Hearts at Work
By James Tipton
“How Great Thou Art” is one of the greatest hymns. Who, of whatever faith, has not been moved by the opening lines? “Oh Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow’r throughout The universe displayed.” I have been singing this song most of my life. Its power filled me as I sung it in a Methodist choir, sung it during morning showers, sung it both when driving alone and in the company of kindred spirits traveling with me, sung it walking in late dusk through snow in the Colorado mountains with my sister Nancy, sung it in the darkest hours of night during times of confusion and despair….
We are eternal souls on a sojourn through time and space. When we identify too much with our time and space adventure, when, for example, we are, as Roy Eugene Davis puts it, too “influenced by the erratic or restless behaviors of others or by news of current community or international events,” we can choose to remember again the Presence of God, and God’s energies expressing as the universe.”
And what a universe it is! Look at this passage from How We Believe by Michael Shermer:
“We have found from modern astronomy that we live on a tiny hunk of rock and metal third from the sun, that circles a humdrum star in the obscure outskirts of an ordinary galaxy, which contains some four hundred billion other stars, which is one of about a hundred billion other galaxies that make up the universe, and according to some current views, a universe that is one among an immense number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes.”
“Infinite number” of “other universes”? Meditate on that and then reconsider whether the irresponsible actions of others are, after all, very significant, or for that matter whether your response to their actions is very significant.
In the February-March 2011 issue of Truth Journal, Roy Eugene Davis writes that “The real cause of human unhappiness and discontentment is a prevailing, mistaken sense of being separate from God. When this common error in perception is corrected, the highest happiness spiritual aspirants yearn to have is fully present. This happiness, described as ‘bliss,’ is the pure soul-joyousness of flawless Self-and God-awareness.”
In that same issue, Davis presents “Symptoms of Spiritual Loneliness and How to Remove Them.” I do not have the space here to list each in full, but here are the symptoms and some representative remarks:
Thoughts and feelings of being separate from God.
Confusion about self-identity: thinking and feeling that the mind, body, or personality is one’s real nature.
Provincialism: small-mindedness. Cultivate a more universal outlook. Be aware of what is occurring in the larger world. Renounce flawed or false ideas and irresponsible behaviors.
Frequent or cyclical episodes of mental and emotional depression, sadness, confusion, despair, hopelessness, or helplessness. If the condition is related to a physiological disorder, discover the problem and solve it. Replace unwanted thoughts and moods with constructive thoughts and feelings. Nurture spiritual growth.
Restlessness: inability to relax or be still and inability to concentrate. Adhere to holistic self-care regimens: balance activities with rest, eat wholesome, nourishing foods; exercise. Read for inspiration and to acquire necessary knowledge. Daily meditate until you are relaxed and mentally and emotionally calm.
A compulsive need to always be busy doing something. Avoid nonessential involvements while focusing on matters of value.
Unwise or unnecessary spending of money.
A tendency or desire to acquire or accumulate unnecessary material things.
Erratic or unpredictable behaviors or social misconduct. Cultivate calmness, poise, rationality, good manners, and ethical mental attitudes and behaviors.
Excessive or disorganized talking. Think before speaking, then speak precisely with deliberate intention.
Inability to schedule activities in an orderly manner. Write a schedule of activities. List them in order of importance. Effectively manage your actions in time and space. Avoid procrastination.
Well, see you here next month.