April 17th, 2014
by admin · Filed Under: Faith · Guidance · Inspiration · Prayer · Spiritual Health · Thanksgiving · Visioning · divine order · healing · life · meditation
(Continued from An Instrument of Hope – 1)
The next day, in the afternoon, I went in the orchard again thinking I’d have a time of quiet and meditation. It was a beautiful day; it was very cold, in November, but it was blue sky and the sun was shining. I sat under an apple tree and I looked up at the sky; I could see a bare branch of the apple tree outlined against the blue sky. I thought, “How barren it looks, just like my life feels right now.”
Then I noticed on the tree like little scars where the leaves and fruit had fallen off. As I looked, I could see the beginnings of little buds there along the branch and I had an experience of seeing the life process in the tree and realizing there would be a rebirth of the tree in the spring and the renewal of it, that again it would bud and leaf and bring forth fruit.
I began to align it with my life as well, that somehow in that moment, seeing the process of life in the tree I saw it also in myself. And I knew that my life also would be replenished, would be renewed, that there would be another season. It was such a wonderful feeling; I still had a lot of doubts and fears but there was a stillness and calmness there too.
I wanted to imprint the memory of that tree on my mind. So the next day I asked Kathryn, an artist, if she would go with me to the art supply store to get some paints and a canvas. She showed me what to get and how to mix the palette and so on, and I did a painting of that tree branch and the blue sky beyond it. It was probably not a very good painting, but it served as a mandala for me so I could remember that moment when my life was transformed to some degree.
Later on, I discovered that the Carmelite monk, Brother Lawrence, many centuries before had a similar experience with a tree. So I felt a special connection with Brother Lawrence, whose whole focus was on practicing the presence of God.
My despair was turned to hope as I aligned myself with the life force that I found in nature, and out of that came something beautiful. It was only about a week after that experience that it was Thanksgiving, and I went to the Thanksgiving service at Unity Village.
I’d never been to a Thanksgiving service before, in fact I don’t think I’d even been conscious of Thanksgiving before because I’d only been in the States for a couple of years or so and in England we didn’t have Thanksgiving Day. We had Harvest Festival but we didn’t have Thanksgiving.
I went to the Thanksgiving service with Kathryn and some other classmates. Sig and Janie Paulson were ministers there, and it was in the old Village Chapel which was in the administration building at Unity Village before the Activities Center and the large chapel that’s there now was built. We were all sitting there together toward the back, and Janie Paulson started to lead a meditation of thanksgiving.
All of a sudden I began to feel that sense of thanksgiving rising in me for the new life that was there, and that no matter what had happened I would be OK and that God would see me through. Tears welled up in my eyes and overflowed and I cried.
After a while I managed to stop and then Sig got up there and he started his message with affirmations of thanksgiving. And the tears started again, and I couldn’t stop crying. But they were tears of thanksgiving, and all kinds of tears.
At the end of the service I rushed out of there and went to the Peace Chapel, a little chapel with only six chairs in there. I didn’t bother with the chairs when I first went in, there was no one in there and I lay down on the floor and just sobbed.
Then I became very quiet and I sat in one of the meditation chairs and I had a peaceful, deep, calm experience, where I felt God’s presence with me.
After that, things began to pick up for me and everything began to come together. What had been despair, instead of chaos, became a time of order and beauty and love. Kathryn and I became close friends, and later as you know as we left ministerial school it blossomed into a deep love for one another. It all started right there. But despair turned to hope.
There were two things in that process I’d like you to grab hold of. One was when Kathryn said, “Hold on. You’ll be OK, you’ll come through this.”
It says in the scriptures, “And it came to pass.” Well, things come to pass, don’t they? So we have to know that if we hold on then the things that are troubling us have come to pass. They are not going to stay there; we’re going to move through them.
And the other thing is the recognition of the need to connect with that life force which is always present within us but that we’re not always aware of.
There are different ways of connecting, and for me at that time it was connecting with the life process in nature, in a tree, that spoke to me and became a part of my own being.
In times of despair and chaos, sometimes that is a new life coming about. Carl Jung talked about that. He said, “Chaos is like an egg, and out of the egg arises the phoenix and a life of liberation.” He said that you have to recognize that chaos is something to be sought, rather than something to be avoided.
We do tend to avoid it; we want to fix it right away. If there’s chaos in our lives we want order and we try to fix it and we set a goal and we strive for that. But sometimes the best thing to do is just hold on and wait, and that movement of the seasons in you will bring about a change, will bring a movement toward a goal that arises from within; an outer movement from that inward movement. So our part in a time of chaos is sometimes just to embrace it in a sense, and wait.
Paul Tillich, in a little book called The Shaking of the Foundations, had a section on waiting and he said this: “He who waits passionately is already an active power himself, and this is the greatest power of transformation in personal and historical life.” “He who waits passionately . . .” There’s nothing passive there in that kind of waiting.
It’s the same kind of waiting that Jesus talked about in his parables, and particularly in the parable of the traveling householder (in Mark 13).
He said, “Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”
It’s a passionate waiting and watching for that which is called the Lord. The Lord comes; the Lord of your being comes. There’s a greater self within you and that greater self is the Lord of your being, ready to come into your experience if you’ll hold to the high watch, the high watch of hope.
And what have you to be alert to? Be alert to the good, because that’s what the Lord of your being comes to bring in to your life; it’s good. So hold on in those times and look for the good, look to that presence and power of God, keeping the high watch. Hold on; keep the high watch, the high vision, and high hope.
Remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!
Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham
Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com
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