Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Introduction to the “Enneagram as a Tool for Spiritual Transformation”

Instructor: Rev. Dr. George Gordon
In Brief

The Enneagram is a comprehensive psycho-spiritual typology that has its roots in several ancient wisdom traditions as well as in the findings of modern psychology. Most of us originally discover the Enneagram as a typology: It draws meaningful distinctions about the nine different ways that people approach their lives and relationships. But more profoundly, the Enneagram is a map of wholeness, a way of recognizing and investigating different aspects and dimensions of our inner experience.

From The Enneagram in Business

More than a personality typology, the Enneagram is actually a profound map that illuminates the nine different architectures of the human personality. It is also the most powerful and practical system available for increasing emotional intelligence, with insights that can be used for personal and professional development.

Emotional intelligence is a combination of two factors: intrapersonal intelligence, which is the ability to understand, accept, and manage oneself, and interpersonal intelligence, the capacity to work effectively with a wide variety of other people.

Dr Gordon’s Explanation of Enneagram as Tool for Spiritual Transformation

The most attractive aspect of the Enneagram  is that it is an effective bridge between spirituality and psychology.  The basic premise behind it is that we each doubt God in one of nine ways.  The way in which we doubt God is the primary factor that shapes the structure of our personality.  An inner “Wow!” went off in me when I discovered the validity of this concept.   I have found this to be true personally, and the more I study the Enneagram, the more clearly I have been enabled to see the nature of the obstacles in my personality to growth in my relationships with God, with others, and with myself.  It has also helped me grow tremendously in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I want to share with you two concepts that help in putting the value of the Enneagram in perspective for not only our emotional growth, but also our spiritual growth.  For years, it has been my understanding that spiritual growth was a two-step process:  Step 1 was “Death to the old self”; Step 2 was “Being born anew in Christ.”

However, according to my more recent studies including the Enneagram, I have come to believe that it is a three-step process.  The actual first step is “Awakening to the old self.”

Most of us are only aware of the symptoms of the old self and not of its basic nature.  We cannot significantly die to our old self unless we have some grasp of its nature.

Charles Wesley made almost this exact point in a sermon entitled, “Awake, Thou That Sleepeth” delivered on April 4, 1742 at Oxford University.  The Enneagram is a tool that helps us awaken to or to perceive more accurately the true nature of the old self or the false self as some schools refer to it.  I prefer to call it the operant self.  It is old in the sense that it is different from the new self in Christ.  It is false in that it is not the self that God wishes for us to incarnate.  I prefer the term operant self, because it is operating within us whether we realize it or not.

Many personal and spiritual growth programs have discovered that persons can make good progress in their intended growth until they reach a certain point, and then mysteriously, they seem to hit an obstacle which will not allow further growth.  That obstacle is the operant self or personality type.  According to Enneagram theory, there are nine different operant selves and each of us is dominated or obstructed by one of them.

Embedded within each of the operant selves is a “chief feature” which orchestrates the whole personality.  This chief feature has also been referred to as the spiritual pre-occupation or the emotional passion.  The apostle Paul was probably referring to this concept in Romans as sin with a capital “S.”

There is much discussion about the source of the operant self or personality type and its embedded chief feature.   Many authorities lean toward heredity as the source (nature) while others emphasize the role of early childhood environment (nurture).  The influence of nurture can be divided into two sub-categories referring to whether the person adopted a certain stance toward life as a method of coping with their circumstances or they learned it from someone else.

The Enneagram, then, is a diagnostic tool for discerning and identifying the characteristics of the old self or operant self.  It is metaphorically an “MRI of the soul.”  It helps us “awaken” to the old self—step 1 of the spiritual transformation process.

Cost is $5 per session, $2/session for students                        Total of 12 sessions

Location TBD - Overland Park likely

Sat., Oct 6th 8:30 - Noon
Thurs., Oct. 11th and 25th 7:00 to 9:00
Thurs., Nov. 8th and 15th " "
Thurs., Jan. 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st " "
Thurs., Feb. 7th, 14th, and 21st (maybe trade Valentine's Day for the 28th)

If interested, Contact: ptbeatty@aol.com
Rev. Dr. George Gordon has a Th.D. in Pastoral Care and the Psychology of Religion. Served as the Minister of Congregational Care and Pastoral Counselor for Country Club Christian Church for 33 years. Certification as a teacher in the Association of Enneagram Teachers in the Narrative Tradition (AETNT http://www.aetnt.com ).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Listening to Rocks

"Only after I stop collecting evidence do the stones begin to speak." Mark Nepo

To this day I remember the first time I attended a local Christian writing group. The introductory message and announcements were given by a small, middle aged woman, perfectly coiffed in tidy attire. She mentioned that a guest speaker would be presenting on the sacredness of nature at the local libraries. She said the presentation emphasized the holiness of rocks and at that she laughed cynically and added, "The cost is $15....to hear that rocks are holy." A certain number of people in the room seemed to agree with her. They laughed too. I thought, "What am I doing here?" My heart still sinks to think that it would be folly to hold rocks in reverence or to listen to their wisdom. After all, they are so much older than we are.

Thomas Merton wrote a beautiful poem on the sacred, silent utterances of Rock.
An excerpt from In Silence by Thomas Merton

Be still.

Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your

To the living walls.
Who are you?

Are you? Whose
Silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet). Do not

Think of what you are
Still less of

What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?) be

The unthinkable one
You do not know.

-Thomas Merton

There is wisdom in rock. There is wisdom in silence. Both will only be heard when the mind is quiet and the soul sinks into the everlasting. May the sacred peace of the everlasting be with you~ Peggy     Art: Crystal palace of reedflute cave, China

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Veil is Torn - Oneness Through Prayer

Praying within the heart, we stand at the doorway between the two worlds, waiting for our Beloved to help us. The One who is our innermost essence is always there, eternally watching, listening, waiting for us to come. We think God is separate from us, because we stand outside the door, caught in the world of duality. But when we pray with feeling, pray with the intensity of the heart, then the door opens. Actually, this door is never closed; the ego only drew its veil across the threshold.

The intensity of our feeling takes us beyond the ego. The stronger our need and the greater our longing, the more the heart cries out. Veils create the illusion of separation, distracting us from our oneness with God. Need turns us inward, towards Source, the oneness that is the root of our desire.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Prayer of the Heart

The veil in scripture is a symbol of the [perceived] separation of God and man, Spiritual and physical, formless and form. The veil is a perception difference. We perceive in a physical context (narrative- facts) and we can also perceive in a spiritual context (poetry - metaphor). Whenever Christ (Spiritual Love) is observed, pay attention! There will be a comment about how the veil is broken, torn, or rent. The veil is present when scripture (for eg. Torah) is taken literally, rather than spiritually, when the old covenant is observed rather than the new. For eg: But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ (Spiritual Love) it passes away. (2 Cor 3:14). When Jesus (Physical Love) was dying on the cross the "veil of the temple (the location of Gods revelation) was torn in 2 from top to bottom" (Matt 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45). Spiritual Love (Christ) and Physical Love were reconciled/united with Source Love.

Paul teaches: God has drawn aside the veil through the teaching of the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, including the depths of the divine nature. 1Cor 2:10. the Spirit resides in our desire for Love and Love's desire for us. The Spirit integrates the mind and body to become One with Source, through Love, in Love.

May the teaching of the Spirit search your minds and hearts, tearing the veil, the illusion of separation from God, and unite your mind-body-Spirit in Love. Peggy

Art: lyndafinchart.com The veil is torn

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Power of Prayer

Prayer gains its greatest power when the lips become silent so the heart may listen wide open.

The Hebrew word for obedience is “shama,” which really means “to listen.” The English word for “obey” comes from the Latin “oboe - dire” which ...also means “to listen.”

When we are are listening with our hearts open in prayer, when we have hearts "oboe dire," the Word of God may fill us with truth. "Be still! And know..."
Powerful truth!

When were are attentive to one another, the same Spirit of Truth is allowed to inform our conversations. It is this Spirit to which we yield in love and humility for reconciliation.

Listen! God, who is absolute Truth, speaks to your open heart through your silent mind and reconciles the world.
Peace be with you, Peggy

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunrise by Mary Oliver


You can
die for it--
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

Today, as the sunrises under your lashes and you breathe the full, fragrant breath of life, may your heart be gladdened with wonder, serenity, opportunity, oneness. And may a spirit of gratitude steep deep and slow in your bones. Have a lovely day! Peggy

Music: Intermezzo from Cavalaria Rusticana, Mascagni

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Importance of NOW

"Great love has the potential to open the heart space and then the mind space. Great suffering has the potential to open the mind space and then the heart space." Richard Rohr, The Naked Now

The moment these two converge - Love and suffering; heart and mind - is Now.

There are a multitude of perspectives on the symbolism of the cross, all of which are true and beautiful. One that I find particularly expansive is the cross as a symbol of the intersect of space, the vertical (the spiritual) and time the horizontal (the physical). At the intersect of these 2 realities hangs a human, suffering at the hands of other humans, most of whom do not understand themselves as spiritual beings, but who operate primarily from their physical identity.

In order to understand the spiritual nature of human identity, one must spend time at the intersect, time in that place where physical and spiritual meet. In the physical, this intersect can be experienced as suffering. In the spiritual, it is eternal peace in union with Christ/God/Spirit. Both lead to the intersect, the point of reconciliation, and  from there, a new way of seeing, a new way of being. We call this resurrection. Love is at the intersect of both realities. Love in the form of a fleshy human. Love in the Divine essence. Love reconciles the two, love suffers and love transcends suffering. Love is our human potential and our spiritual responsibility.

In time (which is a physical construct) this intersect is any Present moment. This moment, NOW. Time is made of these moments. One does not have to be suffering or ecstatic to be in the moment. One can spend time there simply by being mindful, present, through prayer and silence.

Adoration is about identifying our human experience, both our suffering and loving, with Jesus, who overcomes the pain and suffering of the physical reality because he draws his Spiritual identity from God, the Eternal Divine. He fully embraces his spiritual identity. He is annointed, Christ. This is our example, of a fleshy human and of a spirit embodied. We too, can draw our spiritual identity into our greater awareness and into our lives through mindfulness, through quiet prayerful presence. We too, can  Love in the way of Jesus the fleshy human, and be resurrected in Love. In Christ. Every Now moment.
May you take the time to be fully prayerfully present in these moments of Holy Week, of suffering and loving, remembering Jesus, who shows us the Way to resurrection.

I did the artwork on retreat once. If you look carefully, you will see the word, NOW written across the intersect of physical and spiritual. This is the point at which the eternal light of the Divine breaks into physical reality. And on the crucifix, the body and soul of a human, Jesus, hangs in just that very place.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spirit of Chaos & Order

"These were no longer two things, but two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff, according to whether it was looked (Matter) at or carried further in the direction in which it is becoming itself or in the direction in which it is disintegrating (Spirit). Matter is the Matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Life is energy. Energy is Spirit. The Spirit gives life. Within the soul lies a fire (eros), the energy that drives us. But there is more...The Spirit is the adhesive that holds us together, the principle of integration and individuation within us. The Spirit integrates the mind and the body and all their thoughts and cellular processes into a whole being. The Spirit not only enlivens us individually, but it makes us one with all of creation within which the Spirit lives.

There is a principle of order and chaos within the Spirit - a tendency to come together and also to dissipate (birth and death). The human soul is the same. The energy within us - our desire (eros), our longing for completion is constantly in creative tension with our incompletion. Chaos and order. Fire and water. We live in a constant flux of psychic unity and disorder and social unity and disorder, and global unity and disorder and cosmic unity and disorder. This is the nature of energy and matter and Spirit in flux.

Spirituality is about what we do with that incurable desire, the eros/passion unitive energy of the Spirit within us, who wants to move us to order, but whose intensity is constantly displaced by our (ego) choices to channel it outside of ourselves rather than learn to harness its unitive power within. It is this latter ability that truly raises our consciousness in Christ who IS the unitive Spirit of Life.

Love is the method. Love is the vehicle. Humans can be unconditionally loving - first loving themselves (for this is to Love God or the Spirit of Life within you) and secondly to love your neighbors as yourself (which is every other human creature on the planet). Each of us has the potential to Love unconditionally. It is work. It requires a great deal of humility and patience. But this is how the Spirit brings order to chaos. This is how humanity is united in Christ, who is ONLY LOVE.
As we enter into this beautiful time of renewal, this springtime of earthen Matter, take time to reflect on what revives the sleeping winter world. What is it that greens the grass and fattens the buds on trees? What pushes crocus and daffodils from their dark bed of soil toward the warm sunlight? What urges the birds to procreate and migrate? You are part of this.

If you are Christian, you are celebrating this in your Lenten journey. As you move through the chaos of darkness with Jesus in these last days, open yourself to the Spirit of order that is calling you forward, the Light of your higher consciousness - Christ - that cannot be extinguished. Let this Spirit, that is You, speak to you and unite you with the Spirit of God/Christ that is bringing into unity all that lives.
Namaste, Peggy

The beginnings of this blog are inspired by a book by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, "The Holy Longing, the Search for a Christian Spirituality."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man.

Below is a selection of scriptures that speak to our identity (our psychological being) in the Spirit. The creation story in Genesis would be a good place to find a poetic discussion of Spirit's uniting of energy and matter.
1 Corinthians 2:10....The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16, 21.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happiness and the Matrix

I am reading a book called The Steps of Essence, by Hanns-Oskar Porr, that describes the first call to becoming who you truly are with this analogy: In the movie, The Matrix, Neo can take a blue pill that allows him to live every day in bliss, but the trade off is that he gives up his autonomy and control to an unknown force that renders him a mindless slave - happy, but mindless. OR he can take the red pill which will afford him to learn the truth about himself. He will understand the forces that control him and learn to gain freedom from them, but at a steep price. The road will be hard; he will enter into dark places of His weakness: shame, guilt, neediness, greed, jealousy, fear. But he will learn to sculpt away these castings, these disguises of the true divine Self and realize that they must be held in paradoxical tension with all that is good and pure and true. The journey will reveal the truth and the truth will guide the journey. He will discover the essence of who he is. He will become his most authentic self. Happiness will look more like self-acceptance and deep joy, and Neo will be the Hero of his own life.

I was intrigued with this because I think I missed this point in the movie. Or maybe not, it has been awhile since I saw The Matrix, but I am familiar with the choices that the pills afford. So, the first step is to say, ok I am willing to take the hard road. But here’s the catch: everyday you get the pill choice again...Will you choose to wait for happiness to present itself to you, to be a victim of life, a sort of bystander to your own existence? Or will you choose to to be the Hero of your life, to confront your fear, put aside some of those things you think you "need," and ride the wonderful experience of your true Self? The choice to hold the tension between what should and should not be is the demand of truly living YOUR [authentic] life.

At my niece’s graduation, the priest gave a sermon on "The Road Ahead" for the grads. He said that Jesus would ask them at every turn, “Do you love me?” To answer to this question, we must make the choice of pills. If we answer yes, we take the red pill. We agree to be Christ-like in love which is to love ferociously, and, yes, to suffer for it. To love is to be vulnerable. It is to bear all the sweet goodness of your divine Self to the other, with no defense; to be completely compassionate. The red pill requires us to be loyal to truth, above all else. And the truth is, Love is who we are! Every day we are faced with the choice to be either authentic or robotic. Every day we choose to take the high road or the low. Everyday we can allow the circumstances of life to control us, or we can choose our destiny. To know ourselves as love requires incredible courage and strength. To remain positive, optimistic, “happy” requires us to be a warrior for love and kindness, even at those times when we would rather not be. To truly live into love, which is our authentic nature, is to encounter hurt, absorb it and love harder.

We can run from the demands of life and relationship and never know who we are, or we can meet life head on with the Wisdom (yes, this choice is a wisdom choice) that happiness means more that just getting what I want. Which pill will you take?

I "see" the beautiful Real (the Spirit) in you! I hope you will choose to "see" also!
Namaste, Peggy

© Peggy Beatty 2011

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday - Wilderness, Fasting, Humility

“But know this,” says YHWH: “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear open your heart not your clothes!” Return to YHWH your God, who is gracious and deeply loving as a mother, quick to forgive, abundantly tender-hearted – and relents from inflicting disaster. Joel 2:12.

The Journey of Lent is a Wilderness journey and is associated with fasting. Some people fast from meat, or soda, or TV during Lent. Fasting is a long- practiced spiritual discipline designed to empty one’s self in order to be filled by the Spirit. The symbolism of fasting is that doing without your most basic needs, food and water, is an act of trust and submission. We submit our need for food in trust that God will provide, much like the ancient Israelites trusted God in the Wilderness to provide the manna needed to sustain life.

You are tender and compassionate, YHWH—slow to anger, and always loving; your indignation doesn’t endure forever and your anger lasts only for a short time. You never treat us as our sins deserve; you don’t repay us in kind for the injustices we do. For as high as heaven is above the earth, so great is your love for those who revere you. As far away as the east is from the west, that is how far you remove our sins from us! As tenderly as parents treat their children, that’s how tenderly you treat your worshipers, YHWEH! For you know what we are made of – you remember that we’re nothing but dust. Psalm 103:8-14

From a psychological standpoint, submission in trust is called humility. Psychologically, humility is to let go the idea that you are in ultimate control of what you think you need for comfort and happiness, be it material or intangible. We like to think we control our circumstances as well as our attitudes and perspectives, but very often we do not. And very often, the attitude we choose is not an attitude that reflects the benevolent love of God…either toward others or toward ourself.

In ecclesiastical language we call humility, or self emptying, kenosis. Fasting, a symbol of kenosis, or self emptying, is essentially the willingness to reduce your neediness – physiological and psychological – to humble yourself in a gesture of trust and prayer before God. It is no mistake that the root of humility is humus – dirt, soil (ashes) – the same root as human. It is in the Wilderness of humility that we accept our humanness – our inability to count on anything but God to provide everything we need.

This is the sort of fasting that pleases me: remove the chains of injustice! Undo the ropes of the yoke! Let those who are oppressed go free, and break every yoke you encounter! Share your bread with those who are hungry, and shelter homeless poor people! Clothe those who are naked and don’t hide from the needs of your own flesh and blood! Do this and your light will shine like the dawn- and healing will break forth like lightening! Your integrity will go before you and the glory of YHWEH will be your rearguard. Isaiah 58:6-9

May you go forth into this season of Lenten fasting and wilderness with complete trust. On this journey, may God surprise you and affirm you by the lengthening of the days and the greening of earth. May you see Gods promise of new life all around you and may it give you constant hope. May you walk with Jesus in humanity, in humility, in kenosis and approach with Him the great tests of Love along the way. May you remain committed to hold His hand in darkness all the way to the cross, knowing fully, faithfully, that God is here and always, always waiting for you with light and life.

The love and peace of Christ be yours, Peggy

© Peggy Beatty, Feb 2011

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Psalm - Thomas Merton

By ceasing to question the sun I have become light,
Bird and wind.
My leaves sing.
I am earth, earth

All these lighted thing
Grow from my heart

A tall spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire
When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!
I am earth, earth

My heart's love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
Stand reflected.

I am earth, earth

Out of my grass heart Rises the bobwhite.
Out of my nameless weeds His foolish worship.

Thomas Merton, Book of Hours

Praise for the rising sun and the new day! May your day be filled with splendor and surprise. Breath deeply and take moments to Be.... part of unfolding Life. You are humus, made of the soil of the earth, enlivened by ruach, the breath of God, and sustained by the waters of Grace. Peace be with you, Peggy

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Dream - Peggy 2009

I approached the Creator and I told Her my dream, “I dreamed the world could be saved and I knew how to save it. I had to tell someone!

So I went to my Earth Friend and I told her of all the beauty and grace in the universe and how we humans bring that to each other. I showered her with images of you, Creator, and of your garden and I told her what is yours could also be hers.

     She looked at me sadly and said, 'I cannot hear you.'

Realizing that she could not interpret my words, I went to The Magistrate. And I told her that you, Creator, called to us through each other. I tried to explain that we must be silent and quiet in our hearts to hear your voice and to understand the ebb and flow of your grace.

     She said, 'Where did you learn these heresies?'

I confessed that I learned them from speaking with you.

     She said, 'I have never learned such things. What you say threatens us. You are a false prophet.'

Saddened at her response, I told my Spirit Friend of my concerns. Surely she would understand me. I explained that you, Creator, were speaking through all of us, through our friendships and our families, our relationships with the earth and with those like us across the globe. I told her that you informed us of these things in so many ways, but that sometimes we needed to affirm them among ourselves. I said that was what spirit friends did; they reflected the love and beauty of the Creator’s promise to each other and made light.

     She said, 'There is a time for that. And now is not that time. Now it is time to sleep.' And she turned out the lights and closed my bedroom door.

I did not want to sleep!

I lay in the dark night wondering if I misunderstood everything you have taught me. I wondered if perhaps your promises of love and grace and joy were promises to be kept only to myself. And yet, they were promises so lovely, so grand, so true and so life saving. And now they seemed so heavy, so burdensome, so alienating. The world was perishing, and your way was so simple and obvious. I had to try to tell them. But, alas, they could not hear me. They thought me a heretic and a fool. They left me in the dark to hold these insights all alone. In despair and self doubt, I closed my eyes and let my mind slip away so my heart could not feel the pain."

The Creator looked at me with gentle eyes and smiled. She drew me into her broad arms, and as I melted into her breast I could feel our hearts beating together in the very same rhythm. I lifted my eyes to hers and from our gaze emerged an ocean of tears that poured over us, cool and clear, settling around us in a peaceful tidepool. She breathed and we expanded together, her chest burgeoned, heaving above the waters like a breaching whale, then exhaled back to gentle calm. Misty breath surrounded me and drew me cell by cell into vapor. I knew this peace.

     Ever so calmly she assumed my discouragement into our eternal embrace and whispered assurance through me,
                                                           “I will talk to them.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking for Your Face - Rumi

From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it

Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for

Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did

I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes

My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold

I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine

Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow

My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you

Your effulgence
has lit a fire in my heart
for me
the earth and sky

My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer

May your prayer expand to the farthest edges of the universe. May your heart be open to receive the mystery. And may the Beloved breathe the fragrance of Love into your soul. Peggy

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī  was probably born on 30 September 1207 in the province of Balkh in the district of Wakhsh in Khorasan (now in modern Afghanistan/Tajikistan). He died on 17 December 1273 in Konya in Seljuqid Rum (now modern Turkey). Rumi’s meeting with the dervish Shams-e Tabrizi on 15 November 1244 completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, Rumi was transformed into an ascetic.

Shams had traveled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could "endure my company". A voice said to him, "What will you give in return?" Shams replied, "My head!" The voice then said, "The one you seek is Jalal ud-Din of Konya." On the night of 5 December 1248, as Rumi and Shams were talking, Shams was called to the back door. He went out, never to be seen again. It is rumored that Shams was murdered with the connivance of Rumi's son, 'Ala' ud-Din; if so, Shams indeed gave his head for the privilege of mystical friendship.

Rumi's love for, and his bereavement at the death of, Shams found their expression in an outpouring lyric poems. The general theme of Rumi's thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of the concept of tawhīd – union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut off and become aloof – and his longing and desire to restore it. Wikipedia 2.7.12

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Sea Lion ~ John Eldridge, From The Journey of Desire

Once upon a time here lived a sea lion who had lost the sea. He lived in a country known as the barren lands. High on a plateau, far from any coast, it was a place so dry and dusty that it could only be called a desert. A kind of course grass grew in patches here and there, and a few trees were scattered across the horizon. But mostly, it was dust. And sometimes the wind, which together made one very thirsty. Of course, it must seem strange to you that such a beautiful creature should wind up in a desert at all. He was, mind you, a sea lion. But things like this do happen.

How the sea lion came to the barren lands, no one could remember. It all seemed so very long ago, in fact, it appeared as though he had always been there. Not that he belonged in such an arid place. How could that be? He was, after all, a sea lion. But as you know, once you have lived so long in a certain spot, no matter how odd, you come to think of it as home.

There was a time, many years back, when the sea lion knew he was lost. In those days, he would stop every traveler he met to see if he might help him find his way back to the sea. But no one seemed to know the way.

On he searched, but never finding. After years without success, the sea lion took refuge beneath a solitary tree beside a very small water hole. The tree provided refuge from the burning rays of the sun., which was very fierce in that place. And the water hole, though small and muddy, was wet, in its own way. Here he settled down and got on as best he could. Had you journeyed in those days through the barren lands, you might have seen the sea lion for your self. Quite often in the evening, he would go and sit upon his favourite rock, a very large boulder, which lifted him off the burning sand and allowed him a view of the entire country.

There he would remain for hours into the night, silhouetted against the sky. And on the best of nights, when the wind shifted to the east, a faint smell of salt air would come to him on the breeze. Then he would close his eyes and imagine himself once more at the sea. When he lay himself down to sleep, he would dream of a vast, deep ocean. Twisting and turning, diving and twirling, he would swim and swim. When he woke, he thought he heard the sound of breakers.....

The sea was calling to him.

The sea lion loved his rock, and he even loved waiting night after night for the sea breezes that might come. Especially he loved the dreams those memories would stir. But as you well kn
ow, even the best of dreams cannot go on, and in the morning when the sea lion woke, he was still in the barren lands. Sometimes he would close his eyes and try to fall back asleep. It never seemed to work, for the sun was always very bright.

Eventually, it became too much for him to bear. he began to visit his rock only on occasion. "I have too much too do," he told himself. "I cannot waste my time just idling about." He really did not have so much to do. The truth of it was, waking so far from home was such a disappointment, he did not want to have those wonderful dreams anymore. The day finally came when he stopped going to his rock altogether, and he no longer lifted his nose to the wind when the sea breezes blew.

The sea lion was not entirely alone in those parts. for it was there he met the tortoise. Now this tortoise was an ancient creature, so weathered by his life in the barren lands that at first, the sea lion mistook him for a rock. He told the tortoise of his plight, hoping that this wise one might be able to help him. "Perhaps," the tortoise mused, "this is the sea." His eyes appeared to be shut against the bright sun, but he was watching the sea lion very closely. The sea lion swept his flippers once against his side, gliding to end of the water hole and back. "I don't know," he said. "it isn't very deep." "Isn't it?" "Somehow, I thought the sea would be broader , deeper. At least, I hoped so."

"You must learn to be happy here," the tortoise told him one day. "For it is unlikely you shall ever find this sea of yours." Deep in his old shriveled heart, the tortoise envied the sea lion and his sea. “But I belong the sea. We are made for each other."

"Perhaps. But you have been gone so long now, the sea has probably forgotten you."This thought had never occurred to the sea lion. But it was true, he had been gone for a long, long time. "If this is not my home, how can I ever feel at home here?" the sea lion asked. "You will, in time." The tortoise appeared to be squinting, his eyes a thin slit. "I have seen the sea, and it is no better than what you have found here." "You have seen the sea!" "yes. Come closer," whispered the tortoise, "and I will tel you a secret. I am not a tortoise. I am a sea turtle. But I left the sea of my own accord, many years ago, in search of better things. If you stay with me, I will tell you stories of my adventures."

The stories of the ancient tortoise were enchanting and soon cast their spell upon the sea lion. As weeks passed into months, his memory of the sea faded. "The desert," whispered the tortoise, "is all that is, or was, or will ever be." When the sun grew fierce and burned his skin, the sea lion would hide in the shade of the tree, listening to the tales woven by the tortoise. When the dry winds cracked his flippers and filled his eyes with dust, the sea lion would retreat to the water hole. And so the sea lion remained, living his days between water hole and tree.

The sea no longer filled his dreams.

I was that May that the winds began to blow. The sea lion had grown used to the wind, and at first he did mot pay much heed at all. Years of desert life had taught him to turn his back in the direction from which the wind came and cover his eyes with his flippers, so that the dust would not get in. Eventually the winds would always pass. But not this time. Day and night it came, howling across the barren lands. There was nothing to stop its fury, nothing to even slow it down. For forty days and forty nights the wind blew. And then, just as suddenly as it begun, it stopped. The sea lion lifted himself to have a look around. He could hardly believe his eyes.

Every single leaf had been stripped from his tree. The branches that had remained, with only a twig or two upon them, looked like an old scarecrow. And I do not need to tell you that there was no longer any shade in which to hide. But worse than this, much worse indeed, was what the sea lion saw next. The water hole was completely dry.

Three weeks after the wind ceased to blow, the sea lion had a dream. Now, as I told you before, there were nights in which he had dreamed of the sea. But those were long ago and nearly forgotten. Even still, the ocean that filled his dreams this night was so beautiful and clear, so vast and deep, it was as if he was seeing it for the very first time. The sunlight glittered on its surface, and as he dived, the waters all around him shone like an emerald. I he swam quite deep, it turned to jade, cool dark and mysterious. But he was never frightened, not at all. For I must tell you that in all his dreams of the sea, he had never before found himself in the company of other sea lions. This night there were many, round about him, diving and turning, spinning and twirling. They were playing.

Oh, how he hated to wake from that wonderful dream. The tears running down his face were the first wet thing he had felt in three weeks. But he did not pause even to wipe them away, he did not pause, in fact, for anything at all. He set his face to the east, and began to walk the best a sea lion can.

"Where are you going?" asked the tortoise.

"I am going to find the sea!"

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
From the Four Quartets, by TS Elliott

Listen to your heart's longing. Get your head out of the way! You long for the True, The Real, the One Life that begets the universe. You know who you are. Your heart reminds you, not your head. Be still! And know that I Am. Be Still! Let the voice of your True speak truth to you - Namaste, Peggy

Thursday, January 26, 2012

VISION by James H Cousins

When I from life's unrest had earned the grace
Of utter ease beside a quiet stream;
When all that was had mingled in a dream
To eyes awakened out of time and place;
Then in the cup of one great moment's space
Was crushed the living wine from things that seem;
I drank the joy of very Beauty's gleam,
And saw God's glory face to shining face.

Almost my brow was chastened to the ground,
But for an inner Voice that said: "Arise!
Wisdom is wisdom only to the wise:
Thou art thyself the Royal thou has crowned:
In Beauty thine own beauty thou hast found,
And thou hast looked on God with God's own eyes."

As a meditation, I have coupled this beautiful poem with a stunningly lovely song, written and performed by Patrick Leonard, Live To Tell. The [popularized] song's lyrics were written by Madonna and include the following phrase, which is convergent with the selected poem:

I know where beauty lives
I've seen it once, I know the warm she gives
The light that you could never see
It shines inside...

May the window of your third eye be opened to the divine beauty within you, that it may shine forth in glory, a reflection of the "joy of Beauty's gleam" in every face. Namaste, Peggy

James Cousins was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1873 (died 1956). He was largely self-educated. He later moved to Dublin where he became part of a literary circle which included William Butler Yeats, George William Russell and James Joyce. Cousins was significantly influenced by Russell's ability to reconcile mysticism with a pragmatic approach to social reforms. He had a life-long interest in the paranormal. Cousins produced several books of poetry and wrote widely on the subject of Theosophy. In 1915 travelled to India where he spent most of the rest of his life, eventaully converting to Hinduism. At the core of Cousins's engagement with Indian culture was a firm belief in the "shared sensibilities between Celtic and Oriental peoples". In India he became friendly with many key Indian personalities including poet Rabindranath Tagore, Indian classical dancer Rukmini Devi Arundale, painter Abdur Rahman Chughtai and Mahatma Gandhi. Wikipedia

Live To Tell was originally written by Patrick Leonard, who plays in this video, for the soundtrack of the film Fire With Fire. The song was shown to Madonna, who decided to use it for the film At Close Range. It was produced by Leonard (score) and Madonna (lyric) for her third studio album True Blue.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cosmic Mother

Resplendent jewel and unclouded brightness
of the sunlight streaming through you,
know that the sun is a fountain leaping
from the father's heart,
his all-fashioning word.
He spoke and the primal matrix
teemed with things unnumbered -
but Eve unsettled them all.

To you the father spoke again
but this time
the word he uttered was a man
in your body.
Matrix of light! through you he breathed forth
all that is good,
as in the primal matrix he formed
all that has life. Scivias, Hildegard of Bingen

Nature takes shapes that repeat themselves at all levels of life. The orb, the wave, the elipse, and the spiral are found in plants and animals, in geographic and cosmic configuration, in quantum particles and animal cells.

Forms such as the seed, the leaf, the egg, are potent metaphors for life, as they relate to shapes we find in the human body. The womb itself, can take the shape of a branching tree; seed-bearing ovaries hanging ovoid from bilateral filopian branches. Or imagine the womb a germinating seed, as in the image of Mary above, a seed giving rise not simply to one life, but many, as she becomes the fruit-bearing tree.

The Sanskrit figure for the sound Ohm, can represent the shape of a bird in flight. Perhaps a dove. Spirit. Nature's patterns and forms give rise to a symbolic language that speaks to us of the unity of Life. We are held in a matrix of relationship, each level dependent upon the others to potentiate and sustain the sacred web.

From Hildegard, Prophet of the Cosmic Christ by Renate Craine: "According to Hildegard, the Mystery of God reveals one great pattern. All of creation, including the matter of the universe, emerged from God's Love (Caritas) and has Christ, the Wisdom of God, as it manifestation, goal and explanation. The entire universe is meant to reveal the interrelational, Trinitarian energy pattern of Love. Humans are meant to participate in this pattern of fecundity (viriditas), which is the work of the Son ['the work of the Word is fecundity']" Causae et Curae, 22, 15.

Hildegard's vision is fully articulated in the lovely words of this excerpt from Scivias, as she sings of the receptivity that makes Incarnation possible; praises for Mary, the matrix of the Good Man...and Eden, the matrix of "all that has life." And God saw that it was Good.

Artwork and original description: Joyti Art Ashram  http://jyotiartashram.blogspot.com/2011/06/elemental-symbol-of-life.html

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Inner History of a Day - John O'Donohue

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

Jeremiah 29:11 (God assures the exiles.)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you...”

May each day bring to you a revelation of divine light and love, hope and trust, wonder and reverence,


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blessed Longing by Goethe

Tell no one else, only the wise
For the crowd will sneer at one
I wish to praise what is fully alive,
What longs to flame toward death.

When the calm enfolds the love-nights
That created you, where you have created
A feeling from the Unknown steals over you
While the tranquil candle burns.

You remain no longer caught
In the peneumbral gloom
You are stirred and new, you desire
To soar to higher creativity.

No distance makes you ambivalent.
You come on wings, enchanted
In such hunger for light, you
Become the butterfly burnt to nothing.

So long as you have not lived this:
To die is to become new,
You remain a gloomy guest
On the dark earth.

John O'Donohue, in his book, Anam Cara, offers this poem as an example of the "helplessness that sometimes accompanies love." He offers it as an example of the way passion causes us to surrender our "common sense, rationality and normal serious reserve;" to awaken to the creative energies, the desires and longing emmanating from the heart.

This awakening is the threshold of "salvation." To make the realization that you are part of something so vast and lovely, it transcends form and time is like falling in love. It IS falling in love...it is seeing "sameness," recognizing yourself in the other - realizing that you are One with the Other, falling into the universal mystery that is the Love of God! Love is the nature of this cosmic Spirit-relationship. Love is all there is. Love is who you are, where you came from, how you are to live, and that to which you will return.

Love is the truth and the life and the way.

You are "saved" because you realize the eternal nature of this One Love. You are fully awakened and fully attuned to the music of the universe - the creative flux and flow of the divine and its movement through you and around you and before and after you. And you have no choice but to surrender to it, because it is who you are. As a caterpillar dies to become a butterfly and a butterfly is drawn to the light, so do we transcend ourselves for, by, and in Love.

In love we reach outside of our selves, extend ourselves, open, vulnerable and real we willingly fly into the fires of (com)passion and truth. Our need for love draws us to our Lovingness. There may be pain, but it is sacred pain. And the real tragedy would be "to have cautiously avoided these depths and remained marooned on the shiny surfaces of the banal." (John O'Donohue)

May you live passionately in love - awaken, surrender, be vulnerable and open, true and free in the eternal embrace of sacred Love that is who you are in unity with all creation. Peggy