Surrender is a paradox. When we surrender, we actually achieve real and authentic power. How is it possible that we are more powerful in surrendering?
The Buddha discovered that the mind enslaves us in conditioning that is reinforced through the repetition of habits. Jesus was a revolutionary precisely because he represented a break from the rigid and repetitive ways of thinking that dictated his society. Krishna counsels Arjuna on the battlefield that it is in the present moment that we must master our minds, which keep us trapped in the vicious cycle of samsara, of the past repeating itself in our present and future. Two days ago, our Muslim brethren began Ramadan, which involves fasting, a ritual break from those things that keep us apart from God in each and every moment.
We are slaves to our conditioning. Our habits define us. We don’t even realize the ways in which we are gripped by them: Our friend says something, and we already know what they are going to say. We make the same commute in traffic, and next thing we know, we have somehow guided ourselves back home without even remembering how we got there. Our partner says something with a bit of a tone, and the next thing we know, we’re fighting the same argument we’ve fought a hundred times before.
Surrender offers us freedom from this conditioning. It is a recognition that we are trapped in our conditioned ways of thinking, speaking, and doing, and saying, “I know where this is going to take me, and I don’t want to go there anymore. I choose to give up, trusting that I will be led to a place I’ve never been before.”
It is a surrender to every possibility made available by the unknown. It is in this infinitude of possibilities that we derive power, a power that can only be accessed through surrender.
The first three sets of sacred mysteries – the Joyful Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries, and Glorious Mysteries – were the original set of mysteries developed centuries ago. In the latter half of his papacy, the late Pope John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries as a meditation on how Jesus lived his life.
The Luminous Mysteries are so called, because through Jesus’ life, we are shown how he was a light to the world, and therefore, how we might emulate his example. We are shown that we can be the light of hope and love in a world filled with darkness and fear.
How can we bring more light into the world? In which parts of our life can we ask for Divine Light to shine?
I look forward to sharing “Tapping Into the Power of the Holy Rosary,” which will provide digital tools and meditations to help you use the rosary to access your own Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion. Stay tuned!
For the past few weeks, I have been exploring the sacred mysteries of the holy rosary as a Lenten meditation on the life of Christ. We’ve explored the Joyful Mysteries and the Sorrowful Mysteries. Now, I turn to the Glorious Mysteries, which explore the defining moment of Christianity, the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
In essence, the Glorious Mysteries are about Fulfillment. The Resurrection of the Lord and his Ascension into heaven are the completion of God’s plan to deliver a world that had lost its way from sin. And these mysteries are also about the fulfillment of the Blessed Mother’s “Yes!” in the Annunciation, when she agreed to bear the Son of God. In both cases, we are taught that the highest good is achieved when we can stay true to Spirit’s calling in our hearts and fulfill on our commitment to It.
Where in our lives can we fulfill on the promise of our highest and greatest good?
Part of fulfilling on my highest good is the development of my digital mini-course on“Tapping Into the Power of the Holy Rosary.” I hope this tool will give you the basics for how you can harness the rosary as a meditation on how you can live Spirit’s calling. Look out for it in the coming weeks!
Last week, I began my reflection on the power of the holy rosary by exploring the Joyful Mysteries. This week, I want to take a look at the Sorrowful Mysteries.
On the surface, the Sorrowful Mysteries refer to the last hours of Jesus before his Crucifixion. And although this is true, this set of sacred mysteries is about much more. It teaches us about resilience and the power of faith. In his example, Jesus teaches us the power of profound acceptance, of acknowledging that there are certain things that every human being, including Christ, must experience, namely suffering and death. More importantly, he teaches us what it means to surrender, to realize that, in the face of suffering and death, the only thing over which we have control is how we greet those moments that try our humanity.
WHO are we in the face of suffering and death? How can we BE with the inevitable trials of life?
In a few weeks, I will be sharing my digital mini-course on “Tapping Into the Power of the Holy Rosary.” This digital audio and e-booklet package is intended to introduce you to the basics of the rosary and how you can begin to use it as a object for meditation. Stay tuned!
Sometimes, the only way to crawl out of the hole is to fall completely into it. It’s only after the pain of having hitting the floor, hugging oneself in the darkness, that one discovers that things need to be different. It’s not because I’m a glutton for punishment or that I only learn the hard way. Rather, it is the case that sometimes, some habits and behavioral patterns are so ingrained that it almost feels like I can’t find my way out, and it takes the rough times to break down the old habits to make space for the new ones. …
As I move through one of those spaces, I am reminded of two different stories. First, there is the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary that she was to conceive the baby Jesus. Despite how freaky the moment might have been for her as a Jewish virgin woman, she declared, “[B]e it done to my according to your word.” And in the garden, in the last night before his crucifixion, her son, Jesus, prayed first that the cup might pass before him. Then, he surrendered, declaring, “Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.”
For me, these moments are reminders of what is required for real change to occur. It is one thing to say that we desire change. It is a whole other thing to be completely willing and open to change, no matter the darkness through which must travel.
As Louise L. Hay affirms in You Can Heal Your Life, “I am willing to change.”
As I’ve grown older and more spiritually mature, I have grown to appreciate more and more the majesty of Easter. There’s something about the glory and splendor of Easter rituals that is just filled with hope and light. This morning, in mass, there was something about the priest’s homily that resonated with me. He kept emphasizing that Easter is the most joyful and celebratory part of being Christian, because it is the source of our faith. The celebration of Easter is an acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus’ victory over death and his reassurance that his sacrifice has won our place at the table in heaven.
As I reflect on Easter, I think about what I heard Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith say in his audiobook, The Life Visioning Process. He said something to the effect that there is something in us that is waiting to express itself through and as us. I thought about how this applies to the meaning of Easter, and I realized: The Master Teacher demonstrated that we could actually reconnect with God (our Source); transcend the limitations of human, corporal existence; and allow eternal life to express itself as our lives. And he showed us that it could be done now, in this present moment. There is no waiting for a better time or even another lifetime for our Christ Self to emerge.
Thus, we truly can be ecstatic with joy at Easter, because we know that from the empty tomb of our ego self, our Christ Self emerges victorious to present the glory of God in this world right here, right now.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Part of it definitely has to do with the fact that my birthday is the day prior, and I hated having my birthday collapsed with the holiday. As I’ve grown older, I think I’ve also grown more and more cynical about the commercial aspect of it and the hurt feelings that come along with a person getting a gift that they don’t like or not getting a gift at all. After all, it wasn’t so long ago when Christmas consisted of a few modest gifts my parents bought for my brothers and me, for which they had scrimped and saved. … And although there’s nothing wrong with the gift-giving aspect of Christmas, I think there’s much to be said about the level of Gratitude that we have walking on this earth for the many blessings we receive that daily are like Christmas presents from heaven.
And as I reflect on the great miracle that is the incarnation of Divine and Unconditional Love in the form of the Christ Child, I can’t help but reconnect with what Christmas has come to mean for me over the years. The Christ came into the world to remind us of our divine heritage, to remind us that we are angels walking the earth in the flesh. We are the One Love, the One Life, in the form of unique expressions of self called “me.”
The miracle of Christmas for me is that we were saved from ourselves in receiving the purest, most innocent reminder of who we really are. Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world,…” and I would assert that in making this declaration, he was speaking with all the authority of the Original Light. And if All is One Light, then Jesus is teaching me that I, too, am the light of the world. And so is each and every being.
Fulfilling the Christmas miracle, then, is to return to that child-like state, before the hurts and pains and traumas of our human existence caused us to forget who we really are. And each Christmas is a reminder of my dignity as the only light in this world known as me, and that its miracle is realized each time I remove that which stands in the way of my own brightness.