The Key to your Heart

Key to your Heart

As this blog show themes that I have been pondering for some time now have been thinking, silence, inner life, longing and the experience of God in our lives. A few years ago I had a kind of awakening that changed my perspectives completely and transformed my understanding. It had to do with the understanding of my thinking mind.

Gradually I started believing and then realizing that I was not my thoughts. This meant that my truest being was not to be found in my head or in the thoughts of my mind. I realized that “me” as the observer of my mind’s thinking was someone closer to my deepest self. Instead of letting thoughts define me and everything I now could step back and watch and observe my thinking (Now, I even believe that my deepest self is something other also than this “me” that now became more of the observer than the thinker. But these things are also shrouded in mystery and will probably stay that way for a very long time).

Realizing I were not my thoughts was a deeply freeing experience. So for me this newfound knowledge became one of the keys to my heart and my further journey on my quest to know truth and experience God.

This fall I have started more seriously to practice times of silence especially in the mornings before I go to work or start my day. This I believe is another key that can open doors into my heart and open myself to the very life of God within me.

Some Christians experience fear and may worry that some of us are too influenced by other religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism. For my part I am not so scared anymore of this influence (if that’s what it is) since as a (wanna-be) mystic I find much in common between the world’s religions. Still, some people are afraid that silent prayer will become a practice were you try to empty your minds from thoughts. So it feels safer to only practice thinking or discursive prayer, or meditate upon the Scripture in a Lectio-Divina-way.

But, for some, there are many forms of prayer, even for me as a Christian. And at times it may be similar to Hindu or Buddhist meditation, which I believe is not so much about emptying the mind, but rather a going-behind-the-thoughts and letting-go-of-thoughts.

Our minds can create beatiful pictures and thoughts, but at other times our minds delve into worry, self-defeating thougths and darkness. That’s why the truth that I-am-not-my-thinking created so much freedom in my life. It was a key of truth. And it made me desire to go deeper, behind the thoughts, and in times of silence, to surrender myself to the deeper life of God.

Interestingly the wellknown verse in the Psalms that sometimes has been quoted “Be still, I know that I am God”, is not so much asking us directly to be silent, but rather to “let go”. So for me, these times of silence, can also be times where I let go of the thoughts created by my mind, and just open up to and surrender to the silence.

I believe that sitting in silence for a few minutes is a way of opening to a deeper experience of God’s love. I may not experience that much in the silence other than at times a kind of rest, but I believe the silence is working in me and expanding a space within me. I believe the silence may prepare me and help me to experience a deeper closeness to God throughout my day.

Sitting in silence, I believe, is another key to opening to the love of God. The silence expands and opens our hearts so we may reach within to our deepest selves beyond all thoughts, and even find God’s Spirit within. Augustin speaks of this in his Confessions when he talks about his search for God. He was searching outside himself, when God was to be found within.

So what I am trying to say, is that these keys that I have found may also help you. Getting your understanding straight and realize what the thinking mind is and then start spending a few minutes every day alone in silence may help you to connect and open up to the life of God within. A few moments and minutes could be all that is needed for you to find your own heart. And when you do find your heart, in silence, I believe God is just around the corner!

Be blessed!

Please feel free to comment and respond here and share your thoughts about keys to our and God’s heart.

Alone, you think

Heart aflame

In your mind you think yourself alone

You think you are alone

You’re thinking all love is gone

You’re restless in your aloneness

Nevertheless

What your longing for is not for some person to give

Rather it is for you to surrender and receive

It is there even when you think yourself alone

What you think is gone

Is for your heart to see

In the Lion’s Den

Lion

The story of Daniel in the Lion’s den came to my mind today. It spoke to me about all the dangers, problems, sicknesses that we can experience in our lives. No one (at least not the unbelievers) believed that Daniel would survive the experience being thrown to the hungry lions. But we know how the story goes and how God protected Daniel in this time of crisis. God even made the lions calm so that Daniel’s fear could be lessened.

If Daniel was a real human, which I believe he was, he probably experienced some fear being in the cave seemingly unprotected and surrounded by a very real danger. Or maybe Daniel was one of those who was not so afraid because his trust in the Creator of life had grown so much over time, that he just knew that he would be brought through this valley of darkness?

I think Daniel knew in his heart, that what was with him was bigger and stronger than anything, and any situation. But I am not fan of presenting simple solutions to great problems, and I apologize if that is how you read this text. But hopefully these words can give some consolation and comfort to you whatever your life circumstances are.

I believe it takes quite some time, yes maybe years of experience, to develop the trust Daniel had. So if you (like me some times!) can not feel calm and can not stop worrying about your or some other people’s situation it can still be helpful to know that God is bigger than any situation and that somehow He will bring you through the dark times.

And while you are experiencing that darkness, pain, problem, sickness, suffering, like Daniel in the lion’s den and many before and after him, yes even Jesus in Gethsemane and on the cross, you can remind yourself that God is present there with you, and that one day (and maybe sooner than you think), God will light up your way and renew your joy!

I am not trying to say that if your in great pain and suffering that you can just believe and God will fix everything just like that. If you are experiencing a lot of pain and suffering in your life I also recommend that you reach out to someone that can listen to you, help you and be there with you. Often we need help from others, at times even also professional help. God has put other people there to be of help to you!

I believe that God can and will bring us through our suffering (and that we can even grow from it!), but often He asks us to be the ones helping and supporting other people in their difficult times. So ask yourself, who can I reach out to today?

If you somehow found this post interesting or helpful and would like to be notified when knew posts are out, you can send an email to sveinboerge@hotmail.com. Also feel free to comment here on the blog or send me feedback by email.

Be blessed!

The Desert of Loneliness

Loneliness is a like a desert

At times you realize that what you are experiencing and feeling inside is a deep loneliness, and with this, a feeling of sadness as well. It feels like you are disconnected from everyone and everything. You may realize that all your talking, reading, commenting, blogging et cetera is all about a desire to feel truly loved and connected.

What connects you to this loneliness can some times be a small comment from someone. Some times the comment is about something that you think should not have been a big of a deal. Maybe it is just a comment that makes you realize that you are not so admired as you like to be? Maybe this person is talking about someone else that means a lot to him or her, and you are smiling and at the same time you are experiencing your loneliness and sadness. Because, you want to be the one the other person is talking about, you want to be the one he or she is admiring (the most).

In the example mentioned above you may not realize in the exact moment you are listening to the comment what you are actually experiencing. But when the noise around you quiets down you may realize what your feelings are about.

I believe that to realize and know these feelings of loneliness and sadness are important. Even though they are painful they are something real that needs to be appreciated and dealt with for what it is.

But what is it, really? This loneliness that sometimes leads to drivenness and stress. Other times it makes us compulsive or aggressive. And still other times it just creates a deep and painful sadness.

I am not totally sure. But I believe in the importance of being embraced for who you are when you are a small child. If this embracing did not happen to the degree that you needed this could have created or at least deepened the loneliness.

I also believe this loneliness is part of us all. There is a good side to it, because it helps us to be creative and also to do a lot of good towards others. The loneliness makes us reach out to others. But there is also a dark side to it. That is when the loneliness becomes all there is and people find that their lives are not worth living.

I remember this song written by Mike Peters in The Alarm which goes “and put your loneliness in mine and rise”. I realize that since this is also sung, the feeling of loneliness is a common experience. And one thing we can do about it when we realize we are lonely, is to reach out to someone, because the other person may have the same experience. Together we are really stronger, when we are honest about our own lives.

Finally, there is also a story about a God that came to Earth and showed himself as Jesus Christ. He met a lot of lonely people on His path and showed them goodness, grace and forgiveness. He showed people at the time and now us when we are reading about Him, an all embracing and unconditional love.

I said that a lack of embracing in childhood could deepen the loneliness (and maybe this lack of embrace early on also hinders us from believing in, receiving and experiencing God’s embrace later?) but I also believe the loneliness is already there from the start, from the moment you open your eyes. That is because there is only One that can truly embrace us completely, the One that knows us better than ourselves, namely the Creator of all life. He has shown us and are still showing us His love through Jesus, the Christ and his creation. And what if God planted this loneliness in us so that we would long for his Spirit and the River within.

If you somehow by reading this realize that you are experiencing a loneliness that brings you a lot of pain. Please do not sit down in hiding, but reach out to someone that can and will listen to you. If you believe there is none, I have to disagree. There truly is someone out there you can talk to if you go looking. There is so much love in this world, and there is also love for you. So maybe now it is time to make that phonecall or send a message to someone? Even though I am also mentioning a God that loves us and embraces us, we often need other humans to help us realize we are loved, and we need other humans to love us!

If you are at a time in your life where you are experiencing contentment, love and connection, please do not keep this love to yourself! One of my heroes is Richard Rohr, a Fransiscan author, who also started the Center for Action and Contemplation in Alberquerque, New Mexco (the USA). We are not only called to contemplate and experience God’s love in our own lives and deepest selves, we are called to reach out to others. So, maybe now is the time for action? Who can you reach out to? Look around!

If you somehow found this post interesting or helpful and would like to be notified when knew posts are out, you can send an email to sveinboerge@hotmail.com. Also feel free to comment here on the blog or send me feedback by email.

Be blessed!

Growing Into Freedom

Sunset
I have a burning desire to know truth. Jesus Christ said that the truth would set us free. This tells us that knowing truth brings freedom. What is freedom like? How can we find this truth and this freedom?
              Freedom is an experience that brings joy, light and color into our lives. When you experience being trapped or shut down you are not experiencing freedom. Again, Christ came to point to truth. He even said that He was the truth, the life and the way. He also said to the people He met, “follow me”. As Richard Rohr also has pointed out in his books, Jesus didn’t focus on Him being someone to be praised or worshiped, but rather said, “follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me”.
             Jesus Christ proclaimed in the synagogue that He had come to set the captives free. The gospel is a lot about dying to self (the false self) and about freedom from our ego. A freedom I believe is something we can grow into. A dying to yourself, a dying from you own ego, is painful and creates suffering. But as someone wise started saying, “no pain, no gain!”. Or in Richard Rohr’s words (in his book “Falling Upward”), this is a “necessary suffering” and a prerequisite for growing into a deeper spiritual freedom and a closer relationship with God.
             We need to turn away from our own ego, our own selfcenteredness (the false self) and reach within to find the living water ever flowing from our innermost being. Also when we see our own (ego’s) sinfulness, we need to look to Jesus as many others before us (read Hebrews), and follow Him.
             Sometimes it’s the egos and sinfulness of others that brings us suffering and sadness, other times it is our own shadows and darkness that drags us down. Either way this may create a sorrow that may help us reach out and reach within for the Spirit of God. A Holy Spirit that even helps us when we don’t know what and how to pray. The Spirit that was promised to guide us by Christ Himself, and a Spirit that will help us grow into the knowledge of the truth. The Truth that has always been true. In Rohr’s words, “What is true, has always been true”.
             Again, growing can be painful. Yes, the Romans tells us that the whole creation groans and longs for redemption. The suffering that is part of the necessary suffering gives us new eyes so we can see and know truth. This seeing brings light to our soul. Jesus talked about this seeing that would bring light. Seeing brings light, light creates the experience of freedom. Sometimes you can literally see it in people’s eyes when they have grown into this freedom and joy.
             Paul talks about freedom in his letter to the churches in Galatia. He warns them about trusting in anything else than God’s grace. God’s grace is free, but before we are able to truly appreciate and receive God’s grace we may have to walk through valleys of darkness and suffering. But as we say in a Norwegian saying, “when you walking uphill, that is when life is going upwards”. It is this Rohr also talks about in his wise book “Falling Upward”. I think we can say with Rohr that we have to fall and experience our sin and lacking before we can really rise again.
            Be reminded again, that Christ came to bring truth and life, a truth that would set us free. This freedom that you can grow into brings joy, even amidst the continuation of some suffering throughout our lives (read about Paul and the torn in his flesh). A freedom that by the grace of God and by time brings forth all the fruits of the Spirit, that Paul speaks about, joy, peace, patience and more. What a freedom!
           Are you longing to grow with God, to grow into His freedom? Maybe you are experiencing a time of suffering? Trust in God’s grace and His Spirit within you, and know that He will guide you through the suffering. Eventually when your eyes are opened you will know Him and the Truth that will set you free!
                                                                                                                                                                              Recommendation: A book that I recommend and that has truly inspired me and helped me grow into freedom is Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward”. So in a way this post could partly also be a kind of book review.

 

Not There Yet, but Close?

Forest

The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! John 4,14b, NRSV

Grateful to the Creator leading me in the ways of ever deepening living in Spirit. Connecting to the Source of Life within is the greatest goal you can have. But also very often the most challenging.

Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries that only make us identify too much with our egos, instead of identifying with Christ living within. The Christ that wants to become our lives.

Rilke supposedly said, the only journey is the journey within. Since I believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, I would like to rephrase, the journey within is the deeper one. It is the journey we must take if we are to grow, in our second half of life (check out Rohr’s book, Falling Upwards).

So am I there yet? At times my experience is of a great energy and life flowing from my innermost. Other times my mind’s thinking and my feelings of fear and sorrow can be blockages to the flow. So, we must be patient and keep walking in the life that has been set ahead of us, a life filled with evergrowing richness and thankfulness.

Be blessed!

Finding Hidden Treasures (or Embracing Your Shadow)

big tree and blue sky

Growing up means, among other things, that we suppress and hide the things about ourselves that scare us or do not seem to be good enough, likeable or acceptable, for example to our parents, to other people of significance in our lives or to our social environment. This could for example be emotions like anger and joy or it could be our creativity. The things we suppress, hide and later forget so we often cannot see them in ourselves, create our shadow. These aspects are then easily projected unto others in our daily life.

It is helpful to notice what we admire, sometimes envy or even what irritates and angers us the most about other people or the world. Then we can, through reflection, contemplation and silence, find courage and wisdom to realize that what creates the admiration or even irritation is really something deeply buried within our own hearts.

Jesus talked about how easily we see faults in others instead of in ourselves (Matt. 7:5). How often do we not criticize others when instead we should have set aside some time for silence and contemplation.

It often takes years, yes even a lifetime, to fully embrace our shadow. But still, by realizing what we are actually doing when we are projecting our shadow (gifts, emotions, personality traits) upon others, we find a way to start. When we truly realize the need to look within we find a new beginning.

It is important not to think that shadow and evil are the same, because they truly are not. By actually finding and embracing our shadow we may find hidden treasures. What this process, often painfully, can do, is to lead us to greater acceptance, freedom and joy. Eventually we can let go of the hazzle it is to be critical of others when we more and more embrace our own shortcomings. At the same time we find new meaning and joy through rediscovering hidden gifts that were given to us at the beginning of our life journey.

Suggested reading: If you would like to learn more about shadow work reading books by Robert A. Johnson, like “Inner Gold” and “Owning Your Own Shadow” could be a place to start.

Feel free to leave comments below if you like to comment or discuss this topic.

Revised October 14th, 2018

New Beginnings

church-820339_1920

…He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds (Isaiah 53:5)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the wounded healer and by His wounds we are healed. But what does that really mean?

In my Protestant Christian upbringing I grew up with the understanding of Jesus as paying the price for our sins and at times we were close to thinking of this as a transaction: Our sin, the blood of Jesus, we go free. I still accept and receive this as a truth. At the same time I think the typical protestant (evangelical) preaching about this can become very technical and may leave us void of any true and transformational experience.

Now my understanding of the suffering Christ has developed and deepened. Yes, he died for our sins. But at the same time he suffered and died to show us a way through our sin and suffering. This understanding has become an important and necessary step in my faith, and it’s about taking life and Jesus seriously.

Not only is Jesus the wounded healer (check out Henri Nouwen’s great book: The Wounded Healer), but he shows us how we can grow and walk through our own suffering, and even bring healing and forgiveness to this world through our own woundedness. By God’s grace we can all become wounded healers by following his example.

Jesus told his disciples to follow him. I believe that the Creator calls us to be and to become truly human by being honest and truthful when it comes to the experience of sin and suffering. Jesus and the cross invite us to accept suffering and “dying” as a an important way of healing in our lives.

Now I not only believe that Jesus saved us from sin and suffering, but also that he shows us a way to deal with the suffering that’s part of every human’s life. For example in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus in prayer shows us that he wanted to avoid suffering when asking the Father to take the suffering away. But at the same time he accepted the suffering and surrendered to the will of God. The surrender to God happened again at the cross, when Jesus in his final words before dying let go of his spirit.

One important thing Jesus shows us by his example is that we should not run away, deny or avoid suffering and pain that may be necessary in our lives, no matter how painful it is. He shows us a way to live with wounds, truth, acceptance and most importantly a way of surrender to the Creator amist the suffering.

He does not only show us a way in and through suffering, but also that by following this road of surrender we will find new life. Jesus rose from the dead! This means we can go through the valleys in our lives knowing and trusting that there is a way through that leads to new life and new beginnings. Again and again.

I am not so focused on heaven being a particular place after death. I believe the example of Jesus shows us how to live our lives now and how we also will experience breakthroughs and freedom many times throughout our lives. By accepting and growing through the suffering, we can bring healing to others through our example since then our lives point to the greatest example of them all, the example of Jesus.

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

 

 

 

 

The Gaze of God is Love!

God rays

I believe that the greatest truth that can be revealed to man is that he is God’s beloved! No matter who we are and where we are coming from His gaze upon us is love! This is a love that trancends our understanding, it is pure grace and a gift.

When I, as a young student, truly realized that the love described in 1.Corinthians 13 was a description of the nature of God I felt joy! Since then life has led me through bright days, but also dark valleys of suffering and pain, yes, even what some would call dark nights of the soul. But time and time again after growing through the pain I have been led back to God’s gaze, which is always a gaze of love.

Why not contemplate this in silence and rest today knowing that God’s gaze upon you is love and that you are His beloved?

If you like to be noticed when new posts are out please send me an e-mail at: sveinboerge@hotmail.com