A collection of whimsical multi-color, multi-layer columns now hangs from the ceiling at Noyes Cultural Arts Center. At first, the 20-foot towers resemble giant toys evoking playful reactions from kids and adults alike. Closer inspection reveals the pillars are comprised entirely of plastic lids and bottlecaps, except for two built from familiar amber-colored pill bottles.
Earlier this week, while observing members of the Morton Grove Mosque during evening prayers, I was flooded with a sense of the divine so powerful it brought me to tears. It's not an unfamiliar feeling, but hard to describe. The best I can do is say it's an odd blend of relief, awe and gratitude that is as overwhelming as it is comforting. It feels like coming home. It's how I imagine the Prodigal Son felt when, having squandered his inheritance on riotous living, was nonetheless welcomed home with robes, rings and a party.
Live-streaming the Democratic National Convention is very different from watching network broadcasts: Instead of commercials and commentators, we see the presentations made between speeches. Last night that included a benediction given by Jena Lee Nardella, a young missionary who works in Africa. Though it struck me as a hybrid of prayer and lecture, I was touched that she mentioned both Barack and Mitt, and affirmed that despite partisan differences we are one people, one nation. Every vote and every voice matters.
If God's good is really everywhere present, then how do we explain suffering? One metaphor I like is that suffering, like darkness, has no power of its own. Flip a light switch and darkness is dispelled. Align with God's presence and power, and suffering is dispelled.
My new favorite metaphor for consciousness is shopping iTunes, Apple's online store boasting a digital inventory of millions of media titles. Virtually anything you want to hear, watch or read is a just a click away.
Life is like that. We pick a thought, download it into consciousness, and play it out in our lives. Like iTunes, the universe offers more choices than we can possibly absorb. Some enrich life, others have the opposite effect. Some downloads we'll replay over and over. Others might sit idly in the library of our consciousness.
Tapping the universe’s abundance is like feasting at a gourmet buffet: Parking one’s backside at a table expecting each course to be magically delivered is a setup for dashed expectations. To partake of the bounty, we have to get up and help ourselves.
Resistance is a sneaky devil. He creeps into the most ordinary circumstances parading as procrastination, indecision and rationalization. He keeps us stuck in the mire of unhealthy patterns.
Nestled in a secluded lush forested glen completely isolated from the sprawl and crowds of Cape Cod's high season, a pristine spring-fed pond -- think sandy-bottom lake not mucky green bog -- invites the few visitors who know of it to float aimlessly across its still, calming surface. My cousin calls it her own "little corner of heaven." She took me there last week, each of us outfitted with an inflatable pool chair.
Miracles don't just happen. They are not magic. We co-create them. Sometimes, we're able to see them forming and explain their appearance. Mostly though, the infinite power of the universe shaping the substance of our consciousness materializing in our day-to-day lives is beyond our comprehension.