In Search of Spirit
How to Know God
As a child, my obstacles were many. Now I see those obstacles as blessings; seeds of opportunity for me to better understand myself. As a result of those obstacles I experienced numerous faiths and religions. I was so curious about religion and other peoples’ faiths in my quest for the
“Truth of God”
that my search led me to Pentecostal Revivals, African-American Baptist gatherings, Wicca and Indian dance ceremonies, and other religious philosophies. Although I observed many “spirit-filled” beings as I looked in houses of worship for the divine,
I did not then realize that God is an “inside job,”
existing within and throughout all of Life.
Similar to many children growing up in America in the sixties, I occasionally attended Sunday school. I found the parables entertaining and intriguing. I had no idea that my presence in church was intended to be a soul nurturing experience.
During the spring and summer of 1973 I went to live with my father. It was a bittersweet occasion as I rarely saw him, and now he was dying from lung cancer.
He had been raised a catholic and had attended parochial school. Although we never discussed spirituality or religion, he had on occasion, referred to Jesus as “JC” and God as the “man upstairs.”
In the early days of the band, Baka Beyond consisted of English musicians trying to re-create the sound recorded with the Baka people and integrate it into their music. Joined by Breton fiddler Paddy Le Mercier, Cradick and Hart recorded two albums with musicians from the Baka tribe: Spirit of the Forest, released in 1994; and The Meeting Pool, released in October 1995.
As a seaman, my father spent a good portion of his short life in the orient and brought back many items of that culture. On his fireplace hearth,
he displayed a 2 ft. statue of the Buddha.
At fifteen I was curious as to why he would have a non-Christian deity in his living room, yet I never asked him. Since that fateful summer in ‘73, I have wondered, “Why didn’t I have meaningful conversations with my father?” I remember discussion topics while traveling each summer, but they were focused mainly around the importance of good hygiene and education
My Father was Intense and Wounded
My father was an intense man: emotionally guarded (although he did at times show affection) and very opinionated. He was aloof and rarely revealed his thoughts, unless he was in an angry or judgmental mood. I can only assume that his stern demeanor frightened me and crippled any chance I had of cultivating a close relationship with him, thereby spoiling any chance of getting a glimpse of his spiritual or philosophical beliefs. I have since forgiven my father, for his childhood (during the Great Depression) was brutal. Like many folks of that era, he was wounded and frightened of the future. He did not know he had a choice; he could have created a better life for himself just by changing his thoughts.
Before my father died, he asked my sister and I to study Catholicism. I wonder if he saw us as Godless heathens or just wanted us to have the knowledge of this faith so we could make our own decisions. That spring and summer I spent many hours determined to memorize all the verses while studying the Catholic doctrine. Our tutor, Father Aidan, reminded me of the Franciscan mission monks I had studied in the California school system: rotund with brown robe and sash. His brown eyes twinkled and patiently he would smile as I asked him countless questions. With love in his eyes (as if from God) he would often reply,
“It is one of the mysteries my child.”
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My “Catholic experience” piqued my curiosity concerning spirituality and unbeknown to me, I began my quest for God. It took me many years to realize that God exists within every creation, and I need not look any further than my own heart. That revelation was a pivotal moment in my spiritual evolution, as my pursuit for God became my (unconscious) mission to find God within my Self.
For almost two decades, my life proceeded at a mediocre tempo. While I was consciously working to improve my life, nothing substantial happened right away. It wasn’t until I began to have physical pain in my mid 30’s
(God speaks to us in myriad forms!)
that I stopped to take a serious look at my life. Subsequently, and without conscious realization, I began looking inward for peace instead of outside myself. I began a daily meditation practice and asked God for help. Every day I made a concerted effort to connect with my source of strength and wisdom. I soon began to reap the rewards of living a mindful and faithful life. Amazing things began to happen…
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My life had new purpose, and every day I endeavored to connect with those I met and to somehow understand why I was there and how I could enhance the lives of all around me.
Looking back on those days it seems incredible to me now. At the time I was striving to live day to day, moment to moment. I was too busy with my job, children and my own personal work to see how truly amazing the unfolding events were.
Miraculously, I received books and tapes I hadn’t ordered, met new people, and opportunities presented themselves with little or no effort.
At the time I was working at a group home for the developmentally delayed. My life opened up in ways that I could have never imagined. I learned unconditional love from folks that could scarcely communicate. These were beautiful people. They were authentic and most were not aware they possessed an ego. They did not carry emotional baggage, full of pretense.
They were thankful for the little things. At times they would reach out to me for help and comfort. Some were autistic, others had Down's Syndrome, or Cerebral Palsy, seldom had I met anyone more loving and accepting.
The world I had once known suddenly became richer and held more meaning. My life had new purpose, and every day I endeavored to connect with those I met and to somehow understand why I was there and how I could enhance the lives of all around me. I gave in-service lectures to my co-workers about natural health and the healing effects of nature and during that time my interest in creative arts piqued also.
One day, I brought my botanical crafts to work and offered to share my
creative talents with my friends and co-workers. A co-worker encouraged me to share my talents through local community education classes. Despite being a bit apprehensive, I listened to God. I found that teaching was my passion and reward for living from my spirit in communion with God. Each personal experience with others brought me closer to the answers I had been seeking; the answers to my Self,
“Who am I?" and “Why am I here?”
I believe it is the question we are all asking, whether we know it consciously or not. When you dedicate yourself to your quest and follow your heart, you too, will experience miracles. The right people will show up in your life; you will experience joy and the pleasure of contributing to the world.
I believe God gives us messages all the time. Open your eyes and your heart, and you will see God-given insights. As spiritual beings, we’re all on a spiritual journey. We are experiencing and learning what we need at every given moment. That’s why it is important to train yourself to see the blessings in everything. Obstacles are seeds of opportunity.
Techniques for Connecting with Your Higher Power/God
Begin a daily meditation practice. Become silent. It is with a silent mind that you will hear the voice of God speaking to you. Whenever you feel sad or frustrated, take time to become quiet. Breathe deep and listen without fearful thoughts. Quiet your mind with one thought or one word such as Love. Or ask, “How may I serve?” In time you will practice the art of “living from the spirit” without much conscious effort.
Meditation takes practice to master, yet it is not difficult if you apply yourself and make it a twice-daily habit, or whenever you need to become centered/balanced. When you have a specific prayer such as a new love, or home, etc., ask ONLY for what you want, NOT for what you do not want. Be specific. Remember, God answers all prayers. Ask only once. Believe you will receive it, and feel gratitude for it coming to you. Feel as if you already possess what you desire. Act only in the present moment. (The past and future do not exist.)
Ask God/your Higher Power how you may serve others. By serving and loving others you will serve and love yourself. This is essential to inner peace. Whatever the message you receive, trust it. You will feel or get the answer from your intuition. If it “feels” good, then do it. This is God speaking. Remember to ask only for what you WANT. Most importantly, have faith that you will receive it.
In the morning as you awaken, feel gratitude for everything in your life. Put your attention on what it is you would like to manifest. Feel the “feelings/emotions” of having it right now. Remember the past and future do not exist. There is only the present moment. God/Universe knows only Now. Phrase your prayers in the present tense only. Prayers in the future, stay in the future, out of your reach.
Throughout your day you can calm yourself and create a peaceful state of mind and body by using this technique:
Close your eyes. Breathe deep and say, “Thank you God,
for all that I have and all that I am.” Go through your list of all that you love and are grateful for, thanking God as you do so.
Commune Daily With Nature
Plants and animals have magical qualities that can inspire us to look at further definitions of ourselves. Nature can calm and nurture. We are all connected to every living thing since we are all a part of God. Nature provides energy and sustenance, which can revitalize our spirit. It can help us reconnect with the Source that is within each and every one of us.
In the evening put your thoughts and energy into an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for all that you havereceived today. Thank God for all that you have and all that you are. Discover guided meditation CD's. The meditation CD’s below may be helpful to you. Find the one that resonates with you.
Things to Remember:
Ask/pray for what you want. Ask only once. Believe you will receive it and feel gratitude for having received it. Feel the love and gratitude as if your wish was in front of your eyes.
Negative thoughts, not your past, prevent you from having the life you desire. Mental thoughts are like seeds. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
“Your greatest treasure is within.”
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