I Remember Now ~ What Keeps Me Going These Days ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 9
So often I feel overwhelmed now. What keeps you going these days?
I’m often right with you my friend! Actually the answers can be found within that feeling of being overwhelmed. What? What Eggnog are you smoking this Christmas Pastor Tim? Let me try and explain.
First let me list what overwhelms ME these days. Something tells me we’ll find some common ground!
1. I’m tired of this pandemic we’re in. I’m having covidular overload.
2. I’m struggling with my frustrations with people who won’t get vaccinated or boosted. I find myself thinking “What the hell are YOU THINKING?” How much more do you need to know? Don’t you know that the vast majority of those hospitalized for Covid and dying from it are UNvaccinated? How can you possibly believe the nonsense you’re subscribing to on social media? If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself, why don’t you do it for your loved ones or everyone else around you? You keep saying it’s a “personal decision”. No it’s not! Your “personal decision” endangers everyone around you! How can you be so immature and self-absorbed!? (Those last two are personal favorites of my ego! I judge people at Target and Costco for not wearing a mask (especially at Costco, and I don’t know why).
3. I feel frustration that scientists have told us over and over that we have about a 7 year window to make major changes in how we live and use energy to combat the worst of the climate catastrophe that is headed our way, and too many of our leaders are wasting this precious time arguing about a past presidential election! When I think of my grandchildren I get especially angry and sad. I also am saying the same 4 words I was saying a year ago: “Where is the evidence?” Where is the evidence that the election was stolen?” I still haven’t seen it! Not on a massive enough scale to overturn the results.
4. We have more guns than people in this country and no other country comes anywhere close to the gun violence we have. All the while our government refuses to do anything!
There. I put it out there. Crap. I thought I’d feel better but I don’t. I feel worse.
So when I find myself in this energy space I focus back on 4 different and constructive words: There is a flow. There is a flow. What flow? There is an undercurrent of divine, loving, energy that is flowing within absolutely everything in a constant, creative process.
It’s the first place Jesus teaches us to go and re-center when we pray. You’ll find it in the Lord’s Prayer as it comes to us in his language of Aramaic: Abwoon Washmaya (Our Father in heaven). A translation by Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz in “Revelations Of The Aramaic Jesus” reads, “O Birthing, fathering-mothering of the Cosmos, you are creating all that moves and changes, to and from, within and along with a boundless wave of light and sound.”
The flow is there in everything that happens and within every thought and feeling (even in the ones I listed above). This flow is constantly pushing everything forward. Forward to what? Forward to growth. Forward to its highest good which is greater love, wisdom, strength, peace, joy, and everything else we are looking for. Actually this love, wisdom, peace, strength, and joy is already within us, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeking it! As Richard Rohr says, “you are what you seek.” Think about it. Why would we seek for something we know nothing of?
This flow is the spiritual energy that is at work in the dualities and paradoxes of human life in this world. Every nan0 second it is at work in “the rub” of the friction between light and dark. Love and fear. In the friction between what I want and what is. The rub of feeling strong and then feeling utter weakness. It’s in the rub of liking and not liking. Want and don’t want. It’s in the rub of wanting people and the world to be different, and what they actually are.
The flow, working in and through this rub, is the way of growth in this world. It’s where the energy is and where the magic is. It’s “grist for the mill” as Jesus says in the channelings of Jesus through Gina Lake.
We are actually learning grace, forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love through the rub of experiencing just the opposite of those wonderful divine energies. We grow stronger through acknowledging our weakness. We learn peace through anxiety. We learn acceptance through judgement. We often learn in this world through opposites.
Ask any person in AA about the wisdom of Step 1 of the 12 steps! I walked away from the last AA meeting I attended with a friend and I saw with new eyes what I called “the collective power of powerlessness!”
I love to imagine myself sitting on what I call my inner chair of curious observation. I then imagine all the feelings and thoughts that the pandemic, the climate crisis, gun violence, and the political nonsense bring up within me, as if they are sitting across from me on a chair facing me. There we are facing one another and I let it be. I let what I can face at that time speak to me, and I practice learning to listen to it without trying to fix it, ignore it, or judge it or myself. It is there I discover that it comes to me as teacher, as all things do.
For example, I observe and listen to my judgements of someone else and I can see how afraid that judgment is, and how incredibly little (if anything) it knows about the one being judged. My judgements know nothing of their past lives and the wounds they carry from them into this life. My judgements know nothing of what that person has experienced in this lifetime that push them to do what they do, and think what they think.
I can see more clearly that the one(s) I judge (like me) have their own fears and burdens, and are mostly trying to do the best they know how. I can see I’m visiting my own fears and wounds on them. And then the magic happens. The Divinely rooted compassion that is already within me rises up for them and myself. Well. Sometimes.
Yes, there is a river of grace and love already flowing within all of our souls. A knowing that there is a better way for us to be in this world. Otherwise none of these darker energies we experience would bother us the way they do. In that too is the flow in the rub.
All these experiences are flowing rivers of energy. Flowing and pushing everyone and everything to growth and maturity in love and wisdom. There really is purpose and meaning to everything! It’s completely up to us if we gain anything (or not) from the flow of our experience. Will I be a co-creator with the Flow by cooperating with it, or will I block the flow with my refusal to be with and listen to my experience?
“What’s in you for me to learn?” I ask the flow. “What are you whispering at me to do differently?” During the pandemic I’ve often felt the flow nudging me to send love to those I judge. Easier some days than others, but when I do I can literally feel my own healing. There I experience the growth in the flow of opposites.
And then I go out into the world and can get lost again in all the drama the ego creates, and I go and sit on my inner chair of observation, curiosity, and awareness. I get centered. Go back out into the world and get lost again. Go back. Sit with, and let the rub of the flow of what I’m experiencing be what it is. Get centered. Start cooperating again with the flow. Repeat process until cooperating with the flow of Love gradually becomes my default way of living.
Merry Covidular Christmas everyone! Trust the flow. You’re in it. You ARE it. We all are.
Pastor Tim Tengblad