Miracles: More than Magical Thinking

A waking dream about my monthly question of ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ comes from watching a Saturday television documentary on a channel I have never watched before. This was a biographical story about a farmer named Jason which got me thinking about the difference or the relationship as well between miracles and magical thinking.

Jason had been a professional football player, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. You might think this was his dream come true, but no; Jason’s ‘better endings’ story came from asking inwardly for guidance to find his real calling. The answer to his prayerful question was that he should become a farmer. A man of deep spiritual faith, Jason quit his day job and found the farm of his dreams to which to move his family. Having made this choice, a long sequence of miraculous seeming opportunities unfolded, which Jason regards as acts of divine intervention.

The farm Jason ended up buying was not even on sale when he saw it first, but in an indirect way he was redirected to ask and the owners agreed to sell. Jason named his farm “First Fruits,” gifting not just the first season’s crops but indeed all crops for the next several years to anybody in his community in need of produce or food donations. Gratitude poured back from all directions; farmhands, a new tractor, roosters that appeared by a roadside when he was thinking about wanting to find some roosters, and even a donkey that was gifted exactly when he was worried about how to protect some goats against predator coyotes: all were gifted just as the need arose.

images are from pixabay.com

Jason’s story reminds me of a similar sort of autobiographical story described in the interesting book, Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered. There, too, Machaelle Wright tells how she followed her inner guidance despite in her case drastic abuses and obstacles, emerging with an uncanny ability to conjure forth the slightest need–such as manifesting physical tools in her hands during contemplations–to aid her very positive farming enterprise.

So what is the difference or the relationship between miracles and magical thinking? The latter is generally regarded as a matter of frivolous or selfish, wishful thinking; that one should be able, figuratively speaking, to twitch their nose or wave a magic wand to satisfy their or others’ material needs. Some prayer, I would aver, is really a matter of magical thinking being projected onto a concept of divinity in service to selfish desires. As if divinity or the universal good–however you might comprehend that–doesn’t know what one ‘needs’ until It is petitioned, or doesn’t know as well as some mere human what is needed or most beneficial to the highest good or needs of all concerned.

I find in my own practice that true prayer–which I would relabel as contemplative communication with Spirit or the universal good–involves listening TO and FOR the divine principle and being receptive to ITS moment to moment guidance, which can lead to definitely ‘miraculous’ daily events! I comprehend this as enjoining a TANDEM relationship with spiritual guidance and oversight, as it were. It is like riding a two-seated bicycle with Spirit, sometimes on the front driver’s seat and sometimes taking up the rear to allow the guiding wisdom of Spirit to lead the way toward well considered, worthy aims or solutions.

What Difference Does It Make?  The reality of  a positive, tandem relationship with Spirit or the Universe proves in every daily miracle acknowledged or acted upon that the smallest pursuit DOES matter, CAN matter for fulfilling “the greatest interests of all concerned,” so long as that is the intended result of one’s most humble inner quest.

I welcome YOUR story and Comments!

“Manna From Heaven” 

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Welcome to this month’s topic of ELIXIR: Personal Fulfillment.

I have a wonderful sister (three actually!) who is a pastor for the United Church of Christ. While that is not my own spiritual path, she and I share deeply and I treasure her viewpoint from her inclusive, liberal theology. While thinking of how to open this month’s theme, my sister Lee (Rev. Lee Ireland from Connecticut) told me of a sermon she was giving, called “Manna from Heaven.” Well, of course, that is the Elixir of Personal Fulfillment itself, so I invited Lee to share her sermon focus with us here.

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She agreed, so here are her words:

September 24, 2017 

Here we have one of the most human passages in scripture…this is a passage that is close to home as I think about all of those who’ve lost everything to the hurricanes and earthquakes. 

2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 

and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.” 

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ 

13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. 

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.”  : Exodus 16:2-15  

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   Have you ever felt like the Israelites in the passage above?    Like your life was going along just fine and then suddenly – the rug was pulled out from underneath you and you had to pack up and move??? And start all over again – with nothing? Think of all of those who are now feeling like that in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico –  who are enduring the consequences of the hurricanes and earthquake! 

    Last night I happened to see that “Bruce Almighty” was on TV and it was hilarious to listen to his lines from the beginning of the movie, which could’ve been exactly what was not printed in the Exodus passage.  It became even more meaningful when toward the end of the movie, God was playing a blind man begging for money and we heard the words to the song playing in the foreground:  “What if God was one of us?”   A profound touch to a movie that begs us all to consider our understanding of God and who we are as human beings living on this earth and in fellowship with one another.  Interesting!   

What if you had the role of being God for a few days?  What would YOU do?     

So – If you had been an Israelite – would you have not appreciated that the leaders were complaining to God about the way they were being treated? I mean, if God had said your tribe was his chosen people, and then led you out in the desert and proclaimed your freedom but now you were struggling to figure out how to survive, wouldn’t you be belly-aching and demanding justice just like you see described in this passage?  Justice from God?     

And what would you feel like when you heard God’s answer? – “I’ll give you your daily bread and quails”…. 

That would get old pretty fast, wouldn’t it?  

 What would you do?    

What would you have been hoping for God to do?    

It begs the deeper Q – what is your image of God?  A being up in heaven who manipulates us human beings like chess pieces?   Making demands before our needs will be met?   

BUT – according to this passage in Exodus – your needs ARE being met! Just not as you were expecting or according to your hopes and perhaps your design of how you wanted your life to go.   When you realize that your daily needs WILL be met – but not as you may have wished – you will hear the invitation – bringing a change in your mindset. 

You know that feeling?  

L I S T E N  
 
Begin to see with new eyes.  

Hear new messages that you wouldn’t hear otherwise. 
Trust differently.  Stop trying to influence other people’s free will.   
Recognize that God’s angels come in many different forms. 
What is it that you are seeing is emerging that couldn’t come any other way .  You know it could be because you have been demanding that God create things to fit into your vision rather than allowing the ways of love to unfold. How are youy today being asked to let go and Let God – be? Be the creator of your own life? 
It means you will have to check your ego at the door and “surrender”….surrender your attachments to particular outcomes  and thus  become a servant of divine love. 

May God’s light and peace and love pour down upon us this day and strengthen us in our ability to walk with one another and those we don’t yet know and share that and watch as other’s lives begin to open and be enriched and transformed.    Peace and grace, Amen.  

Prayer of the Day 

Gracious Lord,  
Fresh as each morning  you come to us, 
Crafter of manna. 
     Your grace rests  gently upon us, 
      waiting to be gathered, to become the bread of life 
we share throughout the day. 
 
Fresh as compassion’s justice, you come to us, 
Servant of the poor. 
Choosing to give as you desire, 
you show us the last, so we can make them first 
     in our hearts and hopes. 
Doing no wrong, you make us right 
     with God for all time. 
 
Fresh as the water, which turns a desert 
into a meadowland of flowers, 
Spirit of uninterrupted grace, you come to us. 
When we would grumble, you give us the gospel to live out; 
when we would protest, you teach us songs of praise; 
when we would utter laments, you fill us with God’s laughter. 
 
God in Community, Holy in One, 
refresh us with your presence 
as we continue to give you thanks and go forward with your love.  Amen.  

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images are from pixabay.com

Thanks for your Guest Blog, Rev. Ireland!

I welcome YOUR comments and Stories!

Celebrating St. Francis, A Mystic Healer  

 

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Prayer is in practice a means of seeking Better Endings. Whether in the form of a petition or surrender, asking for Divine intervention or giving love, or receptively by listening to or connecting with attributes of the Divine in meditative or active contemplation, we pray to focus our human consciousness on Higher Wisdom, to give and or to receive Divine (impersonal, detached) love. And this may indeed foster Better Endings for all concerned, even in the mindful experience of an illuminated consciousness itself.  Singing a mantra, practicing true contemplation, outer prayer, or even prayerful artistic engagement such as creating a mandala or Sufi whirling dervish dancing all can create conditions conducive to healing and Higher Awareness and hence may enhance positive health effects such as lower blood pressure, more serenity and lower stress.

Prayer Flags

 

We may not all agree as to the best form of prayer based on our individual preferences and religious traditions, but tuning in to Higher Wisdom, love, protection and awareness is in itself a positive action of the human will and Soul that can bring benefits beyond the seeking of assistance or intervention.

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The prayer-poem famously attributed to Saint Francis is a prayer of exquisite quality that anyone can use as a template or matrix around which to ground and Center their consciousness.  This is a poem that fosters Healing and Better Endings in all respects:

St. Francis’s Prayer

Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace

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This week I invite you to bring St. Francis’s prayer with you in your heart as you go about your day to day affairs. You may wish to print and cut out the prayer poem and place it in visible locations at your office, car or home. At night as you prepare for sleep, you might wish to read the prayer aloud and gently contemplate its relevance to your current life conditions and attitudes.

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Better Endings to You!

I invite your insights and stories.

Invoking Divine Wisdom

Prayer Flags

As this is to be the final blog post for the January monthly theme combining the Life Metaphor “Life Is What You Make It” with the Elder Leader archetype, I feel it is appropriate to refer to the highest archetype of the Elder Leader, which is God Itself, or Higher Power, the Creator (Great Spirit, God, Allah, SUGMAD, Jehovah, First Cause, Intelligent Design, Nature, or whatever you choose to Name divinity.)

Sunset over Kourion coast

Not a day goes by that I do not find it helpful to appeal to Higher Wisdom for the grace and humility to make decisions and to understand and respond as well as I can to life’s challenges.  A poetic prayer I use many times on a daily basis is one I know from my spiritual belief system of Eckankar as “Lai Tsi’s Prayer”.  It is very similar to and is in fact a modification of one of the Psalms (25.4), as well.

Lai Tsi’s Prayer

Show me thy ways, Oh Beloved (God),

Teach me thy path.

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me;

On Thee do I wait all day.

Remember, Oh Beloved, thy guiding light

And thy loving care,

For it has been ever thy will

To lead the least of thy servants to Thee.

(from The Shariyat-Ki-SUGMAD, Bk.I, by Paul Twitchell)

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This prayer song or psalm reminds me to be grateful for all good things. It helps me to keep my heart open to receive wisdom with patience. It lifts my Spirit to the realization that the ways of the divine are always in good order, Here and Now. It shows the way, thereby, to Acceptance and to right discernment. It expresses the willingness to wait on the will of Heaven.

 

Epiphany: Warming up your vehicle–>Life Application, by E for Encouragement; and Making Lemonade, by Mirror of Health and Fashion (Two Guest Re-blogs)

Dear Readers: For this week’s Guest Re-Blog, I have selected two nice posts that reinforce our theme of “Habitual Better Endings”. Here are two Good Habit suggestions. I have used a very similar Lemonade cleanser recipe for a cleansing fast and found it very helpful as well as tasty! – L

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1)  Warming up our Vehicles/ Warming up Our Mornings with Affirmations and Prayer

Monday, 17 March 2014~~This morning, I was driving with a family member in her vehicle to run errands.  In the driver’s seat, I asked her, “How long do you warm up your car?”  (The temperature was in the 40′s F.)

“I don’t.  I just go,” she answered.

“Oh,” I replied slowly.  (I was taught to always warm up my vehicle in the morning for good functioning and longevity of the vehicle.)

My epiphany: Besides good functioning vehicles, we as individuals (mothers, fathers, community leaders, employees, students, role-models) for a better-functioning day, deliberately need to warm up our mornings with positive affirmations, prayer, Bible reading, deep breathing, etc.

Yes, I agree: stabilizing and creating good habits can be difficult. However, with the right motivation in the morning or “common sense” of warming up a vehicle, I am positive of a great functioning day and life.

“Cheers!” to warming up our mornings as we “warm up” our vehicles to function well.

E for Encouragement 

******   ******

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Day Cleanse with tasty lemonade

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Mirror of Health & Fashion

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We all know how body cleanse is an important in our life.We need to clean our body like we wash our face,hands or using a body scrub to clean the skin.Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxic substances from your body. Please notice,before beginning any detox diet, it is always good idea to check with your health care provider, especially if there are any health issues.I like to use my lemonade detox drink,which is great because lemon contains an ascorbic acid,which is good cleanser.Choose your day of cleanse,in that day I eat only fresh fruits and vegetables and drink 8-10 glasses of this lemonade drink.

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