Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Presence as prayer

Image courtesy of Tarot by Cecelia

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.

~ Bahá’u’lláh

We can trust that there is a knowing that is out of the realm of thoughts or emotions or circumstances. When we deeply trust, our minds open to discover what is true, regardless of what we are feeling.  

~ Gangaji

The single most important thing we can do is stop and get off the train of our own obsessive convictions and move into awareness of some sort of presence or the present time … and breathe again. That’s about as prayerful as life gets. That is about as faithful and spiritual as I mean. And everyone can relate to that.              ~ Anne Lamott

Let go of what you are not and be who you truly are. When you let go, you create space to receive more.

~ John Whiteman

Words from Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul are also helpful:

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

“ … identify as the observer, not the experience; don’t let painful experience influence the present; you are not the thoughts you observe; a life of joy and love follows from a commitment made to a life of joy and love. Learn to live from your heart, not your ego. Take refuge in the Divine, not the temporary. Learn to control your mind rather than letting it control you. It’s just a mass of thoughts. It is possible never to ‘have’ a problem again.”

The journey that matters most to me requires that I review the events in my life for the wisdom and purpose they carry. This inventory brings questions like:

~ What are my true needs, and what is my inner “enough”?

~ How do I remember that strength, and every resource I require, arrives increment by increment, as I am ready?

~ How do I remember that inspiration and assistance will arrive, but need me to ask for them, acknowledge that I need them, and be willing to receive and act upon them?

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Devotee to the delight of discovery

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Artwork: Judy Hughey Wright

The greatest gift in creative process may be the way in which it leads so naturally — and enjoyably — to the harmonizing of heart and mind.

Show up for any blank page, canvas, or other creative endeavor and it quickly becomes obvious just how much our heart and mind are designed to be collaborators on a journey of learning, and expression, in service to truth. A lot of cultural influences set heart and mind against each other as adversaries, which may explain a lot of anguish in human experience.

In reality, the process of creating anything requires the harmonizing and partnership of these aspects of ourselves in a dynamic coherence and balance. And — the paradoxical bonus, if we’re brave enough to step onto the high wire of creating, which often has so much of the unknown looming underneath — is that it feels good. And so do we, when we experience it. Because wholeness is what we’re made for, and, mercifully, we can’t do it wrong.

Immersed in a book’s writing process again, I’m reminded that faithfulness to this process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, and what I am ready to receive, rather than trying to force or impose anything. There is an invitation here, which, like any invitation, asks me to accept and receive it on its terms, rather than any agenda or desired outcome of mine.

When I’m able to comply, what comes to meet me feels powerful and also mysteriously subtle; encircling, and, at the same time, wholly liberating. It feels something like what life is meant to be, rather than what so much unhelpful information tries to convince us that it is.

A recent study that’s getting a lot of mileage right now describes how the experience of writing (and we could substitute any creative experience that attracts us) can lead to a greater sense of happiness and personal meaning. When the study engaged participants in writing activities, it found that they were shifted “from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself,” according to Timothy D. Wilson, University of Virginia psychology professor and lead author of the study.

Creative process apparently not only helps us feel better, but also broadens and elevates our worldview. The title of Wilson’s book, based on the study, seems to catch the gist of why and how this matters: Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By. Perhaps an important question is: just who or what is creating those stories?

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs

On my own path of creative experience, I find that in order for a story to take its fullest shape, which necessarily involves my coming to know what I haven’t seemed to know before, my mind must surrender. As it does this, almost like an observing dreamer, it seems to merge with, and serve, something else. I’ve yet to find words that describe this more completely than Albert Einstein’s:

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Just what would our world, and our lives, be like if we did remember that sacred gift, and the rational mind became able and willing, to serve it?

Perhaps that surrender that I experience, an easing up of the rational mind, with its “certainties” and limits, is what helped those study participants break through to a better-feeling place as they engaged in creative process.

What if the creative process itself is what helps us to remember that gift, and to treasure it, and remember just how it is meant to be served?


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The blessed way of not knowing

EB pix Germany and more 069Immersed in a book’s writing process once again, I’m reminded daily that faithfulness to this process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, rather than trying to impose anything.

In addition to the pages it generates, writing, like all creative endeavor, is an invitation to authenticity — a powerful and liberating experience of investigation and discovery, as life itself is meant to be.

Creative process’s greatest gift may be the way that it leads quite naturally to the harmonizing of heart and mind as collaborators in a journey of learning and expression, in service to truth. In fact, it requires this harmonizing and partnership, this dynamic balance. EB pix Germany and more 619

I find that while my focus and intent must train in like a camera, they must also merge in a kind of surrender that my mind can’t ever fully grasp or encompass, but my spirit can recognize, and respond to. Indeed, my mind must become a servant to that surrender, and whatever it is that spirit can draw from and impart to it. Diedenbergen_signs

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant,” Albert Einstein said, adding, “We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

I am writing out of my own search. Authenticity comes from keeping the commitment, while not knowing, something I consider sacred practice.

I am devotee to the experience of the discovery, on its own terms. What that “sacred gift” will bestow.