Because of my concrete view of the world, I have a hard time knowing what is meant by simple "old sayings" like:
A rolling stone gathers no moss (well, it couldn't possibly while it was moving, but, it can't roll forever, and eventually, when it stops, moss might grow on it... right?)
Don't cry over spilled milk (it’s only milk, why would I cry, unless it was the only milk I had and I had a hungry child, and then we both might cry...?)
Don’t burn your bridges behind you (well, no, that would be stupid. What if I wanted to go back? But if the bridge was dangerous, maybe there's a way around…?)
You get the idea. For some reason it seems to me that people are purposely saying something other than what they are trying to say, and then everyone but me seems to get know what it's supposed to mean.
So, I have trouble with a lot of what I read, and it seems to be especially true when I read books on religion, philosophy, and spirituality. The language sounds pretty and deep and intriguing, but I don’t know what they are trying to say.
Recently, someone I admire gave me a book called “Practicing the Presence”, by Joel S. Goldsmith. She suggested that I read it one paragraph at a time, and meditate on each paragraph until I understood it.
Today I read the first two paragraphs (they were quite short). I read them both about a dozen times. I thought deeply about each word, phrase, and sentence for quite a while.
I pulled it out again, about an hour ago, hoping that some meaning would have seeped into my brain, but if it did, it was like water running through a sieve. (See, I can come up with a metaphor and likely you know what I mean. If I look at it too closely, I wonder how thoughts could be water, and where they would go if they ran through my mind and out again... but that's beside the point.)
So, I spent the last hour deciphering the words and rewriting what I think it means in a way that make sense to me.
Here are the original words from the book:
The secret of harmonious living is the development of spiritual consciousness. In that consciousness, fear and anxiety disappear, and life becomes meaningful with fulfillment as its keynote.Here is how I broke it down:
The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain can be measured by the extent to which we relinquish our dependence on the external world of form, and place our faith and confidence in something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, which can surmount any and every obstacle. It is an awareness of the grace of God.
The secret of (What I am searching for/trying to understand)
harmonious living (feeling like I am living the life I want to live/knowing that I am exactly where I should be)
is the development of (develop/grow)
spiritual consciousness. (a connection to God.)
In that consciousness, (When I feel connected to God,)
fear and anxiety disappear, and life
becomes meaningful (feels worthwhile)
with fulfillment (I had to look this up because I didn’t have a clear idea of what was meant by fulfillment in this context)
Fulfillment: a feeling of satisfaction at having achieved your desires
• the act of consummating something (a desire or promise etc)
• fulfilling - Which causes fulfillment; emotionally or artistically satisfying
with fulfillment (hope/contentment/satisfaction)
as its keynote. (at my center)
The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain (My closeness to God)
can be measured by
the extent to which we relinquish our dependence (how much I can let go of)
on the external world of form, (the physical world)
and place our faith and confidence in (and trust)
something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, (God)
which can surmount any and every obstacle. (to take me down the path I am meant to be on.)
It is an awareness of the grace of God. (Again, this phrase – the Grace of God – I had heard numerous times but still was not sure what it really meant.)
From wikipedia: The New Testament word that is usually translated "grace" is in Greek charis (χαρις). which literally means "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness".
From a website about faith: When we speak of God's grace, we mean all the good gifts we enjoy freely in life. There are so many. We could spend a lifetime celebrating them: blackberries, buttercups, moonlight, salamanders, etc. A more summary approach is to affirm that life itself is the fundamental gift, with all its delights. For us, the gift of life includes the wondrous gift of being human, finding ourselves plopped down in the midst of the larger gift of creation. That is the bedrock of grace—creation, life, human being. As humans, we are given a unique place in the created order. The creation stories in Genesis are ways of celebrating this original grace. In the stories, God pronounces all creation, including humankind, very good, that is, full of grace.
It (my connection to God)
is an awareness (is knowing/trusting)
of the Grace of God (the gifts God has for me)
And this is my final interpretation of the passage:
The way to be who I am meant to be is to grow in my connection to God. When I feel connected to God, fear and anxiety disappear, and life feels worthwhile. When I feel connected to God, hope, contentment and satisfaction are at my center. My closeness to God can be measured by how much of the physical world I can turn over to God and how much I can trust God to take me down the path I am meant to be on. If I trust in God I will receive the gifts he has for me. I will find my true path and feel peace in knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.
I put this all here because I am hoping that some of you can tell me if this feels right? I still can’t seem to look at what was written in that book and read it to mean what I wrote… so did I embellish and invent what I wrote or is that what others would also find in these two paragraphs?