I wondered this morning why we say Happy St. Patrick’s Day. We could just as easily say Blessed St. Patrick’s Day. What makes this a happy day? (Besides the abundance of green beer?) In fact, what makes us happy any day?
I have a Happy Scale in my new day planner. Each morning I am supposed to rate my happiness from one to ten, with ten being the happiest I can be. I used this for a while before I noticed I never circled the number ten. I was mainly landing on eights and nines because I was working through something in my personal life. I was saving the ten for the day that situation would be resolved. It was as if I had determined I simply could not be totally happy until this issue was worked out in a way that could make me happy.
How absurd is that? Nothing makes us happy. Happiness is a choice. I heard someone say recently, “If you wait until everything in your life is okay before you can be happy, you’ll never be happy.” I was deeply touched by the wisdom of these words. They made me wonder if it was advisable to rate my happiness at all. By doing so, wasn’t I affirming a level of happiness less than I wanted to experience? What if I just circled 10 every morning and lived into that intention? I think this is a far more powerful way to use this scale.
If nothing can actually make us happy, how do we go about being happy? Affirming happiness would undoubtedly be a vital step. But more, looking within to acknowledge what we are and who we’ve come here to be can reconnect us to our divinity and a far greater experience of happiness. Whatever is happening in our human experience cannot compare to the oneness and wholeness we know when we look within to our divinity.
Perhaps that is how we might think of St. Patrick’s Day. A day to affirm the happiness of Spirit, of knowing on the deepest level that we are one with all that is and that nothing can disturb this indwelling peace and joy.
St. Patrick was born Irish. He became the patron saint and champion of Ireland through his actions. He was born in Scotland and was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish pirates. When he escaped, he attended a monastery. Then he returned to Ireland to preach the gospel, build churches, and drive away the metaphorical snakes. Metaphorical snakes because Ireland never had snakes. The reverence afforded to St. Patrick is for driving out that which caused pain and suffering by drawing people closer to their divine heritage. In doing so, he changed how people thought, how they felt, and the actions they took. Maybe this is why Irish Eyes Are Laughing!
When we say Happy St. Patrick’s Day today, let us remember to drive out the snaky thoughts of limitation, separation, and duality. Let us build the sanctuary of our hearts into a cathedral of Light and love. Let us be reminded of our divinity and connection to others, and let those thoughts guide us into a greater experience of happiness and joy.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and multiple blessings on this day of celebrating the divinity of all. May pots of golden light shower you with love, Light, and wholeness.
“May the strength of God guide us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the word of God direct us. Be always ours this day and for evermore.” – Saint Patrick.
N.O.W. I see. Do you wonder what it is that I see? Or do you wonder what is different NOW that allows me to see what I could not see before? What I see is the omnipresence of God, the face of God in loved ones, neighbors, strangers, and yes, even in those whose actions I find disheartening. In the NOW I find the place between past and future, where time does not exist, and where Nothing Obstructs Wholeness
This past week has presented us with a kaleidoscope of images and feelings. The decline of new cases of COVID-19 and the conclusion of many Stay-Home orders has been juxtaposed with curfews, violence, looting, and military force all across the United States. And at the center of it all another black man, George Floyd, murdered by hatred and racism. When the world presents us with such disturbing physical images, it is easy to lose sight of the omnipresence of God.
Omnipresence, however, means everywhere present; God is present everywhere, all of the time. It cannot be otherwise. But there can be a disturbance that produces the illusion that God is not present. Yet we can create a window through the disturbance when we choose to see from the place where Nothing Obstructs Wholeness.
A Buddhist teaching depicted by three monks, one with hands over the eyes, one with hands over the ears, and one with hands over the mouth tells us to “See no evil. Hear no Evil. Speak no Evil.” This does not mean to pretend what our physical eyes behold is not there. It means to see above & beyond the disturbance to the omnipresence of God. It means to hear the voice of Spirit more clearly than the words of anger or hatred or their source, which is always fear. It means to speak only Truth, that which Spirit whispers in your ear.
To See No Evil is to See Only Truth A few years ago, I discovered a company that makes special corrective lenses for people with color blindness. People who are color blind see the world in muted colors with a spectrum as much as 90% less than those who are not color blind. Imagine witnessing the brilliance and beauty of color for the very first time. It would no doubt be an exciting and perhaps an emotional moment. Perhaps that’s the kind of excitement that occurred for the man born blind that Jesus healed. Jesus heals from the N.O.W. He discounts the idea that the man’s blindness is caused by the sins of his parents, or anything in the past. He says, instead, that the man is blind so that he might make God visible!
Jesus asks the man to make a choice. He says, “Do you want to be healed?” It’s your choice. You can keep being blind, or you can choose to see. Of course, the man says. “Yes. I want to see.” Then Jesus spits on the ground, makes a poultice of mud and rubs it on the man’s eyes. Then, Jesus tells the man to wash the mud (earthly illusion) from his eyes. The man removes the mud as directed, and suddenly, he can see. He then tells everyone he meets how listening to Jesus (the Christ Mind) has caused him to see.
It is vital to our individual and collective well-being that we choose to see the Truth. And, we must listen to the inspiration of the indwelling Christ Mind and wash the illusion of separation from our eyes, for it is not enough to See Only Truth. We must also Hear Only Truth.
To Hear No Evil is to Hear Only Truth We hear the Truth most clearly when we quiet the inner chatter through meditation and by paying attention to the many ways that Spirit speaks to us. You may hear it as a quiet voice somewhere within you. Or you may recognize it in a song that pops into your mind. Or perhaps a billboard message will speak to you. However it shows up, you will know the message is from Spirit because it will be grounded in Love. And it will inspire you to speak the Truth.
Speak No Evil is to Speak Only Truth The words we speak affect what we create and what we experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the illusion of separation and use our words in ways that further divide us. But be mindful that your words carry great power. Will you use your words to create a greater disturbance? Or will you use them to create windows in which the face of God can be seen? Speak Only Truth and then step into that Truth with inspired action. In other words, Do No Evil.
To Do No Evil is to Act Only from Truth Some people suggest there ought to be a fourth monk depicting Do No Evil. To Act Only from Truth is to let every action be inspired by the Christ Mind. The blind man would not have been healed if he had not taken the action inspired by the Christ to wash the mud from his eyes. Imagine a world in which everyone acted only from the Truth that we are all one with God and with one another.
Our world is in the process of a spiritual evolution. But humanity cannot evolve without shedding what no longer fits the vision of wholeness written on our hearts. That we see hatred, anger, and violence is not surprising – they are there. But are they there because we’ve failed? Are they there because of something done long ago? Or, are they showing up because it is time to bring them into the Light and wash them away? Are they coming up to present us with an opportunity to make God more visible, to take inspired action toward our collective spiritual evolution?
The question is not, “Is there hatred and racism in the world?” The question is, what will you do with them? Will you Let them lord over you? Cause you to be blind to the power of Spirit within you and within all beings? Or will you use them as a reason to practice the N.O.W. and to see the face of God in everyone? Will you use them as a reason to listen more fully to what Spirit is saying to you. Will you use them to speak only Truth and to shower the world with actions inspired by Love?
The world is presenting us with images that can, if we let them, obscure the presence of God. But we can choose at any time to enter the place in mind where Nothing Obscures Wholeness, where we can see above and beyond worldly illusions. In the quiet solitude of the N.O.W., we open our inner ears to the voice of Spirit and Hear Only Truth. In the N.O.W, we are inspired to Speak and Act Only from Truth.
See only Truth; Hear only Truth, Speak only Truth and act only from Truth, and you will clearly see the face of God and be the face of God you are intended to be.
Eileen Patra, is an author, ordained Unity minister, and inspirational speaker. She is the author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings, released in July 2019. In 2014 Eileen received the Ruth M. Mosley Award for Outstanding Achievement in Ministry while serving as the Senior Minister at Unity of Livonia, MI. Prior to her call to ministry, Eileen earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She has published dozens of spiritually-themed articles in local periodicals, online journals, and via this blog.
This morning, as I looked out the kitchen window of our
cabin, I saw my Blue Heron. He doesn’t belong to me in an ownership way. No one
can own a heron. They are free and independent beings. But this heron has
graced the shore of our lake since before we bought the place. I’m sure it is
not the same heron. Probably an offspring, maybe several generations later, but
there is always just the one. Sometimes he flies by. Sometimes he lands on our
raft, called Monkey Island. Most often, though, he just walks the shore as if
he is taking a morning stroll. Hunting is more likely, but his grace and beauty
convey a stroll.
Today, as I watched this glorious being on his daily constitutional, I stopped what I was doing and attempted to unite with him energetically. The endeavor became my morning meditation. I watched, then close my eyes and imagined being there next to him, asking if I could join him. I inquired what his message was for me, and he stopped. He stopped right in front of Monkey Island and stood for the longest time. I thought perhaps he saw me and perceived a threat. Or, maybe he heard me and was either considering my request or seeking to answer my question.
first word I heard was “patience.” He stood utterly motionless for what seemed
like hours. I watched the water move about him in circular currents, one
merging with the other. It was a beautiful sight to see. A painting I may
attempt someday. The heron stood as if frozen in time, as the currents moved
past him and all around him. They encircled him then subsided. Still, there he
stood like a statue, unmoving, one eye peering in my direction. “I’m not a
predator,” I said.
eyes tell me otherwise.” He replied.
still, allowing him to perceive that I was not a threat, just curious and
receptive. Then I saw the other thing that held him captive in that spot. It
was Monkey Island, an obstacle. He stood before the obstacle and waited for
what seemed like an eternity to me. I hadn’t noticed the raft as an obstacle
before. I think I heard him call it that. “Obstacle.”
wonder if he will go around it or fly over it, I thought.
sooner had the thought left my head than he lifted his foot above the water,
stretched his head up high, and slowly, purposefully moved around the raft. He
walked over the yellow rope fastening it to the shore for the winter. He ducked
under the little plank we use as a bridge to it. He gracefully lifted his feet
over the second yellow rope as if it were not even there. He then continued his
walk along the shore, past the pine trees that border our yard from our
neighbors, and then out of sight.
crossed my path today. He shared his grandeur with me. He allowed me to watch
and admire him. His message was patience, observation, and purposeful steps
around obstacles. I feel blessed and inspired. Thank you, dear Blue Heron. You
are mine, but more, you are yours, and you are everyone’s, a blessing in the
form of Light, feathers, warmth, patience, and beauty.
Does your closet sometimes get so full that you have trouble locating what you would like to wear? This happens to me more often than I care to admit. An overflowing closet might be exciting if everything in it were something I actually wanted to wear. But no, many of the items just take up space making it difficult to find what I am looking for.
A closet is not unlike the human mind. Like a mind, it stores necessary things as well as those that are no longer useful. Even when not conscious of the items held there, they sit, waiting, taking up space. And like a closet, the mind is unlikely to relinquish the things it holds unless there is a conscious the choice to let them go. We often hold thoughts and ideas about ourselves, about others, and about the world that are no longer useful, that in fact, cause so much crowding in our consciousness that little space remains for the creative thoughts that would cause us to thrive.
Think about that old tattered shirt in your closet. It’s there every time you open the door. You know the one; the one you push out of the way over and over again trying to find something more appealing. You know you would rather wash an entire load of clothes than wear it, yet there it hangs, taking up space, mocking your inability to surrender it to the giveaway bag. What thought, idea, or belief is lingering in your consciousness taking up space like that tattered old shirt? What belief about yourself is filling your consciousness day and night leaving little room for the peace and joy you seek?
If you are seeking joy, but holding thoughts of anger, fear, guilt, remorse, or regret, there is little room for joy to seep in. There is of course nothing wrong with having these thoughts or feelings. They are a part of our human experience and often helpful in defining ourselves. But holding onto them until they become a tattered memory squeezing out the joy we seek is counterproductive to a life that thrives. You are intended to thrive. You are intended to experience joy. You were meant to “be fruitful and multiply.”
Whatever that thought is, you really don’t need it anymore.
You know you don’t. Take it out of there right now. Take a good look at it and
realize it does not define you. It is not who and what you are. It is just some
fleeting idea that crossed your mind one day and decided to settle there. Let
it go. Drop it in the giveaway bin or set it on the porch and call the universe
to come and pick it up. You haven’t needed it in years.
And now quickly, before it wanders back in there, replace it
with something else – perhaps its absolute opposite. It might feel strange at
first, but over time the new thought will become a comfortable part of your
While considering what was “perfect” about the summers of my childhood, I recalled a consistent theme. The summers I deemed to be perfect were timeless. There were no schedules to keep, no piles of homework, no vocabulary lists, no math, no science projects, and very few places to be.
As adults, living in a time-bound world, schedules keep us on task, tasks demand lists, and there are many places to go and be. But I wonder if, in the midst of all of this activity, we might recreate that sense of timelessness we once enjoyed as children? I think we can.
Recreating the timelessness of childhood requires just three things, a willingness to stop for just a moment and breathe, remembering that time is an illusion governed by the planet we inhabit, and letting go of all our thoughts, concerns, and lists for just a little while – even a single moment.
In this way, we command time to stand still. We shift from thinking and doing to being, and we open ourselves to the timelessness of Spirit. We remember what Moses called the Sabbath, a time of rest that, according to Jesus, was made for you and me.
Take a moment today, maybe even right now to “Remember the Sabbath” that lives right there inside of you. Take a momentary Sabbath of the Soul.
It means taking care with every thought and word I express. Although an adverse thought is not necessarily a “complaint,” it does require carefully acknowledgement and often a shift of consciousness to expressing it in words or actions.
Conversation takes on a much quieter character as we carefully consider our words before speaking them. Likewise, expressing thoughts about what is happening around us, particularly the news, becomes an activity for deep contemplation. If what we focus our attention on is what we create and experience, careful reflection on our thoughts, opinions, perspectives, and responses becomes critically important to our own well-being and that which the world experiences too.
Today, after a brief setback earlier this week, I continue my fast. I notice that there are a number of positive things happening in the world. I give thanks for those and consider them answered prayer. As I look at the things occurring that still cause my heart to ache, my mind to contort my inner Christ to remind me to ‘shift that thought!” I choose to keep the words of complaint and judgment to myself. I express the facts and specific needs, but not the judgement. I take positive action where possible and I choose to look at challenging occurrences in a new Light, one of spiritual unfoldment, and a evolutionary movement within the heart of humankind that leaves no stone unturned, no dark place hidden so that we might release, transform, and ascend to greater heights.