Two stories came to mind today, both involving rocks and sand, that reminded me of interesting lessons. You may have heard the first, but I’d like to recount it here:
“A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2” diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed
He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed that yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.
The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.
Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing.
There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”
Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.”
Another way I thought of looking at this today is to consider the ROCKS as truth principles / the reality of life or laws of the universe whereas the rest is just the appearances of things. If you are familiar with the biblical parable of building a house on the rock vs on the sand, then you probably know the moral of the story is to build your house on a strong foundation so it can withstand storms.
In life, the storms can be external circumstances and building your house on a strong foundation is equivalent to building your life on inspired action and truth principles beyond mere appearances. Making the inspired action or guidance the priority is how to apply the moral of the first story.
Building your house on sand is like building your life based on your own rational understanding, your limited sensory perception and your limited experience. When trouble comes, you are easily shaken, frustrated and confused.
Build on the rocks, my friend, and the sand will follow.
Image by Today is a good day via Flickr
Its a great day to be a State of Man fan becuase the full length album “In This Place” for State of Man is available today through iTunes, Amazon and more, ahead of the physical release this Summer!
Please take a minute to have a listenthrough iTunes or Amazon and be one of the first to get a copy! Your support is greatly appreciated.
PS~ feel free to share this post with a friend you think may enjoy the message and music of State of Man!
If you have a business, this is for you. One of my all-time favorite internet/marketing/thought pioneers, #1 best-selling author Mark Joyner – the man people like Dearl Miller call “the greatest marketing mind of our generation” has just released his new book, but it’s not yet available at your local bookstore.
Instead, he’s letting you download it now for free.
If you want to learn how to grow your business, this is an absolute must-read.
And the Integration Marketing Deal Board you’ll find there, used properly, could turn out to be one of the most powerful marketing resources on the net.
The Sacred Yes: Letters From The Infinite
If you enjoyed my blog entry on The Sacred Yes from when I’d first started reading the book, then you’ll hopefully enjoy this one even more now that I’ve completed the book:
The Sacred Yes: Letters From The Infinite (volume 1) , as revealed Rev. Deborah L. Johnson offers a profoundly insightful perspective on God/Spirit/Source through letters received direct from the Source (similar to Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations With God). I thank JJ Jones for blessing me and the other students in my Transform Your Life class with a gift copy. I was pleased to learn that Rev. Deborah Johnson is not only a friend of Hillside in Atlanta, GA and founder of Omnifaith Inner Light Ministries (a growing spiritual community in northern California), but she is also mentored by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of Hillsides’ sister community Agape International Truth Center. After reading the preface, where Rev. Johnson explains the process that lead her to receiving these letters (including an interesting “peak” experience), I was intrigued to read on and discover that reading these letters can assist you in your alignment with Source and help expand your understanding of Limitless Love. As the first letter explains, “these letters are tools for living.”
Each letter contained in the book is organized as a chapter, with 54 chapters (totaling 386 pages) grouped into the following 5 sections: 1. Back To The Basics 2. Feel, Deal and Heal, 3. Practicing the Principles, 4. Only One of Us Here, 5. Systems That Support.
The five section are organized to offer lessons that can be experienced as a “spiral” and unfolding “concentric circles, moving from the most personal and intimate applications to the more global and universal.” The sections begin covering the center circle of “Universal Spiritual Principles” (what life is about) moving on to “Your Spiritual Self” (who and who’s you truly are), “Daily Personal Practice” (how to grow in your alignment with God/Spirit/Source), “Application in Community” (how to better live in harmony with others), and “Institutional Integration” (God/Spirit/Source and you as related to marriage, religion, church and other institutions). But beyond the layout of the book, the real magic is in the reading, meditating and embodying of the material within. You may enjoy reading a chapter or more each day as part of your morning practice as I did, or you may enjoy reading it in some other fashion since the letters themselves explain there is no need to read the book sequentially. She also explains that like all truth, the chapters can be revisited for expanded understanding.
The first section explains that Spirit/Source/God speaks to our heart and that the sacred Yes is a spiritual yes to that internal whisper – one we often ignore. But it goes on to explain that just like the author, we all have the power to hear God/Spirit/Source if willing:
“When I tell you that your real focus is an internal focus, that there is a whisper that comes from me, you begin to realize and really understand that the drama, the trauma, is truly optional. You can simply choose to hear my voice. Understand that what you perceive as an inherent inability to hear me is most often just unwillingness.” (p25)
“When you say Yes, my children, say Yes to me, say Yes to us, say Yes to our Oneness. If Only you would start from this point. When you say Yes there does not have to be a particular something that you are agreeing with. The agreement when you say Yes is to our Oneness. That’s what you are saying yes to – Yes to our Oneness… Yes is your understanding that despite all appearances, despite all the facts and seeming circumstances, I am alive and well and working in all of them and have a way of transforming all of them into something that is for the benefit of all…. When everything is within the Yes, everything transmutes, transcends, transforms, redeems itself back to my perfect pattern…. This is the Yes that whispers in your soul.” (p27)
Among other topics, Chapter III explains the relationship between the ego and the spiritual self along with the best and highest use of spiritual power:
“When you are in alignment, your ego is the servant of your Spirit, not the other way around. Too many of you attempt to use your spiritual power for the benefit and gain of your ego-driven aspirations. Your affirmations are for the purpose of creating more comfort, safety, security and success for your persona. This is allowable, since the Universe cooperates with anything you think into it.
However, this is not the highest and best use of your spiritual powers. Most of you do not understand that your spiritual powers are part of your very spiritual nature. They are not skills that you must develop; they are innate attributes that you must unleash and express. The fruits of well-being and success are not the rewards for living a spiritually driven life; they are the by products. Understand what I just said. Easy access to your spiritual power is not a reward that is doled out to you as compensation for following spiritual orders… Your spiritual powers are the natural by-product of your living the life of the Spirit” (p29-30)
A great explanation of how to take action that helps us live the life of the Spirit can be found in Chapter IV, entitled “Prayer Moves You Toward Me.” The chapter explains how prayer assists in alignment with God/Source/Spirit as such:
“What do I mean when I say that you must align with me? Prayer, as you are coming to understand, is a movement in consciousness. What is it that is moving? Not me, but you. It is your consciousness that is moving. This is the action. When the action that is your movement comes into alignment with the action I already have in mind, then it appears as though your prayers have been answered. Who’s really answering whose prayers? When your prayers appear to be answered, it is not because I have come to your understanding but because you have come to mine. It is you who have changed your mind, not me. You do not need to beg, beseech, plead, bargain, negotiate, argue with, or curse me. All of this is unnecessary. It is part of the syndrome that I just mentioned of your needing to do something.When you have run out of things to do yourself, then you turn to me and complain about how I am doing things. The complaining at least lets you feel like you’re engaged in activity. … If there is anything to be influenced, influence yourself. If you spent as much time trying to convince yourself that you are deserving as you do me, then your Good would reveal a lot faster.” (p 34-35)
And how true the following description rings of the necessity of challenge in our lives to bring the change we say we desire:
“Your human ego self desires to be right and to be validated. Therefore, it typically seeks out the data that support the conclusions it has already drawn. You human beings do not like to be challenged about our perceptions of things. However, without such a challenge you will never go beyond the limitations, restrictions, and restraints of the extremely finite information that you are basing your opinions , feelings and perceptions upon… Notice what I said- that the challenge is a necessity. It must happen. Why it is necessary should, to some extent, be self-evident, even within the realm of your own logical thought processes. … You say you want to love and you want to experience more love and forgive more.. you say a lot of these things. The question is, however, do you mean any of them? In order for you to experience healing, transformation, love, forgiveness, and the release that you so desire, you must tend to your own minds, your own consciousness. You are waiting for me to deliver you. However, it is you who must deliver yourselves.” (p53)
Chapter IV explains the purpose of “Committing to the Long Haul”, committing to showing up and being present daily in a way that shows Source yearns to commune with us, as us, in and around us:
“You perceive your commitments as burdens. However, what is the purpose of committing? It is not to place a yoke around your neck. Its purpose is developing the discipline of showing up every day. The emphasis needs to be on the daily showing up. In committing to the future, too many of you are forgetting to be present in the moment. This is especially true of your commitments to marriage and child rearing. There is always tomorrow in your mind… Immediate and urgent have ceased to be equated with each other… You treat me the same way, especially those who are on so-called spiritual paths. Because I am always around, you take my love for granted, You go into a ‘maintenance mode.’ You do just enough to insure that we will have a connection that can be worked upon tomorrow, and then you hold me responsible for the lack of depth of our relationship. You accuse me of not being available to you. Yet the question is- when did you make yourself fully available to me? Quality relationships are not sustained by fulfilling tasks for one another. Feeding and clothing your child will not make you close to each other. Paying the bills and coming home every night will not nurture a marriage. No, you must give something of yourself. You must stop being so busy with each other and just be with each other. Your relationship with me cannot be based solely on tasks, on what you do for me and on what you want me to do for you. You must commune with me, be with me, just for the sake of my company.” (p198-199)
The chapter entitled “Born of the spirit from above” not only makes it clear that religion and institutions are temporal, and that just like individuals, institutions must heal and transform (p340) The letter goes on to explain the difference between being born again and peak moments of awareness:
“Before we leave this matter, I wish to clarify a little further the difficulties in being so attached to this notion of being born again and looking at it from your human context. Once again, spiritual birth is not occurring at a single moment in time. Too many of you are using, as in indicator of individuals being born in the Spirit, their participation in a certain type of revelation experience in which there is the peak moment of awareness of their Oneness with me, which you refer to as being born again. .. .You seek to facilitate this peak awareness experience in others, with the belief that once they have received it , they have then arrived some place spiritually. However, most often what is happening at that peak moment of awareness is better likened to a spiritual conception than to a birth. By this I mean that at that moment there is a bit of merging between their spiritual awareness and their humanity, which were not living together in an integrated state of harmony up to that point in time. The point of human conception is when the two sets of chromosomes come together to make whole. This is the same as what happens in this moment. … However birthing spiritually, just like birthing physically, takes a little while longer to come… in spirit there is timelessness; the birthing may take place within the next five minutes or the next five years. .. You do not allow enough room for people to spiritually gestate when you are pressuring them to be born again; it is simply this instantaneous from here there, without compassion for the depth of the transformation and healing of consciousness that must take place. In your zeal and your zest to lead the to the church, you are not taking the time to lead them back to themselves in me.” (p 340-341)
And more on what those who are on their spiritual path can do for others:
“I don’t need you bullying people to get them to see me, discover me, find me, have a relationship with me. If you are to do anything with the people, uplift them, make them feel good to be alive. .. Let them know that I am equally available to them and that there is nothing that they could have possibly done, are doing now, or could possibly do in the future that could sever their relationship from me and cause alienation in perpetuity. This is simply an impossibility.” (p348)
One of my favorite sections, entitled “I am always begetting my only begotten”, explains Jesus, Christ and how to live the Christ Consciousness, using a very familiar scripture:
“As I said in an earlier message to you, my dear Reverend Daughter, there is often confusion between Jesus as a person, as a living, breathing representation of Christ Consciousness, and the concept of Christ itself. When he is referenced in what you know as John 3:16, the one being referenced is Christ, not merely Jesus, a man. This Christ Consciousness is the only thing that I can beget. I have not begotten just one individual on the face of the3 earth. I can never do anything that small, that minute, that particular. What I have available for one is by definition available to all, because that is my Spiritual nature. The only thing that can begotten of me is this Christ awareness.. I love the world. I love it because it is of me, it is of my creation. And i have loved it so much that I have, in fact, infused the entire world with my Consciousness. And the moment that any of you understand that you are One with me, you then live this Christ Consciousness.” (p352-353)
And a later chapter explains what salvation we are called to seek and how we may experience it:
“I don’t really care that much whether individuals accept Jesus, as a man in God/flesh form, as their “personal Savior.” There is nothing to be saved from, except your ignorance. Understanding that you share the same innate spiritual characterization as this one that we call Jesus is your salvation. Do you hear what I just said? The salvation (as you would say) is not about this person coming and wiping anything away; it is about his coming and opening up a way thats big enough, inclusive enough, clear an direct enough, for everyone to have their own personal experience of sonship and daughtership with me.”
Powerful. As I hope you can tell from the excerpts above, the letters in The Sacred Yes resonate with truth on so many levels and can benefit anyone who reads them, anyone who use the words as tools to help align with Source/God/Spirit from moment to moment.
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