A life lived

I attended a funeral recently, and as I listened to each of the eulogies and reflected on my own relationship with the lady who had died, I found my thoughts wandering to the accomplishments of my own life, not those of my embodied life but to those of my spiritual life.  I am well aware of the accomplishments of this life as I am of its disappointments and unfettered desires, but what about the accomplishments with regard to my next life and those entwined with my spiritual existence?  What can I lay claim to with regard to that?

When I entered the Work over forty years ago, I was taught that unceasing effort was required to understand the spiritual foundation of reality, and that this effort was directly linked to determining one’s spiritual destiny.  Grand words indeed, and while it has taken me a long time to understand the principles and techniques required, especially the kind of effort required, what I know now is that the fulcrum on which everything rests is one’s relationship with God.  One can possess a smart and clever mind, and dazzle in front of others with their knowledge, writing and speech of the Work and of cosmic laws, yet in the absence of a warm and loving relationship with the Divine as well, such individuals are at risk of being held captive by the coldness of their intellect.

Someone once asked me, “How do you love God?”  It’s a fair question, but how to answer it?  I know how I love the Divine, but in truth the answer to the question lies within the person asking it.  My response at the time was, “If you don’t know how to love God, ask God to show you how.”  I was met with a somewhat sardonic smile, and who knows whether or not they did ask or would even be bothered too.  It often seems to me that people in general want a ‘quick fix to enlightenment’ so to speak, and in the West in the 21st Century living in a modernist era of instant gratification and a throw-away society, additional challenges can assault the individual as we’re pulled in different directions by the demands of contemporary living.

But despite this it can be done, we can love the Divine with all our heart and soul, and with all that we are capable of, it just depends on the decision/s we make.   The Sufi’s say many things, but one of those is that right remembrance is the way to God, and herein lays a metaphorical pathway to the Divine.  To re-member something is to reclaim something, to bring something back which had hitherto been dismembered or taken apart, to make something whole again.  What is it that we are re-membering?  What are we reclaiming?  What are we bringing back to ourselves?  I would say in the first instance, that what we re-member is our relationship with the Divine, with God, and that then, spiritually, all things are possible.

Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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