Soul Presence

The world is changing so fast we can hardly keep track of it. Reports on what is or isn’t happening clash with one another on a daily basis, both in the media and among those we know. “Reality” as a perceivable, agreed-upon entity no longer exists, if it ever did (the emperor’s clothes have disappeared). Time as we knew it has also ceased to exist. So how do we navigate this seemingly chaotic and uncertain path before us? One clue is that it is no longer a place for human identities (names, family roles, job descriptions). What lies ahead is completely unknown and can only be approached as a spiritual mystery and soul adventure.

We are moving ever more rapidly into the time of Soul Presence. It’s been a long time coming. And I don’t just mean since the flower children of the 60s called out the Age of Aquarius. I mean millennia. Thousands and thousands of years in the making, with incarnation after incarnation of spiritual seekers and masters moving forward and shining an ever-brighter light. Today we have finally reached the era of collective enlightenment. No more gurus, priests, leaders, or authorities of any kind. It is dawning on each of us that we carry the wisdom and light inside us. God is within, not sitting on a distant throne issuing orders. God and soul are one. We living beings on a living planet are One.

When we awaken fully to that oneness, our separate identities and polarized world views will dissolve. Our souls will emerge in full presence and meet with loving-kindness and compassion, instead of the competitiveness and self-centeredness that formed our old personalities. The harshness of ego gives way to the softness of soul. Fear of survival and the illusion of control are replaced with trust in a perfectly designed divine unfolding. That is why so much is falling away and there is no longer truth or time. We have no idea what is ahead, but more and more we can see a light shining, from within us and from the Earth herself. “We are stardust; we are golden,” Joni Mitchell wrote so many years ago. And the flowering garden of light in our future is being born from that golden stardust that makes up our souls.

When you begin to align completely with your soul, you see and live with God vision because there is no longer a perceived separation. God/dess and Soul are one experience. Within you arises a growing commitment to peace, love, and generosity of spirit. The self apart from other no longer exists. We replaces I. Heaven and Earth come together in our consciousness and in our experiences. Heartening to think of, but how do we live it in the days ahead? Imagine it and it becomes real.

What would such a world look like to you? How would you live without an identity—neither parent nor child, employee or boss, one gender or another, one opinion or its opposite? What would life on Earth be like without rigid parameters but only fluid Presence? This is where we came from; the soul emerged from this dynamic place of pure being and unconditional love. This is the divine vision for humanity, actually for the entire cosmos. And beneath all the arguing voices and warring factions on the planet, this is what exists now. We’ve never really been separate from one another or from our Source. It was an illusion we lived out for the experience of individual karma before returning to oneness. God came to Earth as each of us to immerse itself in all the possible variations of consciousness. How else could we then know the ecstatic coming together that is oneness of Spirit? At the soul level, we were aware of the greater overview or design, but as separate incarnated personalities, we’ve been finding our way for millennia. And now is the homecoming.

So look around you and let go of everything you’ve known before. Forget the past and live in the present moment. The soul only knows Now. Within that is infinite possibility. Presence without limitation. “Eternity in an hour” and “Infinity in the palm of your hand” (William Blake). God vision, which lies at the heart of everything in the universe. The wise words “Let go and let God” were repeated again and again for a reason. We are finally hearing them clearly. When you surrender completely, there is nothing else. Soul Presence. Remembered paradise.

Are We Here Yet?

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
Like small children, those of us on a spiritual path sometimes want to tug on the sleeve of those walking nearby and ask, “Are we there yet? Are we any closer to enlightenment?” Perhaps the question should be rephrased: “Are we here yet?” Because as long as we see enlightenment as a goal and oneness with God as a destination, we will be forever on the path. “There” seems to imply an ending, the achievement of an intention, the reaching of a final destination, whereas “here” is more about the present moment, right before us. “Be here now,” Ram Dass wrote. In truth, we are always living in the “here” of eternity, an infinite present in which time does not exist. The problem is we can’t recognize it because our vision is blocked by visions of “there.”

Time to take off those future-colored glasses and look around without any questions, aspirations, or parameters. Where we are now is full of light and God, even during a pandemic and social/political unrest. World events are throwing us all back into the present moment repeatedly. We want to plan our lives and map out future events to create certainty in the midst of seeming chaos. Yet this is a time of no certainty, and the chaos we perceive is actually dynamic change in motion. The illusion of permanence that many of us have subscribed to for so long is being overturned by continually shifting circumstances. We keep trying to bring back what we once knew as normal life: social gatherings with friends, travel, school openings, regular jobs, elections. The trouble is none of that is playing out in the same way, even when we try to force the issue. Nothing is the same.

Every day we are pointed to the present moment as the only workable way to live, as the greater truth of our lives. Perhaps our collective enlightenment is coming to us through the back door. Awareness doesn’t always arise from long years of practice and devotion. Sometimes it appears unexpectedly in the middle of sudden out-of-control life events. In this unprecedented time in which the world as we knew it has been turned upside down, individuals are learning to let go of the future in favor of the present. In casual conversation with socially distanced strangers on my morning walks or in line at the grocery store, I find that we often speak of living “one day at a time,” appreciating each moment. This also comes up in emails and social media posts from friends around the globe. It seems to be a worldwide experience: remembering the wisdom of Now.

Here is our reality, here is universal truth, here is enlightenment. Not in some distant future or at the end of an extended quest. Profound realization can catch you off-guard within crisis and uncertainty. We want life to run smoothly and predictably, but it never does. If you can return to living one precious breath at a time, one heartbeat at a time, you may find peace and connection when all else appears to be upheaval and loss. Life is many things, but at its heart it is love and oneness with others and with God. Expanding planetary awakening is showing us that now. As our gaze returns to the present, instead of the past or future, we recognize, for the first time, the light shining in all we see, including ourselves. Elusive enlightenment right here, right now, in the never-ending present moment.


Practice…and Beyond

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
Remember the old joke about the tourist asking directions in New York? “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” That answer could also be given to the spiritual question “How do I get to the enlightened state?” Practice—a lifelong commitment to finding peace of mind and God. Your practice becomes your life, and vice versa. And yet it is not until the practice softens and becomes a relaxed inner flowering rather than a rigid outer striving that everything shifts. The virtuoso pianist and the devoted meditator discover the sound and light within them, not on an external stage or altar. Carnegie Hall and enlightenment are not destinations; they are experiences.

Only when we let go of the need to arrive somewhere do we find that what we were looking for existed already, right in front of us. Dorothy traveled over the rainbow to Oz only to realize that “Home” was in the faces of those she loved…and in her own heart. The enlightened state, too, appears to be over some distant rainbow, yet what if it exists inside us? We only have to deepen our awareness to feel its expansive presence. This deepening is the softer sense of practice, the spiritual sense.

Growing up, we are taught that if we practice enough, we will achieve whatever we focus on with intent and purpose. Practice is seen as a repetitive routine that leads to a specific goal, like playing a musical instrument well. This meaning has a certain truth; if we practice anything diligently enough, we can achieve proficiency. But there is a step beyond proficiency that can only be reached by an almost indescribable surrender wherein we become the music (or the meditation) itself. In spirituality, diligent meditating does not necessarily lead to enlightenment. Ultimately we have to let go of trying and open to something greater than ourselves. In this opening, practice falls away, and there is only spirit. The experience and the experiencer are one.

When you come to realize that you are, as Adyashanti put it, “seeking God with [God’s] eyes,” then awareness literally opens your eyes to the truth of who you are. Beyond practice is grace, in music or in spirituality. You become one with the flow of life, and you begin to flow yourself, whatever you are doing. You see the divine light within you that is reflected in the world around you. In every person and in every thing. This is enlightenment. A state of being, not a state of practicing.

Master musicians and spiritual masters share one attribute: connection. They are connected to something greater than themselves, and that is what lifts them into a state of pure being—oneness with music or oneness with God. This is the future of all of us who were born on the planet at this time. Our destiny is to softly step beyond the edges of practice into a life of awakened presence: spirit embodied in form, fully aware of both our humanity and our divinity. In any given moment, we can shift our awareness into this peaceful space of expansive perception. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. It just takes practice…and then letting go of practice.


Seeing the Light

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
When I returned from Panache Desai’s immersion, “Dynamic Enlightenment,” a few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I was now “enlightened.” I didn’t know how to answer. My hesitation stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t sure “yes” was entirely accurate or conveyed the nuances involved. We humans have a tendency to mistake one step for the entire journey. Better to see process rather than destination. On the other hand, I knew I was different after that intensive week of sacred activations and ceremonies. I was in a more expansive, divinely connected place. In truth, we are already enlightened at the soul level; we just have to become aware of that. So maybe the best way to describe my experience would be that I opened to a greater awareness of my soul’s constant state of being and light. And that awareness runs through my life in a continuous stream.

In the garden this morning, everything I looked at radiated light, everywhere. That is how it is most of the time for me now. Perhaps enlightenment is not the head-trip that many people think of it as, but an alignment with the ever-present light in your soul, which then is reflected in all that you see. When I look out the window in the morning, I see the light of the sun in everything: tree leaves, dew on the grass, flower petals, car windows, broken glass on the sidewalk. When I’m walking at dusk, I notice streetlamps, house lights, the moon rising, city lights in the distance. Light in all its various forms leaps out at me now. Colors are more vivid, reflections are multidimensional. I am seeing with the eyes of my soul, which is nothing but light. Actually, the whole planet, the entire cosmos, is nothing but light. It becomes denser when it takes on physical form, but our souls, which vibrate at the same frequency as light, perceive it as the basis of everything.

Photograph © 2017 Jean Pierson

So en-light-enment helps us see the true nature of the universe, of ourselves. We are light beings inhabiting heavier physical bodies, but the light at our core, our soul’s essence, never leaves us. When our awareness opens again to what it once was when we were first born, we see light everywhere, including within ourselves. The world is revealed as a magical kaleidoscope of colors and light, and we live within it and beyond it simultaneously. Other people begin to see that in us too. We become more transparent, and our inner luminosity shines through.

Today, if you asked me about enlightenment, that is what I would say. It is not one thing, either/or, yes or no. It is everything. And it is within every one of us.

“I remembered today the codes of light I carry,
Unfolding now in the splendor of the sunrise….
Each ray of sunlight awakening the wisdom at the core.
I remembered today the love from which I came.”
—Judith Bluestone Polich