Continuous Conscious Connection

You and I are always connected to the Source of all living energy in the universe. The thing is we forget that connection is always with us. Humans have given it many names to remind themselves throughout the course of their existence on Earth (God, Goddess, Divinity, etc.), but then they become distracted by the details of daily life, and conscious memory slips away. This amnesia makes everything more difficult because on some level we feel untethered and lost. We think we are alone in the cosmos, without purpose or support. This is not true, but how do we find our way back to the deep-seated knowing that lives within? How do we recognize divine Presence in every moment, in everything we experience?

Traditionally, religion played that role. People regularly attended temples or churches to pray and feel connected to something greater. Today, a more free-flowing, eclectic spirituality seems to be arising. People are seeking experiences beyond the parameters of what has defined human-divine connection in the past. Still, the essence of what is being sought is a profound ongoing awareness of something sacred in our lives. In our hearts, we know it exists; we are just trying to access that elusive memory.

Currently, we are living through a time of Remembering, of coming into continuous conscious awareness of the sacred within, which spiritual teachers throughout the ages have pointed to with such certainty and unwavering vision. It is humanity’s time to fully awaken to this inner/outer experience that will individually and collectively guide us through life. But how does this occur? How do we access connection intentionally?

Meditation, prayer, or immersion in ancient teachings can spark connection to God/dess, when this becomes an ongoing practice. Consistency is key; some call it devotion. There are many other conduits to that connection to universal consciousness. One of the most powerful and direct is Nature. Walking daily in natural surroundings, such as a local park or a nature sanctuary, can keep the door to the Divine wide open. Birdsong, flowers blooming, tree branches dancing in the wind, or the drama of the sky and clouds are Nature’s way of keeping us awake and connected to something beyond the daily distractions that occupy our minds. The natural world fills the heart and soul with joy, love, and Presence. Over time, this feeling becomes continuous, a conscious part of who you are.

Personally, I find that I rely on all of these reminders. It is so easy to forget in our busy world full of conflicting personal and global dramas. Eventually I make my way to the deeper truth that only love is real. It is the living thread beneath everything in the multiverse, and it holds humanity together with a powerful vibration living at the core of our being. You yourself hold the reminder within you. You can’t lose it because it is what gives you life. The light within you can become clouded over or temporarily forgotten through the years, but it is never lost.

At this moment in time, the cloudiness is clearing. Each of us is gradually awakening to ongoing awareness of the dynamic tapestry of connection that we are one with. Every time you look up at the blue sky or into the eyes of a loved one, you wake up more fully. With every conscious breath you take, connection is present. It is a process that can’t be stopped because it is our divine destiny as humans on this Earth. We came here to awaken and fully remember who we are and where we came from. Continuous awareness of connection is on the horizon. With each sunrise, we see more clearly and love more deeply. And we step more fully into consciously living as our souls.

I Am That

The Ham-sa (or So-ham) mantra has been used by yogis and meditators for centuries to align with the breath—inhalation and exhalation—and experience divine connection, or Presence. One translation of the Sanskrit syllables is “I Am That,” meaning: all that is, or the universe. The repetition of these sacred sounds centers meditators in the stillness within and connects them to universal consciousness. With consistent daily practice (sitting or walking), an individual can increase awareness of both inner and outer Presence, ultimately discovering that they are one and the same.

At least that has been my experience in recent years, particularly in the past few months. As I moved through treatment for breast cancer, my spiritual practice deepened, and I felt a dropping away of personal identity into expansive soul awareness beyond the physical form. “I Am That,” or just “I Am,” expresses this as closely as language can. Infinite spaciousness in which there is only being without boundaries of any kind. As the weeks of post-treatment passed, I felt even more space opening up, extending out beyond me and this planet to endless galaxies with no fixed point or place within time/space. I look at the sun and the sky that surrounds it and know that I am all that I see or perceive. And more. 

I believe this is the life journey for each of us. At birth, we individuate in human form on Earth and then over the course of a lifetime we move gradually to a less defined identity which then disappears entirely at death. We return to the formless universal consciousness from which we came. If we are fortunate, we may experience some of this vast awareness before we die—through spiritual exploration or unexpected life events. Whatever our individual life course, we eventually reunite in collective beingness as we transition from this world to the next. The sharp edges of fear about death can soften as the years pass and we are prepared for that transition, which is not an end but a doorway to expansion beyond the physical body.

“I Am That” awareness comes to me most vividly in Nature. When I gaze up into the branches of a giant oak tree stretching to the sky, I sense the living wisdom of an ancient being. When a great blue heron spreads its wings and takes flight, I feel awe, watching it seamlessly navigate both Heaven and Earth. When, on a cold March day, I hear a cardinal’s spring song, I experience the joyful vibration of new beginnings. With each breath, I inhale Source energy, and everywhere I look, I see a loving Intelligence reflected in the world. Some call it the Divine Mother’s love, taking physical form around and within us.

We all are part of that love. In fact, another way of saying “I Am That” is “I Am Love.” Everything in the universe embodies shining loving Presence, more and more visibly when we let go of our identities and rest in the peace and stillness of the natural world. However you come to discover the vastness of the cosmos and the spirit within you, your heart will open so fully that you will recognize Love in all you see. Truly, there is nothing but That.
 

Without a Label

A good friend of mine recently told me that she loves my writing but doesn’t necessarily relate to the God references. She said she believes in something but doesn’t really have a label for it. She’s not alone. So many of us (myself included) have felt exactly the same at one time or another in our lives. And truthfully we don’t need a label–often language misses the point entirely. Some people and traditions prefer to leave the idea of a creator-being unnamed. Many Native Americans use the words “the Great Mystery.” Makes complete sense to me. I wasn’t raised in a religion, and I used to be put off by the groups who would go around house to house proselytizing about God. That word remained a negative trigger for me right up into adulthood, when I began my own spiritual exploration.

My first attempt at explaining how I thought of spirit at the time was the word “meaning.” I believed there was meaning in the universe because I could feel it in my heart. That’s as far as it went for a while. Eventually, I came to see that the word or description didn’t matter as much as the experience itself. I lost most of my objections to words and labels like God or Divinity. Still, I try to be low key about using them when I write because I know many people are uncomfortable about naming something that is in essence nameless. And it’s unnecessary. The deeper I dive into my soul, the more words fall away entirely. I experience a beingness or oneness that defies description.

So how do you write about that? How do you talk about it? Perhaps the best response to the mysteries of the universe is silence. Within that, everything arises. Immersion in something greater than language fills you. Nature shows me this more than anything else. Every time I am outdoors by myself I am deeply connected to the entire cosmos without a single word being spoken. This is why I prefer to be alone with Nature. Silence prevails. In the stillness, language is irrelevant. And mental naming is only a distraction. If you can walk slowly and quietly, or stand motionless, the natural world continues as if you weren’t there. You hear the birds singing, the wind in the trees, chipmunks and squirrels calling. You smell the earth and the foliage, and you can feel the living energy vibrating all around you.

This is Presence: being, without a name or label. Humans invented a language to describe what they were experiencing. Such descriptions can often be poetic and magical, but wordiness can diminish the essence of what is essentially a silent soul exchange. I am a writer so I know the power of expressing what is pouring through me to be shared, a divine connection to something wondrous. This is why I write. Yet, I also know that what ultimately allows that connection is an empty space of stillness, an openness to what some have called universal consciousness. Another name for God. We try, we humans, to express the inexpressible, to name what has no name. Within that trying is a sweet vulnerability that holds hope and loving awareness in it.

When we stop trying, however, when we stand in silent reverence without language or labels, the grace of something beyond expression pours over and through us. That is what we came here to Earth to experience and know deeply. And there are no words that can describe that miracle. Only profound gratitude comes close to touching the core of this meeting of Heaven and Earth in the human dimension.

Wild Geese on a Winter’s Day

Often there are very subtle threads that hold us to life and to the belief that everything is ultimately worthwhile. They reveal themselves in sometimes overlooked daily details: the smell of freshly baked bread from the kitchen, the way the sun highlights the red amaryllis on the dining room table, a snatch of song from a neighbor’s apartment. All these make up life’s tapestry and fill us with delight if we are able to fully receive them. They balance out any sadness or dismay about how things are unfolding and uplift us at the most unexpected moments. This is the magic of allowing your life to carry you to the heart of all experience: Heavenly gifts are always arriving.

For me, one day last month, it was the sight and sound of wild Canada geese flying overhead against the blue winter sky as I stepped outside for my afternoon walk. And it was the unexpected sight of 8 to 10 robins in a bare tree, calling excitedly in the January air. Birds always open my heart and awaken me to full consciousness. Their place on this planet is one of such grace and beauty. So many beings and events hold this promise for each of us, in Nature or in our own homes. These are the threads; this is the tapestry of which we too are a part. The words you speak may give someone else hope or solace. Your very presence is a light in the lives of those who love you.

I remind myself of this when the gray days of winter seem endless and I can barely remember spring. Or perhaps it is God who reminds me, who shows me vibrant life (wild geese and cheery robins) even on a cold colorless day. It is the gift we carry with us always. As the French writer Albert Camus so beautifully expressed it, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” Beauty and meaning are etched into our souls. Divine vision skates along the surface of our lives, continuously available for our inspiration and sustenance. The very air we breathe awakens us to the day before us. Our senses greet the ordinary, making it extraordinary.

All this is waiting for you if you allow the doors and windows of your life to remain open, if you allow life to flow in and touch your awareness. In those moments, there is no question about whether life is worthwhile. You are so immersed in the wonders of the present moment that thinking recedes; full-hearted beingness carries you forward through life. This is the best of living, available to each of us, if we so choose. Poet Mary Oliver, wrote a perfect description of this:

“I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.”

These moments await you and me. Each day is a new miracle to be experienced. The more engaged you become in this way of being, the more all inner queries about purpose, reasons, or outcome fall away. Disappointment disappears, and only celebration remains. This is the life of Spirit, fully embraced and expressed.

Dawn, Dusk, and Midday

Vacillations in how we feel are part of life, particularly now as the planet lives through a pandemic. We have unexpectedly come face to face with potential illness and mortality, as well as the relative shortness of one lifetime. It can shake our emotional foundations. Yet, wherever we are on the timeline of life, most of us gradually reach some kind of resolution. We come to terms with life and death. The wisdom of the ages reaches into our souls and awakens awareness. We realize time is an illusion and if we don’t fully immerse ourselves in “now,” we miss both the mundane and spiritual impacts of life. This is the soul’s journey, right now being played out on a world canvas, as we pass from dawn to dusk and finally see the full illumination of midday (or the “present moment”).

We may not entirely recognize what is happening yet, but the trajectory of the years ahead is the soul’s emergence in the world as full awareness. Within the mystery that is earthly life, each human being comes to that moment of awakening to, acceptance of, and engagement with life “as is.” This particular time in history is showcasing the personal journey on a global scale. In a pandemic, no one escapes or gets out untransformed; same with human life. It may seem dire and perhaps depressing on one level, but from the soul’s viewpoint, there is no real difference between life and death. It is all universal consciousness experiencing itself, beyond time and space. It may take a lifetime to realize this, but it arises within us eventually.

As someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, I have felt a multitude of reactions, from initial panic to inner peace. Peace being the most prevalent and sustaining. Primarily because it arises from my soul. The identity can get caught up in future fears or “what ifs.” The soul is embodied spirit vision; it knows that at the center of all life is a loving peace that transmutes all transitory fear. On the cancer path, through the ups and downs of treatment, I have at times felt weighed down or lost. Yet when another day dawns, my spirits rise again; I am re-centered in the peace at my core, the sun lighting up my solar plexus.

Nature has proven to be my greatest ally as I navigate life day to day. Nature is all-inclusive: dawn, dusk, and midday. When we embrace Nature in its entirety, we recognize that all three experiences are really one, and we are One with Nature. In every moment, beginnings and endings exist—a full spectrum of possibility. A perfect design is unfolding, of which we are part. As I open my eyes each morning, I can see this clearly; my sustaining inner peace makes this possible.

So I learn as I go, as I live the diverse experiences of my life. We all learn this way. And we all end up in the same place, because we all came from the same place: infinite consciousness or beingness. Whatever name you give it, it guides us every step of the way in our lives. It is who we are, and our life experiences teach us this. At the end of each day/night, we feel the full circle within us, the golden light of peace that is always bringing us Home.