Dear old and new friends,
I want to go to confession to you my friends/readers of these Haystack reflections about my blog reflection of two weeks ago on seeing the Kingdom—God’s abiding Presence—all around us. If you haven’t read it, you can do so by going back to Holy Hunger on August 20th. In it I wrote that Jesus proclaimed, “Open your eyes. The Kingdom of God—the dynamic loving Presence of the Divine One—is right in front of you, here in your midst.”
Today I confess that in preparing to write it, and after two weeks of seriously attempting to consciously live it, I failed to see/feel it! So I imagine you also may have tried and failed, so let us ask a question: Was Jesus the Prophet wrong about his momentous and often repeated announcement that God’s Kingdom was here in our midst? Or perhaps was it here only briefly two millenniums ago while he walked the roads of Palestine?
Or is the problem perhaps our “expectant eye aliment” that causes us to expect the Divine Presence to appear and feel “churchy” instead of secular or ordinary? Regardless, I propose that you join me on the adventure as an explorer of that Sacred Reality proclaimed by Jesus. As an explorer of the cleverly concealed Mystery hidden in the worldly I suggest a couple of spiritual tools or practices that I find helpful. First, with blind belief, strive to reverence all you encounter since that which you’re seeking is imperceptibly right in front of you! Handle everything—pan or pen, the computer or cup—with the same holy reverence as you would the sacred consecrated vessels of the altar.
Touching commonplace things with a holy reverence awakens our inner-eyes to see God’s Presence in all earthly things. Along with a sense of reverence I also find it a great help to recite silently “Holy, Holy, Holy” when taking my first sip of morning coffee or when turning my car’s ignition key to start the engine. Also useful is silently exclaiming “O my God!” when you encounter creation, be it a wondrous sunset or an insignificant weed. Another spiritual tool is the ancient Oriental practice of making a slight bow of your head to recognize the invisible Divine in those you meet, upon entering a house or as you begin some difficult task. The secret power in all of these is found in the story of a man visiting New York City who asked someone how you get to Carnegie Hall and was told, “Practice, practice, practice!”
Finally, and most importantly, if you continue to fail or rarely see the Indwelling of the Divine in your world, instead of feeling a failure be exceedingly grateful! Yes, give thanks, for if day in and day out you were always consciously aware of that Divine Mystery you’d never get off your knees in adoration!