God’s Limitlessness & Lamps

DISCOURSE 4 - SIGNIFICANCE OF LAMPI am in the process of searching for the right new housemate.  As I’ve shared in a previous post, God manifested the most amazing little blessed home for me and also gave me a wonderful room mate and dear friend all through synchronicity, surrender and prayer.

Well, now my dear friend and house mate has moved away to pursue her artistic and professional dreams, so my own motto of “You only need one” when manifesting something you need (i.e. one job, one parking space, one housemate) has turned into “Well, actually, God, in this instance, I need two.”

Sunday morning I was talking to a sweet friend who asked me if I had found a housemate yet and I said, no, not yet.  She said that God would find me the right one, in the right timing – but maybe I’d need to be patient because God had a lot on his plate right now with terrorism and some pretty big world issues that were higher priorities.  And yes, I agree – ending senseless violence in the name of religion is of highest priority. (Or senseless violence in the name of anything or indeed any violence at all, for can any violence really be sensible?)  However – it struck me that God is not limited.  I think She can take care of the big stuff and the small stuff all at the same time without breaking a sweat.

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Table lamp from God

And just a couple of weeks ago, to show me that God is taking care of me in every single way, however small, God gave me a lamp.

The table lamp in my living room was broken.  I only had the overhead light and it is bright and harsh and anything but relaxing.  In the evenings I had to choose between semi-darkness or full-wattage light.  I had been wanting to get a new lamp to replace it, several times I had almost gotten in my car to go down to Target, but I always changed my mind because I didn’t think it was sensible for me to spend the money right now.

Then I had my sweet friends Vilasini and Suresh over for dinner.  After our lovely meal and spiritual conversation, Vilasini said to me “We have this lamp that’s just been sitting in our closet, do you want it?”  Suresh went out to the car and came back with a gorgeous table lamp.  I was astonished!  How could they bring the one thing that I had been needing?  I hadn’t said anything to anyone.  I had never mentioned how much I wanted a lamp for my living room.  But here they arrived at my house with a lamp.  How does God do that?

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Table lamp from Target

It was a lamp Vilasini’s father had bought when he had gone to visit her in India while she was at Chinmayananda‘s ashram.  They didn’t want to just get rid of it or give it to a thrift store, it was special – but they didn’t want it sitting useless in their closet, either.  It is absolutely beautiful.  It has a carved wood base and a beautifully painted design in teals.  It matches my end table and my couch perfectly!  I could not have picked out a better lamp for my living room in a hundred years and it’s so much more exquisite than anything I could find at Target for any amount of money.

This is one of the most amazing things about God – that God can love ALL of humanity absolutely and also love little ME completely – perfectly Universal and Personal at the same time.  I never feel that God doesn’t want to hear my prayers or that my life is too miniscule for God’s care.  If I just love God, God cares for me in all ways.  Just when I was starting to worry a little bit about my housemate situation and finding the right person, God shows me that it is all perfect and not only is God holding Light and Love for all the world’s major problems, She is taking care of my indoor lighting needs, as well.

So, I am reminded once again to have faith.  I know that God manifested a whole new life for me out of nothing!  God gave me a home, a community, a purpose, a Peachy.  I know that She also has a second perfect housemate for me – or a way for me to be able to live alone if that is my highest.  God is caring for my soul and awakening me to more and more love AND bringing me beautiful Indian lamps to make my living room feel cozy.

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Busy white guy with beard

And this manifestation of the perfect lamp in no way detracts from God’s focus on healing humanity of violence and terrorism.  God’s focus is not limited, God is not confined by time or space.  It’s important to remember that we are made in God’s image (limitless & perfect) and not to project our own limited image onto God (white guy with beard who can only do so much in His busy schedule).

What it feels like to me is that God is absolute perfection!  And simply by BEING That Perfection God holds for the perfection of ALL things at ALL times.  So, God “working towards” the perfect love and compassion of the human heart and the healing of all violence is in a sense done in the same “Act” of holding for the perfect table lamp or the perfect healing of a friend’s surgery or the perfect new job.  God answers all our prayers, no matter how “small”, simply by BEING Perfection, BEING Love, Being Peace, Being Light.  We offer our prayers with sincerity and love into God’s Perfection and we receive Perfection in return – Perfection is reflected back to us.

Something like that.  Of course, as in all things God, there are myriad ways and nuances, multiple yes’s and paradoxes – but this is what I’m feeling right now.  I feel like God is right here for me as my best friend, my Beloved, right here with me in my daily life, in my heart, with me at all times and in all things – in God’s vast expansive limitlessness and the mundane specificity of lamps.

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What is the Nature of Nothingness? Happiness, of course.

Philosophy-FighterOn occasion I find myself in the midst of spiritual conversation.  Sometimes this conversation can manifest itself as a spirited debate about the nature of nothingness or if this whole entire world is in fact just an illusion.  There might even be people present who believe themselves to be right and that others are wrong (as if one can ever be certain about nothingness, doesn’t nothingness preclude certainty just by the nature of being nothingness?).

My answer, if ever I am asked, “What is the nature of nothingness?” is Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

May all beings in all worlds be peaceful and happy.

The reason that is my answer is that it is useful. It might not be directly related to the question, but it is relevant to what is important.

So many times when there are these heated spiritual debates about the nature of nothingness or “is a table really a table when to a termite it would be dinner?” with each person doing their darnedest to prove their point and come up with the right answer, I just think – who cares? Does it matter if a table is really a table?  Does this make me a more loving and conscious person?  And by conscious I mean aware and mindful of my connection to all of life, not more knowledgeable about the exact nature of tables.

There are many spiritual topics that we can go in mental circles about, and that might be entertaining, so have at it – have fun.  But before we start taking it all too seriously and worrying about who is right and who is wrong and who is the more enlightened about the nature of nothingness, I think the main question we need to ask is – does this help me make the world a better more compassionate place?  Does this help alleviate suffering for anyone?  Does this bring more love to the world?

When I moved to St Augustine I discovered a sweet peaceful little retreat center west of town called Chinmaya Mission.  I had not heard of Swami Chinmayananda before but I 220px-Sourire_coul_2have grown to hold him with sweet affection in my heart and I am grateful to have this Hindu refuge as part of my Interfaith life.  When I was getting to know more about him, I was reading the Chinmaya wikipedia page and it says their motto is “To give the maximum amount of happiness to the maximum number of people for the maximum amount of time.”  And I thought, that is the most perfect mission statement I have ever seen.

So often we have these lofty spiritual goals to “Uplift Humanity,” “Awaken the Divine in the human spirit,” or even “Liberate humanity from the illusion of attachments” etc etc etc.  And these are all good things, all worthy missions, and I have participated in several groups with similar purposes – but sometimes it’s hard to know what it really means, how is this mission really changing real life for real people?  And it was so refreshing to see a mission statement that goes so directly for what matters most.

So, the next time you are grappling with high minded esoteric existential questions and you feel like you don’t quite understand the complexities of it all – just come back to this question:  Does this give the maximum amount of happiness to the maximum number of people for the maximum amount of time?