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.
Although COVID-19 has limited our physical gatherings and much of our day-to-day activities, it has not separated us in either Spirit or Heart. We have been able to connect through the wonders of technology, including video calls and live streaming church services. Additionally, we have been encouraged to go outside, to walk our dogs, to take walks with people with whom we live. And here is what I’ve noticed on those walks.
There is a peaceful quiet in the neighborhood that feels simultaneously good and somehow foreign. I don’t remember when I’ve felt such a powerful stillness in the city. I suspect it was some lifetime ago, as a child playing in a neighbors yard. It is quiet, the birds are singing profusely, and neighbors are stopping what they are doing to say hello. And not just hello. There is a smile, a look of knowing of one another’s need to feel connected that leaks through that smile and touches my heart. In this time apart, we are truly connected by the heart.
Did you know that when two humans interact with one another, their heartbeats begin to synchronize? It seems that close physical proximity draws our heart energy into a matching rhythm. But this coherence of heart does not have to remain limited to physical proximity.
When we take time apart – not from one another – but from daily tasks, media reports, and worry, by going within to that very same heart space, we connect. We connect with our spiritual being, the divine spark that dwells within each of us. We connect through a network of Spirit that exceeds the Cloud, hosted by the Allness that we sometimes refer to as God, Allah, Spirit, or the One.
In the Allness, there is an infinite connection; each of us is like a strand of Light reaching outward into the world of form and returning back again. In this turning back again, we find rest, wholeness, and a thing called dominion.
In the Book of Genesis, God grants humankind dominion the earth and all the things that creep upon it. The most basic interpretation of this passage reveals a gift, one that allows humanity to rise to the top of the food chain. But there is so much more to this message.
Dominion means the ability to control or govern. Metaphysically, the plants, animals, and things that creep represent thoughts, words, and actions. Thoughts and ideas that are fruitful and in coherence with the Allness produce experiences of abundance, creativity, and well-being. Thoughts out of alignment with the wholeness of God may, when given much attention, create experiences that lack wholeness and well being.
Created in the image and likeness of the power that created the universe, we, too, are creative. Our thoughts, words, and actions create our experiences, the quality of our relationships, and ultimately, our world.
Certainly, fleeting thoughts like “what would happen if a dinosaur entered the room right now?” are not likely to manifest. Why? Because we don’t give those kinds of thoughts, much attention. They pass through our minds, we smile or frown, and then we think something else.
It’s the thoughts we give a great deal of attention to, the ones we allow to occupy our minds and hearts, that produce more of the same. Our thoughts are contagious. They grow and multiply – and they tend to manifest in our bodies, our experiences, and our world. So, why not choose those thoughts carefully, from a higher consciousness?
What if Love and all the ways it harmonizes, draws together, and replicates itself, were our most prominent thought? What if kindness and compassion and the assurance of abundance occupied the most significant space in our minds and hearts?
The thought would become contagious. It would expand and open those channels of Light that connect us one heart to another. The resulting energy would become so strong that nothing could interrupt the flow of Love and Light from one heart to the other. Nothing out of alignment with this integral connection with God would have any power or ability to manifest or replicate. We would be choosing to exercise dominion over all that manifests in the world. We would know that, at times, we may be physically apart, but always, we are together in the heart and mind of God.
As the celebration of Christmas grows near, so too do the signs of the Wonder of Christmas; lights, nativity scenes, shopping and wrapping of special gifts, trimming of trees, and the look of wonder in the eyes of children. It is, as the song suggests, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Until it isn’t.
A day meant to fill our hearts with joy, and hope often gets lost in the stress of meeting expectations, our own and those of the world around us. For some, the day itself may be associated with painful memories or the loss of loved ones. “Where is the wonder?” Your heart may ask.
The Wonder can still be found. It lies in a deeper and richer understanding of the nativity story itself, one that goes beyond the words transcribed on the page. Historians and Bible scholars debate the facts and authenticity of the story. Dates and times do not align with the scarce bits of recorded history from the time. The story seems to be purposeful in connecting Jesus to the lineage of the House of David, which causes some to speculate its intention. But the Wonder is not to be found in aligning historical facts or scriptural prophecies. It is found in the deeper meaning of a story rich with symbolism.
Jesus taught through parables, stories that symbolized elements of the human experience, its challenges, endeavors, and divine potential. His followers would have done the same. They would have incorporated this compelling, symbolic story-telling into their work and embedded it in the most magnificent parable of all, the birth, life, and death of their Master and Way-shower, Jesus.
What then, are the characters and elements of the nativity story trying to tell us? Could each of them be an aspect of our own consciousness giving birth to an expression of God? Could they represent a recognition of ourselves as both fully human and fully divine? Could they describe the seeking of something greater, of hope and faith and joy, found not in a stable but in a humble place within the human heart?
Most of this spectacular story is found in the Gospel of Luke. But an additional, wonder-filled story is relayed in the second chapter of Matthew, where we find wise ones from the east following a star to an unknown place in the west. A songwriter calls it the Star of Wonder. And no doubt it was a wonder.
Imagine what kind of star or sign would cause you to embark on a lengthy and dangerous journey wrought with spitting camels, narrow mountain passages, desert storms, thieves, and a dubious, deceitful king. It would have to be a great sign, a wonder on par with perhaps the Seven Wonders of the World. Bigger than life. Awe-inspiring. Overwhelming. Beautiful. Perhaps an inkling of something wonderful being born, leading you to a place of perfect peace, hope, and wholeness.
This awe-inspiring light, one that would encourage you to traverse all obstacles to discover its source lies within you. The star represents a glimmer of light, an inspiring thought that stimulates the wise ones, the Power of Wisdom within you that sometimes lies dormant. The Star of Wonder is the great light of Spiritual Understanding, offering clarity and guidance.
Where there is light, we can see what we could not see in the darkness. Our way is made clear. This Light of Understanding within you continually guides the wisdom in you through the challenges and difficulties of human life to a place where you can lay down the worldly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh in exchange for the spiritualized gifts of Infinite Abundance, Divine Love, and a recognition of the eternal nature of the Essence of Life in you and all around you.
The gifts of the wise ones represent capacities that are always within you but are spiritualized or spiritually empowered when brought under the direction of the Christ or Higher-self. These wonders within you are most accessible when you make the journey from your head to your heart, where the Christ of you is continuously born anew and awaits your return in consciousness.
The Wonder of Christmas is not lost. The Wonder is you. You, as an expression of the eternal, all-pervading Essence of Life. Now that is a Wonder that can never be lost, only hidden. Breathe in the glow of the inner star and be guided in all that you do to the peaceful place of absolute wholeness with you.
Have a Wonder-filled Christmas, and enjoy a spectacular new You.
Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity Minister and the author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings. She is currently serving as co-minister at the Spiritual Life Center in Troy, Michigan and guest speaking at a variety of Unity churches. She is currently working on her second book, Living as the Ark. Learn more about The Mystical Ark at themysticalark.com
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.