Part II, Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

Image via Pinterest.

In my previous blog, I stated that the road to spiritual transformation is essentially an inward journey that intimately connects us with our body, minds and spirits.  Intention, gratitude and faith are the ingredients that invite miraculous changes on this transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules or doing some other conventional practice.  Why is this so?

The reason is that these traits prepare one for the emptying of self, the total letting go, the kenosis that is ultimately required for transformation.  The emptying of self can be made in countless little decisions or in one major gesture whereby there is a willing and loving pouring out of one’s self, the using of all one’s resources and the expending of all one’s energies to undergo a transformation.  It calls to mind one of St. Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am being poured out like a libation; and my time of departure has come.” (NOAB, NRSV)  Jesus’ own life was said to be one long emptying of self for the sake of others.

Intention

Intention sets the choice of the individual and indicates in what direction all energies will be utilized and expended, if necessary.  Usually navigating the spiritual path asks a great deal of clear-sightedness, resolve and determination from the seeker.  Setting a firm intention will martial these qualities to serve the journey.

Gratitude

Gratitude has a way of opening and expanding the heart, tuning one to the frequency of higher consciousness energy.  It also has a way of making the person buoyant in the face of adversity.  It raises one up rather than pulling one down.  Gratitude can therefore raise a person above the fray, allowing for peace and well-being.  It is absolutely essential in allowing the person to “let go” with peace of mind.

Faith

Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1, NOAB, NRSV)  It is a type of visionary knowing that instills confidence.  Without faith, one can do nothing involving risk and change.

Applying Intention, Gratitude and Faith to Our Spiritual Practices

Because intention, gratitude and faith are so important, it is very helpful when they are consciously brought into our spiritual life such as in prayers, dreamwork and meditation.  Intention sets one on the particular path.  It is very useful to intend dreams that ask for a specific piece of information or guidance.  It is good training to ask for things needed in prayer.  Faith is thereby deepened when we get answers to prayers and dream requests.  We find we have a give-and-take relationship with divinity.  Gratitude opens us to positive energies on the path because a grateful heart enriches meditation and life by connecting us to higher energies.  And believing all our requests and intentions will be heard and our gratitude appreciated opens the visionary pathway for the change that is to come.

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Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

Image via Pinterest.

Many try to live a good life by following the rules and expectations of a religion, family or society.  This practice may indeed bring a “good life” in more ways than one but it is not the primarily what is called for by Jesus and other great religious leaders.  It’s not what they wanted for us.  They wanted what in Christianity was called a metanoia, a change of heart that leads to complete transformation of mind, body and soul—or as some writers call it, the Great Death.  This is not the death of the body, but the death of our former ways of looking at the world which created the negative habits and practices we previously lived by.  It entails a change of identity, a death and rebirth while alive in this body that precludes turning back.  It is transformation at the highest order which entails a great deal more than obeying rules.

Setting Oneself on the Road to Transformation

Assuming, however, that one makes the choice to move beyond following the rules to undergo the transformation, how does one do it?

A very good way to set oneself on the road to transformation is to develop a profound relationship with one’s own mind, body and spirit.  The Kingdom of Heaven is within, as they say.  Therefore, it stands to reason to look here for transformative blessings.  For many people, the Kingdom within is the last place one would look for healing and growth because of the anxiety, depression, confusion, etc. that many people feel on a daily basis.  Yet, this place of often questionable turmoil and striving is the very field of play.

Progress on this inward field can be made by working with dreams, which Freud called the the Royal Road to the Unconscious, along with regular meditation and prayer.  It helps greatly when these practices are done with:

  • great intention to heal and subsequently manifest my true self at its deepest level,
  • gratitude for the many gifts that have been given
  • a profound faith that this transformation and any attendant healing will take place

My next blog will further discussion on why intention, gratitude and faith invite miraculous changes on the transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules. Please click here to see Part II of this blog.

Luke 9: An Intuitive Perspective on the Road to Transfiguration and Beyond

Raphael's Transfiguration of Jesus

The Transfiguration by Raphael

Luke 9 is about bringing the disciples to the mountain top, literally and figuratively, and then sending them into the world while letting them know what the cost of discipleship is all about.  In the process, a growth of intuitive insight occurs among the disciples to the point where they can see the full revealing of Jesus as He is, beyond the carpenter from Nazareth.  They can see his essential energy field in all its glory and wonder, as well as those of Moses and Elijah who set in motion the forces of spiritual tradition that led to Jesus.

A Call to Let Go

After having chosen his disciples, Jesus sends them out with little in the way of backup support to proclaim the Good News and to heal.  In a sense, it is the pulling away of the usual supports we are accustomed to for a greater good.  The call to grow one’s intuition often involves a call to let go of the things we previously relied on for support.

A Discovery of Miraculous Abundance

Early on in the call to open the third eye of understanding, the seeker becomes aware that highly developed spiritual persons can summon and bring abundance of resources and good health, defying our common perspective that the pie is only so large.  The disciples witness this so many times they begin to believe it themselves.  They begin to see that life can be lived on different terms.  There will always be enough with the grace of God.

The Recognition of God’s Presence among Us

Jesus constantly asks His disciples who they think He is, testing their depth of spiritual awareness.  When Peter answers that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus knows Peter’s eyes have been opened.  In a sense, all of us are constantly being asked the same thing.  Can we see the presence of God in our lives?  If Jesus is the God for us, can we recognize Him here among us now?  As with Peter, when we can see God even in the lowliest person, we have reached a significant point of spiritual development.

Before the disciples recognized Jesus’ true nature, the demons inside possessed people were the only ones who recognized Him.  It is much the same within ourselves, our demons torment us, and make us aware until we can recognize the divine and be healed.  Their coming to the fore is almost necessary to precede the healing call of the divine.

The Mountain Top Experience

Like Peter and the apostles, we are usually relaxed, half asleep or in a state of meditation when suddenly there is a shift of consciousness and we can see auras and energy fields.  In this state the disciples witness Jesus in splendor, along with the great spiritual leaders who preceded him.  Like us, the disciples want to capture this precious moment and make order out of it by constructing something to make it permanent.  They want to build booths to contain the wonder they have just seen just as we want to write about, paint, sing, memorialize or “churchify” our spiritual experiences.

The Need to Go Out Into the World

Jesus knows it is not only about the mountain top experience.  It is also about acting as His disciples at a time when he won’t be around, spreading the news of what they have just witnessed and doing the miraculous things He has done.  He explains what this entails: the profound insight demands an equally profound and unconditional call to action.  It is the basis for the call to action.

Luke 8: Pay Attention to How You Listen

Parable of the Sower

An icon depicting the Sower. In Sts. Konstantine and Helen Orthodox Church, Cluj
Courtesy Sulfababy of en.wik

In Chapter 8: 18 Luke quotes Jesus as saying, “Pay attention to how you listen…” The Zen masters used to say that enlightenment could be seen in a person by how he walked, talked and thought. Anyone can cook a meal, but not everyone cooks it in a loving manner. Anyone with the money can build a huge building but how it is built—the quality of the labor and materials put into it, the kind of funding used to build it—tell the real tale. In the how of things lies the soul and the truth, the indicators of integrity, the operating values and the state of consciousness of a person’s mind.

The accompanying stories in Chapter 8 of Luke illustrate the point that faithfulness shows itself in the how of things: how we listen, how we trust, and how we live out that faith in behavior and actions. For example, Jesus was well aware that people responded differently to his message, depending on how they heard it. His explanation of the Parable of the Sower describes in allegory the various outcomes depending on how his message sunk into the mind, was received and allowed to bear fruit. The story of the Woman Healed of a Hemorrhage shows how faith such as her heals while the story of the Calming of the Storm shows how failing faith can sink us, unless saved by Jesus. Jesus placed so much emphasis on how to do things that he even defined his brothers and sisters along these lines: they were the people who did the will of the Father in the manner He did. He becomes the ideal both in which to trust and to imitate. For Christians, He is the how of it. Paying attention to how we do things tells us a lot about ourselves, and one good way to do this is to meditate.

Meditation Asks Us to Pay Attention

Most of us are so caught up in the action to achieve some purpose that we lose track of how we are doing it. This is why learning to meditate by sitting quietly without thinking thoughts often strikes the beginner as a meaningless exercise until he or she wakes up to the fact that it is not so much about listening, seeing and doing as much as it is about how to listen, see and do with loving care, attention, and perseverance as in the model set by Jesus. It means learning to tune out noise and listen for the inner voice of intuitive guidance.

Luke 4: Faith Healing and the Empathetic, Intuitive Heart

Jesus Healing the Sick

Jesus Healing the Sick

The first hearers of Luke’s story of Jesus would have the stories of healings and exorcisms (Luke 4:31-44) to be a normal part of life. What do they mean for us in today’s society?  Is there room for healing in our faith?

In mainstream Christian traditions like Catholicism and Anglicanism faith healing has not been emphasized, perhaps reflecting modern society’s bent to prefer a scientific approach to healing. While people have always prayed for good health and blessed themselves against evil, these were “back burner” practices, not given center stage importance as Jesus did in his ministry.  This attitude may be changing, however, with the recent popularity of energy medicine and notions of how energy heals in Asian traditions.  These practices may become the bridges that can help westerners understand how faith healing works, and thereby open up the possibility for a more general acceptance of it.

What is Faith Healing?

As a “hands on healer” in my own church, I can see a need to educate people about faith healing.  It is not “magic,” and certainly nothing to be afraid of.   It is energy that flows because love desires to help someone with a need.  When Jesus healed, He healed energetically.  For example, in Luke 8:48 Jesus even says he felt energy go out from him as the woman with a hemorrhage sought his healing.

The Power of the Empathetic, Intuitive Heart

Modern day faith and energy healers recognize this kind of energy flow that can go from one person to another.  Many take the compassionate intuitive heart to be the locus that draws and directs this healing energy to other people.  This was verified for me in a dream when I saw a physician who told me that healing comes from what can be called the intuitive heart, a region he pointed out to be just above and to the left of the physical heart.  Healing energy then goes out from there.  From my own experience and observation I have seen that a developed sense of intuition provides an empathetic inner knowing of the other person’s state thereby initiating and inspiring an open heart to help someone who is suffering.  The heart’s intentionality to help sets and directs the energy on its path.

Luke 2: Insight as a Personal Gift and a Gift for the World

The Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32) sounds a note of joy in a fulfilled personal promise from God and then connects it to a salvation for the wider world. Have you ever had such a connection with God? How do we connect the “I” of our being with the “We” of those around us, and then with the “World” as a person/people of Faith? Have you ever had a “Song” like Simeon, Mary or Zechariah?

Simeon - Painting by Rembrandt.  Image courtesy of the Queen of Angels Foundation.

Simeon – Painting by Rembrandt. Image courtesy of the Queen of Angels Foundation.

Profound intuitive insights are often “mountain top” experiences in that it is from the ecstatic heights of those events we can touch the sacred yet it is also from there we may be gifted with a 360 degree view that more deeply connects us to the reality around us. However, it may take time for the clouds to clear on the mountain top before we can see the grander view.

Sometimes, the personal experience may be so complex and so disruptive to one’s life that the person will need a long while to develop the “song” that he or she can give back to the world.  It often takes time to understand the meaning of the personal gift.  Sometimes, an initiation or education is required to understand how this experience fits into the greater context of one’s life before one can present one’s gift to the world that is characterized by the song.

This is exactly what happened to me with my kundalini event when I experienced, along with the release of powerful energy, an oral intuitive insight.  I heard a gentle but quite authoritative voice say “I have chosen you.”  While I was never told specifically what I was chosen for, dreams have suggested certain tasks.  Seven years later, I am still trying to discover what I have been chosen for while I try to pursue a spiritual path with every choice I make.  One thing I know very clearly is that what I do and the choices I make must serve a higher purpose in line with my ideal. These choices in turn connect me with the wider world.  I trust my song will include the choices I make on a daily basis that reflect my highest ideal.

One Purpose for Visions and Intuitive Insights

Sometimes one can only trust that one has made the right choices and it will come out all right in the end, as it did for Simeon.  He must have lived for a long time with nothing more than his choice to trust and hope in the revelation he received.  One wonders how this divine inspiration transformed him personally.  Certainly, it gave him clarity of sight to recognize the redeemer in a little infant.  In a dark time of spiritual decay and foreign oppression, Simeon was the perhaps just one of the few bearers of a saving vision for his people.  When he saw the truth of his vision in the flesh he was then able to sing his song to the world. The Song of Simeon underscores the importance of holding on to intuitive insight in time of adversity.  I personally believe this is one of many reasons why we are given visions in the first place: to get us through the hard times.

Holding on to a vision keeps us steady in the difficult business of undergoing transformation.  The new awareness arising from the struggles of our transformation is the song we will give others.

Luke 1: On Visions and Faith: A Comparison of Zechariah’s and Mary’s Responses to the Angel Gabriel

Zechariah’s Response

In Luke 1:18, Zechariah asks Gabriel, “How will I know that this is so?”  A good faithful person can have their doubts about God.  What is the cause of our doubt?

Gabriel Appears Before Zechariah

Gabriel Appears Before Zechariah

In most cases I think doubt is caused by believing that things can never be other than they are, especially as we have always experienced them.  Just being human in a worldly society conditions us to take what we see, hear and touch in the three dimensional world as more “real” than what we hold as an ideal or a miracle that we have heard about—especially if we feel buried under the constraining weight of that reality.  Zechariah, based on his own experience, probably thought as we think that old women can’t have children because he personally didn’t know any old women who did.  Yet what I find interesting is that 1) he must have known the story of Abraham fathering Isaac when both father and mother were well into their dotage.  The concept was there that God could do this sort of thing.  And 2), he didn’t seem to question the fact that he was dealing with a real angel and not an illusion. A vision is a type of intuitive insight.   Zechariah, to his credit, did not doubt he had a powerful vision nor did the people waiting for him.  Its effect was obviously overwhelming for him and all concernedIf this happened today, Zechariah most likely would have been prescribed medication and told to go home and forget it because a great many people in our contemporary culture don’t believe God acts in special ways with ordinary people.

This then points to another cause for doubt for Zechariah and for usand I think a much more significant one for those of us who know that the transcending divine power can break through into our lives—is a questioning whether God would do something so touching for me.  Obviously this miracle of a birth in old age would release not only the deep suffering Zechariah and his wife faced but also give him his place in Jewish history as fathering a special prophetic son—“to have such a son!” as they would say.  Anyone familiar with Hebrew scripture would know this was a miracle on the order done for Zechariah’s glorious ancestor Abraham.  I think almost anyone of us would react the same way because a person has to have a very strong sense of being special to God NOT to doubt that God wants to work miracles personally through him or her.  To get such news would be a humbling experience, leaving most of us speechless or feeling like we are candidates for the funny farm.

Mary’s Response

On the other hand, Mary replies to Gabriel (Luke 1:38), “Here am I, the servant of The Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” What does it take to risk for God? Have you ever known that kind of faith?

Mary's Vision

Mary’s Vision

In contrast, even with her initial astonishment and perplexity, Mary’s response to how God wants to work through her typifies that of a person who has a deep intuitive understanding of her relationship to God and is comfortable with it.  She clearly knows her status as servant in relationship to God and is well aware that God can ask anything of her and she will do it.  Because she is naturally humble, her amazement is what causes her to be astonished and perplexed that God asked her, a lowly person of no account, to do something great, worthy of a person of high status.  Unlike Zechariah who is blinded by a false pride that nothing can be done for him—a common feeling among all of us when problems pile upMary’s clear understanding of the all-encompassing power and mercy of God allows her to respond unreservedly with profound joy and gratitude, making her an ideal open channel for God’s grace in the world, and thus making it possible for her to give birth to the Divine in this world.  In a sense it is a model for all of us who are called to be channels for divine graces in a variety of different ways.  The characteristics of this kind of faith are a capacity for joy, an unconditional trust, a willingness to risk all, to go for broke, and a profound sense of gratitude for the risk we have been asked to make.

The one time in my life when I was challenged to “risk it all” was in 2007 when shortly after having a vision of Jesus just standing in my bathroom which I was tempted to attribute to the migraine I was experiencing at the time, I underwent an overwhelming kundalini release that sent immense waves of energy coursing through me, amplifying all my emotions and sensations to a heightened intensity, including the terror of wondering what was happening to my body.  Throughout my life, I had been blessed with good health and felt so at home in my body.  Now, my body was literally shaking so much for extending periods every day that I could hardly walk, much less concentrate or work a regular job.  I was not at home in my own skin and literally wanted to jump out of it!  At the energy’s most intense period, when all I could was lie on the bed and pray, a strong voice came out of the blue saying, “I have chosen you.”

After getting assurances from two psychologists that I wasn’t going crazy, I intuitively felt called to move in a new direction, and the more I could unreservedly go in that direction, the better off I would be.   It meant gambling my recently acquired inheritance by investing in a move to a faraway location and preparing for a new career in a field that has no well -paying, secure job openings.  More importantly, it meant making the decision to go off the strong medications that had brought me back to “normal.”   This was a scary and dangerous risk which my doctor opposed because of the difficulty most people have in dealing with such a condition.  However, this was something I felt called to do.  Because I knew what kundalini was I knew I could trust its work in my system.  It meant allowing this energy do its cleansing work through my body, psyche and soul—something Philip St. Romaine has compared to sitting on the edge of a volcano and watching it erupt.  Beyond the considerable strange and frightening physical sensations which for me mimicked having strokes and heart problems, I was observing the unraveling of my protective ego masks—something that surpasses any TV horror show because it is real and it was happening to me.  All I could was trust unreservedly because what is happening is the birth of a higher state of consciousness and a healthier, detoxed body that most people experience who are willing to go through the difficult process.  The attitude of complete trust, I discovered, was what alleviated the difficult physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of my kundalini experience and was what opened me to experience ecstatic joy AT THE CELLULAR and ENERGY FIELD LEVEL called the kundalini awakening– an experience I think many humans are meant to know because it is a visceral knowledge of our truest selves.  Now I have nothing but gratitude for the experience and it is a humbling one since, naturally, I was more like Zechariah than Mary in my willingness to undergo the process.

For an informed description of kundalini energy in a Christian context, please see Kundalini Energy & Christian Spirituality by Philip St. Romaine.

Compare the Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) and the Song of Zechariah (Luke 1:47-55). To whom is each addressed?  What do they tell us about God and God’s relationship with God’s people?  What about God in our lives?

Mary is speaking to Elizabeth as she responds to the joyful greeting of her relative.  It is the ultimate joyfest of two blessed women who have been elevated to high status after experiencing lowliness and disgrace.  They know the power of their God, now not just in faith which is a form of intuitive understanding, but literally in the flesh.  This is a perfect example of how intuitive truths must first be held in ideal form, and adhered to during a time of testing long before they are manifest on the physical plane.  This is how energy works, gives life and shapes form on the physical plane.  It is always God who calls us to greater risk that we might become greater people with the unique genius that God wants expressed in each us, even if it is just the grace of doing little things in a loving way such as St. Therese of the Child Jesus manifested.

A strong relationship with God provides the firm bonding needed to withstand the power of divine energy moving beyond the usual but subtly and often missed supporting expressions in physical form to an apparent miracle producing event of startling proportions.

Zechariah is addressing the people who came to perform the circumcision on his son.  These people were probably either priests or functionaries of the temple, people responsible for handing down the traditions of the Hebrew heritage.  In this scene, Zechariah is clearly inspired because now his tone of speech is joyful, authoritative and healing to his people.  It is no longer fear filled and doubting.  His transformation shows us how we, too, can be made over to communicators of God’s astounding graces despite all our shortcomings, doubts and anxieties.

To learn more about dreams, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.