In today’s blog, I explore the pain that we feel when we perceive that we are separate from the Divine (God), ourselves and from one another. Along with this pain, I explore the remedy to that pain.
During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed,
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;” and we today
are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens
of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests
and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight
and disobeyed him.
Baruch 1: 15-18
The Pain of Perceived Separation
In the scripture passage above, from the Hebrew prophet, Baruch, we get a glimpse into the hearts and soul of the Hebrew people as they suffered the shame of a kingdom overtaken and destroyed by the Babylonians and their resulting exile as political prisoners of their captors. It was their perception that this time of conquest and exile was a punishment from their “sins” against God. No longer believing in a vengeful, punitive God, I propose that there is another way to view this reading. In a nutshell, the story of the Babylonian captivity represents for all of us a metaphor for the consequences of the human condition (stuff happens – including war, loss and captivity) and the pain that we feel when we have forgotten that there is an infinite source of comfort and peace and that is what some would call “God.”
What Happens When We Forget
Our natural state (which is described in metaphor as “the Garden of Eden”) is peaceful contentment and joy. We know this state when we remember our Oneness with God, with ourselves, with eachother and with all of creation. When we forget this Oneness (which is a natural result of chosing the human experience), we feel pain, longing, separation, guilt, remorse, sorrow, fear. It is this pain of separation that the prophet Baruch describes in the shame of the Hebrew people. Our personal experiences of this separation are no-less painful, fearful, seemingly threatening.
How to Remember
The good news is that remembering our Oneness and its natural state of peaceful contentment is easier than one might think. Remembering this Oneness…as Eckhart Tolle so eloquently reminded us in his book, The Power of Now, is as simple as having an experience of peace, joy or love. In Eckhart’s words, “When we know peace, when we know love, when we know joy….we are in the presence of God.” I would take this one step further and say that “When we know peace, when we know love, when we know joy, we are remembering our ONENESS with God.” I take it one step further because I believe that we are NEVER NOT in the presence of God….we just sometimes forget that we are. In other words, THERE IS NOTHING that can separate us from God. We just sometimes forget to see, know, experience, acknowledge, recognize the presence of God that is ALWAYS in our midst, in fact, it is within our very being…..ALWAYS!
Taking Time to Remember
The good news is that we DO have within our power, the capability of choosing to remember, recognize, acknowledge, experience this loving, peaceful, joyful presence of God. And it is as simple as SEEING and BELIEVING. And, when we take time out of our busy lives to be open to seeing where God might be present in our lives and within us, our ability to see and believe in the peaceful contentment that we are becomes EASIER and EASIER. The invitation is:
To watch for the presence of God around us (in nature, life experiences, joyful happenings, excitement, joy, fun)
To set time aside to experience the presence of God within (through prayer, meditation, contemplation, spiritual practices)
To seek the presence of God in the people we meet, family members, friends, co-workers
To look for peace, joy, love, bliss, ecstasy, mercy in the human experience
This is where we find God……literally EVERYWHERE…..if we have eyes to see and a heart that can believe.
Authentic Freedom Ministries