Is freedom not what I want, what I know I want, truly, deeply? I want to be free in Love, in Peace, in Joy all the time (dammit!). And that includes you too, you know: This is the real meaning of, “no one is free while others are oppressed”.
Be free! Claim your ignorance as a vehicle for freedom! At every limitation, at every moment, in every interaction—give your ignorance and limitation to the Self within you, your own Loving Presence, to take to Infinite and Eternal Divine Mind…and listen as your Infinite Self returns to you, through you, as you.
I go deep within my inner stillness, and feel Divine Mind’s presence within me. I hold out my empty hands, symbolic of leaving preconceptions behind; symbolic of seeking True answers, and I ask, “What is the essence of healing?” These words resonate within me, as though in a vast cavern. The word essence reverberates with these thoughts, “For what do I care most deeply?” “What is my own essence? What is my Truth?” “Where is my deepest hurt, where is my pain, where is my sorrow (that I may be healed)?”
I have been focused intently on thoughts of essence. I feel like, if I think about essence, I can go deeper, uncover things that are hiding within me. What is the essence of healing? What are the qualities that comprise it? What are its causes? What do healers “do”? What thoughts do they think that give rise to healing? What does it mean?
I feel almost at an impasse because I have no answers. I am “stuck” at the healing of the body—the blind man seeing, the cripple walking. I know that is part of it, an effect of healing, but it is not what healing is.
Healing is profound, all-encompassing, fulfilling. But what do these words mean, and what is the experience of it (healing), of them (these words that describe it)? Despite my 2 previous rounds of “erasing past thoughts” and making my mind a “blank slate”, it seems I cannot let go of the very limited ideas I have about healing. How do I move forward, if I can’t escape my own limits?
“For what do I care most deeply?” For what do I care about most deeply? I am not even sure I have an answer to this at the moment. Everything I say I care about (Love, Oneness, Joy, sharing, expressing, Life….) seems so remote. I feel like a spectator to my own endeavors. I know these things are what I care about; they are what I am moving toward; they are what guide me, invigorate me, fill me, yet my mind is blank, my emotions bland.
Do I need to do something to correct this? Or is this OK? Is this part of the process?
I want to break through. I want to be certain. I want to have a clue that I am getting something, getting some understanding. I want to know I am not spinning, that my effort is not in vain, that something within me is changing (deeply). I tell myself it is. I tell myself I am moving forward. I tell myself… but my words, too, feel empty, there is no reassurance I can give myself.
I do not know… I do not know…
And, in the not knowing there is hope. In the not knowing is the letting go. I do not know! I do not know. How glad I am I do not know. There is no way I could know. No way I could understand something so enormous and profound. Not today, anyway.
Maybe the first step to waking up is to accept that I am asleep. My thoughts of the blind seeing and the cripple walking are dreams that I am having, dreams that I have had a long time. They play in my mind as dreams, not as anything I know or understand or have experienced. Healing is trying to speak to me, to show me itself, but my dreams are in the way. I cannot recognize what healing is, if it does not fit with what I think it should be. But if I don’t know what it should be, I might see it; I might dream differently.
We start again with “forgetting” past notions of healing, and beginning to remember from a new starting point, which we have built over the past 20 days. With each round you release a little bit more of your made-up ideas and accept, a little deeper, the ideas of Wholeness. If you are doing just minimal work, with small dedication, your commitment is aiding you to get through the constructs and barriers you have built which inhibit the understanding of Wholeness. Keep going! Every little bit of your practice adds a drop to my bucket; our work enhances each other, all dedication that you give affects so much more than you. We only heal together. We heal only together. Are you ready for the next round?
I clear my mind of all past notions of what I think healing is. All memories and stories I erase from my thoughts, leaving only a clean slate. I turn my attention to my Inner Divine Mind and I ask, “What is healing”? And I wait and listen. In silence, I take my attention deeper into the vastness of Divine Mind and ask again, “What is healing?” and “What is wholeness?” and “What is holy?” And I wait and I listen. Feeling stillness, I simply pause in the quiet and await my answer.
This round begins by asking me to clear my mind of all past notions of what healing is. That means I have to clear my mind of what I think I have learned over the past 3 weeks regarding healing. I must clear away thoughts of Oneness, of Unity, of acceptance, because (perhaps) even these thoughts are mingled with thoughts of expectation or criticism or worldly wants.
I am feeling it hard to let go of the past 3 weeks—I’ve worked so hard! Don’t I now have something that I can use to push forward? Why must I just drop everything and start from scratch? That is like saying there was no value to the past 20 days…that I gained nothing.
I respond to my own questioning in two ways:
First, if I feel this way about the past 20 days and am finding it hard to let go…then maybe…just maybe, I feel that way about what I have learned in the past 20 years. What I know, what I have made of myself, everything that I have learned in the past 20 years, cannot be reduced to being “erased”, can it? Doesn’t it mean something? Don’t I mean something? Yet…none of it…none of it was pure; none of it was learned in Full Truth, none of it was gained without the adulteration of selfishness or ignorance or clouded emotion (on some level); none of it was altruistic: All True-istic (yes, I believe that there is such a thing as altruism, but…more on that another time; it’s a big subject). So, yes, letting go of what I have learned is OK. Because what is pure will continue, what is tainted will be removed as I continue the effort of intention toward purity.
Second, I am reminded of the Buddhist practice of creating sand mandalas. Monks spend hours and days using multi-colored sand to make elaborate artwork. It is ritualistic; they pray, they chant; each color, each image has meaning; each grain of sand matters in the outcome. When it is complete, it is ritualistically swept away. With their hands, they “destroy” the mandala, brushing the sand together in piles and carrying it off. One of the meanings of this ritual is a reminder of the impermanence of worldly things. At the moment, in the context of the Journey of Healing, I am thinking about the monks gently placing grains of sand where they belong, muttering prayers and chants as they do, knowing that in a few days the effort will be swept away. The lesson for me in this is that it is the effort in the moment that matters: What do you bring to this Journey right now? What are you putting into it? This moment is all that matters; the past (all your learning) does not matter; tomorrow’s “results” do not matter. Be focused now, give altruistic intention now, give dedication now.
And so, with renewed enthusiasm, I choose my mind to be a clean slate. I do not know what healing is; anything that I have taught myself about healing, I lay aside that my thoughts may be purified, that I may know healing in Truth, not in the architecture that I have so proudly constructed. I intend to Know in the purity of the Light of Divine Love; I dedicate this to you, and to All.
I give today to Light. I feel the Light within pour forth; I feel my radiance, my glow. I see—with my inner eye—this Light envelop and infuse all I encounter, all my words, and all my actions. I watch as others resonate with me, their Light growing brighter in the sanctity of my own. To all beings and all situations today, I offer only Light, and learn, as I do, the wholeness of my Self.
I feel myself avoiding healing. I feel resistant to going deeper. This is different than when I tell about my frustration or impatience. Those things are in my face, so to say. I see them, I look at them. But this thing… this thing that I feel now, it’s more like it’s around the corner. I know it’s there, waiting, but I don’t want to go peek.
How do I know I am avoiding and resisting? Because I don’t feel the words or the meaning… because my mind has this kind of “yeah, yeah, whatever” attitude…because I can barely make it through the Guiding Thought—I want to be done with it, I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to try. I don’t want to look at the light, don’t want to see it. I don’t want to try.
I see this going on within me, and I feel so stupid! I do want healing and light…why am I resisting?! It’s like, if I look at it, it will be bigger, uglier, and more unmanageable than I imagine.
That’s crazy, huh? It’s not a grudge. It’s not because someone has done something to me. It’s not guilt. It’s not because I’ve done something to someone else. It’s all me; it’s all within me, because of me. It’s lack of confidence, lack of certainty, lack of faith. The only person I’m holding anything against is me.
I have to back up. When I worked in the Forest Service, in the Sierra National Forest, one of the lessons experienced hikers would impart on the inexperienced hikers is, “If you get lost in the woods, back up, retrace your steps. Go back to the last place that you can remember that you knew where you were.” It’s the same thing here, but different. How did I get here? Where is the place within me where I can return to where I know I have confidence, certainty, and faith?
First, the avoidance is all me, all within me. That means that the solution is also within me, as is the determination to get to the solution. The problem, the solution, and the path from problem to solution are all in the same place: within me. No one can help me but me; no one can do this for me. I have to figure it out.
Second, what do I want? I want Peace. I want to Know Peace. I want to be happy. I am not at peace now; I am not happy now… I feel lost and uncertain. How do I get to Peace? I must be willing to accept Oneness, Truth, the Truth of Love and Oneness. If I am not at Peace, I cut myself off from Oneness; I feel myself as separate and alone. I must be willing to rejoin myself with my Self, where I am in Truth.
Third, my Self wants only Peace and Love for me. I do, deeply. I want Peace and Love for myself… and for you. I want us to be happy, deeply happy, deeply joyful, and deeply peaceful. This is what I want.
That’s it. I have backed up to the place I remember where I am. I know because I felt the weight lift, just slightly, just enough. There was a feeling of recognition, a feeling of “ahhhhhh”. Peace is within me, and I want to share it. I can’t share it if I cut it off, if I make it inaccessible to myself. Making it inaccessible to me makes it inaccessible to you. You deserve to be happy and at Peace, why would I keep that from you? If I withhold from myself, I withhold from you, and I want you to be happy, to be at Peace.
Now, I have to remember to remember…and to listen…and to move forward.
I rest in calming Light. Light inhabits my mind, surrounds every thought, and radiates out to All. All radiates Light. Everywhere is Light. I am Light.
For today’s Guiding Thought, I really tried to use it as a practice for about 12 hours. For every thought I had, I tried to visualize light surrounding it, then radiating from it out to All. Then I visualized “All” radiating light, and everything being light, including myself. It was hard! I cannot at all say that I succeeded, but the attempt was very interesting.
Thinking about light surrounding certain thoughts makes sense. If I am thinking about a loved one, or a friend I haven’t seen in a while, light around those thoughts feels very natural and easy. My mind flows with those loving caring thoughts, and the light seems to come of its own accord.
But I had committed (to at least try) to surround all my thoughts with light. OH MY. Here is an approximation of how it went:
The wind is blowing really hard, I haven’t put plastic on enough of the windows; I can feel a draft (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
It’s a little odd to have something as insignificant as plastic on windows surrounded by light… (Surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
But I said I would do it so… (Surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
Do I need to run to the store to get plastic? (Surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
I wonder what else I need… (Surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
Maybe I should stop at the grocery store too…
Olive oil, popcorn, oh dammit I forgot to surround the last thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…(surround the last thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
Olive oil, popcorn….wait a minute… if I am surrounding every thought with light then I should surround EVERY thought with light (surround that thought with light (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…), watch it radiate to All (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…), watch all become light (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)
Then it became just this cluster of “surround (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…) that thought (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)with light (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…), watch it radiate (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)to All (surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…), watch all become light(surround that thought with light, watch it radiate to All, watch all become light…)…)
My head was spinning and thoughts of Nietzsche’s infinite regression became almost palpable.
I was only minimally successful in this practice today, perhaps you can see why.
But I think I learned a bigger lesson than trying to keep my mind focused on practicing the Guiding Thought throughout the day. The point became: stop thinking, just see light, be light.