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.
As I tried to change
my Facebook cover this morning, something went – well – seemingly, wrong. I was
trying to post something profound and comforting in response to the 911
anniversary, and my Cover went completely black. An error message came up, and
both my previous photo and the ones I was trying to add were gone. I was using
my phone to access my page, and nothing seemed to work. My FB cover would show Nothing until
I was able to get to my computer and an internet connection.
However, it was in this apparent mishap that something profound
was actually revealed to me. While my FB Cover was showing Nothing, I
realized that it is in the NoThingness that we find the SomeThingness that
makes all the difference. The Truth is, there is no statement, no picture, no
words to convey that make sense of what happened here in the US on 911. But in
the NoThingness, we find the SomeThingness, the All-ness that makes sense of EveryThing. We
find our connection with our Source, the Essence of Life that breathes us into
Life, in its wholeness and in its Source is eternal; growing,
multiplying, and being continuously fruitful. In our humanness, wholeness is
not always what we see, or feel, or express. Attached to the things of
life more than that which breathes life into existence, many experiences seem
fruitless, pointless, and even downright evil. But in the NoThingness,
the Breath of Life appears, and suddenly, there is no separation between you,
and me, and all that is. In the NoThingness, we find the SomeThingness that
makes sense of EveryThing.
Once this Truth was revealed to me, I was able to post the quote
I had planned for my FB Cover this morning.
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may my
thoughts, words, and actions contribute in some way to happiness and freedom
~ Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Although the words do not make sense of the nonsensical, nor do they replace the sense of security that was lost that day, they do tell us the consciousness we need to hold to make our world a place that more fully expresses the All-ness that gives us life. This is the consciousness that will help us co-create a world that works for and honors the SomeThingness in All.
I had an idea once. I thought there might be a deeper meaning to the scripture commonly known as The Ten Commandments. As a student at what is now known as Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute, I learned to interpret the Bible metaphysically, meaning beyond the physical. I found this view of scripture fascinating as the words on the page opened up to reveal an underlying story that made so much sense it brought tears to my eyes.
I learned that the name Moses means “drawn from the water,” and that water represents a sea of consciousness, in this case, a consciousness of bondage and limitation. Suddenly, this story was not about a group of people that lived thousands of years ago. It was a story about you and me; a story about being drawn out of a sea of negative thought and freed from limiting beliefs.
It was from this expanded perspective that the first seed thoughts of The Mystical Ark were planted in my mind. The theme first emerged as a series Sunday school lessons titled, Seekers of the Lost Ark. The Indiana Jones movies were popular then, and the allusion to the Lost Ark film made the lessons more engaging for the kids. Years later, the idea took shape as a series of Sunday sermons, followed by a collection of essays that I was determined to make into a book.
Progress on the book was painfully slow, and the distractions were many. A half-written manuscript sat on my shelf for a year or two. But the idea would not go away. I would move on to something else, and then someone would ask when I was going to do the next talk in the series or when I would publish the book. Spirit seemed to be using people around me to encourage me to get busy with the book – and soon. So, I planned a writing binge; a weekend with the house to myself, no distractions, and forty-eight hours of nearly non-stop writing. Surely, I would complete this project before Monday rolled around. It was a great plan. I had lots of enthusiasm for it, but it didn’t happen quite that way. That weekend writing spree turned out to be just the beginning.
The morning I was to begin my writing marathon, I was awakened by a lucid dream. In this dream, a small group of explorers sat in a circle around the Ark of the Covenant. They were dirty. Their clothing was torn and spattered with blood. They tried to open the box, but it repelled them. They were all unable to touch it – except for one member of the team. When she approached the relic, her hand slipped right through the invisible force-field that had deterred the others. Then, the box opened, revealing a passageway to another realm of being. The entire team was pulled through the opening into a mystical experience that would forever change their lives.
The dream clung to me in vivid detail. I tried inserting the scene as a fictional forward to my exegeses of the Ark. But that didn’t work. The fictional scene was engaging – but the shift to the essays was abrupt and disorienting. It was as if two different books had been glued together rather than one leading gently into the other.
It seemed this book was destined to be a work of fiction; a story with relatable characters that would draw the reader into the experience. Writing a fictional novel was something I had never considered. I wasn’t even sure where to begin. What characters would I need to create? There was the small group of explorers in the opening scene, but I didn’t know who there were or what they would represent. What I did know was that I had to write this book. It would not leave me alone. It permeated my every thought. The Mystical Ark wanted to be born and was asking me to be its midwife.
But how does an author of spiritual essays and inspirational articles successfully birth a fictional novel? I was about to find out. The next two years would be spent putting the principles of visioning and positive thinking into action, developing a disciplined writing routine, reading every book on writing I could get my hands on, researching everything from geography and anthropology to the genetics of hair color – and oh – writing!
What began as an idea and a dream planted in my mind and heart blossomed into reality. The book is now published, and available from retailers around the world. The characters I created and lived with for the past two years are now engaging and entertaining an expanding group of readers. It is a deeply satisfying experience, and I look forward to sharing more about the steps I took to turn that dream into reality in blog posts to come.
Eileen Patra is the author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings and an ordained Unity minister. She is currently guest speaking at a variety of Unity churches and working on her next book, Living as the Ark. Learn more about The Mystical Ark at themysticalark.com
The angels in Jesus’ tomb asked Mary Magdalene, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Why indeed do we seek new life, a new way of being, while continuing to do what we have always done? Why do we seek freedom among the thoughts, words and actions that have held us captive?
To live beyond what might seem like a tomb, we must be
willing to bless what has passed and then look beyond it. A tomb experience in life can be anything
that draws us apart for a while and provides an opportunity for growth and
realignment with Spirit. A process of
deep and lasting change is revealed when we explore four stages of transformation
that take place in the tomb; renunciation, retreat, resurrection and
On the cross, Jesus renounced the world as his source and
commended his Spirit to God. He took the
final step toward overcoming the greatest block to transformation; the belief
that life is created and sustained by the world. What is demonstrated for us through the
crucifixion and resurrection is that Life is independent of the world. Life, the flow of Spirit within us, creates
the world according to our ability and willingness to allow Truth to be
expressed through us.
Jesus was laid in a tomb, retreating from the world for
three days. Three is symbolic of completion in Spirit, soul and body. Resurrection is instant, simultaneous in
Spirit, but soul and body require a time of unfolding. When we pray, our
prayers are answered the instant we release them to Spirit. Yet, most often, a time of quiet reflection
and letting go is required for our prayers to fully manifest in our minds,
hearts and body.
Mary returns to the tomb with the intention of blessing what
she believes is lost. The willingness to
bless what has passed away rolls away the stone and opens the way for divine
inspiration. When we bless what has passed for the opportunities of growth and
realignment provided, blockages are removed and our way is made clear.
Mary did not realize that the gardener was Jesus until he
spoke to her. When he did, she ran to inform
the others. When we realize something we
incorporate the new information at all levels of being. Only then is deep and
lasting change made possible. The risen
Christ sent his followers to
convert the nations. To convert is to
change. To convert the nations is to change everything. Realization happens in us when we recognize
the Christ as the Life within each of us and then inform every level of our
being to live this Truth. When we live this
Truth everything is made new and we live beyond the tomb.
“What you sow, so also shall you reap.” These words are most often associated with material wealth. What you give, so you will receive. Indeed, the principle does manifest itself in our finances. But the concept is much more profound. Jesus used these words to describe what we would call the boomerang effect of our thoughts, words and actions. What we project, we will, ultimately experience. It is the Law. It is a principle, just as Newton’s principle of motion, consistently demonstrates that a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by another force. We, humankind, are made in the image and likeness of the Source of all being, the Source of the heavens and the stars, the Source that gives life to this very planet. In us lies the DNA of a creative principle, the creative code for the unceasing process of expressing and receiving. We are continually in the process of creating on both an individual level and the collective level. This is not just an idea, it is principle. It is unchanging, constant. What then can we change? We can change the force acting upon the principle. We can change our patterns of thinking and speaking. We can change our actions and patterns of behavior. We can become more conscious of this Divine principle and “intentionally” create the experience we desire.
The crocodile trainer uses a distraction to maintain a safe distance from its powerful jaws. He enters the pen and throws the croc a piece of rope to chew on while he maneuvers to a safe place from which to feed and appease this fearsome beast.
Fear, like a powerful beast, can grip our minds and hearts in its jaws and pull us into a downward spiral. Unattended, not managed, it often develops into anger, hatred and exclusion. Managing or treating the extended symptoms of fear is a temporary and inadequate response for it fails to resolve the underlying cause.
Fear is a tool of the human psyche meant to preserve our physical safety. Its only job is to alert us to the possibility of danger. The problem is in its primitiveness. It cannot discern between the real and the unreal. It does not sense the difference between that past, present and future. It cannot see beyond the physical senses. It sees but has no vision. It hears but cannot listen. It feels but cannot touch. The response is up to us. The typical responses; fight (anger), flight (leave) or freeze (apathy) are inadequate, for they fail to create a sustained sense of safety. They do not appease the aspect of consciousness that raises the symptoms of fear.
So, what to do then? A completely new response to fear must be implemented if we are to transcend its grip and evolve as a collective consciousness. Facing fear and its extended we bring them into the Light of greater understanding. We recognize the underlying cause as fear and we shine the Light of Love and Harmony. We create for ourselves and safe space sheltered by the shield of Divine Love that transforms and harmonizes the energies of hatred and fear. From the shelter of Divine Love we open our hearts to forgiveness and inclusion. We refuse to engage in hatred. We refuse to respond with anger. We allow a greater wisdom and peace to transfuse our minds and hearts and we become the beacons of Light. We hold an image of Love and Light that transforms every fear-filled soul into a vessel of peace and harmony. We listen with our hearts and we respond with Love. We hear the crocodile mind speaking from the back of our humanness and we say Peace, Be Still. The Christ in me is awakened. Thanks for the warning but God and I have got this.
“More precious than jewels,” is the noble woman according to the Book of Proverbs. But, in a previous chapter, the same writer tells us that “Wisdom” is more precious than jewels. Wisdom, also named Sophia in ancient texts, is the feminine aspect of the Divine, so desiring to know God that she gave birth to humankind. She is the Divine Mother, whispering pearls of wisdom and often personified by the mother figures and nurturers in our lives.
Mothers, indeed are often the voice of Pearls of Wisdom. I know my mother had her favorites. “”When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Mom’s teaching of resilience and persistence. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Mom’s teaching of looking past appearances for a deeper meaning. And, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Mom’s way of calling me to a higher action.
The mother figures in our lives as well as the mother essence in us, calls us to a higher action. Jesus’ mother was known to call him to action too. You may recall the Wedding Feast at Cana when Mary informs Jesus that the couple has run out of wine. Jesus replies, “What is that to me?” sounding a bit like a rebellious teenager wondering why this should be his problem. But there is another way to hear these words, “What is that to ME? What is a little thing like running out of wine to me? What is that to the Christ, the anointed one?”
When something appears to be lacking, or slips in the back door of our consciousness, disturbing our peace what could we learn by responding with those words? What is that to me? What is that to the highest and best in me. What is that to what is most precious in me? What is that to the Christ in me?
Something came up for me recently, something slid in the back door of my consciousness. It was one of those comments that causes you to feel judged, tempts you to become defensive, to attack, to blame, to shame. And so I asked “What is that to me?” What is that bringing up for me? Is it bringing up that I’m somehow less than perfect? Is it bringing up a need to change another’s perception of me? And, what is that to the Christ in me? What is that to what Truly is perfect in me? And how can responding to this differently, from the place in me more precious than jewels make a difference? How can I be transformed by this and what would that look like? What would Love do here? What would Light do? What would a new thought, a new response and a new action do? Well that would change everything because it would change me and my own perception and I would see something much greater at work.
Would this change another person’s perception. Maybe. Maybe not. But when we let Light shine through us, and stand fully in our Christ self, we are so changed that the world around us begins to shift. This is what is called to action by what is more precious than jewels in you. The apostle Paul summed it up best with these words “Christ in you, your hope of Glory.”
One cannot hold Light while one is holding darkness. It would be like filling your arms with laundry and then trying to pick up a bushel of apples with the same arms. The laundry would have to be set down first. For this reason, Jesus told his followers, when you pray “… first be reconciled with your brother.” Matt 5:24
When you wish to hold the Light, to affirm wholeness and the Light of God in action, you must first release all notions of darkness. Reconcile these things by acknowledging they are not the Truth and requesting of Spirit that whatever is not Truth or Light be released, dissolved, set down and overshadowed by Light. In this way, you are released and healed and those for whom you pray are also released and made new.