Building Your Spiritual Home

Tolerating God's Love

If we all are the sons and daughters of God, as I believe, any of us could, at any time, wake up to this reality and have a palpable relationship with God. God’s love is everywhere around us. I believe He yearns for us, as we yearn for Him. For me the issue is our willingness to receive. I am convinced He is always there, but I am startled to watch the struggle I go through to inch my way towards acceptance of His Presence.

In Siddha Yoga, as in many Eastern traditions, the Guru is a fully enlightened, Godlike person. The guru has the capacity to transfer this fully awakened state to each of us. When I was at the ashram, I had several opportunities to encounter my Guru, Gurumayi, but I declined. I recall being afraid that if I looked deeply into her eyes, I would lose myself. This was in 1984, and I was afraid of the awe and yearning that would be aroused by this encounter. By 1995, I was trekking in Nepal, and had a similar opportunity to meet with another awakened being. After 3000 feet of exhausting climb, I reached Tengboche Monastery, and even arranged a visit with the Tengboche Rimpoche, an incarnate Lama. He was kind, and humble, and delighted to greet me and my friend. We had tea and a brief talk despite our lack of a common language. As we said goodbye, I was so overwhelmed by his kindness and presence, that my body threw itself down to prostrate myself before him. Needless to say, this is not my normal way to say goodbye, but it happened out of my control. I was literally carried away by my feelings. I got up and left. The fact that I could let this happen, tells me that this time I was a little less scared by my feelings in the presence of the holy.

Seven years later, in a spiritual counseling session with my minister, Mary Harrington, I again confronted similar yearnings. Mary’s capacity for joy and for gratitude were amazing. I was frankly in awe of her and kept asking her to teach me, to give me the secret of her aliveness. Finally, I confessed my impulse to bow down at her feet. By then, Mary had had it with me. “Jack”, she said, “You are making me very angry with you. You are making me very uncomfortable. This is something you need to find in yourself. Stop trying to get it from me”. We kept at it for months, and I do think that I learned to become so much more aware of my strong yearning for a spiritual connection.
The most important aspect of this relationship is how it helped me to be more in touch with these yearnings, how deeply I wanted to receive from God. This led me to feel emptiness like I never felt it before. But I did learn, over time, to become more comfortable with that emptiness. When I look at the fear that kept me from approaching the Guru, I can see that it has gradually diminished. I still struggle to accept the depth of my yearning to receive and to surrender. I can see how far I would need to go to be like Jesus and truly feel my connection to God. But I am opening up and I am allowing God in a bit more each year.


1) To what extent do you allow yourself to approach God?
2) Are you aware of anything which keeps you at a distance?
3) Are you aware of fears of greater connection?

 

CHAPTERS

GET A LIFE
THE JOY OF A DEPRESSED MOTHER
OPENING MANY DOORS
GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH ANGER
THE PATH OF MEDITATION
GIVING UP CONTROL
MARRIAGE AS A CHANGE AGENT
STRUCTURES THAT SUPPORT LIFE
VERMONT AND NATURE
TO HELL WITH DIGNITY
COMPANIONS ON THE ROAD
DOUBLE VISION
WHAT SHAPES LIFE
DISMANTLING SELF
TOLERATING GOD’S LOVE
MAKING FRIENDS WITH GOD

 

 

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