The Art of Joy

The art of joy is having a love affair with life.
It is embracing life, drawing close to you all the beauty and wonder and goodness of the universe.
It is an expression of inner music. It is radiating joy as does a band of musicians marching down the street.
It is a blend of laughter and tears. Often it is the deep joy that comes to you through the mist of the years as you recall tender memories of joyous days gone by.
It is in sharing your joy. “Some people,” wrote the poet Walt Whitman, “are so much sunshine to the square inch.” The joyous person seems to be plugged into the sun itself.
It is celebrating life. The Master turned water into wine that the joyous wedding feast might continue. “Be of good cheer,” He said. He proclaimed the purpose of His message to men in these words: “That my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.”
It is the putting forth of all your powers. It is the flood tide of inspiration, the glory of creation. As you work with joy you find joy in your work.
It is looking for the joys that come in small, precious packages of joy that are few and far between.
It is making the most of now, enjoying what is at hand. It is taking the time to enjoy life as you go along.
It is an awareness of the heaven that exists in all about us. As Solomon said: “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed.” It is making each day your most wonderful day.
Joy is the flag you fly when the prince of peace is in residence within your heart.
Joy is love bubbling forth into life.

Inner Warrior

In this marvelous month of April, we complete our journey through winter, which honors the way of the Inner Warrior.  The work of our Inner Warrior enables us to take a stand, set limits and boundaries, be responsible and have self-discipline.  Now, as we enter the season of spring, we honor the way of the Inner Healer.

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Jeanne Ackterberg, in her book, Woman as Healer, reminds us of the concepts concerning wholistic healing:

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  • Healing is a lifelong journey toward wholeness.
  • Healing is remembering what has been forgotten about connection, unity and interdependency among all things living and non-living.
  • Healing is embracing what is most feared.
  • Healing is opening what has been closed, softening what has hardened into obstruction.
  • Healing is entering into the transcendent, timeless moment when one experiences the Divine.
  • Healing is creativity, passion and love.
  • Healing is seeking and expressing self in its fullness, its light and shadow, its male and female.
  • Healing is learning to trust life.

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My teacher, Angeles Arrien, a wonderful healer in her own right, uses the concept fo the four-chambered heart to discern areas in our lives that need healing.  Daily we can ask ourselves:  Am I full-hearted?  Am I open-hearted?  Am I clear-hearted?  Am I strong-hearted?

Where we aren’t full-hearted in our relationships, jobs, or any area of life, we become half-hearted.  If you are feeling like you “have to,” or “should,” or “ought” to do something or be with someone, then this chamber of your heart is a breeding ground for half-heartedness.  Saying “I’ll try,” or “Maybe I’ll do it when I have time,” putting things off, or arriving late for appointments, are sure signs that you are half-hearted about someone or something.  Where are you exhibiting signs of half-heartedness?

Where we aren’t open-hearted, we become closed-hearted.  Defensiveness in the face of other’s opinions, beliefs or comments, resistance to new ideas and other ways of doing things, being self-protective to avoid being hurt and fear of intimacy are the breeding ground for closed-heartedness.  Where are you exhibiting signs of being closed-hearted?

Where we aren’t clear-hearted, we become confused and doubting-hearted.  Always asking other’s opinions about what you should do, instead of listening to your own heart, being ambivalent, constantly doubting yourself, and the unwillingness to make decisions are the breeding ground for confusion.  Where are you exhibiting signs of a doubting heart?

Where we aren’t strong-hearted, we become weak-hearted.  Lacking strength to stand by what has heart and meaning for us, lack of perseverance, the inability to see things through to completion, and the inability to stand up for ourselves, are sure signs of weak-heartedness.  Where are you exhibiting signs of weak-heartedness?

There is an ancient Aztec poem, which speaks of the healing heart beating within us and its power of redemption:  “The mature person: heart firm as a strong, heart strong as the trunk of a tree.  Noble face, wise face; owner of his/her face, owner of his/her heart.  The mature person: noble face, firm heart.”

Let us all seek that inner healing during these precious months of Spring to find renewal, transformation and the birthing of new life.

In Love and Light

Great Goddess

Dear Friends,

The Great Goddess is afoot!  All of nature sings hymns of praise as the fullness of spring is lavished upon our tired hearts and minds.  Mother Earth is resplendent in the glory of bird’s song, humming bee and blooming rose, as once again she is renewed.  Traditionally, in Spring, we celebrate by paying tribute to the feminine spirit, as the Great Goddess bestows her grace and beauty upon a world both hungry and athirst.  The aridness of over-productivity, competitiveness and logic leave us longing for her serene comforting.  Starkness blossoms, angles soften, the human heart becomes a gentle place in which her Divine Child can be born.

Leaving our nests each day to produce, to earn, to travel, to expand we find in our activity a kind of empty victory.  Inside, the nest has become hard and brittle as we use every bit of strength we have to make our way in a world gone mad with power.  The deep inner sanctum of our being craves to be filled with the quieter, gentler, subtler things which nourish the Soul.  Sweetness, intimacy, good humor, patience, joy, and playfulness are qualities of the soul which aid us in participating more fully in this beautiful world.  Standing behind our senses, they lend support to a whole system of appreciation.  We become fertile in beauty, fertile in heart and mind, and fertile in all our activity.

For those whose sense of appreciation flourishes, the crown of grace and beauty rests as a perfect rose upon their hearts.  Grooming themselves inwardly and outwardly, they choose thoughts which crown their mind, emotions which crown their hearts, and deeds which crown their lives…leaving the dross by the wayside.  They prune their activities only to the necessary, leaving precious time for themselves to enter their inner nest for repose.

Beauty is everywhere if we only look for it…our world is the body of a Great Goddess – -Mother Earth.  If we find no beauty in ourselves, then our environment and our lives will lack beauty.  Appreciation is the soul quality which supports our senses, and our sense of self-esteem.  Modern men and women have lost their relatedness to that which is real and true and good.  The Goddess reminds us of home, of unconditional love, of nourishment and acceptance…no matter what.  She is kind and forgiving and compassionate and is always there when you need her.  She is all around you in Nature.  She is in the stars and moon and sky.  She is in the oceans and in the earth.  She is in the small creeping things, and all the animals on sea and land.  She is in the very air you breathe…and she is in you.  Take time each day to nourish yourself in nature, to sit by a tree or stroll through a garden.  Take time to be by yourself and feel the inner beauty of the within.

In Joy and Love,

Rev. Kathy Meyers

Pasadena Church of Truth

A COMSUMMATE MASTER

In reading Zen stories, easily found on the Internet under Zen Stories, the technique of the master teacher is simplicity. There is no great complication. There is no inner “calling” to be a student by a Zen professional. Only one thing is present in any would-be student: self-discipline. With self-discipline comes self-dedication, self-determination and self-diligence.

Each student is an ordinary human being. Each student feels there is something more in life than what he has so far seen or been taught. He feels an inner emptiness, a sense that he is not getting all out of life that life has to offer.

As an artist first desires to express a sensitivity from within his being nd trains under master artists to open himself to the magic of the pictures within, then the glory comes forth. There are many types of artists and each expresses from his inner genius the miracle of his connectivity to the allness. This is not taught. This is there. What is taught and shared is the dedication to revealing, to listen to the artist within . What is taught and shared is building the determination to stand forth in the belief that the genius is present. What is trained, taught and shared is the diligence to stand forth under all possibilities to find the miracle to release the eternal wisdom within awaiting expression.

A boy often approached a Zen master in his temple and asked to be allowed to enter his school, a place where the inner master unfolds in each participant. The boy was blind and emaciated. He had no education. He spoke a strange dialect and it was difficult to understand him.

“Why have you come here?” the teacher asked. The lad replied, “I feel inside of me I am free. I feel inside of me is a giant balloon filled with something special. I must set it free. Can you help me?”

The teacher was undaunted by the boy’s apparent limitations and said, “Will you agree to do whatever I tell you to do and not judge it by what you have experienced? Will you close your ears to the comments of the others in the school and hear only from the divine in you?”

So young, yet eagerly the candidate agreed to everything saying, “I left my family who had only pity on me. I left my village which had only sadness in what they saw in me. I left everything that I have known to dedicate myself to you to find myself.” After a pause he added, “I am ready Master Teacher!”

The boy proved to be the master’s finest pupil. He gave fully of his diligence, determination and dedication to whatever was asked of him. His self-discipline was legend among the temple students. Other students observing the blind lad, forgot he was blind. His body developed powerfully in a very short time with beneficial foods and exercise. Associating with the scholarly beings of the school, he soon spoke perfectly, drawing from his inner wisdom.

Other students took twenty years and more to arrive at a major step on their inner path. This blind boy saw without physical eyes more perfectly than his sighted fellows. He exercised and

ate well and developed a profoundly sound body. But most of all, he found his inner center and swelt there* He developed an awareness of all of his senses which made him alert in all areas. At thirteen, the amazing lad went into the world an accomplished Zen master. He was known as the “Magic Master” listening to the divine in him under all circumstances and guiding others along their spiritual path, a consummate spiritual master.

THE 23rd PSALM – THE WAY WITHIN

This is one of the greatest Psalms in the Bible, written by David. In the first verse it tells man:

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD….. THAT IS PROTECTION

I SHALL NOT WANT…. THAT IS SUPPLY

“I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE”

MAN LACKS WHEN HE LOSES HIS CONTACT WITH GOD… HE HAS NO FAITH

HE SHALL FEED ME IN THE GREEN PASTURES….. THAT IS ABUNDANCE

HE LEADETH ME BESIDE STILL WATERS….. THAT IS PEACE

HE RESTORETH MY SOUL… THAT IS HEALING
HE LEADETH ME INTO THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.. THAT IS GUIDANCE

FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE… THAT IS HIS PURPOSE

YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH… THAT IS EXPERIENCE

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL… THAT IS CONFIDENCE

FOR THOU ART WITH ME… THAT IS OMNIPRESENCE

THY ROD AND THY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME…THAT IS INSTRUCTION

THOU PREPAREST A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES… THAT IS PROVISION

THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL… THAT IS CONSECRATION

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER… THAT IS JOY, JOY, JOY!

SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE… THAT IS ASSURANCE
AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER… THAT IS ETERNAL LIFE