Divine longing

I just had to share a beautiful prayer with you all. It took my breath away, as does everything that this wonderful woman writes. An ardent longing to know God, coupled with a Divine love deep enough to submerge body, mind and soul, are all summed up beautifully in a prayer by Cheryl Anne on her blog site, Saint Brigid’s Hearth. The prayer poem is called A humble Harvest. The imagery is exquisite, the love expressed within it so alluring. Here are a few lines to tempt your senses, but do check out the full prayer and the blogsite by clicking the links above:

"Let my life’s remaining days
Be a quiet harvest of praise"

Isn't that beautiful?

"Let me reach high
And dig deep
For the precious fruits
And roots of gratitude"

Amen to that!

I can truly say that I want my life’s remaining days to be a quiet harvest of praise. I affirm sincerely that I want to reach high and dig deep for the precious fruits and roots of gratitude – every day. My thanks go to the author as this prayer poem has reawakened my longing to be closer to God on Earth and beyond. Have a glorious week. Much love, Anita.🙏❤

The duality of life

Just as the quote below says, we need oppposites in life. We need challenges which, although painful at the time perhaps, will help us to grow emotionally and spiritually. If life were just one series of material and bodily pleasures, what impetus would we have to improve ourselves, or to seek the pleasure found in spiritual endeavours such as meditation, helping others and finding our way back to the Divine? The duality of life is one of the ways that God throws in his fishing line in the hope that we will take the bait and return to Him.

Here’s another beautiful quote that I came across this week:

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us

to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

– VOLTAIRE

In order to grow from life’s challenges, below are outlined just a couple of examples of how to change learned habits of behaviour and react in different, more positive, ways:

  • when someone is angry with you, don’t retaliate because you will simply be fanning the flames of their ire. (I had to learn this skill pretty quickly as a high school teacher. At the start of my career, I took part in a couple of quite ridiculous in retrospect shouting matches with pupils. My goodness, the flames of anger must have been reaching out of the top of the building! But I was presented with this opportunity many times to change my ways of reacting to pupil challenges. And each time I learned how to behave more positively, more lovingly. Teaching isn’t all lovely children and fun, although it is that too. To really appreciate the good times, we need to learn through the challenging ones. So, to get back to the issue of anger, quite often if you are quiet and say nothing, this can extinguish the flames! It is really difficult to do this at first, but you eventually reach the stage where you immediately see this challenge as a test. How will you react? If you can do this, it is a major spiritual step forward in my view. If you have a mantra, repeat it over and over inwardly. When the person’s ire has burnt out sufficiently, then you can talk to them quietly, reassuringly. They don’t need to hear harsh words; they don’t need to hear how stupid they’ve been; any kind words and acts you can offer them at this stage will sow a seed in their consciousness. Hopefully, they will think twice about igniting their rage in the future!
  • when you feel rushed for time and feel as if you don’t have enough minutes in a day, do an activities audit. I PROMISE YOU THIS WORKS! Write down all the activities you do in a day/week such as taking the kids to dance class or play dates 3 times a week, doing the weekly cryptic crossword in the weekend newspaper for 2 hours, watching 4 hours of tv a night. Which of these activities are really essential to your life and which can you simply let go? Learn to let them go and you will feel more at peace, more relaxed. The challenge of time pressure was created by you and you can change it.
“The only reason for time is that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
– Albert Einstein

Sentinels

 Pure white sands and turquoise blue waters
frame the Sentinels’ view
tall and strong they stand
these robust endeavours of the faithful.
💦
A harsh land this where no tree
survives, peat bogs their only terrain.
The Stones have seen lives born
and torn apart by strife
lovers entwined in their shadows
widows mourning in sorrow.
💦
The blueprint of the past lies
embedded in their skin
an energetic imprint for future kin.
💦
They feel cold to the touch, like ice
but a fiery heart lies within
a gift from the ancestors
our eternal protectors
sheltering us from the wild Atlantic winds.
💦
Callanish standing stones

This poem was inspired by the Prehistoric Standing Stones at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis (Scotland), shown above. For me, they symbolise the steadfastness and resilience of those who laboured to erect them. This Midsummer they remind us to stand firm to our beliefs, show resilience and keep on keeping on.

This poem is taken from Soul Murmurs, available online from July 26th 2019.  You can read more about it here.

Offerings of devotion

“A leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, offered to me in devotion, I will accept as the loving gift of a dedicated heart.” 

These loving words were spoken by Lord Krishna to his devotee Arjuna in Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu Bible if you like).  It was written centuries before the Christian Bible, and at a time of higher spiritual attunement to God.  The sentiments are clear:  if a person is sincerely seeking God, determinedly trying to be a better person each day, meditating regularly and deeply, this person need not offer gifts of material wealth to God. Rather, seekers are encouraged to offer up everything they think, do, say, eat, drink, see, touch and so on, even and especially the smallest thing, so that we realise that it is God Himself that is behind everything.

Have a great weekend everyone.

The Moon Rabbit

In today’s post, I want to talk about charity, selflessness, kindness to others. I always feel that January lends itself to charitable deeds, and many people take up challenges such as Veganuary, or Dry January for example, often asking friends and family to sponsor them financially for their chosen charity. So I thought I’d give us all a little prompt to do our own self-audit of how charitable we’ve been this month. First here’s a tale which embodies the qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness to the max!:

In the Buddhist Jataka tales (Tale 316),[2] a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon, believing that a demonstration of great virtue would earn them great spiritual reward. They came across an old man begging for food and decided that giving him food would be a good way to practice charity.

First, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and gave them to the old man. Next, the otter caught some fish and presented it to the beggar. Meanwhile, the jackal caught a lizard and stole a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit knew only how to gather grass. Did humans eat grass? it wondered. Then it remembered that they did eat rabbit meat, so it offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire that the old beggar had built.

But the fire did not burn the rabbit! The old man revealed himself to be Śakra, ruler of the Gods. He was touched by the rabbit’s selflessness and virtue, and drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon. In this way, all would see it and remember the rabbit’s kindness.

It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire. The legend is popular and part of local folklore throughout Asia (in China, Japan, India, Korea, Sri Lanka and so on).

So how can we use this tale to do our self-audit? How can we endeavour to embody these qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness? We don’t have to literally give ourselves, but couldn’t we all give of ourselves to help others? How have you measured up this month? Is your first thought in the morning to check your social media for likes, or to call your mother to say good morning? When someone has admired something you are wearing or a treasured possession, have you felt puffed up with pride, or did you feel even a little impulse to offer it to them as a gift? If you won a Christmas hamper, did you keep it all to yourself or did you share it with friends and family (or neighbours, local community groups?). Don’t be hard on yourself, for that is a form of unkindness. Simply use your experiences as a starting point for improvement. You’re on the road to a new, kinder, happier you. Enjoy the journey, and remember to look up into the night sky every so often and think of the kindness of the rabbit!

Much love, Anita.