I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars.
Hildegard of Bingen
God is a choice. In order to know God, you have to choose God. Many make a decision to join a church or sign up for some training in the hope to find God there. If you look outside of yourself, even if you find solace in community or excitement in the adventure of spiritual exploration, without going deeply enough within yourself, you will not know God. The heartfelt light and love that is your birthright, however, keeps urging you forward to find your way.
To succeed, you must bring the fire of will into your daily practice. Wanting to succeed without knowing how to succeed, gets you nowhere. There are always steps to take in order to be successful. If you choose God, God will automatically choose you, because God knows you are able to be contacted and used.
If a young child is inspired to become a gold medal athlete and does indeed grow up and win a gold medal, he or she has been successful because a choice was made. At some point, the child felt the inspiration and then did whatever it took to bring about the fulfillment of the dream. My point is that when you choose God, God contacts you through inspiration. Whatever speaks to you, whatever inspires you, whenever you say, Oh, that is great, I love that, I have this great idea, that is God speaking to you and inspiring you. God wants for you, what you want for yourself. The deepest yearnings in your heart are seeded there by God. When you are in touch with these inspirations you become united with the fire that dwells within you.
Receiving the inspiration is half of the equation. The other half is what you choose to do with the inspiration. You have to act on the inspiration that was given to you. Acting on the inspiration is an active principle, not a passive one. You might be inspired to follow a spiritual practice, but without the will to practice, which is fire, your practice will go nowhere. Many spiritual traditions have a flame on the altar that never goes out. That perpetually lit candle is the signal to God that you are here and ready to be contacted. Then the doors are open, and the inspiration floods in, no matter what it is. It can be something very simple. I need to paint my bedroom a different color. Painting your bedroom takes fire, right? You have to go out, get the paint, and move everything out of your bedroom, as well as put in the effort to paint and finish the job. You use spiritual will, or fire, to pull it through because you feel the pull and the inspiration to make the change. In essence, you have to say “yes” to the inspirations that come to you in life. Saying “yes” to life allows you to be contacted and inspired to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
Once you choose God, because you have said “yes,” your journey to God begins. The journey is metaphorical because you are both the beginning and the end of the journey. There are different ways to make the journey. Sometimes you have a beautiful altar that you visit daily. When you go there, you call forth your guides, and understand that you are having spirit time, or time together with God. You open up your heart, give thanks, and make prayers. And, there is always fire on the altar. It is the light.
All the various spiritual traditions have different practices and ways of building the inner fire. You have to build it, just like you would build a fire outside. You create a container consisting of a circle of rocks where you will build the fire. You must gather the right elements for the fire. You need wood that is light and dry so it will burn quickly. You need some paper and smaller dry sticks and twigs that quickly ignite the larger pieces so you will have a good, strong fire.
The same process is used to build your inner fire. First, you have to begin to consciously breathe. The breath is the light, the light is the fire. When you are sitting and meditating, the breath is the beginning stage of gathering the simple, raw material to start the fire. As you continue to sit, the fire grows bigger, and you journey deeper within. You enter tapas. Tapas is the inner, alchemical transformation that takes place when you use witness consciousness. You may have thoughts in your head; you may be analyzing, making judgments, or drawing conclusions. All of these are like sticks that you add to the fire. Emotionally you might be distraught about what is happening in the world, or having a reaction to a friend or co-worker. These too become sticks for the fire.
From the higher and deeper planes of witness consciousness, you see whatever is arising within you, all the thoughts and the feelings. Even though you are sitting, the conscious breath becomes the active principle. Focus on the breath. You are not talking about a problem, you are not acting out your frustration, you are just sitting and breathing. The breath is now the spark that lights the fire to burn up the sticks. You are not suppressing anything and you are not trying to deny anything you feel. You are building an inner fire, and if your breath is strong and you build the fire well, it will generate the heat of transformation within you.
Stay soft and open, neutral to the sensation. Do not judge anything. Now, the fire is burning. How long does it take? However long it takes. If there is nothing actively bothering you, continue to breathe and stay focused on the breath. If something is actively churning within you, continue to breathe and stay focused on the breath. It is the same action. Be in the witness consciousness. Witness consciousness is your inner furnace, your ring of stones that contains the fire, as you actively breathe into what is. It is, it arises, and it dissolves.
Build a strong fire every day. In the morning, breathe in the golden light of the rising sun as your fire. Breathe it into your throat, your heart, and your solar plexus. Do the same thing at noon with the noon day sun. At the end of the day, when the sun sets, breathe the golden light of the setting sun into your throat, heart and solar plexus once again.
So God is a choice, and you have to open to God to meet God. Give God a signal that you are open, want to be contacted, and then through inspiration, through a sense of knowingness, and sometimes through dreaming or actually hearing, you enter into a deeper relationship. The quality of your fire is held within the seed of your choice, and the quality of your fire to know God is everything. If you know God is there, but you do not make any effort, then your relationship with God will be whatever you bring into it. It might be damp, or disjointed, or it may not be as palpable as you would like. Maybe you have a rational response to your inspiration, and you think, “Well, right now I can’t really do that . . . maybe later.” Or perhaps emotionally you feel resistance for some reason—“I’m not smart enough or spiritual enough.” These reactions and responses are like pouring water on the fire.
Remember the metaphor of the effort it takes to build an outside fire. Remember to ignite your inner fire and get it burning really well so you build up a strong bank of embers. The embers are the key to the continuum of a steadily burning fire. As you reflect upon the steps you are taking in life, think of it as a beauty road. It is not an effort; it is beauty, and you are choosing God. How beautiful is that?
And by the golden light of the sun, moon and stars, as one, and it is done. Amen.