Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at revelizabeth@cccsl.org.

Thich Nhat Hahn tells a great story of a monk who went to meditate alone. He left the monastery and took a boat out to the middle of a lake, and closed his eyes. Deep in meditation after several hours of silence, the monk felt the blow of another boat hitting his. Anger rose in him, and when he opened his eyes, he was ready to shout at the boatman who disturbed his meditation. But when he opened his eyes, he saw that it was an empty boat floating around. He realized that anger was within him and just needed to hit an external object to provoke it.

The feelings we experience are happening within us. We are responsible for the feelings we have toward others. If we have anger, resentment, distrust, and fear, we constrict ourselves and build walls around our hearts that prevent us from experiencing the sunlight of the Spirit.

Asking questions such as, what has this anger come to teach me, or how am I to grow from this experience, dissolves those walls, allowing love to come rushing in, cleansing and purifying the heart and mind with its brilliance. Anger, resentment, and distrust are products of the past. Perhaps we experienced something that didn’t meet our expectations and carried it with us into the present moment. The experience could have been decades ago or just yesterday.

You were birthed into existence on this planet at this time for a purpose. It’s time to get your bloated nothingness out of the path of the Divine circuits flowing through you such that you may shine your light like never before. The bloated nothingness might be playing small, feeling less than, not knowing the how, and giving up. It may be thinking you’re not good enough, too old, too young, too broken, not educated enough, or whatever is getting in the way of your radiant good. It’s time to love and accept yourself exactly as you are and rise.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Have you noticed that something within you rises up even as you endure painful experiences; that something is God. That doesn’t mean we have to have painful experiences to know God. It means that perhaps what’s in the way is the way. The only way out is through it. So lean into Spirit and understand in full faith that It is with you as you go through the eye of the needle, whatever that may be for you. Facing all that arises within you with the light of the Divine, know that you are here to shine!

Affirm the following for yourself and feel the Divine Presence expressing as you now:

  1. Rise up, my Soul, and quicken me with heavenly fervor.
  2. Speak words that make people glad, happy, loved, and connected.
  3. Show me the finished kingdom through which I walk.
  4. I have the power and strength of God within me, and it is mine to use, so I use it.

And so it is.