Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
I’ve been pondering many things in the last couple of days about the outpouring of Holy Spirit through the human experience. Holy Spirit is the expression of the sacred through the human experience. When that is our experience, our expression, it provides the possibility of it awakening in others as they touch it in us and recognize it in themselves.
It is spring here in Colorado and flowers are blooming everywhere, even though we’re still wearing our shawls and jackets. As I go for my morning walk, spring provides a reminder constantly of life blooming. The flowering trees are bursting forth without hesitation, bringing an unabashed expression of life. I’ve never seen a daffodil having a bad day. If you look at the life of a flower in bloom, it doesn’t vacillate between radiance and nonradiance. It doesn’t think to itself, “Well, today maybe not so much. Maybe I will just save it for when I’m feeling like it, when circumstances are right.”
So what’s up with that? Why doesn’t nature have the option of having a bad day? And why is it that people decide they have the right to? People have something the flowers don’t—free will—and it often gets us into trouble.
Earlier in my life, I had a passionate desire to see a fairy. I was living at Stove Prairie, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. As you probably know, most of Colorado is a semi-arid environment. But the back of my property was in the woods, and there was a section of it that was always wet. There was a running stream, there were always ferns, and the trees were covered with moss, something you don’t see much in Colorado. I was convinced that there were sprites or fairies back there, and I would be looking for them. I knew people who said they saw them, and I even got books about them to see if there was advice on how to get them to show themselves.
I have come to understand that I had a longing to have something proven to me. I wanted a confirmation in form that my perception of wonder was accurate, that my sense that this world is a magical place was true—as if my experience of wonder wasn’t enough.
Someone said to me, “The only reason people see fairies, or have a need to see them, is to be reminded. You haven’t needed a reminder about the wonder of life for years.” And while that was a kind thing to say, nature does provide huge reminders about the wonder of life. We see the cycles of creation and the unabashed majesty coming through all the plants and animals around us. They don’t have an opinion about what the world around them is doing today—except for the fact that if you look in my yard, for example, there is evidence of the lack of snow this year. My tulips are nowhere near as glorious as they were last year, and I know it’s related to the snow. But it’s not related to how they’re feeling.
So my invitation is to see something sacred, to see something holy through the human experience as a choice, because we can decide that the environment that we’re living in, the people we’re exchanging experiences with, determine what we think and say and do. But that is a choice too.
The royal wedding last week was fascinating. They estimate that two billion people watched it, which is almost a quarter of the world population. As I watched all the interviews, I thought, “It’s a fairytale romance. It’s a dream come true, to meet your prince.” But there aren’t too many princes in the world, in case you didn’t notice, so all those women in the world longing to meet their prince don’t have a great shot at it. I find the irrational, inconceivable, inconsolable projection that that’s the only way a woman knows a wonderful life very, very sad. Now, William and Catherine, who just got married, are probably lovely people. But the obsession with thinking that there is a more glorious experience than your own life is the part that makes me sad.
So I’m inviting us into the possibility that Holy Spirit, blessing, joy unspeakable, radical surrender, the majesty of nature, could pour through us constantly because we are designed to be the vehicle to do it. We don’t have to be marrying a prince to let it happen; we don’t have to be on summer vacation to let it happen—only eighteen more days of school in Colorado; kids are already counting. We have this incredible capacity to be thinking, emotional beings, and oftentimes what we feel tells us we can’t be happy because we feel something deeply and we decide that feeling is more important than we are. Who does this human capacity belong to? I’ve handed over the keys to this house of being to a feeling way too often. Somebody hurt my feelings and I gave away the house keys.
Deep feelings come into everyone’s capacity, not to take over the house but to be purified—to be used and to let the power of them serve the house, and serve the lord of the house. We all have those feelings. We all have the opportunity to say, “I know who they serve.”
Usually around this time of year, when we are celebrating Easter, I quote from the story when Mary was in the garden and the tomb was opened. She was looking for her Master and saying, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:13) Jesus speaks her name, “Mary,” and she immediately knows who it is.
This story reminds us how the Holy Spirit within is calling to us all the time. That calling is like the sounding of our name. It reminds us of who we are, why we are here, and why we are together with other people. When you radically surrender to that spirit, you have no choice but to let it overflow, because that which is filling your heart is what is speaking out of the abundance of your heart.
We have a choice to bring our birthright, our radiance without ceasing. The world is ever more beautiful when human beings are even more radiant than the natural world that surrounds them. Let us chose to be consciously radiant.