Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


The longest, sweetest journey

Photo: David Campbell

A most subtle and most difficult transition for us to make is to move from the use of human traits by the human nature to the  employing of divine qualities by our spiritual nature.

This has been described as the longest journey — from the mind to the heart.

The human nature, using the limited vision of the rational mind, doesn’t have the capacity to perceive divinity and easily makes the mistake of believing that we, ourselves, are the source of such spiritually motivated actions as generosity, mercy and justice.

This misconception leads inevitably to arrogance, the hallmark of the ego, and we cannot approach God with what is essentially the exact opposite of the attribute that is required for this — humility.

In his book Love, Power and Justice, author William Hatcher notes that “We are the only creatures of God who have the capacity to be aware of our dependency on God.”

It is the spiritual nature that possesses the capacity to recognize that the amazing virtues of love, mercy, kindness originate with God and that we’re privileged to use these infinite attributes that God has placed within us in infinite combinations to enhance our lives. We can remember, when someone thanks us for being kind or merciful, to acknowledge in our heart the divine source of kindness or mercy. In this way we can grow in humility instead of arrogance. We can carry in our awareness the source of these qualities and thus draw closer to that source.

The animal and human nature each ask the same question in all our interactions with the world: “Do I eat it or does it eat me?” The human nature wears better clothes and couches the same question in more sophisticated language, such as, “Do I win or do you win?’”or “Who controls who in this relationship?”

The spiritual nature always asks the same question: “What do I need to do to approach the Divine?” Or perhaps more specifically: “What act of service do I need to give or receive in order to approach the Divine?”

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? https://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I


Rowing all the way through

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Photo: Vanessa Jette


Psychology will soon become a thing of the past because it doesn’t take seriously the beyond-ego aspects of the self. …

Spiritual health requires flexibility, a searching mind and comfort with not having all the answers.

 ~ Thomas Moore

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Photo: Jon Ring

The most difficult endeavor is not to create something. The most difficult endeavor is not even to begin. The most difficult is to keep rowing all the way through to completion.

And this, in spades, is the content of the night-sea journey … making the descent to true self, nourishing the work from that locus of control, and completing the work. Then beginning the next, and the next … and completing them.

 ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Image: Lauren Chuslo-Shur

There are things which only happen, which cannot be done. Doing is the way of very ordinary things, mundane things.

You can do something to earn money, you can do something to be powerful, you can do something to have prestige; but you cannot do anything as far as love is concerned, gratitude is concerned, silence is concerned.

It is significant to understand that ‘doing’ means the world, and non-doing means that which is beyond the world.       


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Contradiction: pathway beyond confines of ego


Photo: Saffron Moser

I thank Jeannie Zandi for the following excerpt from Parabola magazine of an interview with Helen M. Luke, a Jungian counselor, writer, and frequent contributor to the magazine.

The interview focused on the power and possibilities of one of the most challenging matters for human nature: embracing contradictions:

Interviewer LORRAINE KISLEY: I wonder if there is a more unnatural act than welcoming contradiction. It seems so difficult.

HELEN M. LUKE: An extremely difficult act. But it is the essential one.

L.K. It’s the last thing one wishes to undergo, the experience of internal contradiction.


Photo: Saffron Moser

H.L. Unless we live all our lives in the torment of the contradictions, as C.G. Jung insists, then we’re not human. We can’t become whole. If you’re stuck, and you don’t know what to do, stuck between two opposites, and you allow them each to live within you, then a small transformation of the ego takes place. It becomes related to the Self instead of identifying with it.

L.K. It seems that this is perhaps one of the paths toward the almost impossible idea that one could relate to the ego objectively. The bearing of contradiction is a kind of tool which pries apart the identification with the ego.

H.L. Yes, indeed, it is so.

L.K. An indirect method, but it seems to have that effect.

H.L. Jung says–as I’ve quoted already–“God becomes manifest in the human act of reflection.” That is to say, our God images are what we see in our mirrors. Narcissus’ God image was his own ego. But the Zen mirror, which they say must be utterly free of dust, reveals the experience of the whole. That’s the whole point of Zen, isn’t it? All the contradictions–you can’t put it into words at all. It’s a sudden breakthrough.

L.K. They use contradictions as a tool, also.China3.2009 022

H.L. Very much so. All their koans are contradictions unsolvable by reason. As I was going on to say, you have a conflict, you reflect, you simply bear it, and suddenly you glimpse the truth which unites the opposites; it breaks through. You are then released to act. And then you must not stop. That’s what we get into all the time, isn’t it? We think we’ve had a breakthrough, and now everything is going to be lovely and we’re going to feel good. But on the contrary, you must then start again on the next conflict, quite soon. So that one has to learn to rejoice in the conflict. Which doesn’t mean be happy!

Excerpted from Helen M. Luke in conversation with Lorraine Kisley from “The Only Freedom,” Parabola magazine, Summer, Volume XI, Number 2, “Mirrors,” 1986. Order this issue here › http://bit.ly/1i8PFdU

Learn more about Jeannie Zandi’s work at http://www.jeanniezandi.com/.