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Sister Alma Rose is on vacation

All Paths Converge in the End

by Mary Campbell

A real spiritual teacher assists you in finding Yourself. They help you find, not their truth, but your own Truth Within. Teacher is a mediocre word for someone who does this; spiritual sponsor would be a more accurate description. Or reciprociter. Personally, I’d call them Friends and Family, that’s Who We Are. In Equality, who has greater Equality? The one who knows more than somebody else, or the one who shares what they understand? —Will on Care2

Journey to Bliss

The gift of any true teacher to his or her student is (1) to impart a love of learning and (2) to supply, or point to, resources… then to sit back and watch the student devour the resources and look for more.

The teacher walks a fine line, as does the writer. At what point does information become dogma? I believe that the tenacity with which some “teachers” impose their views on others has to do with a belief in mortality. “Gotta hurry and get my perpetually angry 35-year-old son on medication, or into meditation and on a spiritual path. His anger is ruining his life.”

Bristol Maraton, 2006; photo by Steve Gregory

Bristol Maraton, 2006; photo by Steve Gregory

But everything snaps into place when you understand that everyone is already on a spiritual path. Your path, and my son’s, will undoubtedly be different from my path, and I can accept that, even be joyful about it, because I know that the spiritual journey spans uncounted lifetimes, and that all paths converge in the end.

Prayers are powerful

Many pray for my son and their prayers are powerful. Occasionally I am sad to see my son struggle, every day, just to be. His brother and his sister both seem to have slipped, with varying degrees of ease, into their “place in creation.”

But I also see spiritual progress in my son, and it has been many years since I have despaired of him. When he was a little boy — who did not know the meaning of serenity — I tried to impose my remedies (my truth) upon him, because his chronic anger and unhappiness broke my heart. This is what mothers do, a lot — try to fix people, especially their children — until they (the mothers) have used themselves up.

Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

So, making a virtue of necessity, I surrendered him to God, I practiced not worrying until not worrying became a habit, and in the process I came I understand that we are all in different places on our journey to bliss, and that there are no wrong paths, merely detours.

Many people have asked me how I learned to stop worrying, how I ceased feeling guilty and having regrets. Well, as someone whom I once had to study in World Lit. said, “I have been to the abyss.” When a hand finally reached down to pull me out, I promised God that I would always be happy and I would never fret about anything again.

I have died and been reborn — quite a number of times, actually.

GraceAnne Lamott writes, “means you’re in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had no way to get there on your own.”

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    Sister Alma Rose’s Prayer for Guilt and Regret

    Eleventh Hour

    Too late to step aside from misery, the lashes of experience endured
    and struck again, before the flesh begins to mend; too late for all the
    yesterdays misspent — I turn to you, O God.

    Too late to follow where you would have led, to reconcile the enmity
    or raise the dead; too late for sympathy to curb a spate of bitter
    words that burn their way into the heart, where they find tinder
    easy to convert to hate, consuming everything that waited helplessly
    to be redeemed.

    Too late to do as Mother said, to eat my peas and carrots and forswear
    ambrosia in the form of Baby Ruth and Butterfinger meals instead
    of sustenance that deeply satisfies and nourishes and heals.

    Too late to save a penny for a rainy day, though roiling clouds
    foretell tomorrow’s storm; too late to scorn temptation, to reflect
    that what I spend on this or that alluring bagatelle could purchase
    pleasure more enduring and profound. Too late for wisdom now to
    temper or forestall an ill-considered whim, to mediate despair and
    mania. Too late to choose a sane and reasoned course when seized
    by circumstances daunting in their urgency. Too late to save some
    candles for emergencies and their peremptory demands.

    Perversely born unwise and unprepared for life, equipped with
    little but the instinct to survive and with a physical response to
    stimuli, how is it that, unreasoning, immobile, nearly blind, we human
    creatures do not die upon the birthing bed? It might be said,
    Too early we emerge.

    And yet the baby’s urge to eat and drink is fed; her need for
    warmth is met; her incoherent cry for something she cannot
    supply is heard. She doesn’t wonder why, not then; she just accepts
    the nourishment, and when her thirst and hunger are assuaged, she
    sleeps with no anxiety for all the days ahead, nor does she lie awake
    and rue her lack of understanding or her randomly expressed demands.

    O God, I place my yesterdays and my tomorrows in your hands.

    Read about Sister Alma Rose in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete, by Mary Campbell, at www.LifeIsPoetry.net. Find more prayer-poems in Unfamiliar Territory, by Mary Campbell, at lulu.com.