departing from Kissing The Limitless

OK, I’m up to the part of the book where I am required to do many different types of breathing exercises in many different types of ways – with candles, with water, with visualisations, with exercise.

And this is where T Thorn Coyle has lost me. There are 45 exercises in Kissing the Limitless. This is where I depart. I don’t in any way want to discredit Coyle’s work. She has a vast intellect, and her writing is a thing of beauty.

It’s just that for me, it’s so much easier to go to church every Sunday. I don’t need to do that exercise, then this one, then the next one, to experience the Divine.  All I do is go to church.

I walk the 15 minutes uphill to church for the 8:30am session. The minister talks about love, care, nurture, concern, life’s lessons, responsibility,  Jesus. We sing songs about Jesus. There is a prayer at the end of the service for all of the events and people locally and abroad where there are struggles and strife, and it’s done in a heartfelt way.  We meet afterwards for a social chat, so friendly and affirming. The walk home is all downhill.

I feel like I am better for it – bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind. That one hour service, once per week, gives me the energy and motivation to get through the week. It fills my cup. There are no elaborate rituals. It is incredibly liberating. I have handed control over to something higher and more powerful than me, there is no more wondering, pondering, or consternation  over the meaning of life. It’s as easy as breathing.

My husband says I’m being brainwashed.

I’m not that gullible. I am far too stubborn to be convinced of anything easily.  And he, more than anyone should know that! I was involved in the Hare Krsna movement when I was younger and never got brainwashed. I enjoyed it for what it was, and when it was time to move on, I moved on. The closest I have probably got to experiencing divinity was with the Hare Krsna’s. Their catch cry was “going back to Godhead”. I loved the premise of it, what I called ‘the stuff of life’ – good food, worship, song, and dance.

Lately I have been reflecting on everything I’ve done to lead to this space that I am now inhabiting. The few years I spent doing Hare Krsna, ten years studying and practicing Buddhism, study and practice in shamanism, anthroposophy, druidry, and hermetics. It was a winding path and these were the stepping stones. When I studied druidry I was required to select a Goddess to worship and I could not find one that resonated with me. I struggled with the visualisations. I felt like such a failure, and I didn’t pass the grade. When I was with the Hare Krsna’s I was roused on for using the wrong hand to serve food, and I never did the correct amount of chanting. I got too thin being a vegetarian. In Buddhism I never felt felt like I was  ‘one of them’. Within each tradition, I never felt comfortable with their rituals. It’s not them, it’s me. I have always had difficulty with ritual that doesn’t have any meaning for me – lighting this candle, saying this set of prescribed words, holding my hands just so, doing this particular type of craft to honour this part of the year,

Once again, I am reminded of the reading I received from Tina van Leuven in 2012, which I have referred to a number of times on this blog…

You are a mystic, inspired by inspiration from the Divine and bringing about transformation in the service of others. The invitation is to review your definition of service… and to allow yourself to tap into the Divine love within yourself, to let yourself be infused by this love from deep within you, let it nurture and sustain you, and then, only then, to serve others…
 
It is as if you have come into this life to heal and transform the disappointments from many incarnations of being of service to God (or rather the God program, the stories about God, rather than what you know the Truth of the Divine to be) and having cut yourself off from receiving Divine love. As if you have to give, give, give… and have somehow never been able to fully receive… which has the effect of building up (un)conscious resentment… towards God/Spirit/Source and anyone you have projected this onto.
 
And yet… as you allow yourself to receive the love from the Divine and let yourself be nurtured as you have nurtured others for aeons, you will be a living example to many to take care of their own connection to Source first and then take practical action in the world. Bringing awareness to the smallest details and finding the beauty within even the darkest places. What a gift…”

Now, I can’t say that I am a Christian. I don’t know if I will ever be able to say that. The anti-Christian programming of my childhood was very strong. My Indigenous grandfather blaming Christian missionaries for the dismantling of Culture. With tears rolling down his face, recalling the hardships of his life, and saying “How can there be a God?”

But this I know – I go to church, and there I am me. I am not: someone’s mother; someone’s spouse; or known for the work I do. When I told the other churchgoers that I have Indigenous heritage, they didn’t ask “what percentage are you?” like other whitefellas do. I have meaningful conversations with the people there, and I feel seen and heard.  I tell them what I am prepared to commit to and they tell me that it’s fine. I am honest with them and still they accept me. I don’t know if that is how things are at other churches, but that is how it is in this tiniest dot on the planet.

We struggle, we grow weary, we grow tired. We are exhausted, we are distressed, we despair. We give up, we fall down, we let go. We cry. We are empty, we grow calm, we are ready. We wait quietly.
 
A small, shy truth arrives. Arrives from without and within. Arrives and is born. Simple, steady, clear. Like a mirror, like a bell, like a flame. Like rain in summer. A precious truth arrives and is born within us. Within our emptiness.
 
We accept it, we observe it, we absorb it. We surrender to our bare truth. We are nourished, we are changed. We are blessed. We rise up.
For this we give thanks.
 
Amen
Michael Leunig

 

 

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15 Comments on “departing from Kissing The Limitless”

  1. michaelwatsonvt Says:

    There are so many forms of oppression. How wonderful to simply feel accepted and touched by Spirit! No one should care how you do that, what works for you. But of course they do. Sigh. Lovely post!

    Reply

  2. Michelle Says:

    Being accepted for who we are and being welcomed into community as we are is such a gift – so glad for you! Not all congregations are the same, you are blessed. One of my favourite songs sung in church is “Come as You Are” – I like that sentiment so much.

    Reply

    • tree girl Says:

      Hi Michelle

      I found “Come as you are” by Nirvana, which is a good song. Not that one?

      Is it by ‘Pocket Full of Rocks’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBrevRn3HVY ? It’s a bit upbeat for the church I go to, but the minister plays the trumpet which is just so cool.

      I hope you are keeping well.

      Reply

      • Michelle Says:

        I’m sorry, I should have told you who is was by and where to find it!

        It is by Sr Deirdre Browne, a Loreto nun and is hymn number 693 in Together In Song Australian Hymnbook II. Here is a youtube link to hear it –

        Songhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16RywnFAJpY&feature=youtu.be

      • Michelle Says:

        And the lyrics for you….

        Come as you are, that’s how I want you
        
Come as you are, feel quite at home

        Close to my heart, loved and forgiven

        Come as you are, why stand alone?

        No need to fear, love sets no limits
        
No need to fear, love never ends
        
Don’t run away, shamed and disheartened
        
Rest in my love, trust me again

        I came to call sinners, not just the righteous

        I came to bring peace, not to condemn

        Each time you fail, to live by my promise

        Why do you think, I’d love you the less?

        Come as you are, that’s how I love you

        Come as you are, trust me again
        
Nothing can change, the love that I bear you

        All will be well, just come as you are.

        © Deidre Browne

        Spectrum Publications. Melbourne.

      • tree girl Says:

        Many thanks Michelle! It is a lovely song.

  3. greenmackenzie Says:

    A space just to be you….what a wonderful gift…and does it really matter what form our connection with spirit takes…..of course not. I love your eyes wide open approach to this subject 🙂

    Reply

    • tree girl Says:

      Thank you greenmackenzie

      Someone at church said to me today “you are always so cheerful”. I do feel cheerful there.

      Reply

  4. Pairodox Farm Says:

    Hi there Tree Girl. I finally made it to Under the Tea Tree after seeing that you spent a significant amount of time at Pairodox Farm today. Your attention is very much appreciated. I have been here before and know that your focuses are on the rights of the indigenous and on defining (or redefining) yourself spirituality. Although I have sympathies with the first, I have empathies with the second. I very much appreciated this current post for its honesty. I wonder what, other than what you have described here, it is you take away from the Church. Is it the surroundings? The like-mindedness of fellow church-goers? The fellowship? Or the teachings? I suppose I can relate to the first three, but still have difficulties with the last. It’s sort of weird that I should read this particular post this morning, having listed to a piece on the radio concerning the first 24-hour news radio station run by atheists. What impressed me the most about this story were the negative reactions from folks who consider themselves ‘believers’ from around the world. I wonder why people react this way to the choices made by others. Are we not all free to think what we may? Anyway, I’ve chosen to follow Under the Tea Tree and thank you for your kind attentions. D

    Reply

    • tree girl Says:

      Hi D

      I do tend to catch-up on your posts in bulk. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and questions!

      Apart from what I have described, I do like the people attending, the fellowship, and being part of this community.

      The church is a simple building which looks like it was built in the 1960’s and very much on a budget. It is one step up from a scout hall (Australian scout halls are not very flash). There are no grand stained glass windows, or any ornamentation. Actually, there isn’t a cross anywhere in sight. The gardens are non-existent, just good old Aussie compacted soil and a few native plants hanging on for dear life.

      As a previous commenter (Michelle) said, it seems that I am lucky to have found a church where everyone is so down to earth, friendly, and accepting. The minister is a very learned man, an academic, he explains the context for the passages from the bible in exquisite detail, and makes it so easy to understand and relate to. He is a deep thinker with a heart for social justice. He also plays the trumpet which is very cool. We have had a different minister for the past two weeks, and whilst he has done a good job, some people have said to me that they miss our regular minister (me too).

      In Indigenous communities, our healthiest Elders are Christians. They still hold dear their Aboriginal values and culture but the two are not mutually exclusive. I can relate a lot of what is presented in the Bible to Indigenous law, values, and stories. So when Leviticus (Old Testament) was the focus of the sermon for several weeks, I could understand why God told the people to rest the land every seven years, because Indigenous people rotated their use of the land and managed to do that for the best part of 60,000 years. In fact, one of the organisers of the church apologised to me for being exposed to Leviticus as a newcomer, and I told her that I loved it. Yes, Leviticus is harsh, but Indigenous life was harsh (as it has been for many peoples of the world) and there were a lot of laws and right ways of living, and the punishments were harsh for disobedience. Their survival depended on compliance and teamwork.

      In the two months I have been going to this church, no-one has criticised any other faith. I am very sensitive to criticism or denigration of other faiths, races, and cultures. If there had been any hint of superiority, I would have been out of there in a millisecond.

      I guess I just like the way the whole experience makes me feel. I have always thought Jesus was a very cool fella, and had the utmost respect for him. In this church it’s all about Jesus, and as such it’s infused with love. They are a very caring mob, caring for the older people of the church community, or anyone who falls ill or experiences hardship, and they do it without any hint of burden, reward, favour, or merit. As the minister says, following Jesus has never been about what we do, and has always been about who we are.

      I hope this answers your questions. I too have spent my life being very cynical about Christianity based on what I have seen, read, heard in the media (and the negative programming of my childhood), but all of the negative stuff portrayed has not been my experience.

      Reply

      • Pairodox Farm Says:

        Interesting. I am glad you have found what has turned out to be a warm and nurturing space for you. Everyone needs that, I think. Perhaps my views have been clouded by mainstream religion as it is practiced here in the states. Thanks for taking the time to craft the extended response. D

      • tree girl Says:

        Thank you D. It was lovely to answer your questions.

        I think that the issues you have over there are similar to the ones we have here. Bigotry, racism, small-mindedness – are all expounded by people who claim to be ‘God’s people’. It’s a shame that they misrepresent religion.

        Quite a few years ago, my stepdaughter was going to a youth group run by a local church (the happy-clappers that are across the road from the church I go to). We live in a sleepy town and there’s not a lot of razzle dazzle here for the young ones. One night when my husband was waiting to pick her up after the group, he heard the youth minister preaching to the young people, criticising and mocking Buddhism. My husband was furious and wanted to get his daughter out of there, but the bouncers at the door wouldn’t allow him to. My stepdaughter said that the hall they were in was open all night, but when the minister gathered the young people up to preach to them, they locked the place down. Our complaints fell on deaf ears.

        So, when the same church a few weeks ago, roused on my eldest boy for climbing trees in our local park, I raised their roof with my fury. They were having a service in the park for the young people. My son was with a friend and was not part of their group, but they thought they could yell at him. I told them that our people have been climbing trees on this land for 60,000 years and who are they to rouse on a young fella when he wasn’t disturbing them or causing any damage. I also complained to the local council. I received a most apologetic phone call from the minister’s wife the next morning.

        Needless to say, I would not attend that church, ever! They have not proven themselves as good role models. So, I think that it’s ok to be selective. Your standards make up who you are, and your personal integrity is of utmost importance!

  5. Pairodox Farm Says:

    Good for you for speaking up in the face of injustice … on (this) small and on larger scales as well. If the world were made of more folks like you, it wouldn’t be in the state it’s in. I know it’s been said before but … in a rhetorical sense … look, historically, at all the things that have been done in the name of Religion. It’s a thought strong enough to get you to stop in your tracks. Sorry to be so negative but, it is what it is. D

    Reply

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