Your Unique Soul Journey

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
Our soul journeys—how we find our way to recognizing the enlightenment or God that lives within us—are completely unique to each of us. I mean completely. Even your closest friend or wisest spiritual teacher is not on exactly the same path as you. We need to remember and honor the wisdom within us that is our guide in this, especially now at this time of such tumultuous change in the external world. The old religious structures that prescribed certain behaviors and beliefs, monitored by an external authority figure, are not the wave of the future. Neither are current spiritual programs that revolve around the popularity of one teacher or speaker. Previous paradigms of all kinds are falling away. We may eventually live in a “flexi-paradigm,” part of an ever-evolving and expansive collective consciousness. Within that, each one of us is singular, unrepeatable.

Over the years, I have found wisdom and inspiration in a variety of places. Everything I received from external sources, however, had to resonate with something inside me in order for me to experience it as true. I think this is probably the case for most of us. I came to realize that there is no one viewpoint or perspective that supersedes my own soul’s voice, the peaceful essence at my core. My life journey upon this Earth is unique to my particular human/divine embodiment. God speaks to, through, each of us differently.

My spiritual path has become primarily centered in a connection to Spirit through Nature and the beauty and light found therein. It is something I can find anywhere on this Earth. Even one flower in a single flowerpot holds that sacred life force. I celebrate this connection through my presence, love, and gratitude. Life becomes a living meditation, a never-ending prayer. It is not a mental process; it arises spontaneously from my heart and soul when I am immersed in the natural world. Simple loving awareness. No breaks in which I am or am not in meditation or prayer. I am always there.

Perhaps spirituality and religion began with the voice of one seeker speaking his/her awareness into the silence. Someone heard and repeated it, and then someone else repeated that, and eventually it was written down. Over the centuries form overtook essence, and we lost the free-flowing aspect of our connection to something greater in this universe. Now, in this unusual transformative time on planet Earth, form in all its various manifestations is falling away, and essence is once again appearing. The ancient wisdom “Look within” for God, for peace, is being heard again as if for the first time.

Truly, you yourself are God, as are we all. We can listen to, and learn from, one another’s soul stories, but we cannot walk this journey in someone else’s footsteps. Divine intelligence has given each of us a blueprint, a piece of the puzzle, which is our gift and blessing in this lifetime. Individually, as we live each moment in gratitude and compassion, we become part of a oneness that weaves each unique individual thread into a collective tapestry of peaceful universal consciousness. God returning to God, who never really left.

Hide-and-Seek with God

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
“I Am Loving Awareness”
—Ram Dass

Over the past decade, I have experienced divine connection in a variety of ways—in Nature, in solitary or group meditation, and with spiritual teachers who helped facilitate that falling away of form into formlessness. In spite of any longing on my part to hold onto it permanently, however, my experience of God came and went, arose and then receded. Repeatedly, I vacillated between the appearance and disappearance, almost as if I were playing hide-and-seek with God. Then Ram Dass died.

His longtime friend Krishna Das wrote a memorial tribute and mentioned Ram Dass’s mantra “I Am Loving Awareness.” He said that now Ram Dass would be found in that “loving presence” that lives within us all. Those words affected me profoundly. All day it was as if the mantra “I Am Loving Awareness” came to life within me. My mind’s filtering and perceptual judgments, pro and con, had dissolved, and there was just, well, awareness. Awareness that did nothing but receive the world around me with love. And gratitude. Tears ran down my cheeks. Yes, this was God, but it wasn’t a powerful rush; it was a quiet presence, a gradual awareness of awareness itself. And with that came the knowing that the rising and receding was only in my human perception, which had made divine presence seem as if it appeared and disappeared instead of being always at my core.

Now when I feel as if God has fallen silent and I am alone in the universe, there is a deeper loving awareness within me that reminds me that I am never alone and that God lives in the silence. It may take a few moments to come to the surface, but that awareness is my companion now. It has always been encoded in my very cells, but only my own soul’s journey could eventually bring me to the point of continuously recognizing the truth of God’s ever-Presence. We humans vacillate in our experiences and perceptions on Earth. God, however, remains constant, permeating the universe with divine light and love. When we pass from the Earthly plane, our souls will merge completely with that light.

Each day my experience of God/dess arises from the world around me, especially in Nature. The quality of the golden morning light, the vibrant colors of the flowers, the stunning blue of the sky–all of these awaken divine awareness in me. I remember who I am, who we all are, and everything around me seems to flow seamlessly in a sweet rhythm of being and becoming. We human souls are part of that. We came to Earth to embody divinity in physical form, to experience ourselves as God in the material world. We are God experiencing both Godness and humanness as one. It is a beautiful dance.

Ram Dass spent a lifetime coming into oneness with his mantra, the “loving awareness” that filled his soul. Just like all of us, he faced difficult human challenges, particularly the stroke that he learned to accept with such “fierce grace” over the last years of his life. In a photograph taken toward the end of his life, you can see the holy light of “loving awareness” shining from his eyes. Though I never met him in person, in the days following his death, I felt his presence in the sacred words of his mantra. It touched my heart and opened me to the loving awareness within myself. I stopped playing hide-and-seek and just rested in the infinite beingness that is God.


Seeing God’s Face in an Orchid

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Does God have a face? Absolutely. But not just one—an infinite number. As many faces as there are humans, animals, birds, and insects on Earth. As many faces as there are trees, flowers, bushes, rocks, and sand particles. As many faces as there are mountains, deserts, plains, oceans, rivers, and glaciers. Cells, molecules, and atoms. And then there’s the entire universe with every planet, star, asteroid, and constellation a different face of God. You can’t count the facial manifestations of God in the cosmos because God is infinity itself.

This morning as I watered my plants on the lanai, I looked into the variegated purple-and-white face of an orchid I had recently bought. Orchids are new to me as a gardener. In Massachusetts, it wasn’t an option I considered. Here in Florida, they thrive in the year-round warm weather. They have an exotic feel to them, and I still am in awe of their exquisite other-worldly beauty and almost-human facial features. Something made me pause and study every detail of this orchid’s “face” until I felt I was gazing into the very heart of creation, all in one flower. This was the face of God. And the gift was that, with tears in my eyes, I recognized that unique expression of divinity before me and within me simultaneously.

Moments like this one are powerful reminders of all the ways that God expresses beauty in this world. Each flower, each bird, each butterfly, is an emissary of delight from the Divine. We humans are the recipients of this incredible limitless bounty every day of our lives. How could we walk by all these beautiful manifestations of love in the world and fail to see them as miracles? We lose our way and forget. But now is the time of awakening on this planet. A time to recognize the sweet presence of spirit that surrounds us at all times and to be grateful. Indeed, to live each moment of our lives as a prayer of gratitude for all we are given. Life can be painful, yes. But it’s also heavenly. One flower, one birdsong, one infinite blue sky, can turn your day around and make life feel livable again. The beauty of the Earth can uplift our souls at unexpected moments.

Yesterday, on my morning walk, my body was feeling listless and tired because I hadn’t slept well. Just when my thoughts began to take a turn toward sadness, three huge pileated woodpeckers flew by me, calling loudly, and landed on a tree branch above me. These birds are 15 inches tall with striking black-and-white crested heads—you can’t see them without stopping to stare. Immediately, I felt excited energy race through me, and I stood there smiling in sheer delight as I gazed upward. I knew God had sent me a reminder of life’s wonders at the very second I needed it.

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger

There have been so many times when I am outdoors walking quietly somewhere in a natural setting and I feel the spirit of God rise within, filling me with a profound love that seems to light the world around me. Everything sparkles with vibrant energy, and I am uplifted and renewed. At those moments, I can feel Mother Earth herself moving in synchronicity with the stars, and I know this is why I was born—to see this light and be it in the world myself. Every one of us is here for this. We are God’s orchids, embodying the rainbow colors of divine light, so that the planet itself shines brighter in the cosmos.


You Are Perfect Now

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Perfection is not something beyond you. Something out there, to reach for and aspire to. It’s right here, right now. This is a small gem of wisdom that I sometimes forget. Small but it is at the core of all that is. There are no flaws in God’s universe (or in you within that universe). Everything is part of a seamless, intricately interwoven tapestry of divine creation. When I fully embrace this truth, I can let go of striving, comparing, and dissatisfaction. I can live with appreciation and gratitude in every moment for the perfection everywhere. I may not know the “why,” but I can trust in the reasonless reason for all Being.

This morning before dawn, I sat on the sofa of our new home in Florida and cried as I remembered my garden in Massachusetts. I ached inside at the memory of my colorful flowers and the butterflies and bees who visited them. There, I was part of the seasonal flow of nature. The robins called to me if I didn’t fill the birdbath early enough each summer morning. The squirrels and rabbits occasionally sat near me as I worked quietly in the yard. The hummingbirds darted rapidly from the bright-red cardinal flowers to the native honeysuckle. The goldfinches balanced atop the purple coneflowers as they ate the seeds in autumn. I missed them all.

Yet I knew it had been time to leave. The house was sold, neighbors were moving, and Florida was calling. It was all perfect. Today, that perfection met me when I went for a walk after my predawn cry. The immense stunningly white clouds against the intensely blue sky stopped me in my tracks. The skies are always breathtaking in Florida. At all times of the day I am in awe at the color and light. And then there are the tropical flowers and birds right outside my door: hibiscus, plumeria; ibis, egret, heron. I love my new home, even when I miss my Massachusetts garden.

At times I think I should always be upbeat and smiling. Centered in my inner God wisdom and flowing along life’s path in complete synchronicity with every experience. The crazy truth is that I am synchronized, whether I’m crying or laughing. Perfection is not the exclusion of certain feelings; it’s the inclusion of all of them. There is absolutely nothing that is not the way it should be in my life, and yours. Our human design is so tightly constructed that every part is essential. If any of it was missing, we would not be who we were created to be, and there would be a hole in the fabric of the universe. Everything is unfolding as it’s meant to, for the greater evolution of life.

In essence, none of us is flawed and nothing is wrong with us; we are perfect just the way we are, here on this planet to live an experience that is uniquely ours. God experiences life on Earth through us, and the universe expands through God’s own loving expansion (and ours). The entire cosmos is a finely tuned and orchestrated symphonic work of genius in which nothing is off-key or discordant. This is the “music of the spheres,” which spiritual seekers have sometimes heard on their journeys beyond the individual egoic self.

From this perspective, all is well, and if I accept whatever presents itself in my life moment to moment, with love in my heart, I tap into a deeper awareness and clearer vision which guides me through my life without suffering or judgment (of self or others). No mistakes have been made. The Divine is an all-encompassing energy that moves the universe beyond time and space or human questioning. What exists in your life and mine, and in the world’s, exists for a reason that is not necessarily logical or even intuitive. It just is. This is absolute Being, of which we are an inseparable part. Thus, everything we do arises from the evolutionary potential of the universe. We live and die, we grow and evolve, because we are Being itself, eternally expanding into new levels of beingness.

Sound wacky? Abstract? A little frightening? Only on the surface. At the deepest level, beyond whatever you or I may feel/think individually, this is our collective global direction now at this key time. In the midst of all the extremes of our lives, we are coming into full conscious awareness of exactly who we are and why we are here. We are God, living out infinite variations of the love that created the universe. The more clearly I see that, the more I can relax and just live my life, one perfect moment at a time. So can you.


What’s in a Name?

Photograph © 2015 Peggy Kornegger
My aversion to the word God began in childhood because of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who regularly showed up at our door to convert us to Christianity. My father used to try to argue them out of their stance that only they knew who or what God is. They, of course, saw my dad as one of the lost who needed to be saved. This was my first experience with proselytizing. As adults, my parents had moved away from their Christian roots to a more “free-thinking” approach to religion. They felt that humans can never really “know” if God exists; it is a personal belief. So I was raised entirely outside of traditional religion. My parents took me to a Unitarian church once, but I wasn’t really interested. They always allowed me my own choices with regard to religious beliefs or practices.

So I had no spiritual framework other than Nature and my parents’ unconditional love, which I eventually recognized as God in its purest form. I remained suspicious of the rigidity of religion, as well as its patriarchal structure, for many years. The word God to me exemplified all of that. It wasn’t until I read Mary Daly’s book Beyond God the Father in my 20s that I began to open to a spirituality beyond religion. Mary asked her readers to imagine God as a verb not a noun—an active verb, neither male nor female. That fascinated me and enabled me to break through to infinite possibilities around the idea of God. The words Source, Divine, Goddess, Great Mystery, Universal Consciousness, Spirit all held meaning for me. I liked having many names for God, which is really unnamed energy anyway. It’s humans who want to name it.

As I began to follow my own spiritual path, I found that everything held a beauty of its own in the human quest to find and understand God. Even traditional religions, before they became distorted by human attempts to concretize and contain spirit, held many eternal truths at their core. I came to my own open-ended spirituality and no longer cringed at the word God. It’s just a word after all. Now I embrace God as the sacred living energy in all things and all beings, even those Jehovah’s Witnesses who believed that their God was the only one. They too are playing a role on the Earth at this time in the greater evolution from separation and “rightness” to oneness and non-judgment.

In truth, we are all God’s witnesses in this world, every one of us a precious being with the ability to recognize divinity everywhere, inside us and outside us. In the deepest sense, there is no inside or outside, only seamless infinite love that connects us all. That is God, beyond words, beyond definitions. You can’t explain, argue about, or understand God with the mind. You can only experience that blessed spirit, that love, as it flows through you and from you into the world.

Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It doesn’t matter whether you give God a name or definition or even if you believe God exists. The sweetness of that sacred presence is at the heart of your existence as a soul on this planet. And it continues beyond earthly life into infinity. Nameless or named, the universal consciousness that we call God or Goddess is an integral part of our lives. And s/he doesn’t care what term we use. When I let go of my past perceptions of the word God, I came to see that loving divine connection in every single aspect of my life.