It’s Not All About Me

In my quest to become a more spiritual person I sometimes forget that it’s not all about me. It is so easy to get caught up in focusing on my internal spiritual communion when in fact I should be focusing on everything all around me. A life of goodness must be all encompassing.

I must remind myself that while spirituality is found in part through internal reflection, it goes beyond self. It is not just a personal evolution. It is also making a connection with all of creation. It is about truly caring for (all) others, all living things, the planet, and so forth. With that care comes a sense of responsibility for the welfare of all these things.

I realize that I will not be fully developed spiritually until I  can consistently do that. By directing my awareness on people and things outside of myself, I draw forth the divinity inside me that I want so much to express and experience.

As more and more of us direct our awareness and caring outside ourselves, we join together in a spiritual evolution of the human race. I believe this is our true calling. This is our common path to the highest realms of spiritual existence.

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What Is Love?

It is easy to get confused concerning which feelings are love and which are not. Perhaps, none more so than the love between a man and women. The problem may come from what we refer to as physical attraction. The attraction may be sexual (e.g., they are good-looking or good in bed), or psychological (e.g., the forbidden fruit, one’s celebrity, wealth or position, or the classic “bad boy” [or girl] attraction). These are all based on physical elements.

Likely, we have all seen high failure rates for relationships that arose from these factors. This suggests that there is a lot of confusion out there concerning the physical versus transcendent aspects of love. The physical motivators for “love” are consistent with the materialistic values that seem to be so widespread today.

It is uncertain to what degree the transcendent quality of love is experienced by lovers today given the high divorce rate. Could true love be an expression of the spirit that transcends the body and all physical modalities? Could true love for another be a spirit(ual) attraction and experience?

There are different contexts in which we love another—that between a parent and child, between friends, romantic love between lovers, and so forth. Societal norms dictate limits on how we can physically express love in these various types of relationships. However, I believe that love is love regardless of the context. That is, I do not believe that transcendent love varies by context, only how it is physically expressed.

I believe that love is a form of spiritual energy that is independent of biology and worldly context. Love as spiritual energy may be heralded by that sense of a mutual connection between people. It is a spiritual connection not a physical one. This is what we look for in a mate and find in our family and best friends. When will we learn to go beyond the physical and start to listen to what our spirit tells us?

To What Doth My Heart Hearken? (Part 2)

I originally wrote what appears below concerning various references we make to the heart before the verse in Part 1 of this topic came to be. I toyed with various titles for the article below trying to summarize in a few words what I was trying to address. Then out of the blue came the title above. This title seemed right, but I sensed that there was so much more in the question that it posed.

Over the next few days, the question haunted me. I kept repeating the question (title) over and over in my mind like I sometimes do when I am trying to remember something or solve a problem. Each time I did so, I felt twinges of emotion that begged for expression and understanding. I found myself searching for an answer to the question that went beyond the sort of worldly aspects of what we call “heart.“

Finally, the constant nagging of this question forced me to sit down at the computer and wait quietly for an answer. Soon, the words started to flow effortlessly and the verse in Part 1 was born.

Here in Part 2, we move from the ethereal plane of thought to more applied, experiential sorts of examples of how our spirit can express itself.

There is a way of speaking with which we are all familiar. It is a reference to the heart that we apply to a variety of actions and emotions. I often wondered precisely what we mean when we say “heart” in these contexts.

Some of the sayings we use are things like:

All goodness flows from the heart.
I love you with all of my heart.
He wears his heart on his sleeve.
That act came from the heart.
That artist paints from the heart.
He/she sings from the heart.
And so on…

I think what is implied in these sayings and situations is that the person has called forth in themselves something beyond the physical body. Inspiration that transcends the body.

I think that by “heart” we intuitively (yet perhaps unwittingly) mean spirit. Although I am likely not the first person to come to this realization, this clarifies for me what was previously a somewhat vague reference.

I believe that love, charitable acts, artistic talents, etc. are expressions of the spirit—of our divine selves. Consequently, these are actions that we find most satisfying and fulfilling.

Perhaps the most common reference to the heart is that it is the source of a person’s love. What is suggested here is that love comes from our spirit. I would go further to say that love is the hallmark of spiritual expression. It is the essence of our divine nature. We are only truly happy when we allow our love to flow, but not just for spouse and family; rather, for all people and all of creation. Listen to your heart’s (your spirit’s) sweet refrain!

To What Doth My Heart Hearken? (Part 1)

To what doth my heart hearken?
This is the question that haunts me in every waking moment.
Though it beats in my chest,
My heart seems somehow abstract and transcendent.
It calls to me with sweet refrain.

And like the Siren my heart’s song draws me in a new direction.
But not to destruction; rather, to new meaning and purpose.
I do not want to resist; the melody is too beautiful.
The notes hit a chord that makes my spirit sing.

I am compelled to seek the Source of this wondrous beauty
That I may come to know it in its fullness.

“What would you have me do?” I ask.
The answer came swiftly and powerfully in a single word
That echoed and resonated in the essence of my being—LOVE!

Copyright 2013 by Blair Atherton

In Part 2 next week, I will tell how this verse came about.

The Light Inside You

Copyright 2013 by Blair Atherton

Copyright 2013 by Blair Atherton

In the last article, I used the imagery of the body as a garment within which lay the spirit. Here I would like to share with you a verse I wrote a long time ago and that appears in my book that likens our spirituality to rays of light that we too often shut away. And having done so, it continually strains for release.

The Light Inside You

For only a few fleeting moments
Have I felt the warm light of you—
Of what is inside of you.

Those moments were like rays of light
Peeking through the cracks of a door
In a dark room.

I am in the darkness alone,
Longing to know
What lies on the other side of the door.
Yearning to feel the touch
Of the warm and beautiful
Light that lies there.

But the door is locked,
The key to its opening
Unknown to me.

I will wait—
Yes, wait patiently
For the next beam of light
To spill through the cracks.
Longing to know
To understand
To embrace
The wonderful light
That shines inside of you.

Copyright 1969, 2012 by Blair Atherton

Please take a moment to get in touch with any feelings that this verse may have elicited. It always brings forth in me feelings of longing to fully express my spirit.

It is my belief that no matter who you are, what kind of a person you are, or what kind of life you live, there have been moments when your spirit was able to squeeze through the cracks in the walls you may have built around yourself. The fortresses we build to protect ourselves are always flawed and conquerable from within and without.

Our spirit-selves, that some of us try to hold captive in the darkness of our fears, doubt, and insecurities, yearn—no demand expression. The amount of energy required to restrain its expression is enormous. It is like trying to hold your breath until you pass out; you cannot do it. Similarly, no matter how hard you try to cling to the material world and deny your spirituality, your spirit will always seek to show you the path of goodness and a better way to live.

If you accept the notion that your spirit is what gives you life and your spirit-self is the real you, then you can see that your spirit must be allowed to express itself. Otherwise are you really alive?

I believe that we are all spiritual beings. We, and those around us, look for evidence of this in us and in themselves. They are searching for the warm and beautiful light emanating from others and hope to find within themselves. Perhaps we do not realize that all we have to do is open the door, even if only a crack at first.

 

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To What Doth My Heart Hearken