Transfigured by Love

FrancisAndAdyaThis photograph, posted on Facebook today, impacted me deeply. It’s hard put into words what exactly it was that affected me so profoundly. On the surface it is a nice picture of Francis Bennett, who is my spiritual director, and author of ‘I Am That I Am‘ at a conference, greeting Adyashanti the spiritual teacher, and author of many books (including Resurrecting Jesus). It’s just a picture, but it brought tears to my eyes and caused my heart to open, as if a mundane morning had suddenly been transfigured into something wonderful. I felt overwhelmed with a tangible awareness of the presence of God, that lasted for many hours. Read the Full Article

Hidden Treasure

birds18As we follow our journey of awakening to the presence of God in all things, we need to remember that this is not a journey outwards, but a journey inwards. Life is constantly inviting us to go deeper into it. Whenever we think we have plumbed the depths of life, we can be sure that there is more just waiting for us. The presence of God is infinite, and the life of God in us is infinite. There is hidden treasure within every single thing, in every single moment.  We look at the external form, and we do not see what lies inside, because we look with the eyes of the mind. We see only the surface of what is present. Read the Full Article

Surrender to Life

No matter how good meditation and contemplative prayer may be, they are not ends in themselves. Francis Bennet, my spiritual director, and author of I Am That I Am, says that our meditation practice is just that – practice for life. When we meditate we are developing the skill and the discipline of surrender.

When we meditate we surrender with every breath to whatever is going on inside or outside us in the moment. Whatever thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions or distractions are happening either in our mind or in the environment around us; we don’t try to stop it or change it. We try simply to notice that it is happening without getting caught up in it.

Ultimately, however, surrender to life, surrender to God is the essential practice. It is this that will set us free from the struggle and suffering of life in the relative world, and help us to enter the Kingdom of God – the absolute reality that exists deep in the heart of creation. Read the Full Article

The Undefended Heart

open heartThe path of the mystic can be thought of as the way of the undefended heart. It is the way of the vulnerable and helpless lover yearning for the Beloved.

By ‘heart’ of course we do not mean the physical organ. Rather we mean the emotional and spiritual centre of our being – the innermost core of our self.

It is in our heart that we connect with God, and it is from our heart that the light of God shines out into the universe. It is only through learning to dismantle the veils and defences our ego has built around the heart that we can enter into the innermost core of our being, the place where God our Beloved waits for us.

The heart cannot be understood by the mind. The heart is infinite, and the mind is finite. This is why much of what is written about this path of the undefended heart comes in the form of sacred poetry or song – the Song of Songs from the Bible for example, or the work of the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi. It seems appropriate, therefore, to begin with a poem. Read the Full Article

Wise Words and Silence

Place-of-silence-rumiWhen speaking or teaching about spiritual things, we need to be wise in the way we use language. The words we choose can have a profound impact on our own understanding and that of others.

The other day, I was teaching in a group, and as we finished a particular session of practice, one of the participants said, “The presence of God really came into the room!”

Words and concepts are limiting

For me it was a great example of how words can mislead us when we are talking about spiritual truth. Every religion and spiritual tradition has its ‘private language,’ phrases  and terminology that are commonly used ‘in-house’. Many of these ‘spiritual’ phrases arise from a limited and relative perspective on what is an absolute and infinite reality. They are an attempt to explain our experience of God in ways that our mind can comprehend. Read the Full Article

Namaste – The Divine Within You

namaste-small 2Following on from my previous post, I thought I would share a poem that I wrote last year when I was visiting friends in India.

You may be aware of the customary Indian greeting, common to people of all faith traditions, which consists of putting your palms together , upright in front of your heart, and bowing your head slightly, while saying “Namaste,” which roughly translates as, “I honour the divine within you.”

First the poem, and than a few thoughts about it. Read the Full Article

Open to the Other

face to face - open to the otherWhat do you see when you come face to face with another person?

In a contemplation and meditation group that I lead, we sometimes do a particular practice where everyone pairs off, sits opposite one another and simply looks at the other person. Of course that ‘simply’ is the pertinent word. The problem for most of us is that we don’t know how to look simply. When we look at anything, what we actually register is distorted by filters and veils – expectations, preconceptions, judgements, conditioning and so on. Neither do we know how simply to be looked at. The point of the practice is to bring ourselves just as we are. We allow ourselves to be seen, as far as we can, without putting on masks or having our defences in place. At the same time we try, as best as we can, to see the other person as they really are – to look beyond all their masks and defences to their heart. Read the Full Article