THE NUMINOSITY OF TREES

We set up Christmas trees in our homes
As a sign of God and nature’s presence.

It’s a really good symbol because these trees have fresh green needles –
Natural as all outdoors –
And are strung with lines of colorful lights –
Reminding us of the candles used by our ancestors.

We do this without thinking about it –
Since it’s a custom more ancient than our formal religion –
That is, bringing nature and lights into dark winter homes.

But it’s more than a symbol –

If you engage a bit more deeply with your tree –
Through half-closed eyes and an open heart –
You’ll slowly begin to perceive that nature’s lit with an “inner fire” –
In other words, numinosity is hidden inside the entire material world –
Representing an aspect of the holy that’s in everybody and everything.

This numinosity exists not only in life, but also in non-life –
Like stones – small as a grain of sand or large as a planet – or even stars –
Whether spinning around in water or revolving through outer space –
In a way, they’re all “alive,” each bearing its own particular “touch” of God.

Quantum physicists know this –
How everything increases in energy and speed
The deeper one penetrates through the multi-layered shells of reality –
Like Russian nesting dolls –
Universes inside universes –
“Up,” as well as “down” – to infinity –
Where everything moves
Faster than the speed of light – and beyond –
But never, never, as quickly as the speed attained by human hearts in love –
Where entropy doesn’t apply.

Love exists in a realm beyond material measurement –
It’s a spiritual quality of such signal importance to humans
That everyone long ago reached agreement that love’s both essential and true.

So, you might want to take a closer look at your Christmas tree,
Looking through half-closed eyes and an open heart,
To see for yourself whether you can intuit the presence of God
In your very own living room.

Remember, love moves at the speed of glorious green nature –
Hiding individual colored lights, like stars, throughout your tree’s infinite branches –
And supporting tiny angels gently opening and closing their wings –
Nestled way back in the shadowy dark fresh green needles.

Standing there, quietly,
In your very own living room –
A radiant, sparkling, light/dark Christmas tree

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BLIND TO BEAUTY

If God is truly beautiful, then what does that say about North American Christianity
Other than it must be blind –
Or, maybe, stubborn – simply refusing to open its eyes?

Where are the colorful flowers Hinduism loves so much
Except for some seasonal displays of white Easter lilies?

Maybe the Protestant North, given its weather,
Simply can’t find enough red, orange and gold flowers to decorate its churches –
The skies too overcast to provide a wider spectrum of Nature’s beauty.

Well, snow is beautiful –
So why not pray whenever it snows – absorbed in its purity?

When snow arrives, it’s kind of magical,
And peaceful.

If we’ve been driven inside by the cold weather
Why not bring fire along with us –
Candles and a glowing hearth for light and warmth –
Perhaps we should even consider celebrating Christmas all winter long!

So here’s the problem –
North America is constructed like a cash register –
Filled with money and metal drawers –
But is rarely appreciated for being beautiful – since it really isn’t –
Expensive, yes – too often; but, beautiful, no.

As a result, our local crafts have been dying off over time
(starting shortly after the Native Americans were separated off from the rest of us) –
With individual-made clothes, home furnishings, and design –
All machine-made –
Which has steadily been removing human-designed beauty
From our lives over several generations now –
(of course only for the best economic reasons).

As a consequence, we have been losing
All artistic crafts hand-made by human beings –

One item at a time.

Nature also has become separated from our day to day lives – especially in the cities –
We can still experience God, though, when looking at Nature
(spiritually, the “Back” of God) –
But no longer have the capacity to discern God’s “Face”
Which is simply too much for us to handle at this historical moment.

Listen, no one can ever buy God, no matter what they think –
All the money in the world only makes whatever’s being purchased even less holy –
Less likely that you’ll ever be able to discover the secret of God’s joy
Hidden deep inside your heart.

Actually, I now wonder whether we’ll ever be willing to accept
Any direct, or even indirect, gifts from God
Again.

IF YOU’RE ABLE TO DO THIS

In some senses, you are who you look at –
When you meet someone, in a way, you become whom they’re experiencing –
Because, if you truly look –
You’ll see what they are seeing when they look at you –
So be careful about who you look at!

My advice is to look at God as much as possible –
When God returns your attention, God sees “perfection” –
Meaning all your potential in fully-flowered form –
Of course, that’s hard for you to accept
Because, in such binocular vision (looking through the eyes of God and self),
You’ll see yourself through the eyes of both –
And, of course, end up attempting to reconcile these two disparate visions.

So, if you dare to look at God,
You’ll experience God looking back at you –
It’s amazing, really, that you can do this
And not die!

You won’t – but it takes a lot of courage not to look away.

It can result in the sweetest “death” you’ll ever experience –
Because it’s only the death of an artificial entity – your ego,
While, simultaneously, your “true self” will be in the process of being born –
Something about which you dreamed your entire life
But could never remember – until this very moment.

When you look at God and discover
God looking back, it’s so wonderful
That, immediately, you’ll start singing: “Thank you,” “Thank you,” “Thank you,”
Letting gratefulness stream wildly out of your heart
That, otherwise, might explode
With Joy.

This is what I mean in saying: “Look at God” –
and not just a sidelong glance –
I’m saying: “Look, Look straight into God’s face.”

If you’re able to do this
You can have everything!

IF YOUR MIND IS FULL OF DEAD SNAKES

If the God you worship is a true God –
But your heart lives in a trash dump –
What do you think you’ll see when you look at God?

If your mind is full of dead snakes
That you mainly enjoy counting –
Then a God who’s constantly offering fresh spiritual life
Will probably never get noticed by you.

If you believe life is truly a miracle –
Spontaneous – one of a kind –
Why restrict yourself to a regular routine –
Never contemplating the possibility of surprises?

If you don’t deeply yearn for the Spirit –
And always hold tight to the material –
One day you’ll discover your heart’s been moving in the opposite direction from joy.

Materialism isn’t bad, per se – it’s what sustains the Spirit –
But if our hearts only desire more things –
While refusing to open up to the Spirit –

Eventually – we’ll fall down –
Turn to dust
And blow away.

So say the prophets.

BEST FRIENDS

When someone criticizes you –
Before rising up and becoming three or four times larger –
Before opening up a fire hose of ferocity –
Or even speaking a single word –

You must die.

Say: “So long” –
And become nobody.

This is what Jesus meant by “Blessed are the poor in spirit” –
That is, the less you are, the less you have to protect.

Each time you decide you are someone,
You’ll end up struggling to manipulate yourself into that kind of worldly acceptability,
While at the same time others will be attempting to get a hold on you –
Sensing your vulnerability.

But God can’t be manipulated
And the same’s true for the kind of people who have given up their egos –
It would be like trying to get a firm grip on the wind – or water.

Listen, accept all criticism – no matter how harsh –
If you can ever make it over your mountain chains of self-justification and self-satisfaction
You’ll be able to see forever.

If the attack is a lie – you won’t even notice it –
However, if bad feelings begin flying up and incinerating inside your heart –
It probably means it did have some truth in it.

So, it’s undeniable, isn’t it, that your enemies are also your best friends,
Because they really enjoy telling you
Everything you don’t want to hear but most need to know.

THE “STILL SMALL VOICE”

What does it mean when the Bible says God speaks in a “still small voice” or a “whisper”?

I think it means that you won’t commonly discover God speaking through the pulpit of a church, synagogue, mosque or other institutional religious setting – much less through the electronic media.

It means God prefers to talk “one on one” –
So you’ll need to find the right kind of space and silence
Necessary to hear what God’s been trying to say to you.

I think only a “true self” is able to actually “hear” God
Because if it’s our ego that’s doing the listening, all it will ever hear is its own ego self –
Refracted back onto itself –
Along with affirmations of self,
Accolades for self, and
Lots and lots of justifications for self.

The kind of space and silence needed by a true self to hear God
Is spiritually known as the “sacred ground of being” –
For example, if you are asking to hear the truth from God
That’s what you will hear.

If you respectfully request the presence of God, you’ll always get God –
However, it’ll usually be in a still small voice or quiet whisper –
Heart to heart –
One on one.

EATING THE HEADS OFF FLOWERS

Since Nature mirrors God
We often feel a desire to smudge it.

Actually, we have two inconsistent thoughts:
First, with respect to Nature, that we can get away with anything – no matter how destructive –
And, the world will always be able to recover from our ungentle touch.

This is cognitive dissonance –
In common language, insanity.

When God eventually demands an accounting
We’ll have nothing to say –
Except, like spoiled children –
“We didn’t really care.”

This is a recurrent dream we have about dying
By our own hand –
Destroying love freely given to us –

Eating the heads off flowers –
And forgetting everything else.