"All the leaves are brown,
and the sky is grey.
Ive been for a walk,
on a winters day
I'd be safe and warm
if I was in.... "
If I was in L.A....Taos, Boulder, Maine, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland....anywhere, but where I was. If only...
Hearing the Mamas and the Papas singing, California Dreamin', this afternoon, got me thinking. Thinking about all the geographical dreaming I've done, for as long as I can remember...or at least, until much too recently.
But, as I sat there...looking out through the gray branches of a midwestern winter's stalwart sycamores peppered with brave squirrels, cardinals, and chickadees...I was happy. I was content. I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment...and I knew it.
14th century Persian poet, Hafiz, once wrote:
“This place where you are right now,
God circled on a map for you."
I knew this to be as true a truth, as ever there was.
So, what changed between the years of longing, and these ongoing moments of pure contentment? More than I can cover in this post. More than I think I can even begin to fully grasp. But there are a few things that I am celebrating a simple clarity about tonight. Such as,
We are constantly being sold a bill of goods that says we need certain "conditions" to be happy. When I have the right job, live in the right neighborhood, have the right partner, pray the right prayer, think the right thought...then I will be happy, satisfied, ready to progress, better positioned to succeed, in the right state of mind for health, wholeness, perfection. But only then.
As my daughters would say, "not."
This thinking just reduces our understanding of God to someone sitting back waiting for us to "get with the program." It makes God rather impotent. It is as if this all-powerful, ever-present, omniscient divine Parent that I worship, needs me to get it right...get into the right place, find the right position, be with the right people, read the right article, think the right thought...so that he can care for me, love me, govern me sovereignly.
Again, "not." Or at least, not for me.
Another line of reasoning says that where I am..right now...is a mistake. And if this is true, then my all-powerful, all-knowing, always loving God fell asleep at some point, and I ended up in the wrong place. And now I am stuck until I, you get it, think the right thought, pray the right prayer, and listen carefully enough so that I can take the right step in the right direction...but until then.... And that means, that obviously, I am not there now.
But, none of these options acknowledges, and honors my beloved Father-Mother God's all-powerful care for me...and mine. And I can't live with that premise. It leaves me feeling frantic to find the right place, be with the right person, think the right thought before I can be at peace, satisfied...happy. So, what do I think?
Well, Mary Baker Eddy, the most God-trusting woman I know, once wrote, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "All that is, is the work of God, and all is good.
We leave this brief glorious history of spiritual creation...
in the keeping of God, not of man,
in the hands of Spirit, not matter,
joyfully acknowledging, now and forever,
God's supremacy, omnipotence, and omnipresence."
and this, from her poem, "Satisfied," "It matters not what be thy lot,
so Love doth guide..."
These two statements have been my compass, my geographical starting point, for a while now. In the first statement, she makes it clear that God has created, and is governing, every moment of my life. I need to trust His wisdom. I am here. My job is to joyfully acknowledge his supremacy, omnipotence, and omnipresence...not question it.
And in the second statement, well, I smile when I see her use of the word, "lot." I have looked at lots in Colorado, Maine, New Mexico...you get the picture. But, she is saying (to me) that to the spiritual thinker, it just doesn't matter. What matters is that love guides me...moment, by moment...every day.
Today I am here. So this must be the perfect place for me...the perfect lot, plot, house, home, acreage, location. The perfect place for me to love, to serve my Father's children, to joyfully acknowledge His presence, power, and supremacy. If I am supposed to be somewhere else, I will be there. I will have no choice. So why think about it. It's a waste of my heart, my thinking, and my prayers.
There is a whole world to bless....right here.
Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come. It reminds me of all those nagging little distractions to inner contentment, those gnawing little thoughts that have poked at me for so long: When will you get to "go home?" When will you go, where you are going, next? When will you ever live near the ocean, the mountains, in the perfect place? His reply to their question, echoes through my days:
"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there!
the kingdom of God is within you..”
This is my perfect "place." This is my heavenly center. This is the only place I will ever really be at home...the kingdom within...the consciousness of Love, and my right to actually be the expression of that love, right here, right now.
When I make this my geographical focus, I am completely satisfied, at all times. Whether I am in the midwest under a gray January sky, along the Maine coast for a day, or in the Colorado mountains each the summer, I can be perfectly at peace.
When I don't feel the need to stake my claim on a place, I can enjoy where I am, while I am there. What deep, abiding contentment this brings.
So now, if I am going to do any "dreamin'," it's going to be about peace on earth, good will towards men, universal health, unconditional kindness, wide-spread compassion, global respect, and undivided cooperation...not beautiful places far away, but beautiful places within.
I am loving this place...since its the one God circled on the map for me...today. Putting my heart in His hands, I am always safe and warm.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
"If I was in..."
"All the leaves are brown,