Be Aware, Be Mindful

Easter nTaj

The essence of divine wisdom is a universality that embraces all religions. ” If man were to come out of self-limiting  veil that covers his eyes,” wrote Ghalib, “what glorious revelations he will see in every faith” 

Here are 5 insightful stories that will inspire you and give you deep revelations from the profound minds of the much revered ages, seers and Sufi saints of the eastern religions, awakening us to the Divine.

1.) Your True Self- Image

Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.” -Genesis 2:26

“Master,” the disciple asked, “Who am I? Who am I?” “Ah!” exclaimed the Master. “That’s a question you alone must answer.”

“Help me,Master” the disciple pleaded.”You were born a noble Knight,” the Master replied. “You could either strive for the unreachable star or live and die the ignoble death of a despicable toad in some stagnant wayside pond.”

Not satisfied, the restless disciple anguished, “Master, who am I? who am I?”

The Master relented. “You were created in the image and likeness of God,” said the Master. “In all humility, awaken to your true self-image and live up to your dignity and purpose.”

“Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of the Lord….If you don’t, you will be exactly like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall to hold a dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.” -Jalaluddin Rumi

2.) Let Go….

After Lot had left, the Lord said to Abram, “….I am going to give you and your descendants all the land that you see, and it will be yours forever. I am going to give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all….” -Genesis 13:14-18

An old lady, bent low with the burden of her years, approached the venerable Rabbi and cried her eyes out: “Help me,” she groaned. “My lips are weary, my mind fatigued and my whole body throbs with pain. Yahweh doesn’t pay heed to my prayers.”

Observing closely her pursed lips and tightly clenched fist, he said, “Watch your dreams and desires lest they possess you as you tenaciously cling to them. Let go, let go of them like our Father Abraham who left his country, his land, his house, only believing in the promise made to him by Yahweh that he would be blessed with descendants as innumerable as the stars.”

“It is sheer stupidity to hold on to anything in life. The great mistake is to grasp tightly; in doing so one loses what one would have got. In claiming that ‘it is mine’ we lose what is ours already.” – Osho

3.) Respect Life

The Lord said, “……Do not kill.” -Deuteronomy 17

The pesky mosquito teasingly hovered round the disciple as he meditated in the sanctuary of the temple. His patience tested beyond limits, the irritated disciple raised his hand to swat it when his inner voice warned him: “It’s unlawful to kill on holy ground.”

Summoned to attention, the disciple withdrew his hand and gazed kindly at the mosquito. Raising his level of consciousness, the Master said: “Wherever you are, on holy ground or public space, life in all its forms is sacred. It is unlawful to kill.”

“One should not injure, subjugate, enslave, torture or kill any animal, living being, organism or sentient being….Just as suffering is painful to you, in the same way it is painful, disquieting and terrifying to all animals, living beings, organism and sentient beings.” – Acarangasutra 4:25-26

4.) The Law of Life

As I see it, those who plough evil or sow trouble reap the same. – Job 4:8

Disturbed by the injustices in the world, a man asked the Master, “Why is it that the wicked in our midst thrive while the honest and the upright suffer?”

“Recall the words of wisdom of the Buddha,” the Master said, “If a man speaks or acts with evil thoughts, pain surely follows him e’en as the wheel follows the ox that drags the cart along.”

“Be ever mindful of your thoughts, words and actions,” the Master cautioned. “It is the law of life: The good you do blesses you a hundredfold and more already in this life. The evil you do stays with you to haunt you, morning, noon and night, every moment of your life.”

“One day I met the Lord face to face, and bending my knees, I prayed, “Tell me,O king of Compassion, ‘Is it thou who punishest the sinner and givest rewards to the virtuous ones?’ ‘No,’ said He smiling, “the sinner earns his reward.” – Hazarat Inayat Khan

5.) Song of the Bird

Have you ever seen a guiltless man perish or an upright man done away with completely?  -Job 4:7

A prisoner of conscience who survived ten long years of solitary confienment was asked how he endured the ordeal.

He humbly testified: “Every morning I was visited by a tiny bird that perched itself on the branch of a tree just outside my cell window. Faithfully it sang its little heart out sending my drooping spirits soaring and reminding me that one day the Truth would prevail. Tenaciously I clung to the song of the bird as I survived the dark night of my soul.”

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark -Rabindranath Tagore 

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘The Word Through Eastern Eyes‘ by Cedric Rebello, SJ. For more information about this book: Click Here

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What is Baptism in the Holy Spirit ?

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Baptism in the Holy Spirit Baptism in the Holy Spirit? What is it? Even though I was an active Catholic, I had never heard the term. Heck, in seventh grade I won the local catechism bee but never had that question. I asked one of the other Netters who appeared to be pretty normal but also seemed to know what was going with the whole baptism in the Holy Spirit thing. She said that it was really just being “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

She told me that I could read more about in the scriptures. That, to me, sounded like a pretty good place to start. I began reading the scriptures and found that being baptized in the Holy Spirit (or words similar) is mentioned in each of the 4 gospels as well as the Acts of the Apostles. (See Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5.) John the Baptist made it clear that he baptized in water but that Jesus would baptize ill the Holy Spirit. It became apparent to me that what I experienced as a baby might be different than baptism in the Holy Spirit.

In his gospel, Luke said that we would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and in fire. Again in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke has Jesus instructing the apostles to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the “promise of the Father” and the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5), When I read the various accounts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit I didn’t necessarily have a better understanding of exactly what baptism in the Holy Spirit was, but I was able to see that it was important. It seemed to be something that Jesus intended for us, and it changed people. Scripture states clearly that Jesus came to baptize us in the Holy Spirit. It seemed to me that if this is one of the reasons Christ came, then perhaps I was missing something.

As I made my way through scripture, I was also able to see the effects of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. From my reading the Acts of the Apostles it appeared to me that the disciples experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It became clear that the baptism of the Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to do something that they were unable to do before. Before Pentecost they were locked in a room paralyzed by fear and after experiencing the Holy Spirit they boldly proclaimed Jesus. Something changed in them. Slowly, I was beginning to see more clearly what  the baptism in the Holy Spirit might be about.

It seemed to be about power. The disciples’ experience of the Holy Spirit gave them the power to escape the confines of a locked room where they were bound by fear. It gave them the power to witness to Jesus’ resurrection and the ability to faithfully live the christian life.

This Excerpt is take from the book ‘Breath of God‘ by Dave Pivonka, T.O.R

The Importance of Bible Reflection

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(Image Credits: Google)

Recent studies have found that however you learn, you will reap the most from careful reflection of your experiences. We all know that daily reflection on our activities and life can have a positive impact, however most often then not, we avoid doing this because either we are too busy or we don’t enjoy it .

Most people feel the same way about exercise too; we don’t necessarily enjoy doing it, but we know that if we keep sometime for regular exercise, the benefits from it far exceed that of any other health plan. It is the same with daily bible reflection. Just reading the bible and the scriptures is not enough. Keeping some time for reflecting on what the scriptures mean will vastly enhance our spiritual well being.

As Christopher J.H. Wright rightly said “God wants a whole society that will together reflect his character of generous justice.” Our priority should not only be carrying about our daily activities but also keeping some time to reflect on God’s words, because at the end of the day, that is what is most important, being close to God.

Now for the part where we don’t always enjoy it, there are many resources available that can guide us to make our reflections enjoyable. We can look at books, videos, audio files and much more. Thanks to the internet, information has become easily accessible, so why not use this to enhance our spiritual life as well. If you’re more comfortable reading books have a look at the book “A home full of mercyby Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. In this book the entire Gospel of Luke is divided into 135 segments and offers a brief spiritual reflection on each segment.

Other than this, there are many other resources available, all we have to do is keep some time to make a conscious effort for reflection.