Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I Need Do Nothing


. . . I Am Open to the Living Light


I share this evening another reflection by Lana Carolan, one that was first posted on the Facebook page for the Foundation for Inner Peace. This foundation is dedicated to publishing, distributing and discussing the writings collectively known as A Course in Miracles (ACIM).

As with the first reflection of Lana’s that I shared, I find this one to be both wise and helpful. It rings true to me. It also aligns with Lana’s understanding of what it means to live the Course in Miracles. This living, says Lana, is all about “training my mind to begin each and every day with the choice for God.” Such a choice, Lana says, means “keeping my mind present and mindful of what I am doing here and now, and being fully invested in this present moment. . . . It means bringing God with me in whatever I am doing. For me, that means bringing Love to everything I am doing.”

In the reflection I share this evening, Lana reminds us that our facilitating of an awareness of God’s presence is a process, the last step of which involves the quietening of the intellect so that we can be fully present in the moment and allow the awareness of God to arise on its own terms. My experience has been that through both cultivating and simply being open to the Divine Presence, I am gifted with deeper understanding and illuminating clarity. These and other spiritual gifts are always available to us, but getting to the place where we recognize and welcome them is a process, a spiritual practice which, like a physical exercise, we can work on until it gets easier to do over time; until it becomes a part of who we are.

I’ve noted previously that when I allow myself a “sacred pause” to be fully present in the moment, I feel myself in alignment with the sustaining and transforming energy of the sacred. In ways that can only be described as mystical, I recognize through this experience my connection to – and oneness with – all that is within and around me.

This experience of oneness, of the Divine Presence saturating all the different aspects of creation, is for me one of renewal; it restores within me balance and harmony, clarity and hope.

Throughout all the great religions, the renewing and illuminating presence of God is symbolized by light. I think of God as “the Living Light,” a phrase I first came across in the writings of Marianne Williamson. This Living Light dwells deep within me and all things, as well as beyond me and all things. And like all living things it has a voice, meaning, in this case, that it has ways of both imparting and eliciting meaning, love, wisdom, and peace; it has ways, in other words, of being in transformative relationship with each one of us. Indeed, that’s what it wants!

An older wise friend once told me that whenever I am feeling down or lost, that I should visulize myself moving toward and simply “sitting in the Light.” The Light will then do the rest. My friend’s words echo Thomas Merton’s advice to James Finlay in relation to those times when we find ourselves trying too hard to pray: “How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun.” Reflecting on Merton’s words in his book Merton’s Palace of Nowhere, Finlay writes: “[Like the ripening of an apple] or the opening of a rose, the birth of the true self takes place in God’s time. We must wait for God, we must be awake; we must trust in [God’s] hidden action within us.”

Nowadays I engage in my friend’s recommended “sitting in the Light” excerise not just for myself but for others. For some time now, for instance, I’ve been aware that someone who I care about deeply is experiencing a lot of psychic pain. For all kinds of reasons, this person has a hard time staying in touch with and living from his deepest and truest sense of Self. He is largely resistant to my and other’s loving and caring words and actions. More often than not, it is all that I can do to simply picture my friend enveloped in the Living Light, in the transforming Love of the Divine Presence. I have to trust that this somehow makes a difference; that the loving energy that is extended on my part in the doing of this visualization somehow gets things in motion on the level of the heart. And even if it feels as though it is just my heart that is moved and transformed, I have to trust that, since we are all one, it is also the collective heart of humanity and the world that is also being moved and transformed. And this bigger, collective heart includes my hurting friend.


With all that being said, here are Lana Carolan’s thoughts on getting to that point where we become aware of the transforming presence and guiding voice of God in our lives.

___________________


I’ve noticed that the intellect is useful in getting me to a place where I recognize I must allow it to drop away so the intuitive nature or heart of God can be heard. To facilitate this awareness, I must resist the urge to “think” myself awake and instead allow it to arise on its own terms. To stop thinking in and of itself can seem impossible, yet when I point my mind and fix my awareness on this present moment, all thinking subsides naturally. It is in this space of consciousness that I am able to hear another voice.

Early on I used writing to initiate communication. I would start writing and Holy Spirit would just pick up with it shortly into the writing. I’d just start writing whatever was on my mind and at some point, the voice of the Holy Spirit just took over. It did not seem to matter what state of mind I was in or if I was seeking help or just communion. When I was willing to listen, it spoke to me from a place deep within and it had absolutely no connection to the intellect or the thinking mind at all. Later, I no longer needed to write to initiate its voice. It just became a natural process of being present and through utilizing a listening meditation I continue to use today.

It is also helpful to remember that my inner guidance/voice never sleeps and can spring into my awareness without effort or a decision on my part. Sometimes it awakens me late at night or during the very early morning hours. I’m just compelled to write or listen. It is always an uplifting message seeming to come out of nowhere and not associated with my own thinking. It brings a gift of understanding and clarity on subjects I have not even contemplated. It seems to know what I need to know before I do. Holy Spirit comes through a state of no thought. It is a non-thinking process where the thinking of the ego-mind is silenced and the thoughts I think with God come into my awareness. I’ve learned to trust it completely for I KNOW it is ever-present and available whenever it is needed. It is like a meeting place. It is like stepping through a door and finding myself there. It feels like home. ❤

“Here is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way, at his own time. You do not need this time. Time has been saved for you because you and your brother are together. This is the special means this course is using to save you time. You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you. Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else. ‘I need do nothing’ is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.” – ACIM (T:18.VII.6)

Lana Carolan
via Foundation for Inner Peace Group
December 18, 2021


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Beauty and Challenge of Being Present in the Moment
Cultivating Stillness
Be In My Mind, Beloved One
Your Peace Is With Me, Beloved One
You Are My Goal, Beloved One
Jesus and the Art of Letting Go
A Sacred Pause
Aligning With the Living Light
Mystical Participation
The Source Is Within You
Adnan in Morning Light
November Musings
What We Crave

Images:Adnan in the Light” by Michael J. Bayly (Minneapolis, November 25, 2021).


2 comments:

armijok said...

Your images, those quoted, those written, and those captured by the lens make a lot of sense to me because that is how I live it. Moreover, they evoke in me the experiences of so many other people who manage to connect with the divinity in every sense or, even more, beyond all merely sensory experiences. In one of her texts on visions, the great mystic, and teacher, St. Teresa of Jesus, speaks of the radiance that does not dazzle. It must be said that she tells all this because she was told to say it:

"It is not a radiance that dazzles, but a soft whiteness and infused radiance, which gives great delight to the sight and does not tire it, nor the clarity that is seen to see this beauty so divine. It is a light so different from those of here, that the brightness of the sun that we see seems so tarnished in comparison with that clarity and light that is represented to the eye, that one would not want to open one's eyes afterwards. It is like seeing a clear water, which runs on glass and the sun shines on it, to one that is very cloudy and cloudy and runs over the earth. Not because the sun is represented, nor the light is like that of the sun; it seems, in short, natural light and something else artificial. It is light that has no night, but, as it is always light, it is not disturbed by anything..." (L 28,5)

Michael J. Bayly said...

As always, Mario, thank you for your thoughtful and illuminating comments. Your presence and input here at The Wild Reed is greatly appreciated.

Peace,

Michael