“You go out yonder in them woods, and you sit yourself down on an old hickory stump and you be real quiet and take notice of everything around you, that’s where you find God,” my daddy said.
He paused, took a drink of his coffee. It ran over the side of his cup and pooled in the saucer, because he’d overfilled it with milk and yet, it was just about strong enough to make a spoon stand up.
He sat the cup back onto the saucer. “My momma always told me that when you’re lost in the woods, no matter where you are, you climb up on a stump or a big rock or something that lets you feel the wind, and you let it blow on you. You feel that wind ablowin’. If it’s a cold wind, don’t follow it, but if it’s a warm wind, you follow that one and it’ll lead you home.”
The Eternal Wisdom of Simple Folk
I guess I was about ten years old when Daddy told me that. I didn’t understand it then. I didn’t understand it for many years. Now, I understand it. I’m not sure he understood it or even his mother, but somebody, somewhere down our family tree knew what it meant. Somehow that knowledge got started.
The beautiful piece of wisdom handed down through my paternal grandmother’s family was that home isn’t a place where you stay. It’s a place where you feel warm and welcome, a place where you are. The cold wind in the saying refers to following a direction that isn’t meant for you and the warm wind represents the spiritual knowing that comes when you follow it.
Spiritual knowing isn’t something that can be taught with words alone. It must be realized and allowed.
Spiritual Knowing is Not Simply Mental Acknowledgement
The spiritual knowing isn’t something that can be taught. It can only be experienced. It can’t be told to you, and you can’t learn about it in a book. You just have to know it personally. There is no other way.
It is the great awakening and once your eyes are open and you have seen, you can’t unsee ever again. This world takes on a different look to you. Everything around you will change, because the way you see it has changed.
There is a way that is higher than the ways that prevail in our society, or for that matter, in any society that has existed throughout human history. This way is a higher, more virtuous way and the only way that goes with us beyond the grave. Truthfully, I believe it is the only way worth living. It is the Spirit Way.
The Spirit Way says that…
I am not my body. However, I do temporarily reside in one.
I am not my job. Still, I get up and go to work.
I am not somebody’s wife, mother, sister, grandmother or friend. Yet, I carry out these roles.
I am not an artist, writer or teacher. Nevertheless, I teach, I paint, and I write.
I am not my thoughts. I have thoughts, but I’m not my thoughts.
I’m not my emotions. I experience emotions but they are not who I am.
The Spirit Way says that…
I am loved. I am appreciated. I am valued. I am content. I am peace. I am abundant. I am spirit. I am life. I am light.
I am all of these and more because who I am, who you are, is an eternal energy being from another realm having a temporary physical experience in this finite realm that people call time, space and reality.
The Dead-End Way
But “reality” isn’t what’s real. It’s just a parenthesis in the expanse of forever, kind of like going into a pocket universe. Our reality is the small pocket in true reality.
The finite physical reality has its way. That way is based in fear and in the idea that there is lack. That way leads us to believe that we must constantly seek what we don’t have in order to be complete and know contentment. That way fosters competition, mistrust, hatred, wars, and destructions of all kinds. Eventually, it leads to a dead end and none of the physical things it accumulated, or impressions made upon others can go back into the spirit realm when we cross over.
The Spirit Way leads to Freedom
The Spirit Way, also known as the Way of Virtue, is the path to freedom. The freedom comes from knowing that nothing here is lasting and that we come from something much bigger and that we have a purpose that is beyond our temporary journey. So, we come here, to experience the physical realm.
When we transition into purely non-physical states of being, we take every important thing we picked up along this road with us. We carry all the love we gave and received the moment we cross over.
I’m remembering my dad when he was passing in and out of this reality and making his transition. On his death bed he was talking about love and how it’s the only thing that matters. The ONLY thing. That’s it. Love.
The Spirit Way is the Prerequisite to Miracles
I am a spiritual being having a physical experience and not a physical being having a spiritual experience. My existence in this world is contingent upon my spirit energy remaining in my body and animating it.
When we walk in the Spirit Way it may look strange or confusing to those who are alienated from the source of their existence or as the Bible puts it, to those who are afar off from God. In other words, they choose to do things based on the conventional wisdom of whatever age and culture they live in rather than on the timeless truth of the Spirit Way. They choose to be led by the finite understanding of fellow amnesiac travelers rather than being Spirit-led.
All of us are animated by energy and that energy is Spirit. The rules of the Spiritual Reality supersede the rules of the physical reality. This is the perquisite to the miraculous. The prophet Isaiah once said that God’s ways are as high above the ways of conventional wisdom as the heavens are above the earth. You can’t understand spirit things when your radio dial is set to only receive finite signals.
The Spirit Way and the manifestations it gives birth to are one and the same. As the Apostle Paul once said, we, “call those things that be not as though they were.” We understand that the world was “not made of things which do appear.”
I’m teaching about ships this week and guiding students in drawing them. Therefore, my mind is own ships and sailing.
Just as sailors never know exactly what they will encounter when they set out on the ocean, we don’t know what we will encounter in our lives here on earth.
When the winds are right, the sailing is smooth.
If a ship’s captain did not have a destination in mind, make decisions in moments of clarity and know how to interpret the elements or know how to use his/her navigational equipment, the outcome could be devastating.
Your Ship, Your Life
Ships depended on the winds and currents for sailing.
Imagine your life is a ship, one that depends on wind and sails.
The launching point is when you are born into this world and the docking point is when you leave it. Therefore, the time in between launching and docking is your journey.
There are other boats on the sea, other lives, but they’re not your boats. You are not meant to control their journeys or their destinations. You’re only responsibility is your boat.
Forces are things outside us like storms at sea.
As you sail on your journey there are environmental forces all around you, winds, waves, currents, sharks, whales, pirates, gales, hurricanes, rain, heat, and cold. You get the picture. These forces are outside of you. They are beyond your control. They will hit your ship at times.
You can’t do anything about the external environment around your ship. You can’t control the wind, the storms, the currents or the waves, but you can lay in your course, and you can hold true to your map and navigational instruments.
That part of your journey IS in your control. It’s the effort guided by intuitive inspiration. Remember, inspiration comes from the Latin word “inspirare” which means, breathed into.
Efforts are the things that are under your control. For example, on your boat, effort is how taut you hold the sail, whether you come about, or which side of the boat the sail is going to be on as you navigate the winds.
How we hold our rudders and stay our course is due to effort.
It’s up to you to hold the rudder a certain way so that both the currents and the winds affect your journey. It’s up to you to be attuned to the elements of the sea, signs and subtle changes.
A good sailor knows how to optimize the direction of the wind, the flow of the currents and the aspects of his/her boat and put these things together in a way that takes him or her where they want to go.
Favorable winds are God’s grace, and they can propel us forward if we are sensitive to them and their timing.
You can live your life divinely guided, inspired and with purpose.
Set the Destination with Clarity
What do I mean when I say purpose?
I mean living a life that propels you to becoming the highest version of yourself, a life that fills you with inner peace, contentment, and joy, that allows you to use your unique skills, talents, vision, and voice to impact the world around you in a positive way. For each person this will be different.
You have to decide what kind of person you want to be. What do you want your life to be about? Your guidance system? When you set your course, do it in moments of clarity. When there is confusion and turmoil, don’t lay in a course.
Old time sailors used to set their courses by the stars. If you don’t have a guiding star, a pole star, you will not be able to keep your course. You will be blown off every time the wind changes directions.
In life, it’s the same way. If you have no idea what your guidelines are, the kind of life you want to live, where your boundaries lie, or the kind of person you want to be, there’s a good chance that the winds are going to blow you all over the place and that pirates, thieves from other ships, are going to overrun your life, hijack you and take you places you never really wanted to go. Then one day you wake up in a holding cell on somebody else’s ship.
If You Don’t Set Your Intentions, Someone Else Will Call the Shots for Your Life
Stay the Course
Sometimes the sailing will be smooth and easy. The winds will be favorable, and the currents will carry you toward your destination. For every wind that blows and for every weather pattern and ocean current there is an optimal way to sail toward your destination.
There are other times when the wind will lay or else it’s blowing you in the wrong direction, away from where you want to go, away from who you want to be. You may even encounter a horrendous storm.
Your best bet at times like these may be to lower the sails and stay put until you are certain you’re moving in the way you want to ultimately go. Even a good wind, if it’s blowing in the wrong direction can take you off course. Sometimes, in our lives, in moments of enthusiasm or confusion, we follow every wind that blows and end up nowhere at all.
So, if the clarity is not there, wait it out. Just do the best you can with the understanding that you have. When you seek clarity, even if you’re standing still, you’re still moving in the right direction because you’re not going off course.
There will come times when new clarity comes to you and helps you make course adjustments and hone your direction. That’s fine. It’s okay to change course in the light of clearer understanding.
There will come times when other people may want you to make a quick decision that has a big impact on your life. If you’re not clear on it, if you don’t have peace about it, it’s okay to just wait. Remember, their boat is not your boat, and you are only responsible for your boat. Your purpose in life is not to make everyone else happy.
That’s an impossibility. Because happiness can only come from within and since you are an external force in their lives, you have no control over their ships and they have no control over yours, unless you surrender it. If you surrender your ship to invaders, even benevolent ones, you will never reach your destination and become the self-actualized version of yourself.
So, seek clarity and once you find it, plot your destination, set your intention, make adjustments in light of new clarity, stay the course and sail toward your purpose, your calling.