"If you knew the gift of God, you would ask of Him, and He would give you living waters." John 4:1

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INSPIRATION IS LIKE BREATHING IN LOVE

Fragrance of Spirit

Breathe deep, breathe free.

Here are some metaphysical musings on breathing, which is so much in the news these days with COVID-19 and local pollen and allergies on people’s minds.

In a general sense, breathing represents the rhythm of receiving and giving. It represents the presence of taking in, giving out, exhaling, inhaling. Breathing has both a practical and a metaphorical place in our experience. Practically, we want sound, capacious lungs and deep breaths. Metaphorically, we need both the giving and receiving of love, goodness, and inspiration. 

Love has always been an inspirer. It is the motive for great daring, high art, grand sacrifice, noble accomplishments. Love draws Spirit into our life. Spirit is the same word as wind, breath, and inspiration in the Greek and Hebrew languages. The inspired word of the Bible—the word breathed in, straight from divine Love— is more than just the meanings of words. It is the Word felt and understood. This Word makes us sufficient in our daily life. It guides us into eternal Life. 

Life at its best is infused with the spirit of Love. This spirit animates, brings joy and energy, and empowers us to think and speak and act with freedom and enthusiasm. The Holy Spirit causes us to assimilate God’s warm intention for creation and make it our own. Spirit pours out love and inspiration through ideas that we can understand and that move us.  The Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, brought a rushing mighty wind through Jerusalem, and still can today. 

“We breathe love as heaven’s own healing air,” an old hymn by Horatio Bonar says. When we breathe it in, it inspires and lights our path. It wakes throngs of angels—loving, lively, pure-hearted intuitions from God that go out ahead of us on the path, guiding us on our daily rounds. They bring us into the place that is our very own. It is the place that divine Love has prepared for us in its own heart. This is a place we belong—not a physical place but a mental place, a heart space. It is a space where we feel safe and loved and wanted. It’s a place we can breathe deep and breathe free.

According to the 91st psalm, angels take charge of our progress. They provide us with clear guidance each step of the way. They are as present and natural as breath. They enable us to give and receive in balance. They uplift us and give us strength. With their help, we rise up over the rough places in life, the real or imaginary impediments, the impenetrable difficulties. Angels continually hold our hands and create love for each other and for God. They inspire receptivity to good.

Love is the healing air of heaven. This atmosphere of the divine realm felt on earth, is the fragrance of Love. Like a sweet-scented flower, it invites deep draughts of heaven’s healing air. It causes us naturally to drink in fresh inspiration with deep-drawn breaths.  No ill wind or pollution can interfere with these inspirations—these angels. They are natural and have charge over all our ways, if we let them. 

There is enough love for everyone, in heaven. This heaven is within us here and now, according to Jesus. It is that wide, undisturbed space where we receive with gratitude all that Spirit is continually sharing.  Love is freely given from God and when our heart is eager and willing, we take it in. Then we can exhale that same generous love to all those around us. 

When we let the giving and receiving of love be our life, we are more than mortals with regrets and wounds, bogged down with false beliefs that seem true. We aren’t congested with sorrows, or closed down by disappointments, or inured to want or woe. Our giving and receiving aren’t choked to a trickle or scarred and constrained; our channels to receive and give aren’t calloused or sealed up against help. We aren’t clogged with fear or materialism, unable to respond to God’s love and inspiration. We have an endless capacity to draw good toward us and send it forth again with blessing. Breathe deep and breathe free.

How good to be in a state of constant receptivity to divine Love. How good to acknowledge a generous ability to take in, receive, and accept the  outpouring of divine Love. 

And then, how good to exhale its fragrance on all those around us. “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way,” according to Mary Baker Eddy. She also tells us that divine  Love is supreme even in earthly realms. No power can withstand it. If we have made our bed in hell, Love is even there, ready to pour in a fresh healing balm of inspiration to purify our life’s stream. Divine Love is where we live, breathing it into the understanding and affections, exhaling to all in our path.

Divine Love, by its own definition, is always enough. It has enough inspiration to satisfy. We were made to receive and share it. We have it to give, only as we receive it from the source. Because the source of inspiration is infinite, we need not fear a lack of spirit or breath. Thank you God, for making every word of this a prayer and a power to keep us from fear and to be a healing presence for the world today. 

¶ Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, (Isaiah 42:5, 6)

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; …For in him we live, and move, and have our being; (Acts 17:24, 25, 28)

DIVINE JUSTICE REIGNS

 

US capitol building

Impeachment. Saber rattling. Partisanship. Division. Disunity. Disrespect.

Politics  and the world situation looks hopeless at times. “But why should we stand aghast at nothingness?” the book Science and Health reminds us.

Instead, let’s rest our thoughts on something better that can contribute worthwhile energy to this scene. Here are some ways to envelope the mental atmosphere of our country and of the world in Love as events unfold. We can refuse to react to the ugly images portrayed of men and women in opposition with each other, and instead, see one Mind in charge and one man in action. Spiritual logic states that if two statements are contradictory and one is true, the other is false. We cannot believe both evil and good to be the ultimate governing power in God’s creation. We cannot believe both one Mind and many minds to be governing. Let us lend the weight of our thought to the side of justice, honor, goodness, harmony, divine Principle and divine peace.

“Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal.” (SH 563:1–2)

“One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed. (SH 340:23)

“In Science, divine Love alone governs man” (Man. 40:7–11)

“Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man.” (SH 490:6–8)

“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.”(SH 261:4)

HYMN 51
1. “Eternal Mind the Potter is, / And thought th’ eternal clay: / The hand that fashions is divine, / His works pass not away. / Man is the noblest work of God, / His beauty, power and grace, / Immortal; perfect as his Mind / Reflected face to face.
2. God could not make imperfect man / His model infinite; / Unhallowed thought He could not plan, / Love’s work and Love must fit. / Life, Truth and Love the pattern make, / Christ is the perfect heir; / The clouds of sense roll back, and show / The form divinely fair.
3. God’s will is done; His kingdom come; / The Potter’s work is plain. / The longing to be good and true / Has brought the light again. / And man does stand as God’s own child, / The image of His love. / Let gladness ring from every tongue, / And heaven and earth approve.

From a testimony in Science and Health:
“I learned that the infinite good is the one Friend upon whom we can call at all times, an all-powerful, ever-present help in every time of trouble; that His children are really governed in peace and harmony by spiritual law, and as the right understanding of it is gained, the other things soon follow, bringing a peace the human concept can never know.” (SH 695:13)

These quotes are by Mary Baker Eddy, except the last one which is a testimonial from a reader of the book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures. The poem is by Mary Alice Dayton.

WHY DOES NO ONE HAVE SYMPATHY FOR GOLIATH?

No one has any sympathy for Goliath. He is a true Rodney Dangerfield character–he “don’t get no respect.”

But think of this character. He must have spent years cultivating his intimidating bully stature. Countless hours learning to wield that massive sword and propel that intimidating spear. Developing just the right snarl and scowl and how to throw his considerable weight around must have taken a good deal of effort and practice. And the armor! How long did it take to develop the physical (and mental) layers  carefully ensconcing his hulking bulk? Talk about hidebound.

Then there’s David. Nimble and bold, courageous and humble at the same time, he danced well outside the range of Goliath’s weapons. Though he, too, tried on the armor and the sword and the spear, he was never really in danger of Goliath’s methodology. Instead, he came to the fight in the name of the Lord, with five smooth stones and a bag full of confidence. David put a rock in his sling, swung it and let fly. He easily felled the giant. We all love to identify with David.

INSTITUTIONAL GOLIATHS
Let’s face it. No one feels a pang of pity for Goliath, yet metaphorically how many of us are intimately involved with a Goliath of our own? First, the giant institutions of our culture: education, government, corporations, medicine, religion, the industrial-military complex, political and other parties, even the social-family structures we inhabit. Carefully hedged about with traditions and red tape, bureaucracy and groupthink, ritual and rules, institutions can operate in our experience like Goliath did with David. They force us to come to them on their terms. They proscribe the attittudes and activities of our lives.

And then there are the Goliaths of our own making: beliefs and patterns, addictions and blind spots, habits and demons, all bullying us and forcing us to operate within the box of their paradigm.There is no possibility of winning when we fight them on their own terms. So what would happen if we met them with love instead?

Rather than fear and flee our Goliaths, or conform and be subjugated by them, why not face them and understand that you don’t have to be afraid of them? Love is the easiest way to stop fearing something. Love Goliath because of what you learn by taking him on on your own higher terms.

Goliath had a whole traditional army shaking in its boots. No one wanted to fight him because they were all operating within the same paradigm where Goliath operated best. Everyone was invested in the laborious routines and realities of bigness and bullying. Yet, the most fortunate thing that ever happened to the Goliath worldview was David. A stone that hits an outmoded Goliath in its forehead can be the most effective way to save us from ourselves.

NEW PARADIGM
What would happen if, instead of feeling subjugated and intimidated by our Goliaths, we developed some sympathy for their unenviable, untenable position? They really aren’t so strong after all. Why not turn the tables so they can welcome that smooth stone right between the eyes? Like the Berlin wall, it could be love and unity and a new way of thinking that cuts Goliath down to size.

Probably the biggest Goliath faced by mankind is the victimization from matter itself. Conventional thinking forces us to take matter on its own terms, to be subject to it, bullied by it, helpless in its path. From this worldview, we don’t see what the new physics is telling us about the nature of matter. We don’t see the implications of understanding that it just isn’t the fearsome monolith it appears to be. It is actually stodgy, hide-bound belief.

Matter, newly defined, is not a solid self-acting substance. It is actually empty space within which operate forces of attraction. Particles change their behavior simply by being observed. The old belief is that this only happens on the quantum level. The big Goliath in the room is this belief that the everyday level of matter is still solid and unchangeable

David, in this scenario, is a wholly different paradigm. This new model operates from the standpoint that observation and thought are what determine the behavior of everything material “out there.”  All the old rules topple.

WE SEE WHAT WE BELIEVE
This isn’t actually a new idea, although science is just catching up to it. It permeates Jesus’ teachings and is found throughout the Bible and other religious teachings. Jesus changed the behavior of “solid matter” by choosing to see heaven on earth right where trouble appeared to others. His understanding of the nature of matter enabled him to see water as solid enough to walk on and walls permeable by a human body. To Jesus, the invisible God was all- powerful Life and Love, actually operating on the everyday level. Knowing this, Jesus governed his own experience, and that of others, for the better.

Goliath is an extreme form of the physicality that ruled in the ancient world, and still does today. David and other seers were aware of another level of existence. It takes boldness and courage and humility to act as if matter is not running the show. It isn’t self-acting nor the governing principle of the universe.

A little sympathetic understanding of the true status of matter and mind can actually help us fear its conditions less. We become more willing to peel off the armor of belief in matter’s all-power. The less solid our belief in material Goliath’s power over us, the more receptivity we have to new ideas represented by David’s smooth stones.

One such stone is that we see what we believe, not what is actually there. Belief can change for the better. Jesus healed people by changing their beliefs. If we let this hit us right between the eyes, what are the possibilities?

REGRETS

Across the pond, bare branches of cottonwood
Are festooned with white egrets
Spare, elegant, fashionable,
A spire embellished to celebrate the end of winter

Then one by one, plumage spreads wide, necks stretch forth
Long legs launch, rising in lazy arcs,
Egret after egret wings off, disappears on the horizon
Each in its own direction
Leaving bare branches waiting
For aromatic green shoots to break forth

My mother called these poplars “sweet balm” trees
Emerging leaves release honeysuckle
Scent of spring–then burst into shimmering
Swirling, dancing, shining, laughing greenery
Exuding fragrance amid clouds of wispy cotton

Lodged in the branches of memory
Regrets spread their wings one by one
And lift off toward far destinations
As far as east is from west
Presaging perfume of revival

Branches lighten buoyantly
Green shoots of spiritual growth
Burst forth, enveloped in the
Sweet balm of forgiveness

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