Mountain Climbing.

I recently climbed a mountain; well it was actually more of a hill although I have climbed some other mountains fairly recently. Whilst it was a physical hill that I have just climbed, the mountains that I have enjoyed scaling in the last few months have not been physical but spiritual. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to get into some mountaineering, spiritual mountains!

Mountain climbing of any kind can seem daunting and hard work and at first it can seem that you are not really getting anywhere despite some effort to make a start. It may seem to be unfamiliar territory and you can feel out of your comfort zone where nothing quite fits. It can also be rather lonely. There are always plenty of people drifting around the lower slopes with lots to say but few have actually climbed this particular mountain. They will have lots of advice about the risks of going off-piste, and the possible falls into danger and they will tell you about others who have failed. But those who have heard the inward call of the mountain will press through the voices of restraint and caution because they have heard something within that will always call them onwards and ever higher. They know not to be content with anything less than experiencing first-hand the very best views of God and not relying on hearsay. Such people are beginning to realise that there has to be more than what they have been told to believe.

You will always know when it is the right time to start climbing. You just have to listen to the desire within and soon you will begin to hear stories of others who have pressed through to discover something much more amazing. You may be surprised to unexpectedly meet someone who has just done some mountain climbing or read of someone who feeds that internal hunger for something more. These events will come just at the right time will encourage you and spur you on to search for greater heights. Always listen to the draw of the Eternal Spirit within you to welcome you on to discover new frontiers. Follow the signs that will appear when you need them and don’t blunder your way up trying to take short cuts. You will soon discover the paths of those pioneers who have gone before and you will learn to allow such people to advise you of the way. Above all, remain humble. 

At first there is not much to see and so you keep walking because you know you have to. You will need to break through some barriers that you or others have erected around you. You will know that you need to be obedient to the call of the mountain. After a time, you will catch an odd glimpse of a stunning view and a different perspective will appear of what was familiar territory when you were on the lower slopes. This will bring you a joy within. You may meet some people coming back down who have not made the summit and they will discourage you from going further. They will say that what you are now seeing is all there is, there is nothing better, nothing more to experience. You need to put their criticisms behind you, listen to your inward call and press on up the mountain of God.

And so, hour by hour, day by day, the views become even better and even more spectacular than you imagined. You will meet the occasional traveller with whom you can walk for a time and share experiences and you will learn from one another if you have a seeking heart.  Soon you are finding that you are walking where few have walked before as you discover new heights of God. Every so often you will stop at some new scene that takes your breath away and you find little clusters of people who have also discovered these new views and new perspectives. Here are one and twos who have also pressed through the familiar and walked into the unknown to discover the new sights and glories awaiting them. Here are others who have also heard the inward call and discovered the heights of God and are revelling in this new found space and largeness of their world. They too will be celebrating this new found freedom, this glorious broad open space of living as one with the mountain. Suddenly you will know that this is what you were created for and who you are supposed to be. Despite years of wandering the foothills, which can be good, you will understand that this view of God is what all are supposed to inherit. That was certainly true for me. 

You don’t have to start with a mountain, just a small hill may be your starting place but even that will give you a new understanding of yourself and a new perspective of God and this world. Just follow the urge within and press on into uncharted territory and keep off the beaten track. You will discover that the lessons you will learn on this climb somehow improve the view at the end. Soon you will discover for yourself, wide open places that are filled with silence and you will realise they are filled with God. You will discover that everywhere you look is resonating with the presence of Eternal Love. And when you have climbed your first hill you will be excited about climbing a little higher next time and discovering something even more beautiful and incredible that goes way beyond what you may have been told to expect. Then, suddenly you will know that now is the time to climb the next mountain. You will follow the inward urge and unexpectedly discover signs put there for you to follow when the path gets a little faint. You will be joining an increasing number of people who have stepped off the familiar and into the unknown and discovered what could not be imagined nor is it easy to explain if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. You will have discovered something about God that although new to you is actually ever old. The mountains of God that I have climbed in the very recent years have been life changing and stunning and I know there is more to climb!

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A Volcanic Silence!

Lockdown has arrived again and maybe that gives some of you more time on your hands. Here is something that I have discovered about making time for stillness.

I think that sitting in divine silence and stillness can be described as volcanic! In fact I remember someone once described such stillness as a thunderous silence. Intrigued? Okay, so this is not perhaps what you thought Contemplation was all about but let me tell you what I have discovered.

When I settle myself and choose to sit in stillness of mind and thought, it can often be marked by silence and inactivity which is what we probably are led to expect. Such times of silence have become very important and essential to me.  However, there are also times when such moments of quiet explode into a thunderous silence of spirit to spirit encounter and divine life flows out unchecked from deep within me. You can see now why I describe these times of silence and sudden eruption of spirit activity as a volcanic silence.

In these moments of divine activity, it is like there is living lava flowing up from deep within which erupts into my life creating new shapes and new ground on which to build. Yes, it may destroy many of the old structures that I have become familiar with and perhaps relied on for too long. It can be a hazardous experience living around volcanoes and I have to be willing to let the life of Simon to be snuffed out.

Did you know that volcanic lava and ash, in the right environment, can turn into rich soil full of useful and essential nutrients? It often becomes an ideal base for the rapid growth of new vegetation and its accompanying fruit. Yes, it is true that such a process can take anything from a few years to sometimes a few hundred years, but apparently it depends on the rainfall and the local environment. Eventually, this lava, thrown up in apparent destruction of the old, becomes some of the lushest and rich soil on the planet. I have found that how I invest my time and desires directly affects the speed of any real lasting growth in my life.

It is the times of silence and no activity that create the right environment for the new growth when it comes. It is in these moments of dying to my own self that I create a healthy condition for unexpected growth of the unseen within. Just like a volcano, I can never predict when those moments may come or how long they will last because they are out of my control. The only thing in my control is how often I give myself to silence and stillness. It is in such moments of silent thunder, when I am leaning into the threshold of the invisible, that real life, eternal life, erupts from within and comes to stay and grow. Such times are wonderfully described by Marguerite Porete, a 12C mystic.

Such a Soul often hears what she hears not.

And often sees what she sees not,

And so often she is there where she is not,

And so often she feels what she feels not.

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In Your Fullness.

It was one Saturday evening when I heard the words within me saying “In your fullness I am released.” Knowing that this was Spirit speaking within and knowing these words were significant for me, I was unsure how to interpret them. I thus waited until their meaning became clear but nonetheless I was still turning them over in my mind that night and early the next morning. During this time of meditating on them I kept thanking God that in his fullness I am complete and so released but I knew I had not got the full import of these words.

The next morning, a Sunday, I went for my usual meditative walk and within no time I realised that I was seeing these words the wrong way around. It is in my fullness that God is released! I immediately knew that this was the message that I was supposed to have heard from those words. Oh the joy that filled my heart and as I walked on and I rejoiced that God is waiting to be released in this world when I finally understand that I am the fullness of God!  When I become aware or conscious of my I AMness then I can only conclude with the truth that I am Christ in this world. This is the message that God has been waiting for mankind to understand and this releasing message can be traced down through the centuries by the faithful men and women of various cultures and religions who have experienced their oneness with God just as Jesus and others told of it.

Only a few mornings before, I had written the following words. “I am more precious than heaven and earth. I am a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord. The fullness of the Universe is within me and I am chosen and greatly loved. This is all for the expression of the mystery of the Unknown on earth, the revelation of Eternal Love and to demonstrate the power and influence that is ours. And so I die daily so that God can become me.

While I sensed the truth of those words in that early morning, after a busy few days I had soon forgotten them until I began to write this account and finally saw how important is the message that God wants to break into this world with. This message is a wonderful truth of liberation for both us and also for this world. I came alive again that morning with the truth of who I am when I choose to live from the fullness of the Father’s house and when I live out from my true identity. Just as in that story of the Prodigal and the Elder son, the Father is saying to all humanity, “Son, (daughter), you are always with me and everything that I have is yours”! This is what it means to live in the fullness that is mine! The whole of the Fathers house is mine but I have to learn to live from the conscious awareness of this. To do this, I first need to surrender any understanding I may have of this truth before I can encounter the reality of actually living consciously from the Fathers house. Of course, the Fathers house is you and me! Oh, we know this by intellect and by teaching but the urgent need is to increasingly live from the reality of this truth. This is the mystery of the Unknowable, in that the Eternal Spirit of the Universe chooses to dwell in each atom and delights to be found in all things physical. Something that is easy to see once we have the eyes to see it!  The wonder of incarnation is that God chooses to incarnate everything physical and so every human being. God is not just a form; he is embodied in all forms. However, you can never learn this; it can only be experienced and is something that we gradually awaken to. We just have to learn to become conscious of that presence which has nothing to do with any particular religion, creed or form of words. When we have discovered that reality we then experience the truth that when we say “I am the Lords”, we are actually saying, “I am the Lord!” God and I only have one body between us! In all of eternity, God and I have only and always been one. When I use the word “I” I do not mean the many identities that have become Simon, but I am referring to the uncreated “I” that is the true self.  Jesus understood this so clearly and regularly taught his hearers the truth of his oneness with God and went on to pray that they would also live from that reality. Jesus, and therefore I, can also live from continuous divine encounter that confirms this truth within – I am Christ, the revelation of God, the incarnation of God, the expression of God because I am the life of God. Joseph Murphy said, “When I say ‘I AM’, I am releasing the fullness of God within me.”

I realise that many of you will find the idea of being Christ strange and uneasy. However, for those who have travelled the journey of inner mystical discovery through responding to the call within will also have found a reality that is beyond every religious form. It is the result of opening the heart to a Divine Presence that results in an inner experience of consciousness to the ever loving Spirit of the Universe. It is a call of resting, of peace and the mystery of an inner knowing of the Unknowable. It is surrender to a light that is discovered within and which teaches but not through intellect or the mind. It leads to loving yourself exempt from the ego and to loving God through all things and your neighbour, whoever they may be, without hesitation. It also leads you to a place of resting in being Christ but this is something that can offend the mind until it seen.

That same Sunday morning I read the following:-

This renewed understanding of contemplation emphasises the participatory nature and mutuality of spirit and mind and the integral necessity of divine-human cooperation in the building of a new Earth. It recognises humanity’s essential ontological function: we are beings who co-create the world. Our capacity to co-create may, in fact, be our fundamental anthropological imperative. This view of divine-human symbiosis is not alien to the world’s religions, it is captured in numerous scriptures and sacred texts, such as the Hebrew phrase, ‘tikkun olam’, which indicates human responsibility in healing the world. (The Monk Within. Embracing a Sacred Way of Life by Beverly Lanzetta). 

You see, nothing is as important as the concept we hold of ourselves. The normal church taught concept of who we are has sold us short and more importantly sold God short. Such concepts hinder or free us from who we are and I have found that my inner world will always be reflected in my outer living. It is very releasing and freeing, for I am learning through my times of silence and fusion with God to live differently. I am learning to live from the reality of my union with God and the awareness of my divinity along with the consciousness of my Christness. Then I find I am beginning to see, hear and speak out of this trinity and thus, within my realm of influence, I can create the world that I desire which I believe is also what God desires. What separates me from this happening is my lack of consciousness or moment by moment awareness of my oneness. In this place of conscious union, I know with an inner knowing that everything in the Universe is within me and all I have to do is ask from within myself and live as though all is done. I have discovered that all I desire can be found within me because of that union and oneness. However, when I search too hard it can never be found. I have to let it reveal itself through my desires until I become conscious of its truth.

I am learning to desire the pure consciousness that is present in everyone who is the Son of God and it is that which I live and see from. This is the pearl of great price but it requires my life. It is no different to how I am learning to love Elizabeth. It is about giving up my rights, my preferences, my likes and dislikes and my certainties. Living from this place of pure consciousness is finally noticing that I no longer take offence when I am offended and I no longer need to look for approval, or to work hard to convince God of my righteousness, nor do I have the need to be liked so as to feel good about myself. I feel good about myself purely in the deep inner feeling that I am the beloved, chosen son of God. This is living in the awareness of who I am; I AM! Like Antony De Mello said, “I can’t imitate Christ by imitating his external behaviour. I have got to be Christ! This can only be discovered and can never be explained or understood by religion or intellect.

This is the Good News this world needs and which can change the way people live and speak about one another. God is released into this world when we have found the joy of living in the fullness of our birthright and our true identity!

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What will change?

I have had a number of conversations with people in recent days and almost all have asked me whether I think anything will change after this crisis is over. The way that the question is phrased left me to conclude that all of these people wish some things were different.

My reply to each of them has been to ask “So, what you like to be different.” Their answers were interesting and varied and included wanting a better work life balance to reducing our dependence on China for so much. Another said that he was going to buy less from supermarkets and use local shops, while a fourth hoped that working on Sundays would cease so that we all had one less day of commercialism. My next question to them was, “What are you going to do differently to make that happen” followed by, “And who will you ask to ensure you keep to that change?”

I do want to remain conscious and sensitive to those who have already lost dear ones to Corona-virus and I have been in conversation with such people. I also am aware of those who have lost most of their business contracts but this unusual time could become a significant and once in a lifetime opportunity to re-zero our lives. A time to instigate a factory reset so we genuinely live more wholesome caring lives. Many people’s first response is to expect the Government to start doing things differently but that can just be a way of abdicating our own responsibility to make the world a better place. Of course, it is not that we don’t want to live more caring wholesome lives, but rather we seem to get carried along by the deceits of success and reputation. Soon we are unknowingly pursuing our own agendas at the expense of our health, well-being and general peace and inner joy at being alive on this beautiful generous planet.

One of my hopes for a change in this world is that people learn to become less afraid and scared of death. Some people seem to go to all possible lengths and costs to prevent and put off that day for as long as they can. Others live in daily fear of cancer while many of us simply refuse to consider the prospect of dying. Yes, I know that unlike you, I do not have my own children that I desire to watch grow up but I am learning to live at one with all of life and with the Great Unseen and with all of nature. My encounters with this Great Unseen suggest to me that there is so much more than this physical life. Surely what follows this life will just be another exciting abundant reality and I really do not mind when that time comes about. There is something much more profound and precious within all of us than the self-made image that we surround ourselves with. It seems to me that there is nothing as sad as seeing someone trying to cling on and discover immortality through all manner of physical means. I know of people who say that they now regard their cancer as being a gift to them for it has taught them to value both life and death. That is amazing but not surprising to me.

So, my encouragement to you and all who I meet is for each of us to determine to pursue what we may have recently discovered is of worth in our lives. Then we need to share that with a trustworthy friend and when this crisis is over to ask that person to continually remind us of our new aims. Then, we could just find that not only are we living ‘well’ but so also is our neighbour and their neighbour and suddenly much good will have come out of this current lockdown. Remember, the change you and I want to see in this world has to start with you and me! Someone much more important than me said that but I have forgotten who!

To conclude, I am reminded of some friends who joined me on walking the Camino De Santiago some years ago. As a result of that pilgrimage, their walk became a journey of self-discovery which resulted in them choosing to make a complete change towards simplicity in their life circumstances that continues to this day.

Stay well, be at peace and may you be true to that inner call of reality.

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Greetings!

Greetings Dear Friends,

It was Christmas when I last wrote and so I thought I would write to say hello in these unusual and strange times. Elizabeth and I are blessed by living in the country and so are not disrupted by some of the changes that may have affected you. Apparently farmers are now ‘key workers’! For a moment or two after I first heard that description I felt quite important. Don’t worry, it did not last long!

These are certainly unique times in which we live in and especially for those who have sadly already lost loved ones to the virus. It is also unique for all the Health workers who are serving us so wonderfully as well as those in Government who are doing the best that they know how. I bless them all with wisdom, patience and protection.

Yet, we are also living in unique times for family and community. I have so enjoyed seeing sons out with their dads and whole families out walking or bike riding together. The tales of neighbour helping neighbour and other selfless acts of care have been wonderful and affirm the goodness in the hearts of all humanity.

It is also a unique time in that many of us have the time to learn to deeply engage with God for ourselves. Church gatherings have been banned and suddenly many of us are less busy and active. This is a unique chance to learn to daily sit in stillness and silence and to be able to feel the deep loving conscious presence of God rise within us like water covering a hungry land. Over the last few years, such practice has become for me a daily joy that is more precious than any other activity I have engaged in however good that activity may have been. Only when we learn to still our minds do we finally learn about how we see ourselves, our enemies, our neighbours or God. Such times become more instructive and life changing than any other activity. It is also in such times that we learn to hear the beautiful whisper of God within ourselves assuring us of his love while gently instructing us. This should be normal living and was why the Psalmist could say “Be still and KNOW!” Let me share something personal that happened to me a couple of months ago.

One morning as I was about to sit in my chair for my usual time of silence I sensed that I had to remain standing. As I was obedient to the vague thought, I soon felt that I was standing before God both naked and unashamed. I had the sense that this was because of my daily moments of stillness and silence. I then knew that such a practice has eventually lead to the disrobing of myself from all the things I have covered myself in over the years. It maybe reputation, career, family, church position, ego or pride in an achievement. (Without doubt, there is even more disrobing to do!) I have found that the inner world I live with is far more dangerous than the outer world that religion loves to warn us about. It is this inner world that keeps the consciousness of Loves arms from surrounding me every moment of the day. I also realised that as I slowly reveal my nakedness in the presence of such unrelenting Love, I finally am able to stand unashamed of anything in my past or about me. It suddenly dawned on me that I am in fact fully known as I begin to fully know this Love. Such nakedness also seemed to release a humility so that I can fully love myself as I am meant to.

As I unashamedly stood there, I realised that the result of this stillness and silence I have deliberately pursued has not only been my undoing and revealing but now I sensed something else. It was that my nakedness was being clothed with wonderful robes and garments of great beauty and worth! Thus I began to believe in who I actually am, the real I, the God chosen I, the Beloved I; a place of incredible Presence. This is the place of I AM that Jesus talked of. I realised that in this moment I AM life, grace, truth, wisdom, love and so much more and I will be all of the time that I am living in consciousness of this moment.

As I finally sat down in my chair, I realised how stillness and silence had become a transforming encounter over the years. This was despite the many days when it seemed nothing was happening. Thus my experience of God is transformed, my understanding of myself is transformed and my view of this world is transformed as I learn to live from I AM. You see, we can only experience God by love and loving and never by thought or knowledge of him because God can only be related to. Neither can he be owned or grasped by thought or knowledge but only by encounter. Paul talks in 1 Cor 2:13 about knowing spiritual things in a spiritual way yet most of our recent Christendom has rejected or not even known about this beautiful access point to God of the mystic, poet or saint through meditation and stillness. Maybe that has been generally true until now but it could all change from this time onward!

May you stay well but most of all may you find a new closeness that is God within you, transforming you, becoming you and you becoming Christ on earth.

With much love,

Simon.

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Christmas 2019

Dear Friends,

You have not heard from me for some months following the sense that I should cease writing my blog for a time.  However, I thought that at this year end I should give you a brief update including news of some of the personal things we have done this year. I have so valued those of you who have read my blog month after month and so this update is to acknowledge that.

It was lovely to start the year with rather a splash when I celebrated my 60th Birthday. Yes, I know,  60! I was as surprised as you are! We invited all our family including nephews and nieces to a hotel and that Saturday was the snowiest of the year. All our guests made it through the snow which gave a beautiful backdrop to the grounds of the hotel. It was lovely to see all the family together, chatting and renewing contact and some even meeting new additions for the first time.

It has been a fulfilling year in many respects and while I have not done any serious long distance walks this year we have had some very beneficial breaks to the South West and one to Cumbria. We so enjoy the UK with its variety and the ease in which we can arrive at a lovely relaxing cottage in a short time and totally unwind. I did finish walking the South Downs Way over 3 days in April and my sister Jane joined me who was great company. Consequently I stayed in rather better accommodation than when on my own!

Elizabeth has been very busy with refurbishing two of our let cottages which became available this autumn and this has taken a lot of time, energy and skill although she has had decorators and a carpenter doing the actual refurb! The other main event this year was the planting of Penn Crofts own vineyard which we have done in association with another person. For details of this new initiative do have a look at  http://www.itascawines.com if you are at all interested. This also involved me attending Plumpton College in Sussex to do a week long intensive wine making course. Most of the teaching was over my head but I did manage to scrape by with a 50% pass mark! The erection of a winery starts in this coming New Year.

I continue with my community involvement each week by visiting a local dementia care home on a Tuesday afternoon and also Sandy Hill Estate on a Wednesday morning. It is very rewarding to see individuals, families and communities change through showing love and acceptance and to see their fear and anxiety reduce significantly. My diary also keeps quite full with appointments from all sorts of people who want to meet and share their journey or learn from mine. I particularly enjoy meeting people from a different tradition to mine and learning from them.

Our walk with God has also changed but we are discovering something very special and quite new. God has become much bigger than we once thought and is found in everything around us. For me, becoming conscious to that continual presence has been a move from knowledge to a very profound knowing. Such change always seems to be as a result of letting go of our certainties, embracing surrender and living with humility. It would be true to say that the recent weeks have been the most formative in my whole life as God has spoken time after time. Never have I filled a journal so quickly while also seeing those spiritual lessons affecting my every moment. Perhaps the greatest change is finding that I am living from a place of rest in that Divine Presence that fills all things and that the whole of life and every created thing is sacred. The following quote from a saint who lived hundreds of years ago reflects my recent encounters of God. O Friend, You made me lovingly, put me in a dress of skin and blood. then planted deep inside me a seed from your heart . You turned the whole world into a sanctuary where you are the only One. I have added below a recent piece of writing that came tumbling out of my hand that reflects my journey with God.

And finally, Last month I was allowed to revisit my youth when I was given a Birthday gift of a days training in a fully equipped rally car in the Welsh forests. The young boy came to the surface again and a very enjoyable day was had resulting in taking the fastest time of the whole group. Some young thrusting males looked rather crestfallen at being beaten by a 60 year old!

So, may you and your family know great joy over this Christmas season and may the New Year be one of wonderful new encounter with this Divine Presence who fills all in all.

With much love,

Simon and Elizabeth

When I rest in You:-

Silence becomes transforming,

Darkness becomes light,

Confusion becomes order,

Stillness becomes powerful,

Unseeing becomes seeing,

Knowledge becomes knowing,

Unreality becomes reality,

Thoughts become truth,

Intolerance becomes love,

Duality becomes synchronicity,

Dreams become a gift,

My enemy becomes a friend,

Self becomes humility,

Certainty becomes faith.

All things become sacred,

Without becomes within,

Humanity becomes Divinity.

May I be:-

Filled with your presence,

Ablaze with your glory,

Impacted with your grace,

A practitioner of your love.

Overwhelmed with mercy,

Filled with your wisdom.

May I:-

Expunge all darkness with your light,

Practise your creativity,

Express your gentleness,

Love unconditionally,

Manifest spiritual truth,

Bring my future into the now.

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A Selah

Dear Friends,

A week ago I had  a new blog already to send out but last Sunday I felt a distinct check from that inner voice not to send it. A week later I am clear that I am supposed to stop writing blogs for the time being. Let me assure you, it is not for having nothing to write! In fact, in the last few months I have not plumbed such depths of God or newly seen such hidden truths. It has been amazing, beautiful and rewarding and my current daily journal is filling fast!

However, only this week I sensed God saying that for me the current season is to die and I will be in a time of dormancy ready for a whole new season to spring forth at the right time. I am convinced that ceasing writing is part of that dormancy. I love sitting down at my computer and writing my discoveries of God but in the last two weeks the desire to do that has been strangely missing. It is a peculiar feeling but I know this is what I must do. Equally, I feel sure that a new and significant shift in my union with God is coming.

Thank you to those of you have obviously been reading my regular blogs and responding to me. Let me say that if any of you want to write to me and share or discuss your own fresh discoveries of God then please do write using my  penncroftcottage@gmail.com email account.

May your desire for the Beloved lead you ever deeper. May you all know God beyond any previous encounter. May your love for all of humanity and this world spring out of ever deeper union with the Eternal Spirit who inhabits us all. Be at peace.

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The Wonder of the Acorn.

Recently while out walking I found my first acorn of the season which had been blown off a tree during the night. As I looked at it I knew that there was a message to be learnt from its beauty. The bright green perfectly smooth acorn was sitting in a grey green cup that was roughly textured and the stalk that previously attached it to a tree came out of the cup at an angle. It was amazing, simple and beautiful!

This acorn seemed to be a symbol of the fact that the Great Spirit of the Universe seek to incarnate themselves into all of humanity, nature and life. The Eternal Seed of creativity and love is in the acorn and in everything we see because that is the eternal purpose of the one we call God. God’s heart and intention is to be discovered in all of life. God is constantly incarnated into everything for incarnation is the purpose of God and always has been. Incarnation means that the supernatural is embedded deep within the natural. This is the reason the universe came into being. If God in the form of Christ did not hide themselves in each form of life then there would be no life and if this loving triune Spirit stopped their incarnation into life then life on earth would cease!

This acorn was an example of the creativity of life and the beauty of nature. A tiny little insignificant seed with the capacity to grow into a huge tree over the next 300 years! Just stop and think about that. The seeming perfection of this acorn, this small instrument of life, also has the potential of feeding and maintaining other life and whether it grows into a tree or is eaten by a creature it will be required to die for life to be resurrected in another. It tells me that the earth is as it is because of the goodness of the Christ filling all space and every atom. If the Christ ceased to exist the whole earth would collapse in an instant. All laws like gravity would cease, atoms would fly off in all directions causing objects and people to explode. This presence of the Christ is the ‘rest of God’ that is not about God doing nothing but rather it is describing the ongoing activity of the divine Spirit or constant reality that is infinite and changeless while wholly loving.

Jesus was a man who was filled with the Christ so as to demonstrate this truth. The Christ is the presence of the divine in every living thing. God as Christ fully incarnate in a man is also incarnated in all of nature. Some of you will know that the certainty of Christ filling all things around me has become very real to me of late. Only this morning I felt it with a surprising intensity as I walked and the same intensity was confirming my present similar oneness with Divinity. It was an amazing mystical experience that carried huge authority within me.

So, Jesus was the sublime demonstration of Gods incarnation into all of humanity through his birth, life, death and resurrection. The work of Jesus was not to save us from some corrupted nature of ours but to restore us to our true nature and to bring us back into relationship and union with the deepest sound and most profound presence within all creation. The life of Jesus teaches us that firstly this perfect Spirit of the Universe is wholly love and perfection and secondly, that we only think we are separated from this Holy One. The truth is that no one and nothing in this world is separate from the incarnating presence of God! Caryll Houselander says “Christ lived our life so that we are offered the glory of living his life.” Therefore, as Jesus incarnated the Christ, so can we. We are to incarnate perfect love into this world.

The acorn even when disconnected from its tree that was supplying life to it, still has life within it! Just plant one and see what happens! This is true for all of us. Even if we seem to be disconnected from the Author of Life by our own choices or other people’s decisions, we still carry that divine life within because God chooses to incarnate themselves into all of life. However, it does require some dying of self for that life to be manifested. I am afraid that you just can’t get around that one!

I know from some people who I visit regularly of their surprise at finding that divine life within them appearing unexpectedly and unmerited. Sadly for these persons it is has been near the end of their earthly life before they have discovered this treasure within but they speak to me of the complete assurance of knowing that presence within. Only last week one lady said, “I can’t explain it but I am so sure of it. I know he is always with me.” I believe that once you open yourself to a mystical encounter of the Divine that it will not be long before you find Christ in you, around you and in all people.

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Immanence (Indwelling)

If I have learnt anything over recent months it is to revel in the incredible immanence of Divinity in all things. I believe that this is the natural outcome of a continuing immersion into God and such activity will bring a new consciousness to all who practice it. Finding God in all things around and in everyone is a wonderful place to live from and will enable us to be active in our community with great grace and forgiveness.

I have written before of the sense of God pressing into me from flowers, animals and views. Apparently some have questioned if I have become a Buddhist! Well, I am ok with that because God goes beyond names and tribes and if such things are still important to us then perhaps we need to encounter some more of God for ourselves!

Recently while walking in Cumbria I asked myself why the hills seemed so full of the immanence of God. It was as though God was reaching out to me from the hills themselves. It was not long before I remembered how the Psalmist could say ‘I will lift my eyes to the hills from where my help comes’. I believe that the Psalmist  was also finding God present within the actual hills as he walked through them. Another time he says, ‘I can never escape from your Spirit, I can never get away from your presence‘. This is the exact sense that I have enjoyed for myself more and more recently.  And so every tree and flower that I passed seemed to wave and nod in agreement as Christ within it was acknowledging the presence of Christ within me. I am beginning to see even more profoundly how this whole world is sacred and filled with God. I am sure that this is what the writer of Romans 1:20 had also experienced. He/she did not write that verse because it was good theology which they had been taught by somebody else. No, they wrote it out of their own deep personal encounter of God found in all of nature.

A few mornings ago I sensed the words ‘Behold the Christ’ and for a couple of days as I walked and worked I chose to see Christ in all I saw. Then, a few days later I sensed the words changing to ‘Here is The Lord!’ Again, as I walked and worked I sensed the immanence that ‘The Lord’ was here and here and here! And here and here and here! And here and here! Here in my wife, my marriage, my breakfast, my food (which is why Jesus took bread). Here in the view from my window or the massive variety of grasses and flowers as I walked through the fields. Here in the air that I breathe and in the sunshine and the clouds in their splendour above me. Here, here and here is the eternal flow of divinity pressing into me all the time that I choose to learn to be conscious of God’s presence. Certainly Christ is found in every shape, colour, variety and type.

But even more challenging and exciting for me is the sense of Christ being in all the people around me. Christ is here in my friend, my neighbour, my work colleague and those I formerly may have disapproved of and even here in my ‘enemy’ if I have one!  I recently was on a week long business course and as always, the other delegates were made up of every type of person. Some were fun and interesting and others maybe were not such fun characters. These were people that I would once have boxed in certain categories of approval, disapproval or somewhere in between. However, the challenge of ‘Here is the Lord’ was still with me and so I hopefully learnt to see Christ in them and so to love and accept them all much more readily.

Surely what I have described in finding God in everything is what the story of Adam and Eve tells us about. When walking with God in the Garden of Eden (life), God was found wherever they walked because they were conscious of his presence. This is all that God wants to return us to and we don’t have to wait for some future place after we die as it is meant to be experienced here and now.

For me, continuing the practice of times of silence has unlocked so much of my present consciousness to God. John Chryssavgis writes, ‘When words are abandoned, a new awareness of God arrives. Silence awakens us from the dullness of awareness and the dimness of vision. (In the Heart of the Desert. The spirituality of the Desert Mothers and Fathers). When I sit in the silence of God’s presence then his love begets love in me and his peace begets peace in me and his joy begets joy in me.  Also, his forgiveness begets forgiveness in me and his hope begets hope in me. Did you know that God is full of hope and expectation? I call the above process Cosmic resonance. It is when humans can draw from Gods personality traits simply by sitting in Gods presence. It is much better than Morphic resonance which is when humans draw from other humans and which is where things like bullying, bigotry, discrimination and antisemitism spring from.

So, why not begin to train your spirit to see the immanence of Christ in all of life around you. I promise that you will be constantly surprised and delighted at where you find God! Another amazing result is that you will grow in hope and optimism for this world. We surely need more people to have such faith.

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Oh the Flow!

Some of my favourite words are found in 2 Corinthians 13:13, and they say, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” They seem to sum up the whole experience of Trinity and our inclusion within them. These words seem to express the core values and indeed the whole reason of the existence that is God. They have always been important and attractive to me and slowly I am beginning to understand why. I guess it will take me years to even begin to understand why they are so profound and true. The truth of them can never be understood or learned, they can only be encountered and experienced.

Recently I was re-inspired with these words when I read a quote from Richard Rohr where he was talking about Trinity. He said, “Even more significant than the qualities of the individual members of the Trinity is the flow between them. At a Trinitarian level, God is a verb more than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than a deity sitting on a throne and we live naturally within that flow-if we do not resist it.

 These words from the writer of 2 Corinthians 13 can of only come out of his actual daily experience of living within that flow of Trinity! As he had actually experienced that flow within him I too am learning what that is like. Remember what Richard Rohr suggested; that the flow between Trinity is even more significant than the qualities of the individual members. This is what I believe I am discovering in my recent encounters with God. I keep seeing something like a jetstream of divine life flowing across the UK and all I have to do is become one with it.

This divine flow is liberating, releasing, joy filling, exciting, fulfilling, comforting and including and runs throughout all life around us. This flow is an eternal song that reverberates throughout the Universe. It is an eternal flow of divine love, submission, surrender and agreement between Father, Son and Spirit. It is a flowing song, a divine declaration of who they are and what this world will be. It is a powerful expression of the divine majesty that is found in each plant, flower, leaf and person. It is a divine refrain that is heard in every bird song; a creative melody that this earth originated from. It is the everlasting love song sung between lovers and the glorious song of victory that will overcome the darkness of the world produced from selfishness, ego and self-prominence. It is the on-going invitation for every man women and child to enter in and experience the joy and bliss of that divine relationship reserved for each one. It is the clarion call of the Gospel, the good news for all to come home to the place they belong within this wonderful divine flow. It is also a flow of vulnerability. God’s power comes through powerlessness and humility. God is actually much more all-vulnerable than almighty.

Whenever I am in the NOW presence of God then I am in the earshot and inclusion of that divine song of delight; that eternal song of grace, love and fellowship. This song is a three corded Ground of all Being that holds everything together. Oh the depths and riches and wonder of this eternal love song. This is the place of divine rest, indeed, it is ‘the Sabbath rest of God’, the environment of eternity on earth; this is the atmosphere of the house of God and the air of heaven that we breathe. It is a place of divine joy and laughter, a place of deep intimate union, a place of profound compassion and love. This place is all around us and within us. Why would I want to be conscious to anything else? In fact Jesus made it clear that this flow of divinity, grace and joy happens simply by believing that we are one with the Trinity as he was one with Trinity. His teaching on a vine and branches allowing the same life to flow is wonderful.

This wind of Spirit is a dance of love, a flow of grace, which creates a symphony of joy in this world. Just listen to the blackbirds song each morning and evening. Humanity is supposed to be part of this symphony of joy, this eternal flow of grace, this divine dance. All of us have at times stepped outside of this divine dance because we have convinced ourselves that we are better on our own. We have chosen independence rather than joining in the symphony of joy, the flow of divine life and the atmosphere of peace that streams through this world and universe. Once we have discovered this union with the divine flow of grace, then we have freedom to grow into the as yet undiscovered mysteries of the heavens and of this Trinity. However, we will need to learn to discover for ourselves the silence of eternity which can be found here on earth whenever we choose to sit in quiet and become conscious of divinity within. In that place we become re-clothed in our rightful mind, our strivings cease, everything becomes interpreted by love and it is where we discover ‘I Am’.

 

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                       As I sit in the river of God,                                                                                                                     There is a freshness that washes over me,                                                                                          That expands me and causes me to grow.

         Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I rest in the breeze of God,                                                                                                                There is a presence that washes over me,                                                                                           That refreshes me and causes me to grow.

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I lie in the oneness of God,                                                                                                               There is a sweetness that washes over me,                                                                                        That changes me and causes me to grow,

         Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I bask in the grace of God,                                                                                                               There is a hunger for God that washes over me,                                                                              That feeds me and causes me to grow.

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                        As I eat of the fruit of God,                                                                                                                   There is a dimension of God that washes over me,                                                                           That strengthens me and causes me to grow.

          Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                        Grace, love and eternal fellowship,                                                                                                     From Father, Christ and Spirit now,                                                                                                    That ever abides and causes me to grow.

 

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