In the face of a religious and cultural dominance built around doctrine and sectarianism, it takes courage to be an outsider, a mystic who looks within to the ultimate authority, not to dogma nor religious teachings- a very different perspective from those adhering to a creed that someone else has written and many follow. The Mystic takes the "road less traveled", and dares to be different from so many others.
The mystic is an outsider who knows about persecution through the ages of those of a similar stripe, and courageously moves forward even though the threat of exclusion or misunderstanding can follow.
With the cultural onslaught of the superficial and the glamorous, the mystic finds heart to move into the depths of Being guided by spiritual intuition, un-dazzled by the world of appearances.
In the face of our living in "interesting times" it takes courage to integrate the indeterminacy of a volatile outer world, and to aim ourselves toward a peaceful inner life.
In the face of fear, it takes big-hearted mystical courage to confront the demons within us so that, with perseverance, we might eventually find deepening wisdom and empowerment and meaning in our suffering. Mystics dare to say an unconditional "Yes" to life, despite its perils; even allowing the Yes in despair, resentment and collapse. The mystic aiming toward Oneness takes full responsibility for all that unfolds in life, conscious or unconscious, whether by our own agency or that of another,
finding in ourselves Courage, finding in ourselves Heart,
finding in ourselves the alchemy inherent in This, Here, Now.
The mystic develops skills that are specific to a Path of Awareness, Compassion, and Embodiment of Spirit. Among those skills are the ever-increasing ability to find silence within, to know deep peacefulness, to practice unconditional love, and to take responsibility for all the events in one's life. The mystic seeks embodied experience beyond the surface and the cultural in order to overcome habit, conditioning, unconsciousness, and ignorance. Mystic skill looks to daily life not as distraction or busyness, but as opportunities for deeper and deeper realization. Mystic skill reframes our tendencies toward glamour and avoidance, and chooses instead deep presence and compassionate love, joy and wonder.
Please join us for our (playful) celebration of mystic skill.
This Sunday for the Musings is the sacred Palm Sunday holiday for Christianity and is sacred as well at the Spring Equinox for the earth-based religions. We honor these religious celebrations and will create together our own sacred Sunday mystic event, by exploring the fundamental value of Playfulness as a way of deepening into the Mystical. This can sound oxymoronically outrageous as we so often think of the intense suffering the mystic has to endure in order to awaken to the Divine Presence. But then we think of the great masters Nasrudin (a Sufi writer who is a hilarious spiritual teacher) and of course Hafiz (another early Sufi mystic) with whom we have laughed many times in our Musings together. So we have learned that even the deepest teachings can be expressed with humor and delight. This Sunday we continue our exploration of the New Spirituality and we learn the profound value of bringing playfulness to our prayers and meditations and affirmations and of having a playful attitude toward everything that we can during the day. The energy and effectiveness of this is quite astounding. We want to share with you the joy we have found using this attitude. (We have even applied it to tax preparation!) Come and share some Divine play with us, while learning what we can do to make life lighter and easier!
In our fast-paced modern culture the mystic faces the challenge of daring to live life in a slower, more contemplative way. This requires a focus on Being, more than on the constant Acting we have been conditioned to do,
and is supported by being in the moment, slowing down our breathing, our thinking, our feeling. We meditate, pray, self-reflect, and deeply appreciate the beauty all around us by letting-go and relaxing into the Divine Presence. We allow life to flow at it own pace without feeling compelled to push forward. In this Musing we suggest ways of slowing down the body, the mind, and the heart. We recommend taking a fresh look at our to-do lists and eliminating what is not necessary in favor of using the time to serve ourselves, our communities and the world. We invite you to join us as we discuss some useful techniques for taking undue pressure off our lives and learning to live a slower, more awakened, more graceful, and more grace--filled life.
Mystics have long taught that the Divine Presence can be felt in the heart, mind, and body of anyone who asks for it. The felt sensation is one of warmth, comfort, true love and unconditional support. We can bathe in this in good times and bad, and it never fails to soothe the soul. We often forget that this is always available and so sacrifice the opportunity for the rich reward of feeling cared for at the deepest level. In this Musing we discuss how to call for that gift from our Guides, Angels, Avatars, and the Divine Source itself, and how to revel in it. Please join us for our New Year celebration of Divine Nurturance.
Our non-denominational Christmas Musing asks the question, "How can we find joy in such a difficult time?" The first thing to know is that joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness is fleeting, joy is constant. Ultimately true spiritual joy is attained when we welcome all the feelings and all the experiences of our lives and know that they come to us for our own growth and enlightenment. Joy is the deep knowing that all is well and all is going according to plan for us each. Joy is only possible when we have a felt sense of the benevolence of the Divine Presence. Joy knows the depth of us, knows the yin and the yang, the light and the dark and is able to hold the opposites in the vastness of our awareness. Even in our most challenging times we are able to find the joy of our spiritual lives. We will celebrate joy by singing traditional carols, and praying together for the relief of suffering on our planet.
Please join us for this holiday gathering!
So many of us live our lives as a simple prayer, the prayer great mystic Meister Eckhart values above all others: "Thank You". We walk in gratitude because we know our blessings and notice how often they come, even in times of darkness. Using the phrase "Thank You" as a mantra yields beautiful results. Just the simple phrase, rather than Thank You "for". It is easy for us to make lists of what we are grateful for, and it is also a very powerful prayer. But leaving off the "for" and simply saying "Thank you" throughout the day elevates and enlivens us. It is hard to say a simple "Thank You" without smiling. Saying the phrase seems to gladden the heart each time we say it. It is an interesting experiment to think of something painful and simply say "Thank You": you will notice that it lightens the spirit. Saying it in any mood brings joy. Other simple mantra prayers are "God bless you", "May all beings be free", "I cover the world with the violet flame of transformation". In this Musing, we explore the power of simple prayer said in many situations, in many tones of voice, and it various moods. Please join us as we say simple prayers together and notice the effect it has on our bodies and our hearts, and on our community. This is, not unsurprisingly, our Thanksgiving gathering. Please celebrate it with us!
True art reflects and enhances the whole of human life. It illuminates our joys and our sorrows. It makes everything beautiful, no matter how dark and difficult. And it often reassures us that all will end well. It brings us peace. It brings us a deep knowing, a knowing that cannot be spoken of except in the language of the poet. Great art is the product of the mystical impulse of the artist and therefore speaks most deeply to those of us who have those impulses also. As it is true that great artists are a variety of mystic, it is also true that self-proclaimed mystics often create great art: the sacred music of Hildegard von Bingen, the sacred poetry of Meister Eckhart, the poetry of Rumi and of Kabir and Hafiz. Mystics and artists are inspired-"inSpirited"- and know and deeply feel the wonder and majesty of the Divine Presence. As that Presence cannot be directly spoken in ordinary language, art is the result of the need to express in form the language of the Divine. Please join us for a day of wonder and joy artistically and mystically co-created.
The Halloween-time of the year has for many centuries been considered a time when the veil between heaven and earth is very thin indeed. We can, it is said, most easily at this time access other dimensions of consciousness. This is an exciting time for mystics all over the world because we know that spiritual growth often involves moving into exalted states of awareness (other dimensions of consciousness) for transformational information and bringing it back to be used in everyday life. In 2012 we focus particularly on the mystical dimension of Positive Expectancy, especially for the collective Birthing of the Winter Solstice but also for our personal healing, learning and transformation amid the turbulence and peace of this profoundly changing time.
In this Musing we explore gratitude as a mystical state of being, rather than a compendium of practices. Mystics have a natural gratitude born of the experience of God as a benevolent, all-loving Creator, and of Life as a meaningful and blessed journey. And we have daily practices of expressing that gratitude in prayer and spoken appreciation. We also have silent gratitude as we stand in awe of the beauty of nature, the beauty of artistic creations, the holding of a newborn, the intimacy of being with loved ones. Some days we are aware of our blessings, some days not. Sometimes we say "thank you", some days we forget, but when we move fully into the gratitude as a state of being, there are no off days and on days--we LIVE the gratitude. This Sunday we offer suggestions (and one key "doing") of how to move into a deepening state of thanksgiving.