01/19/20 Psalm 41:4
As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."
When we work hard physically, we sweat and must replace the lost fluids. When all is going well, we can work hard, perspire and take in more water, which regulates our body temperatures to keep the machine cool enough for operation, and consume calories to maintain energy. Our bodies are amazing blessings.
People notice when we are not stable. If we are imbalanced because of exertion - from water and calorie depletion - we look bad: red and exhausted. Sometimes they won’t know what’s wrong with us, but they’ll know by how we are acting, and how we look, that something is seriously off. If something is wrong with us emotionally, if we are angry or depressed, or hurt, people around us can usually tell by how we look – the expression on our face – or how we are acting. Imbalance is evident.
Mary and I lived in West Hollywood for three years and saw several homeless people who lived on the streets – at a corner, in a bush, on a bench – that was their home. Most of them behaved in a disturbed manner; it was evident by social norms that something was abnormal; they were mentally imbalanced.
There may be times when we are aware that something is wrong with us, and we seek help. Sometimes we try to hide it out of shame or fear. We can conceal how we feel for a while, physically, mentally, and emotionally, but eventually something about us reveals the true nature of our imbalance.
When we are aware enough, we do things to protect our physical health. We eat right, we take supplements, exercise, and we watch our weight. We go to the doctor and have checkups …we do the things that are prudent to good health. If we are not aware at that level, we don’t do those things.
If we are emotionally out of alignment and our awareness is great enough, we go to counseling, we ask forgiveness of those we have hurt and forgive those who have hurt us, and we learn to be thankful for those who push our buttons. We show appreciation, approval, and acceptance to all people and situations. If we are not aware at that level, then we don’t do those things.
It’s all pretty straight-forward. If we are sufficiently aware, we seek healing of the 'dis-eases' within us. When we are flowing in God’s love, we know ourselves as whole and the perfect essence that is God. When we are awake in Spirit, we have the strength to release the excesses that harm us. We release the people who pull us down, release the demons, demands, and controls of the ego, and perhaps most importantly, when we are attuned to Spirit, we release the judgments about our challenges.
And then there are all those other times…when we feel separated from Spirit, when we are not feeling God’s love flowing through us, and when we identify with the pain and darkness within us. At these times, our soul hurts and needs healing.
We provide clues when we are physically distressed, and that is also true when we are spiritually distressed. We act and speak in ways that indicate something is wrong. Sometimes we observe this evidence in others from the manner in which their soul is acting out its pain through their thoughts, words, and deeds. We recognize the hurt and anger that is transmitted to others through their disregard for life, disrespect for property, and indifference to other people’s feelings. At times, we see this imbalance in the disrespect they show themselves, in how they treat themselves and speak to themselves, and perhaps even by harming themselves as if they had little or no value. These can all be symptoms of a soul in need of healing.
When we are aware enough, we notice these same behaviors surfacing in ourselves. It is only when we are aware of them that we can make some progress towards healing. There is an ancient Celtic prayer that addresses the plight of those who are having tough times, and feel vulnerable and lost:
Thou, my soul's Healer
Keep me at even
Keep me at morning
Keep me at noon
On rough course faring
Help and safeguard
My means this night.
I am tired, astray, and stumbling,
Shield me from the snare of sin.
In truth, our healing occurs by remembering who and what we truly are – a Child of God, a spiritual being with a body. All the material and immaterial parts of us – body, soul, mind, emotions, thoughts, will, and attitudes – are one in God. We are whole. To remember is to recognize that all our disparate pieces are part of the oneness that we are. To remember is to ‘re-member’, to bring back together what once seemed separate and distinct.
Yet, there will be times in our human experience when we feel fragmented and dismembered. At these times, we yearn to feel whole again, and ache to ‘re-member’, to come together as one body and find our natural state of balance and wholeness. Our suffering often comes from our resistance to our situation. We define our challenge negatively, and we judge it, attempt to flee from it, and consequently, we feel the suffering of dismemberment. A powerful gift of Christ is to re-member: despite the challenge or illness, we can still know ourselves as God knows us - whole and complete.
We may have experienced times in our lives when we’ve been around someone whose spiritual pain is great, but we don’t see anything out of the ordinary in their speech or behavior – we just sense something is wrong. In the 60’s it was called ‘sending off bad vibes.’ We knew that this person was in a pain beyond body or mind, and at the soul level.
When we have ‘bad vibrations’, it is tempting to ask the world for help. Yet that can be disappointing. Asking more from the world simply brings more of what the world has to offer. Asking more from God, however, brings more of what God has to offer.
Psalm 139:23–24 teaches: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
We are often reluctant to act on, or accept, what is being revealed to us, either through Spirit directly or an emissary of God - a friend, stranger, book, or song. There are occasions when our thoughts pull us from the love of God in subtle ways that are easy to miss: we want to blame God for things that are our responsibility, or when we simply can’t see it from God’s perspective.
For instance, we plead to God to take away our habits, addictions, and wrong thought patterns … what the Bible refers to as sin. But God will not take from us anything that we willingly choose to hold on to. He will not supersede our free will. Instead, He says, “I can’t take that habit away, Patrick, but I can help you love yourself enough to ease your grip on it.” We then ask God to strengthen our resolve in knowing our worth, and then can release our non-productive negative thinking.
It is not a single negative thought that does damage: it is the repetition of the thought, perseverating over it, and dwelling on it that gives life and strength to the negative. Although God will not take our negative thoughts, He will awaken our hearts to the knowledge that Light and Love surrounds us. Through that awareness, we can direct our destructive thoughts into the Light and Love, where they are dispersed and replaced with a productive thought before the negative can find a place to take hold and replicate. It’s like a bug-zapper for our negative thoughts.
We sometimes pray that a disability be removed, or a healing take place for someone. Yet God whispers, “Remember, they are already whole. This is their lesson, their challenge. Love them on their journey. Help them re-member.” Our lesson is to see them as a perfect Child of God despite their physical condition. Bodies and situations are temporary; spirit is perfect and permanent.
When we are hurting spiritually, we often pray for God to make us happy. But God says, “I don’t give happiness, I supply blessings. It is up to you to see things rightly, love all things, and choose happiness. Allow My joy to fill you in all circumstances.”
Spiritual evolution is born of challenges, trials, and experience. Experience is the process by which God prunes our branches to inspire new growth. We don’t need to judge it as good or bad, and are better served by not judging anything at all. When we judge something as ‘good’, we create space for its opposite in our minds and hearts. Our part in the transformative process is to allow it to happen, to be OK with the challenges and struggles. We may not like them, but we can be OK with them. We can allow them to be what they are, then return to the center of peace, love, and joy of the Christ.
Our dis-eases exist to serve us; Divine Discontent serves to refocus our attention on Christ. We may ask in prayer, “Why did I attract this? What can I understand from this? What did it allow me to do? What focus did it create? How can I know you more, how can I serve you more, how can I love you more? Teach me what I need to know. Heal within me what needs to be healed.”
Each of us is different, and our heart’s yearnings attract God’s unique perspectives, insights, and specific right and perfect solutions in order to rise above our situations. Everything we need for wholeness is already present; we just allow it to appear, be persistently peaceful, and take responsibility for our growth.
Joshua 1:9 “I command you -- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
We intuitively seek the unimpeded flow of the Divine's love, power, and courage - that healer of our soul. We are healed when we take our thoughts off our bodies, minds, hurts, and circumstances, and place them firmly on knowing, serving, and loving God. When we create within us the conditions for balance, abundance, and wholeness, we are healed, and experience balance, abundance, and wholeness.
My prayer is that we realize our true value as a Child of God, and that regardless of our situations or state of awareness, we know that we are perfect just the way we are, unique and indispensable, and still in the process of learning, growing, and transforming. God is not done with us yet. We are still baking and the thermometer hasn't popped out yet. When we are conscious of this, then we can re-member, and are healed.
Exodus 15:26 "I am the LORD, who heals you."