Expansion, Not Decline

Is your body demanding your attention lately? Are your emotions on edge? Do you feel as if your health is declining, your sense of optimism impaired? You are not alone. Almost everyone I know has been facing some kind of physical issue or challenge over the past year or so, including myself. Breast cancer flipped my daily world view upside-down. Yet, as I gradually learned to experience it with a peaceful, accepting heart, calm arose within me to face whatever I needed to without despair or negativity. My soul guided my body, mind, and feelings throughout. Sometimes we have to pass through depression or emotional upset to reach that overview, but it can happen. This is the challenge of these times we are living through, especially during a global pandemic.

How can we come to see physical pain or illness in a positive rather than negative light? Perhaps by seeing it as a cleansing or clearing of your physical form so that your soul can shine more fully and brightly. These are times of expansion, not decline. We are welcoming the complete embodiment of the soul in our bodies. Physicality is the densest part of you, and it will be the last to transform. The heaviness of form is being overhauled to receive the lightness of formlessness, our natural and eternal state. The key to an easier transition may be to view physical illness or pain as metamorphosis, a path to clarity and fulfilment. You are shedding your identity and your past and walking into a new vision of life and yourself. It may feel intensely challenging, but if you look closely, the doors are opening. No matter what is occurring, your soul chose this life path for your greater evolution. Welcome to the Great Shift on Planet Earth.

This applies not only to physical difficulties but to the overall political/social turmoil in the world. The entire planet is experiencing a cleansing. A new Earth is being born. And birthing pains often accompany such a major event, personally and globally. So hang on: you are not deteriorating; you are expanding. Hard to believe at times, but we are being asked to imagine, and live, this vision of a new fully embodied soul, in our selves and our planet. We incarnated at this time for exactly this. Your physical body and Mother Earth herself are shedding density, welcoming conscious awareness of spirit everywhere. Even what seems to be the worst scenario holds within it a seed of awakening.

There is nothing “wrong” here. Nothing “terminal.” Neither age, diagnosis, nor life events can kill your spirit. Your soul is eternal; consciousness too is eternal.  You as beingness exist beyond time and space, beyond mind and emotions, beyond thoughts and expectations. The world is a temporary landing point for your evolution and expansion. We are all part of the divine unfolding of infinite consciousness. Even if you think things are bad or intolerable, there is something greater occurring beyond human understanding. You are journeying through ascension, not decline. Your soul knows the way. Relax and surrender to the cosmic trip God/dess has orchestrated. When you feel lost or alone, hold in your awareness a vision of our blue planet turning golden and our souls shining brightly in the cosmos. At the soul level, our hands are joined, circling the globe as one energy, one expanding light. In pain, sorrow, or joy, you are always part of this collective life spirit. Look up at the morning sky and recall the words of e.e. cummings:

“This is the sun’s birthday, this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth”

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.
 

Why Am I Here?

You may ask yourself this from time to time. Not just in reference to a particular place but also here on Earth, in this life. The answer to both is the same: Love. You are here to love—every person, event, experience, and complicated nuance in your life. Why? Because love is who you are at your core; you were born out of love, human and divine, and to express it is part of the human and planetary design. It is as natural as breathing, and as essential to life. Love is woven into the fabric of everything, and it is renewed and enlivened by our expressing it on a daily basis. Without that living manifestation of our core essence, we and the planet would shrivel and die.

Sometimes the path of purpose can be hidden, seemingly impossible to find, but it’s really quite simple. We aren’t here to make lots of money or a name for ourselves, to accumulate possessions or stocks and bonds. Those are distractions, side events that eventually we see through and move on from. The human course is not necessarily self-evident, but gradually our life experiences awaken us to who we really are at the soul level. We finally see the truth that George Bailey did in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life: No one is a failure who has friends, and kindness and generosity made him the “richest man in town.” Without his presence, no one else in his life would have fully lived who they came here to be. Same with each of us. You affect many more people than you know.

You came to this Earth to speak your truth, to be your unique soul-self in the world. Not everyone will hear you. Not everyone will see you. And that is fine. Those who are meant to cross paths with you do so. There is a divine orchestration taking place in which we each meet whom we are destined to meet at just the right moment, and together we sing in harmony the musical notes of our connection. Our songs, individual and collective, are part of our awakening to the presence within each and all of us. We are actually awakening to Spirit itself, whose voice is ageless and limitless.

So, at those times when you feel lost or uncertain, take a deep breath and remember that everything is happening for a reason. Your purpose lives in the fiber of your being, and you breathe it into the world with every breath. In the moments in which you are most compassionate, empathic, and peaceful, it glows like gold and touches the hearts of all those around you. Your purpose is God’s purpose. Your reason for being is life’s reason for being: to manifest love and shine that light within your life. Together we all become one greater light on Earth and fulfill our common purpose: to embody loving-kindness in our human form. That is why you are here, why we all are here.

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.

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.