panentheism


God is in all things; not indeed, as part of their essence, nor as an accident; but as an agent is present to that upon which it works. -Matthew Fox

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Every now and then a word comes along that revolutionises our understanding around long held traditions and customs that have dominated the beliefs and practices that we have deemed to be set in stone. The power and beauty of language offers our imagination and intellect the active resonance we need to move the conversation into new arenas of evolutionary elucidation.

Words that awaken new meaning in our lives are the whispers of an eternal muse that is committed to our growth and maturation. This inspiration is a reminder of the divine influence at work in us.

One word that has reshaped my understanding of "God”: or whatever word you choose to use to metaphor your concept of the divine mystery is PAN-EN-THEISM. The reason for the breaks in spelling are to alleviate the obvious misunderstanding that seems to surround its apparent link to ‘pan-theism'. In crude terms Pantheism says that everything is God whereas Panentheism suggests that everything is in God and God is in everything.

Matthew Fox uses the analogy of a fish swimming in water…the water surrounds the fish as a sustaining environment and the fish breathes IN that water in order to sustain its existence. Panentheism suggests that all life is infused with the mystery of God and that transcendence is immanently revealing itself to us in all of its many forms.

The suspicion around some words can be due to our fear of relinquishing control of the old ways of understanding that have ungirded society for generations. Panentheism suffers from the over bearing influence of dualism that posits God as a somewhat distanced deity who is committed to maintaining a holy stance of separation due to the infraction that has occurred in our behavioural conduct. Sin and holiness as the conservative dualist would say still have compatibility issues? In a strange kind of way we need them both if we are to understand our need for some kind of divine support and reliance. Panentheistic otherness helps us to see that when we think we are the centre of the universe so is everything else. It takes everything to make up the whole.

According to St Paul there is nothing that can seperate us for the love of God? Not life or death, any kind of power structure, our present predicaments or the future dilemmas, no feelings of elation or despair, even the attempts of other people to disturb our health and well-being. This suggestion is the heart of panentheism, the unavoidable inclusion in a greater purpose regardless of our behaviour or religious status in life. This changes everything about how we value our worth in God and alongside others, a subtle reminder that the life we have been given is a gift that needs to enjoyed and honoured.

If we can never be separated from the divine then what is the point of adherence to some kind of religious affiliation? Why go to church or even pray if providence has our best interests at heart?

Panentheism suggests that we are all in God and God is in all of us yet it is crucial that we take the time together to consider what that really means. Gathering with others in some way to discuss, reflect and contemplate this rich mystery suggests that true meaning and understanding in life is a meal best shared with another. What resides in the other could very well be the transformational balm I need. The result of this reciprocity could potentially help the human race to start caring and taking responsible for the world better while advancing good and confronting the systemic evil that we so often project on to some kind of d-evil.

Panentheism is a call to honour who you are and honour the wonder of God that resides in all otherness.

why

In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We all have deep questions that find their way to the surface in times of tragedy and trauma.

Why did this happen?

Why do people do the things they do?

When will we start to act like the best versions of ourselves?

Where is God in all of this?

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As much as I have faith in humanity’s ability to go above and beyond for their fellow citizens, I am also aware that in a moment of insanity we are capable of the most heinous acts.

In these times we search for an explanation, often reverting to the age-old blame game of victimisation by playing the ‘totally depraved’ card or finding a scapegoat in the form of a Demonised other. While this can help us find some relief in the moment it is only temporary, as there is no absolute or satisfying answer as to why bad things happen. Sometimes you just can’t explain away an unimaginable tragedy.

A selfish evil hides in all of us. A healthy dose of morality and common sense restrains our willingness to act on it, but when our conscience fails us, the damage that we can do is deplorable. As far back as the Cain and Abel story we see our potential to take matters into our own hands without any kind of rational consideration for the ramifications. As Martin Luther King said, there is both good and evil in all of us - and it seems that we are all hardwired in some way to betray that good in a selfish, broken society.

But goodness remains, the very best of human endeavour that seeks to work for the betterment of humanity. When evil happens we can become bogged down in the complexities of injustice or we can step up and do some good despite our lament.

Of course, these altruisms are often easier said than done. Someone needs to be punished for the pain we are feeling. But retribution and vengeance, both perfectly acceptable feelings in times of mourning, will never give us the healing we need.

Yet we still need to be able to air our distress and grievance in the company of our fellow mourners with the honesty and rawness the situation requires.

Maybe hope and radical acts of goodness will be the therapeutic encouragement we need on the journey back to a new normalcy.

The ancient songwriter reminds us that goodness will have the final say and that if we stay with our questions long enough we will see the very best of life push through.

I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth.

Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don't quit.

I'll say it again: Stay with GOD

- Psalm 27

May peace and grace comfort you in your time of 'why'

disorientation

‘Every orientation presupposes a disorientation’   -Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Disorientation comes when we least expect it, its perplexities a timely reminder that life is mysteriously unpredictable and confusing at the best of times.

Discomfort and uncertainty arrive on our doorstep as the uninvited guest who is intent on disturbing the self prescribed equilibrium that we understand as normative.

The purpose of this interruption is to reset our understanding of stability as a static reality. It would seem that the journey of maturation and evolution is one of constant interruption, a pilgrimage that flexes and bends to suit the current emerging reality.

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As providence moves me towards the best version of myself there is a need for some deconstruction which is the precursor for the new-orientation that is lurking in the shadows. The old ways of being that were previously helpful have become more restrictive as the approaching grace for change appears.

Unlearning those old habits and behaviours is the hidden agenda of disorientation as it moves me through the liminal territory of transition. That which is ingrained in me as an old habit becomes a blind spot if I do not open my eyes and embrace the emerging divulgence.

The cultural environments that have defined our reality play a huge part in shaping our perspective on life. Our familial interactions can often get in the way of moving us into the next chapter of our unfolding story or conversely they can encourage us to take the plunge into the new unknown. The projected fears and fascinations of our fellow humans are our greatest ally or contrastingly our adversarial foe.

When we are in a state of disorientation everything is up for grabs and open to new interpretation, a hopeful forerunner of the possible newness. Learning to embrace the difficulty of this intermediary space will help determine your preparation for the next stage of your journey. The darkness that we feel as we move through the valley of the unknown is an invitation to embrace the mystery of trust as it does its work of kismet in our life.

The new coping mechanisms of trust that we adopt in the time of disorientation comes from the comfort and consolation that serendipity brings to our pilgrimage, the timely reminder that what we see or become overly anxious about is not all that is going on.

In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word. - Walt Whitman

The valley of disorientation is not a fast sprint but a slow walk. We often try to move through discomfort rather quickly due to the perfectly legitimate aversion to pain that is hardwired into our system. Unfortunately the protracted nature of change works to its own rhythm and time frame.

While keeping one eye on the road stay alert and attentive to your fellow pilgrims who might be on the same path, a reassuring reminder you that you are not alone in experiencing excessive anxiety unaccompanied. In a strange kind of way we all like to think that others are struggling with the same things we are…maybe misery does love company after all? When I hear the travel stories of others who have gone before me I find the courage to continue and confidence to know that things may well work out in the end.

Be patient the new-orientation is coming...

permutations


The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair , sculpture by Daniel Chester French.

The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair, sculpture by Daniel Chester French.

“Life is full of permutations and combinations. Sometimes the order you do things matter sometimes it doesn’t, but in order to find the solution in life you must work through each possibility presented to find your opportunity.” ― Gregory Willis, Birth of a Nephillim

They (whoever ’they’ are) say that the only constant in life is change. Unfortunately our resistance to it has caused more fear than is often reasonable. I think it is realistic to expect a certain kind of internal antagonism to change as it suggests that a new permutation of me is emerging which can mess with my sense of stability and certainty. The prophets, sages, and mystics have all rallied around the idea of evolutionary consciousness, an emerging becoming of our existence that moves through the various stages of life with nervous curiosity and tentative reluctance.

Looking back on my journey can help me  recognise the subtle changes that have occurred and contributed to the upgraded version of the new me. I have often wondered, a little over anxiously if the various dispositions of thinking that I have moved through have been permissible, especially in the light of the rich historical backdrop of the great thinkers and innovators that went before me.

When I began my spiritual journey (institutionally speaking) I was introduced to an idea of God that I have since come to recognise as distorted and distasteful. The first permutation of my idea of God was one that posited all people as depraved and somewhat of a disappointment to the creator, hence the need for a rescue narrative that assured them of an afterlife paradise. Without that reassurance there would be dire consequences of a hellish kind. I started my religious vocation as a hell fire and brimstone preacher who sought to cast out the darkness by offering a light lunch of gospel truth. First stage naivety no less. 

After many years of seeming success I came to realise that this was not the ‘whole truth and nothing but the truth'. TRUTH is a journey into greater awareness and that awareness is still unfolding. 

The second permutation of my understanding of God came as I became disillusioned by the lack of interest or response from my fellow humans even when I wielded the big stick of fearful afterlife threatening. I heard a prompt inside that said, instead of constantly trying to cast out the darkness of homo sapiens why not just speak light and life to people, which awakened a prophetic interest in encouragement and divine providence. I still thought people were fundamentally depraved but this permutation came with a new twist of hopefulness and an imaginative permission to speak to people about the gospel in new found light.

‘Heaven and Hell are states of consciousness’  - Pope John-Paul II

When I began to question the geographical plausibility of heaven and hell, of which I am still a little agnostic (unknown..to not fully know), it thrust me into the possibility of seeing everything I had believed differently. This is a huge subject and one that I am not at liberty to unpack in this blog, suffice to say you owe to yourself to question the rhetoric and anecdotal evidence that has dominated religious thinking over the Centuries. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions ….

This led me to my current permutation of God which is centred in a loving deity that has never really been angry or bitterly disappointed in humanity,  just deeply and profoundly committed to our wellbeing even when we are not walking the right path, behaving the right way or subscribing to correct doctrines. Light and darkness are not opposite realities at work in the human genome but complimentary energies that the divine works with to guide us. The light and darkness that resides within us is the chaos and order that reflects the genesis poem of beginnings, the working platform for the transcendence that articulates our emerging immanence.

This permutation says we are all children of God, and that God is committed to helping us live fully alive even when we reject the most basic moral constructs of decency. God seems to believe in us even more than we believe in ourselves, and that extends to any afterlife existence…in my opinion. Whatever permutation of God you find yourself in know that change and evolution will have their way in your life, just wait and see.

Selah

P.S. For those who would like to remind me of the Noah Story that mentions 'God regretted making humans'…can I suggest that there might be an alternative interpretation of the narrative that centres on how the flood story, that also features in many other ancient stories is overlaid by a primitive consciousness that saw the gods as angry with humans behaviour, and most natural disasters were seen as deliberate acts of divine retribution.  Our insurance policies still call them ‘acts of god’. We all know that floods are a feature of inclement weather conditions that cannot always be linked to supernatural causality.


story

‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’ - Joan Didion

Recently while at a story telling retreat we were asked the question. “If you right now were to tell the story of your life what would be the first sentence be”?

The narrative of our lives is a collection of memories drawn from experiences that have contributed to our present reality. Those recollections are a mixture of pain and pleasure, highlights and low-lights drawn from a broad spectrum of occasion that have all weaved their way into the sub-plot of our ongoing drama.

When we look back at how things have unfolded we all tend to reminisce the good old times and yet the truth be told a huge proportion of us suffer from regret and rue the day things happened the way they did. We ponder questions like, what would life had been like if I was born into a different family or if I lived in a different country, had chosen an alternative career path, met a certain someone..would any of that have taken me down a different path and made my existence more fulfilling?

Our Stories are at the mercy of providence, the transcendent author of destiny who smiles or grimaces on our journey depending on what she deems best for us. For the sensitive, anxious, and highly strung, trusting this muse is a daily conundrum, but for the overly pragmatic types amongst us it is a purely practical exercise in control and expediency. Learning to interpret our responses and reactions to providence will be our lifelong challenge.

‘We tell stories not as they are but as we are’

The way we see the world defines how we tell our stories. My perspective is my reality even if it skews the lines and reconstitutes the facts. The old adage, this is my story and I will tell it how I like is still as true today as it was when the first writers penned their view of history and the evolution of mankind.

Myth has always guided our thought processes, the creative imagineer inside that is constantly searching for the truth in all of her nuances. Myth exposes that which hides in our unfolding narrative, the emerging storyline that is helping us be honest about how we arrived at the place we now find ourselves in. Truth is not about clearly definable facts that are accurate and absolute, that end up shaping a universal code of conduct, but more so an awakening of meaning that appears or arrives to help us realise who we are in the bigger story of life….because myth is more than truth.

My story is just a small part of the grand narrative, a minuscule and seemingly insignificant consideration when compared to everything else, but even the extras in a drama have a role to play in order for the whole thing to make sense. Whether I fully understand or don’t understand my own personal significance the fact remains that I am here for a reason and that reason matters. When we watch a movie or read a book we are often drawn to the larger than life characters who dominate our imagination and consciousness, but in actual fact it is the support cast who hold things together and give the main players the permission to be true to themselves. The little voices have just as much to say as the big noters, so know your lines and stick to them or the story doesn’t get told in a way that benefits all concerned.

I am happy to be a small voice in greater cacophony of racket blaring all around me, a back-up cast member perhaps, or maybe even an extra or body double because it all is important. After all is said and done don't we all just want to feel included and valued for who we are.

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My life matters and my ‘happily ever after’ is more about learning to enjoy the moment than engineering a wonderfulI outcome.

So back to what the first sentence of my life story might be?

‘I was born on September 19 nine months after the holiday season festivities that underpinned my conception…Is that the real reason my parents ended up getting married?

Pause and ponder your opening story line because your life matters, regardless of how or why it started.

’Whakaaroaro’

heretic

The heretic is always better dead. And mortal eyes cannot distinguish the saint from the heretic. - George Bernard Shaw

Whenever we are confronted by the bias and prejudice of a system whether it be political, religious, scientific, or philosophical it reminds us that we can all fall prey to the limited scope of understanding that is available to any of us at any one time. Admitting to our limitations and choosing the path of humility is far better than labelling someone else as a heretic because they offer an alternative theory or train of thought to your default stance.

The etymology of the root word ‘heretic' is ‘able to choose’. The fact that we have all been given the freedom to choose does not put us at odds with the truth but merely suggests that ‘truth’ is a very subjective actuality that is rooted in the current experience of one’s reality. What I choose today may not be what I choose tomorrow.

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For instance, we are now being confronted by new research that suggests we need to be making better choices around what is deemed to be sustainable living, as our excessive lifestyles are having an affect on the environment, contributing to the phenomena called global warming. Some of us are still in denial about this due to the long held belief in a divine exit strategy that absolves us from all responsibility. I remember when I first went to church in the late 70’s I wasn told that you didn’t need to think about buying a home because the rapture would happen soon, so just get on and proselytise as ardently as possible so no one misses out on the return trip to heaven. Those of us who were subjected to this ridiculous rhetoric have hopefully come to realise that our choices in this life matter, and that the kingdom of heaven in engaged in all that we do here and now.

“All the heroes of tomorrow are the heretics of today.” - Yip Harburg

In religious circles we throw the word heretic out as a critique of certain peoples stances in order to protect ourselves from some kind of divine disfavour or judgement. This kind of vitriolic labelling is most often rooted in the fear of man more than the fear of God.

Recently a movie was made called ‘Heretic’ about author and speaker Rob Bell, which explored the journey of his spiritual maturation. The producer who was Rob’s friend used the word ‘heretic’ not so much as a critique of his ministry but rather to ironically point out that all new thinking and THE crafting of ideas is initially seen as a heretical lean. “HERETICS” are often responsible for the fresh revelation that appears on the scene to break us free from our limited or restrictive orthodoxy. Rob struck a nerve in the fundamentalist camp and became a new kind of hero to so many. Orthodoxy is not bad but it's not a fixed set either.

History is on the side of those who have challenged the status quo and thrown caution to the wind, often charting a new path forward.

Imagine if some of the great spiritual or scientific pioneers of history hadn't dared to confront the old paradigms of thinking, we might still believe that the earth is FLAT and the centre of the Universe, or worse still that men are meant to rule the world…LOL

“Heretics are the only [bitter] remedy against the entropy of human thought." ("Literature, Revolution, and Entropy")” - Yevgeny Zamyatin

When we let certainty be our absolute guiding principle the minds of humans begin to experience a type of entropy that strips us of our imagination and creativity. The ancient prophets would constantly cry out ‘fear not’ as a clarion call to the explorers and pioneers who would push the limits and challenge the status quo. Fearlessness is the courage to push the boundaries and try new things.

The heretic in me is fuelled by the God given right to choose a bigger way of being. Being true to this path is about following your heart and trusting that something greater than you is guiding your way. Some people will be nervous of your choice selection by labelling you as gullible, naive, or a romantic idealist, which are all potential pre-cursors for the heretic characterisation.

Remember, those who never face criticism never grow strong enough to hold true to the path of their emerging beliefs.






morality

Morality doesn’t mean ‘following divine commands’. It means reducing suffering. - Yuval Noah Harari

From the beginning of mankind's existence there has been in an intrinsic body of standards around manner, character or proper behaviour. Morality as a code of conduct has been derived from a particular philosophy, religion or culture.

The idea that morality is dictated by a sacred list of writings that has been handed down by a deity who has always been slightly disappointed in our behaviour, is a view that has very little faith in the fundamental goodness that hides in the human condition.

Regardless of our religious, philosophical or cultural predilections we have all been gifted with a conscience that is actively reminding us that we all have something to contribute that benefits the human race.

Ironically it is the big three of religion, philosophy and culture that end up contributing to the warping or searing of our conscience around the conduct that we justify as reasonable. My religious inclination towards the sanctity of life sometimes becomes compromised by the acceptable death quotient of a war or super-hero movie that pronounces the victory of the ‘good guys’ over the ‘bad guys’ based on a clever act of script writing and a not so subtle appeal to my one-eyed justice bias. We often justify our position by deciding who gets to live and die all the while becoming the judge, jury, and executioner on behalf of God.

The nature of morality - Adam Smith Institute

The nature of morality - Adam Smith Institute

Morality is a confusing cacophony of ethical dilemmas that rage against my internal processing and external rationalisations. As a young man immorality was often described solely as a sexual impropriety that ranged from looking at another human with lustful imaginings through to the more extreme cases of exploitation. At one level it was a reasonable explanation but at another it had no grace for the natural wiring of my evolving sexuality.

Maybe morality is more than a ‘legal requirement’ or ‘naughty list’ that we concoct from our prejudiced readings of the sacred writ, but rather a much more practical acknowledgement of our capacity to care for our fellow-man.

How do I reduce suffering in the world today? How do I allow empathy, compassion, kindness and generosity be the drivers in my life?

Rather than contribute to the ongoing cycle of destruction and suffering by burying my head the sand of terrible eschatological interpretations of the apocalyptic prophets, maybe I need to ask my conscience to help me find the goodness within and exploit its benefits for others.

I am of the opinion that humans are fundamentally good but can find themselves corrupted by the distraction of comparison and competition. We are capable of some very immoral behaviour if we give ourselves the excuse or freedom to conform to the lowest common denominator of dehumanisation.

Isn't that why Jesus and the ancient prophets declared ‘REPENT’? Stop thinking about yourselves in that way, change your mind about who you are and who can evolve to become, and a kingdom that is not of this world will begin to reshape and reorientate your life.

For those of us who subscribe to a religious tradition maybe it is time to obey the third commandment and stop taking the name of the Lord in vain, not so much the use of inappropriate verbal expletives, but rather using the name of God to justify our behaviours that inflict suffering on others, for example colonialism, slavery, misogyny, ethnic cleansing, and just war theory, to name just a few.

We are all a work in progress so it is important to at least try to be less judgemental and more tolerant with others for maybe that's what turning the other cheek really means? After all, morality is a slap in the face to the prevailing culture of entitlement and privilege.

‘If you want to teach the next generation morals tell them a story because every story has a moral’

The driving story behind your life is an unfolding narrative that has been underpinned and nurtured by an innate morality. If you don’t listen to your conscience and follow your heart you may never get to experience the possible ‘happily ever after’ that awaits you. Morality is a gift that slowly awakens us to a new reality, a new way of being, so lets make the world a better place for me and for you and the entire human race…







purpose

‘Nothing is more creative..nor destructive…than a brilliant mind with a purpose’ - Dan Brown, Inferno

One of the great existential questions that plagues the mind of all humanity is…. 'What is the reason for life and how am I to understand the very nature of my purpose’?

Who I am and what I do and how that contributes to the greater good is the ongoing quest of human consciousness, (maybe not so much a biggie when we were young and somewhat disconnected from the responsibility that catches up with us in our adult years) this deep intrinsic longing that slowly emerges to remind us that we not just a composition of the six primary elementals of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium and phosphorous that have been mindlessly thrown together by fate or an accidental act of evolution.

The mystical nature of purpose suggests that we are more than our chemical, intellectual, or emotional makeup, a mysterious concoction of body and spirit that the mystics extol as the GOD essence. At the core of our being we are first and foremost ‘awareness’, the will to live and be fully cognisant of our surroundings while seeking to participate in the space we find ourselves in.

Our sense of resolve or determination is fuelled by an unfolding script that appears in our imagination. Learning to read or interpret this script will be become our lifelong challenge.

More than ever we need ‘spiritual advisors’ who guide us to discern the voice of purpose within, the hum of reverence that is seeking to help us find our rhythm and role in life.

Discernment requires the vast experience of wisdom, judgement, percipience, understanding, and lived experience in order to uncover our purpose and navigate through the complex nature of learning to embrace our unfolding future.

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Finding your sense of purpose is not about discovering an absolute answer to why your life makes sense, but rather it is about learning to interpret the map that has been etched on your heart. This very ancient map is like a hidden treasure that slowly surfaces to reveal its bounty when the time is right, as if motivated by a transcendent agenda.

In the words of the Beatles…"Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour, Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour, it's hoping to take you away, it's hoping to take you away”.

Purpose is not a set path but a magical mystery tour that asks us to make the road while we travel on it, yet it can be a precarious path as it is so easily corrupted by the external indicators of comparison and competition. We often struggle with our lot in life when we weigh it against the so-called cultural markers that define health, well-being or even success. Social media has become a deadly disrupter of purpose, the new behavioural standard that defines us, a cloning influence that can sideline our true self by reducing our integrity to the lowest common denominator.

Purpose can be a blessing and a curse, a blessing because we experience moments of wonder and exaltation and a curse because we don’t always like the pathway that includes conundrum. Purpose is not the existential Santa whose knee we sit on to request the things we want. It is more like the proverbial Gandalf (LOTR) who shows up at your door asking for someone to share in an adventure all the while unable to guarantee any assurance of safe or certain outcome.

Purpose is a beautiful metaphor for describing God, the voice within, the intrinsic sound that is seeking to hook up with the collective extrinsic harmony, a reminder that we are not godlike alone but only truely godlike in the company of otherness. When we bump into the purpose that hides in another we somehow realise our common union and our common affiliation, enabling barriers to come down, at home in our own bodies, realising the significance and importance our life brings to the greater whole .

‘Its is in the shelter of each other that the people live’ - Padraig O Tuama

Purpose reminds me that I am significant and enough, a lesson I am still trying to learn. So thank-you to all the spiritual advisors out there who are helping me to be comfortable in my own skin.

“There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it's enough.”

― Fr. Richard Rohr

Over the last few years I have been developing my skills as a professional Spiritual Advisor in order to help people discern the voice of purpose within. With our evolving culture advancing at a ferocious rate of knots we run the risk of feeling irrelevant and lost in translation. If you would like to talk email me on gregburson@me.com.


listen

“Edward knew what it was like to say over and over again the names of those you had left behind. He knew what it was like to miss someone. And so he listened. And in his listening, his heart opened wide and then wider still.” ― Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The art of listening is not so much about the hearing of information or the interpretation of actual words but rather a more subtle and powerful act of transmission that is enlarging something on the inside of us. The heart is our sacred internal ear that processes everything we receive in order to manage our health and evolution. The ancient mystics challenged us to guard, or care for our hearts for this is where true life comes from.

‘If you listen every shell hides the sound of the ocean in its soul’

‘If you listen every shell hides the sound of the ocean in its soul’

While words communicate a clearly definable specificity they are simply the initial indicator of a hidden agenda that the essence of sound is trying to impart. Even if we are deaf and impervious to a physical hearing of sorts our hearts can pick up sub-atomic vibrations that resonate in the universe.

Listening is about connecting to all things, a union with everything that resonates with sonic pulsation and vibrato, a universal orchestra of eternal harmony.

Learning to listen is a life-long challenge, one that will demand increasing levels of concentration and surrender if we are to become astute at discerning the nature of our development.

Some of the ways that have helped me on my journey of attentiveness is a willingness to waste-time with the world I live in and attend to its voice of intimacy. I am somehow caught up in the entanglement of its ideological plan like the proverbial fly stuck in the spiders web waiting for the inevitable. The incoming spider is a metaphor for the all-consuming and devouring nature of togetherness….not to mention the personal sacrifice that I must endure, the laying down of my control and preferred outcomes in order to submit to a far bigger purpose for my life.

Our fellow humans often become a dominant contributor to the formation of our thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. And while we will always have the wonderful privilege of this human interaction it will take a bit of time to sift through all the opinions and contradictory voices in order to develop a conscience of our own. The early stages of listening will require a degree of naivety and gullible acceptance which is how truth finds a pathway into our consciousness. We all must believe in ancient myths and fables if we are grow to maturity as myth, which is greater than truth, takes us on journey that opens our lives to the wonder of the unknown and mysterious'. Listening starts as a auditory cue but quickly moves to a deep and meaningful exchange of quantum transmission.

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ― Ernest Hemingway

The old adage 'we hear what we want to hear’ is not just because we lack concentration skills or we are deliberately ignoring the voices around us but it has to do with the bias filters that interrupt the incoming data in order to sustain our primordial need for preferential importance. I must own my prejudice and partiality if I am to be true to my need for growth and maturation.

When I pause momentarily to attend to the subtle sounds that grace my life I am allowing the element of surprise to enlarge my heart and in turn enlarge my world.

‘To those who listen the whole world will be a sounding board'

omens

Omen. noun. an event regarded as a portent of good or evil; something of prophetic significance

‘Don’t forget the language of the omens. And, above all, don’t forget to follow your personal legend’ -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

There is an inquisitive interest that is intrinsic to the human condition, the desire to know and be aware of hidden mysteries and concealed matters. We all long for magical outcomes that our idealistic imagining and romantic fantasising seem to conjure up with endless ease.


Omens are a metaphor for signs, markers, portents and supernatural indicators that contribute to the outworking of our immanent reality. Those who wish to be skilled in the art of discerning the omens must become familiarised with the cosmic journey that has been ordained for us from the beginning of time, the belief that all of life is eternal and that eternity is continually enlightening our pathway. This is what sits at the heart of our supernatural maturation. Some of the great omens that have guided me through life have been the ubiquitous opposites of light and dark, good and evil, love and hate, peace and war, health and sickness, good times and bad, all somehow colluding together for my betterment.

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“We are travellers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The distinguishing factors that contribute to our pilgrimage can be found in the dreams that fuel our every day passions and pursuits. What am I dreaming of? Will it come true? Or is it a pipe-dream that is inflated by the false expectations that are exacerbated by my ever present discontent? An ancient poet once said that dreams are the currency of heaven, the sub-conscious influence of the gods that annoy us continually in order that we might lean in and act on their preposterous possibility.

Locating your dream is about giving yourself permission to trust your desires, lean into your longings, follow your bliss, letting others affirm and encourage your self worth, and and have faith in the divine hope that breaks in to your everyday experience with random coincidences and serendipitous occurrences. Your dream becomes the treasure at the end of the proverbial rainbow, the sign of grace that locates life in the purposes of God.

Significant moments have occurred in my life when I have given myself permission to see everything as a sign or omen, something that is pointing me toward my dream, key indicators that empower me to trust the muse of my destiny. And while this sounds a little naive and ridiculous I have beens surprised by the providential nature of how all of life is somehow connected. Omens can be both good and evil, attractive and distractive entities that keep me honest about my progress. My path can often take me through the valley of the shadow of death before I am actually reminded that goodness and love were following me all along the way. When it is dark outside in the big bad world we very rarely realise just how much light is actually present with us.

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

This blog is dedicated to a recent re-read of Paulo Coehlo’s book ‘The Alchemist’ that I would thoroughly recommend to those who need to be encouraged again to keep pursuing their ‘Personal Legend’ regardless of the obstacles life throws at you.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist