How to engage in a conversation about God

Each of us has a unique set of spiritual beliefs. It’s a profoundly personal issue, and I cringe to see anyone wield it like a weapon, though examples of this behavior are all too easy to find.

Which is why I was delighted yesterday to answer a knock at the door and find a well-dressed man carrying a Bible. Polite and pleasant, he introduced himself, shared a verse from his Bible and asked me a question about it.

Engaging vs. arguing

Right away, we hit upon key differences in our spiritual views. His choice of passages implied the need for divine forgiveness in order to be free of sickness. I explained that in my view, I am a piece of God (and so is he and so is his companion and so is every other living thing). There’s no need to look outside for absolution or commandments or anything else.

His thoughtful responses showed he had been studying and reflecting on his faith a long time. He was not giving me memorized sound bites. We talked for some minutes about the nature of God, each of us listening with respectful interest.

Why it worked

For this conversation to work, we each needed to:

  • Realize this is not a competition and no winners will be declared (except, perhaps, after death)
  • Allow for the possibility that there is more than one path to enlightenment/God/the truth
  • Allow for the possibility that what seem like big differences could be mostly vocabulary
  • Carry no expectation that the other person will come around to your views. Instead, use it as a chance to poke at your own views and see whether there’s room for some of his

You don’t see conversations like this on TV because there was no shouting, no accusations, no drama. We were just two Seekers, recognizing one another’s genuine interest in bringing light to the world.

Of course, he offered me a copy of the small volume he carried, its title something like, “What is really in the Bible?” I politely declined. But I shook his hand, thanked him quite sincerely for the conversation and wished him well.

My worldview is richer for having met him. I hope he feels the same.

Photo credit: Wootang01

Finding oneself in a parking lot

All was clear as I began backing out of a parking space this morning, grocery purchases freshly stowed in the trunk. Then another driver joined the fray, backing from a spot on the opposite side of the row. I sounded my horn in warning. Our cars collided anyway, rear bumper to rear bumper.

We both re-parked and stepped out to take stock. Each car’s bumper showed minor evidence of the collision, and my monkey mind was already wondering what our insurance companies would say. And bless me, she gave me the gift of being fully present. Her calm brought me back to the moment. We agreed the collision had been a Friday the 13th thing and a minor one at that.

She opened her arms for a hug I was happy to return. I asked her name. “Sally,” she said. My mouth fell open. In the next 30 seconds, we not only knew one another’s birthdays, but I found out her son shares mine.

These moments were why we’d literally run into one another. What beautiful proof that we’re all connected. And the world is much smaller than that parking lot.

Photo is ©Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

Proof of oneness

Last night,  seven amazing women read cards for me as part of an Intuitive Tarot group meetup. Of the 33 cards turned on my behalf, there were only two repeats of any given card. Intriguingly, they were  major arcana numbers 15 and 13, The Devil and Death, strongly suggesting the the huge change I’m seeking  requires me to first look at the lies I tell me about myself.

Fair enough. Then this morning, I received an email from Consciousness Circle Helen. She posed a question she was “expected” to pass along. The question was odd enough that I’m sure if my guides had/have attempted to pose directly, I would have failed to perceive it. Now, thanks to her willingness to receive it on my behalf,  I’ll be working with all this question stirs up for me. And staying open to any connection between this morning’s message and that of last night’s cards.

How connected are we, we Earth dwellers?  I’m always amazed.

Photo credit: Jiaren Lau

First meetings

Jam-packed day today, and a tad overwhelming. It may take awhile to pluck out the insights I want to share here…

except to say I had the pleasure today of meeting a fellow adventurer who immediately after offering her hand and a big smile, said, “I just know we already know each other, though maybe not in this life. Until now.”

I’ve got a feeling this experience will be more and more common.

Sharing the love: Jen Louden

You know how folks talk about the road not taken? Well, this is about the road not taken…yet.

Every time I get a newsletter or read a blog post by this amazing woman, I think, “That’s who I want to be when I grow up.” Except, obviously, there will never be another Jennifer Louden. She models an attitude and body of work that sounds fun and makes the world a more joyful, colorful place.

It’s like getting a hug in my inbox. It’s like having a deeply wise, deliciously silly best friend on the Internet. She inspires me to keep digging for the best possible me and put it out there.

In short, she’s The Comfort Queen, and though we’ve never met, I love her.

Dreams of a place I've never been

This morning before waking, I was traveling in Colombia and very ready for breakfast. Trouble was, no one explained that I should seek the food that taverns always lay out for patrons, rather than fruitlessly wait for a server to come take my order. (Is this true in Colombia? It seemed so real!)

Also, I was fascinated by local children patiently feeding coin after coin into an odd vending machine and watch it create a chocolate bar the size of a hardcover children’s picture book, wrapped in gleaming gold foil.

That’s my kinda tavern, for sure. If you were the handsome stranger joining me at my table, let me know, okay?

If ever I doubt I've come a long way, remind me of this…

Sometime in the early ’90s (= me around age 30), two friends and I went to a nearby Renaissance Faire. We all agreed to visit Rita, a much-recommended fortune teller. Friend One entered Rita’s gypsy-style caravan and later popped out with a thoughtful expression and a cassette tape recording of what Rita had said. Friend Two did the same. But Rita, an energy/aura reader, struggled when it was my turn. “You’re a very private person,” she said. She struggled some more, finally asking me to speak to her of inconsequential/impersonal things, such as what I’d eaten for dinner, just so my voice might help her. Finally, she gave up.

Rita refunded my money and suggested I see the Faire’s palm reader.

When I told my mother this story, she said, “I’m not surprised–I never know what you’re thinking.”

Well, things change! Last Saturday, I told this story to a couple of friends who only met me in 2006. They were stunned. They simply couldn’t imagine a version of me that was that guarded/closed-up. These women, I realized, never knew “Sarah,” the name I used for decades before reclaiming my childhood identity.  They are completely unfamiliar with her insecurities and other assorted baggage. How wonderful is that?

I can keep the transformation fueled by all that baggage without needing to identify with its old energy.

And having gone through the process, I’m free to use past pain in other ways. I have now written three books featuring a main character who is either self-righteous about something or more generally something of a control freak, who needs to loosen up and accept that there are other viewpoints and ways of doing things. Further, I recognized “control” as just another name for fear, and of course, we must surrender fear to truly experience love.

As a fun aside…The trip to the Fair was May 1st. In honor of the day, we each carried an armload of carnations and whenever anyone noticed the flowers, we’d beam and give him or her one of the carnations along with wishes for a happy May Day. It was such fun to see strangers suddenly light up! And it cost us just a few bucks each. Wow.