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I had an unusually pleasant week this week. I always like it when things just work out easily: schedules are met, things happen when they should, people arrive on time, and everything generally happens according to plan. When circumstances fall into place in an apparently orderly manner life seems to be going the way it should and we may generally get the feeling that “all is right with the world.”

Angels tell us that we intuitively know if we are in consonance with our life path when no major obstacles seem to hinder our plans and things just flow smoothly. When short or long-term plans unfold themselves unimpeded you know that it is the right time for it to happen. When I was a senior in high school I chose to enter U.P. simply because it seemed the most natural choice to make at that time for me. In all my innocence then, it never entered my mind to apply to any other university and I took the U.P. entrance exam without even considering that there was a distinct possibility that I may not be accepted. I got in, in short, and it was only much later that I realized that I had made a potentially stupid choice by not applying anywhere else. On hindsight my life path simply unfolded before me then and I instinctively followed it.

On the other hand, you know it may not be the right time for your plans if circumstances block your way. Feeling that I wanted to re-enter the academe then I enrolled in a graduate program in 1992. I was excited at first but midway through the first semester I felt that “it wasn’t right.” At first I simply thought I was just being lazy but I steadily lost interest in all my courses so I dropped out of the program. later, in 1999, I again felt that I wanted to go back and I did. I was accepted by the dean enthusiastically and without question which was a surprise to me as I was expecting my re-entry to be difficult because of the number of years lost. I found all my classes very interesting and in my first semester I was surprisingly offered a teaching position. I felt then that it was the right time for this chapter in my life to open.

Our life path may not always go the way we want it to. But if we remember Who We Are, as angels always urge us, we may be able to see that we are never off the path. We may just simply be too impatient to get where we want to be.

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We have all encountered, at one time or another, people who just naturally turn us off by their behavior. The person who is habitually irritable and snaps at something you may have innocently said, the pushy person who seems to dominate conversations always trying to steer them around to her latest ideas or activities, or the person who talks about other people constantly trying to make himself look good at the expense of others. We may have met such people at one time or another in our lives and our own natural response may be to either avoid that person, complain about him or her to others, to even to confront that person head on.

If we are to accept our angels’ suggestion to see others as more than just persons but as souls who have chosen to live a human life then we must also ask ourselves what makes a person behave in such a manner as to upset others. We must look behind the facade and gently inquire into the reasons for such behavior. Before we can do so, however, we must have the capacity to slow the pace of our own living so that we do not thoughtlessly respond in a similar manner.

Perhaps we should bear in mind that the human mind is similar to a computer which has to be programmed for it to function. This programming begins at birth and continues throughout our lives when we learn how to function in the world for survival, learning how to properly eat, sleep, behave in human society, earn a living, and care for others. But this programming also includes how to respond to situations that we often encounter in such a way that we protect our emotions from hurt. It is this last that prods us to be afraid of certain situations and react defensively. Thus it is this fear that drives us to behave in ways that turn others off and possibly respond in a similarly negative manner.

If we truly are to Remember Who We Are then we must also realize with loving compassion that those who turn us off are merely souls whose bodies’ minds have been unknowingly programmed to behave that way because of past experience, perhaps events even going back as far as childhood. In doing so we may begin to see, through the eyes of our guiding angels, what they may also see: souls who are merely trying to live and survive in this world in ways that they have imbibed though no fault of their own.

To see people in the way our angels see them is to look beyond the negative behavior and accept them with compassion as kindred souls here to learn and enjoy life as we do.

To See the Soul

As we encounter people in the course of our everyday lives we often react to these encounters through how they make us feel. We may like friends or relatives because they make us laugh, content, and therefore make us feel good. Conversely, we may dislike those who often irritate us, make us feel depressed, and generally leave us feeling very negative. We value relationships, then, based on the dictates of our egos which we say is normal because “we are only human.” And yet angels continually urge us to look at the world through the eyes of our Spirit rather than our egos.

During the recent funeral of my father-in-law I had the blessed opportunity to do just that. Being an in-law and not really part of the immediate family I often stood or sat quietly at the back of the chapel where the wake was being held and observed the family members as they interacted with relatives and friends I did not personally know very well during the bereavement. As I looked on from a distance I suddenly saw, as angels must see every moment, not people but souls consoling one another, expressing deep friendship, and sharing loving thoughts and memories with each other. I saw souls expressing their unconditional love for each other and I saw souls who, for the time being, were willing to quiet their human egos in order to spend time filled with love with one another. I pondered on this as I silently looked on and I knew that the angels are right in continually reminding us to remember Who We Are, that we are really souls in disguise and that we have the capacity to act as souls every moment if only we would remember.

During the final funeral Mass, as I sat silently, I saw my father-in-law standing at the head of the casket looking young and radiant, smiling on everyone, and I could feel waves of peace and loving energy radiate throughout the room. I felt a bit envious because I knew that he now could experience everyone as other souls and not as ego-driven human beings. I knew that he could now love unconditionally because, to him, we were no longer just friends and relatives but souls as radiant as he now was. He saw as we all should see every moment.

Imagine if we could all also see each other as souls and not as people. Imagine if we all collectively decided to lay aside our egos and allow ourselves to love without desiring love from others. It need not take a funeral for us to do these this. If we simply listen to the our angels whisper to us to remember Who We Are, perhaps Heaven can be here for us even now.

Coming Home

My father-in-law died this morning of old age. His body had been shutting down for the past few days and everyone was more or less emotionally prepared. I was at my office when I was called home by my wife. driving home I asked the Angel of Records for an update on the situation and at once, in my mind’s eye, I saw Papa’s Book of Life slowly closing until it shut completely and the Angel placed the book back on among a vast array of other books.

Upon arriving at his bedside I could at once see the Angel of death, a magnificent and beautiful angel, shining like the sun, beside Papa. After a while I saw Papa emerge from the limp and frail body looking as if he was in his 20s. Papa was smiling and took the hand of the Angel of Death and they slowly faded from my sight. it was a comforting vision and I could not help but smile knowing Papa had gone Home safely.

I’ve often wondered it people would still fear death if they knew how peaceful and glorious it would be to finally shed your body, emerge into a Light-filled universe, and return Home. All of the horrors of death that our imaginations have been fed since we were children are, in truth, far from what truly awaits us. Imagine, we are to return Home finally after a long journey of adventure in this life. Imagine being finally free and leaving behind a life, complete with issues and memories, with joys and sorrows, with laughter and tears and returning and remembering a life we once knew but have temporarily forgotten. If they only how very wrong our notions of death are and how awe-inspiring our Homecoming truly is.

As we start this year let us endeavor to see our life path as a whole, trying to make sense of what our life is really all about instead of just reacting to circumstances daily. Perhaps in this way our own Homecoming will not be a horrid surprise but may be one we have long prepared for but will, instead, be a much-awaited joyful event. Let us always remember Who We Are, that are Spirit and that we are all coming Home one day.

I decided to accompany my daughter to our dermatologist yesterday afternoon as a break from being at home the past few days. Trying to avoid the stress of Saturday afternoon traffic, we opted to take a taxi instead of driving to Makati. We planned to leave early in anticipation of the difficulty of getting a cab but, happily, we were able to hail one within 2 minutes and, happily again, it was an easy, traffic-less ride.

My daughter was merrily chatting away all the time and I relished this “father-daughter” outing, a rare event for both of us. While waiting to see the doctor, during the stroll around the mall, and while eating out after (we were both hungry; she had a yummy burrito and I had a delicious bowl of chili), I relished our relationship. I dawned on me that my daughter’s lively personality was a combination of my wife’s and my mother’s outgoing traits, something which always brought a breath of fresh air to my usually serious self. Again, it was unusually easy to get a taxi back and it was even more delightful to learn that the driver knew the way because he lived in our area.

As I reflect on the wonder of all of these “little things” that I normally do not notice during the course of my usually busy days I also realize that there are so many other “little things” that I have missed out on because I was simply too preoccupied with the business of living. And yet our guiding angels remind us that their messages almost always come in the form of these “little things” so that we may slow down, savor the moment, and enjoy the wonder of it all.

Today is the Roman Catholic feast of the Epiphany or the visit of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The story goes that these wise men followed a star to the birthplace of a king. It is strange that they did not doubt for an instance that the baby they found, wrapped in rags and lying among barn animals, was the future king. They saw through this to notice that in this commonplace “little thing” of a circumstance lay the future of the world. Perhaps, in their wisdom, they were also listening to their own guiding angels so that they could appreciate this significant “little thing.”

Every night, before we sleep, it may be good to review our day and blissfully honor each of the “little things” that we have encountered during the day and the messages they carry from the Creator. Wisdom need not be the domain only of Magi. It may be ours, too, if we just take time to honor the unnoticed.

Refreshing the Self

It’s a new year and around this time our angels urge us not only to look ahead in anticipation to the year ahead but also to consider that we all have a blessed opportunity to begin a new chapter in our lives. And, as with all new life chapters. we must firmly close the old one so we may write a fresh one.

Our guiding angels remind us that all life chapters truly begin within, in our interior life. It is always helpful to begin a new year with taking stock of yourself in a contemplative manner. How do I want to live my life this year? What do I want to accomplish? How does this fit in with my overall life goals?

Of course, the answers to these are all premised on the answer to a significant life question: Who am I? It is when we truly know who we are, when we are able to grasp our life as a whole and not merely react daily to circumstances around us, that our life takes meaning and we begin to live as Spirit. Let us all pause and contemplate on ourselves at this time so that we may clean out our inner selves and make room for a fresher self.

And when we become conscious of our year’s goals, then our angels suggest that send out an inner song of gratitude to the Creator knowing that what we desire has already been given, has already been fulfilled for us, at the moment of Creation. This, our inner song, is also one of readiness and acceptance for the blessings we need for our continuing life journey.

Let us begin this new life chapter by being with our Angel Within, if only for a short while, to consider refreshing our inner Self so that this year may be truly blessed.

Over a New Year’s day lunch yesterday an elderly ¬†close relative sidled up to me and, in a whisper, requested for a message from her angel. A widow with grown-up children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, ¬†she spends here days in prayer and community service. At this point in her life she felt that she had accomplished everything she had to do in life and that now she was ready to die.

After a few moments her angel’s message that came forth was that, in order for her to be truly ready she must be prepared to let go of all that she desired, even death. She was taken aback because she believed that she no longer desired anything except to help others who needed her. Her angel gently added that she must be willing to let go of even that desire.

I reflected on this message when I got home because it seemed disconcerting that her angel seemed to imply that even desiring to help others should be of no more consequence to her. We are taught that the desire to be of service to others is a noble desire and should be cultivated yet her guiding angel was saying that it was necessary not to desire even that! I was reminded of the Buddha’s statement that the cause of all suffering is desire. Perhaps that was what her angel meant.

When we desire release from this world, or even just peace of heart for now, we may never truly have that peace until we train our mind to let go of desire. For anything and everything. This may seem preposterous and next to impossible because we believe we are ego-driven creatures for whom to follow our dreams is a great virtue, one that drives human progress. And yet angels say that to act in accordance with our dreams is one thing but the attachment to the desire for that dream is another. What do we truly want in our lives? Can we want it but not be attached to it? It is when we do not get what we want that we suffer because our ego has attached itself to that desire. Perhaps we should want but not be attached to our need for what we want.

After years of conversations with angels I have begun to understand that when we pray for a need it is always best to add the phrase, “or something better.” This indicates our willingness to let go, to be detached from the desire for the outcome. That little phrase frees our heart and from desire and, through repeated use, trains our mind to be detached from desire. The we become truly free of this earth and live in heaven even while we are here.