Posted on Jul 03, 2016
I went to Mass this morning.
I don’t go every Sunday but when I do go, I listen, I participate, I sing and it always seems like time well spent. Well, my theory is, if I am going to, I may as well go with all my heart. Otherwise I should stay at home. Life is too precious, and too short, to waste it suffering through something I am not enjoying, not contributing to, or not benefiting from.
Today was no exception. The choir sang really cheerful and uplifting hymns and I love the opportunity to ‘offer each other the sign of peace’ when I get to shake hands and smile at complete strangers who, in that instant, seem like my best friends.
The readings today seemed to focus on ‘plenty’ and sharing the blessings of love, joy and peace.
There also seemed to be an implication that if we focused on plenty and sharing our blessings, we would be ‘altogether new creatures’. Imagine, altogether new creatures, sharing love joy and peace …. now that would be heaven indeed!
There was also reference to ‘darkness’ and how did we distinguish ‘light’ from ‘dark’ in the world.
Well, there is no real dark in the world. Sure, there is less ‘light’ during the night but with our capacity for ‘night vision’ we can become accustomed to this and can learn to recognise and differentiate objects despite the paucity of light.
The reference is always to the darkness within ourselves, within our ‘humanity’. If we could master our humanity, and master ‘our darkness’, we would surely ‘inherit the earth’.
The source of this darkness has always been a mystery to me. How does an innocent new born baby become a hardened murderer? People will say “it’s the world we live in”, that “the world is a terrible and dangerous place”. However, the world if full of people and it is people who can be “terrible and dangerous”; and they can also be beautiful and wonderful and loving. Why is that? What makes some of us ‘terrible’ and some of us ‘wonderful’? Could it be that we are each as capable of being terrible as we are capable of being beautiful, depending on …. what?
I say it’s the people we meet and the ‘world’ we live in. We do not all live in the same world, even if we inhabit the same place, in the same community or family. We all live in different ‘spaces’, in different circumstances, in different relationships with different people, engaged in different conversations. And that has nothing to do with the world. That has everything to do with us, in our world, wherever we are, and whatever we say about that.
And that is our dilemma. We get to say whatever we want, and what we say has a huge influence on how we experience our world. We get to move around, and where we go will determine our experience. We get to meet people and who we meet influences our opinions and perspectives. We choose who to associate with and who to listen to, and who to ignore and who to argue with. We choose what to remember and how we want to remember it. We choose what to keep and what to let go of. We create our own world of views, opinions, evidence and judgements and share these with enough people who agree with us to keep us ‘living’ there.
Have we created a world that is “terrible and dangerous” and are we ‘adding’ to this every time we speak? Is this ‘the world’ we want to leave to our children?
Instead, we could create a personal universe of joy and peace, and bring it with us where ever we go, and share it around. There is plenty of joy in our hearts – just check it out the next time you win a prize, or you see a beautiful sunset or giggling child or smiling baby – joy is not scarce, but it we who are stingy with it. We are selective about who we share it with. What about peace? If we are lucky enough to live in a free country, we ought not forget that our peace probably came at a price. When we see a person laid out in a coffin, with an expression of total peace on their face, that has come at a great price – their life!
We can all be peaceful if we give up any thoughts of revenge or ‘un-forgiveness’. Do not to wait to die and go to ‘heaven’ somewhere, before you can experience peace. You have a abundance of peace in your heart, you are just too disturbed by the world to experience it. These thoughts of revenge and regret keep you imprisoned in a personal ‘hell’. The only way out is to forgive and to love. Let go of any annoyance or irritation or anger and let peace settle in your mind, your heart and your bones. All it takes is the willingness to face your personal ‘hell’ so you can put it behind you. That of course, takes courage. Where do you find the courage? In the action itself! Feel the fear and do it anyway. What about love? Who do you need to tell that you love them? Who are you withholding your love from? Say it, share it.
All ‘darkness’ comes from fear. If we can master our fears we will master our darkness. We cannot love what we fear. When we get to the source of our fears, we will get to the source of our love, and when we get to the source of it all, we find our selves. We are the source of our light and we are the source of our darkness. We are ‘the wolf that we feed’.
The road to happiness is an inward journey. As the peace in your bones rests in your heart and shines from your face while you live, you experience the joy of living.
Heaven is here. It is here for the sharing.