Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
This morning I walked up on Green Ridge, the hill in back of Sunrise Ranch, where I live. It was a misty morning. A coyote was on the path in front of me. He loped off, looking back as he went. A flock of bluebirds fluttered about the field. As I walked past the reservoir, a stream of cyclists approached, and I had this thought: Quiet! The dreams of God are being born here.
County Road 29, which goes through Sunrise Ranch, has been developed over the years from a dead-end dirt road to chip seal, to a through road paved with asphalt. With the development have come more cars, more bicycles, and on summer weekends, fleets of loud Harley-Davidsons. I know that this wasn’t what was in the minds of those who started this spiritual community in 1945. Of course, there are similar stories in communities around the world.
As the cyclists pedaled by, several wished good morning, and I like to think that my meditative thought welcomed them and invited them to be part of what is happening at Sunrise Ranch. They weren’t exactly quiet, but I didn’t really mean to say that there should be no sound in this valley where I live. I mean that the usual mechanistic rattle of metal, and the bombastic talk and frenetic thought that pervades the human world, have to be left behind if a person is to participate in the magic of creation. There has to be a clear, calm flow of thought and feeling for the dreams of God to manifest in a person’s experience.
This is a precious valley. It is special to me, mostly because this is where I live. It is not exclusively precious and special.
Here in this valley, the dreams of God are being born because, for us who live here, there is a quality of thought and feeling in which those dreams are received. That’s necessary for anyone, wherever they live, if the dreams of God are going to be born in their experience. Don’t you find, as I do, that the world looks oh, so different, depending on the quality of thought and feeling—your own, and the thought and feeling that you share with other people? Receiving the magic that comes from within hinges on this.
One of my favorite poems touches on this experience.
Busy thought and troubled feeling
Trespass not in virtue’s wise serenity
Where firm control and awful power
Here earth’s pains are healed
And cruel chaos of mind’s spawning
Is called again to order and to beauty
(From “Thus It Is,” by Martin Exeter)
There is healing in this valley, and anywhere that people live when there is a shift in thought and feeling; when thought and feeling flow together in concert to welcome the power, the blessing and the wisdom of what flows from the realm of potential within all of creation.
There is healing, first of all, of the spirit of men and women. And who could say that there doesn’t need to be such a healing? When men and women enter into a still place in consciousness that welcomes the dreams of God, spiritual healing occurs. These words from my poem “She Came That Morning” speak to that experience:
There was no hurt so deep,
no injustice so great,
that it could not be healed in the cradle of their love.
The archetypal story of Adam and Eve is a story of a spiritual wounding between men and women. That wounding is named simply as “enmity.” Shame plays a central role in the story of that wounding—shame of being naked, and shame of having lost relationship with the spirit within.
There are many religious interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve. There is much that is read into the story that isn’t there. There is no apple mentioned, the word sin is not used, and there is no indication that human sexuality was the cause for the wounding.
Understood at the most primal level, isn’t this story saying that when men and women fall out of creative relationship with the spirit within them, they fall out of creative relationship with each other? If this is so, the healing men and women have to do together transpires when they share an experience of being together in a place that welcomes the dreams of the spirit within.
I can picture Adam and Eve sharing together that there is no hurt so deep, no injustice so great, that it could not be healed in the cradle of their love. That is the experience I want to share with the women in my life. However we understand the cause of the spiritual wound between men and women, I am more interested in the healing of it. We do have this wondrous power of healing between us when we know how to access it, in stillness such as on my morning’s walk.
When we do that work of spiritual healing, the dreams of God are born in the place in which we live.
People expect God to appear according to their mental ideas, and so they become disappointed or disillusioned when he doesn’t. Jesus will appear on a cloud, or a so-called miracle will occur. Is that really how spiritual things come? Is that really how the important things in your life come? Not in my experience. They come because there’s a shift and a change in the heart, in the feeling realm, so that there is a clear, calm flow, through which the things of God may truly appear. And with that there can be a healing of the spirit. When that happens, then we become mentally aware of it. But the really significant things that change human experience have to come through the heart or they do not come at all.
I cherish the quiet place in which the dreams of God may be born.
“Thus It Is”. I like the phrase, ‘virtue’s wise serenity’. I live in a tangle of busy thoughts and often troubled feelings…’unconquerable life prevails’.
I think we are under the illusion that in order to be quiet and generate a profound experience, the world about us must be quiet and peaceful, first. We seek solitude. I attended a brass band concert last night. How fabulous; all that sound and energy being expressed! And yet, in the midst of it I was still and listening and enjoying the wonder of all the instrumentalists – all those billions of notes tumbling forth amid complex rhythmic configurations. In my field of service, I want to orchestrate and conduct; I want to enable a tumbling of notes and colours; to activate.