Discerning, Detachment, Meditation and the Spiritual Walk

    There is a saying of Christ that is very relevant here: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). A right relationship with God automatically will result in right relationships with everything else.

For example, we begin each day with meditation, thus we renew our commitment and our desire to have God enter our life. By beginning the day with meditation you are literally putting first your desire for a right relationship with God. David affirmed this desire for a right relationship with God when he cried out “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10). 

But then the next thing that occurs is the benefit of detaching from people, objects and thoughts, and observing them in the Light.  As you then go out into the world carrying this meditative stance with you--this slight detachment from people, circumstances, things, words and thoughts--you are thus attached to the inner light from God and slightly distant to the world. You are “in the world but not of the world.” 

Because of this, you will then be able to discern which way to go and which things to dissociate from. Paul put it this way:  “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

  It is not possible for me to over-emphasize the importance of the meditation exercise. It is a simple technique for separating from the illusory world of the imagination. It is in this regard a simple technique for separating from worries and excessive thought. We have a tendency to go floating along with daydreams, and we do so at the first sighting of stress. We seek refuge in the thought world where we feel secure. But what we are actually doing is escaping from where true security lies--in objectivity where we are closer to God.

We cannot solve our issues when we are lost in thoughts. We have no control over thoughts when we are immersed in them. We cannot know the truth when we are lost in thinking and daydreaming. In order to find true rest, real security, real solutions, and salvation from the nightmare world of illusions, we must separate from thought.

In The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis put it this way:

   Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose? Gaze rather upon heaven and give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They all pass away, and you together with them. Take care, then, that you do not cling to them lest you be entangled and perish. Fix your mind on the Most High, and pray unceasingly to Christ.        

What Is Faith and How Do I Get It?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4: 18

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6: 25

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4: 18

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6: 25

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8: 26

In a recent short talk, Roland discusses how the fall from faith led to being increasingly reactive to things. This is how it was for Adam. First the fall from faith, then worry. First the fall from faith, then  increasing responses to external people, situations and things. .

For us, we are inherently prone to be emotional. Adam knew God intimately before the fall from faith. But for us, we are born into the kind of life he fell to. We have never known the pristine faith that Adam enjoyed before he turned his back on it. 

But don't be too hard on ol' Adam. He did not know what he was getting into. A good analogy would be health. When he had lived according to faith it was like when you are healthy and feel good. You don't realize how nice it is until you get sick. Then you think back on how it was to feel good. 

 Many people take their state of health for granted and assume they will always feel good. Soon they eat wrong food and make other lifestyle errors. Finally they lose their health. Just like Adam, when they began began making wrong choices, they did not know what they were getting into. Only after they start to feel lousy do they think back about how good they had it when they felt good.

So it was with Adam.  His faith was like a positive state of healthy being.  But it was untested faith. Then when someone came along with the idea of being great without God, he lent his ear, toyed with the idea, responded to it, and then ate the forbidden junk food. 

God warned Adam about what would happen if he ate the forbidden fruit, just as people undoubtedly warned you about some of the choices you were making. But you didn't listen. Maybe you heard what they said but did not really believe them. 

Perhaps it was the same with ol' Adam. He heard what God said, but he doubted it. 

Getting back to our out of control lives. We did not start out that way. We inherited a condition without faith (and intimate knowledge of God). Therefore we were prone to respond to challenges emotionally, since we did not have faith. We had no choice but to respond when we were teased and challenged. Soon our responses become conditioned, then we become obedient to the source of the challenges. 

We had no choice about the life we inherited, nor did we have a choice about the conditions we were born into. But later in life, when we are grown up, when have made mistakes just like our parents did, when we have been led astray, and finally when our choiceless choices have led us into problems and issues, we will be forced to see where all those smiling leaders, motivators, helpers and lovers have led us. 

We will also have the opportunity see how our ego stubbornness and resentments have compounded our issues.  At this point we may begin to question the way we have been going, the thins we have believed, and our prideful attitude. Yearning for what is right, our yearning will be met by light so that we may see our errors, and in the light, repent of them. 

This will be the beginning of salvation for those blessed ones who question the way they have been going and have a change of heart about the resentful ambitious path they have been on. 

For us, salvation from our servitude to people and conditions around us begins when we respond to what we know in our heart. Then we begin to grow in faith. First just a little faith . Then more and more.  

What we mean by maturity is in large part being calm. Most of us never got much past our learned emotionality in childhood. We are emotional, or else we pretend to be calm but are emotional inside. 

But once having found and recommitted to what you know in your heart, you will become impervious to stress. Responding more and more to the inner light from God, trusting in it, and believing it saves you from responding to and becoming a slave of external tease and challenge. 

O Mio Babbino Caro Sung by Maria Callas - Pastor Roland's Favorite

This is my all time favorite performance of any opera song.   A young Maria Callas sings the song
and acts so superbly - without equal.

Thank you Puccini, Maria Callas, and Youtube.

O mio babbino caro,
Mi piace, afa bello bello,
Vo'andare in Porta Rossa
A comperar l'anello!
Si, si, ci voglio andare!
E se l'amassi indarno,
Andrei sul Ponte Vecchio
Ma per buttarmi in Arno!
Mi struggo e mi tormento,
O Dio! Vorrei morir!
Babbo, pietafa , pietafa
Babbo, pietafa , pietafa

Oh my dear father,
I like him, he is very handsome.
I want to go to Porta Rossa
to buy the ring!
Yes, yes, I want to go there!
And if my love were in vain,
I would go to Ponte Vecchio
and throw myself in the Arno!
I am pining and I am tormented,
Oh God! I would want to die!
Daddy, have mercy, have mercy!
Daddy, have mercy, have mercy!

Maria Callas was a Greek American soprano, and one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Many critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.     source: Wikipedia