A post from several years ago – as inspiring as ever. mjd

Thoughts by Mary Jo Disler

“There is an inexhaustible supply, and we are God’s beloved children for whom He is ever providing and to whom He has given His own life and wisdom and power and substance, the innate ability to do whatever is required in bringing our own soul to the Christ standard of living and serving others.”

 – Letters of Myrtle Fillmore

Look for the play on words in Psalm 37:4. “Desire” has a double meaning–the inner desire ( …of your heart.), and the fulfillment of that desire ( he will give you… ). When “delight in the Lord” is your first and foremost “treasure of the heart,” a valid desire comes from the Creator. It can be trusted as meant for you. The realization will come. If it seems delayed according to our human time table, trust that preparation for it is nevertheless part of the “treasure.” It will…

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Introduction (mjd): The common denominator in countless writings that have interested me over many years is – put simply – silence: prayer as listening, not dictating to the Almighty. How we wish at times that communication of the richness of spiritual life was not circumscribed by words and language! Inevitably some verbal descriptions are assumed to be “categories” rather than limited attempts to convey a rich experience. One such word is “mysticism.” It tends to sound exotic, a “category” for historical figures – “mystics” – who wrote of inner experiences – some of which were bizarre. To be accurate, the ancients wrote of both positive and depressing periods, which should be included if one is interested in more comprehensive study. However, this short quotation emphasizes the rich rewards and practicality for those called to the inner search.

How refreshing it is to find recent writers who have the perspectives of distance, study, and their own lives that illuminate history, cultural and religious environments of bygone eras. They sort the wheat from the chaff, and help us understand our own inner life journey which is ever one of growth, learning and maturing. This discerning post is a brief quotation from What is Mysticism? A Study of Man’s Search for God (1923), by Episcopal clergyman Charles Morris Addison (1856 – 1947).

We have called (mysticism) Prayer at its highest and best. We can give it no higher name. It is the retirement into one’s self, the shutting out of the world’s interests, the cessation of the mind’s restless thinking, its doubts and fears; the silencing of even the soul’s constant loquacity; the distinct expectation of finding God within and hearing God speak, if only we can be empty and silent enough to give Him a chance; the perfect repose of the soul, what an old English writer has called “our fiduciary recumbency,” trusting the promises of God, that he who seeks finds, he who asks receives and that God is ready to meet us within. This is Mysticism and this is Prayer. Anyone who can succeed in reaching that state (for it is more a state than an act) removes the last barrier, pierces the last veil, may find his soul irradiated with the Vision of God, experience a sense of his presence, may almost reach to his goal of union with God and is lifted thereby into a joy which is inexpressible.

But however incomprehensible may be the joys of a Mystic to the ordinary Christian, it must be plain from what has been said, that the way to them is a way open to us all. It is the common road. There is nothing vague or unreal about it. If it has mystery, it is only because it reaches farther toward Infinity, toward the Being of God, the Source of our being. If we may not see to the bottom of the well, it is because it is deep and not because it is muddy. … Its knowledge comes by feeling, intuitively. Truth bears witness to itself and is its own authority. It is ready to reason upon the truth it feels but does not look to Reason for proof. It is not afraid of Reason but makes it the servant and helper of Faith.

– Charles Morris Addison, D.D. (1856 – 1947)
Rector St. John’s Church, Stamford, Connecticut
What is Mysticism: A Study of Man’s Search for God, 1923

I Samuel 3:1-10

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!”

So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!”

So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time.
So he arose and went to Eli, and said,
“Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy.

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say,

‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’
” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times,
“Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered,
“Speak, for Your servant hears.”

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Some thoughts at times of life fulfillment:

… you are just as secure in God’s love in death as in life.

There is no way to prevent death except to lose the fear and dread of it and to understand that in what the world calls life or death, there is a oneness with God, with love, and with life. If you really accept that, you cannot believe that a time will ever come when that relationship with God will ever change. Therefore, in the experience of life, the experience of death, the experience before our birth, or the experience after our death, we still are one with our Source.

The degree of our conscious oneness with God within becomes the degree of manifested harmony in the without.

The life of the Christ is forever … It will never leave us. It will go with us from glory to glory, from manifestation to manifestation.

– excerpts, Joel S. Goldsmith, “This is immortality,” The Altitude of Prayer

I am convinced that neither death,
nor life,
nor angels,
nor authorities,
nor present,
nor future,
nor power,
nor height,
nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
is able to separate us from the love of God in our Lord Christ Jesus!

Romans 8:38
translated by Ferrar Fenton,
The New Testament in Modern English, 1906

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For the New Year, 2022

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable,
and perfect,
will of God.”
Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So by wisely using that which we have, the natural, we are transformed from that which is most apparent, and consequently that which we think we are, the mortal, the physical, into that which from all eternity we in reality are, and never except in our own minds can get away from, – the Spiritual, the Divine.

It is through this instrumentality that the Divine Life within us, the Divine Life with all its ever-ready-to-break-forth glories and powers, is enabled to be changed from a mere passive and hence potential actuality, and to burst forth into the full splendors of conscious, active life. Surely, then, thought rightly directed and rightly used has within it the true regenerating and hence redeeming power; through it and it alone are we able to make for ourselves a new heaven and a new earth, or rather, by thus finding the kingdom of God, and through it entering into the conscious realization of the heavenly state, are we able to make for ourselves a new earth by actualizing the kingdom of Heaven in our lives while living on the earth, and which, when once truly realized, can never be lost.

– Ralph Waldo Trine, The Greatest Thing Ever Known,” 1898

I stand amazed at the fathomless wealth of God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge.
How could man ever understand his reasons for action,
or explain his methods of working?
For: Who hath known the mind of the Lord?
Or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For everything began with him,
continues its existence because of him,
and ends in him.
To him be the glory for ever, amen.
– St. Paul, Romans 11:33-36

The New Testament in Modern English: Student Edition Revised,
translated by J. B. Phillips, copyright.

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Music – so bonded to the deep meaning of Christmas

Time – bonded to our hope and expectations for the New Year which follows.

Some random personal reflections on the parallels between performing music and the practice of Christian spiritual life:

“Time,” of course, is at the core of music. A piece demands a certain amount of clock time to be heard from beginning to end. Yet time seems to stand still during the progression of tones and rhythm. Beyond the commonalities of clock and calendar, the human perception of time is quite variable. In this sense music becomes a microcosm of life and the spirit – living both within and beyond “time.”

Internal listening is essential to the study and performance of music. “Listening prayer” comes very easily, once recognized.

The music played reaches all listeners equally, non-judgmentally, impartially. The performer can only “give,” not control how it is received.

Music is not a thing that is ever “finished.” It is experienced in the moment it is received, in the here and now. Perhaps this is a parallel to “perfection” as related in Scripture, where it is a “way,” not a finality. Even “perfection” is a process.

The physical skill must be maintained regularly, even as “praying without ceasing” is required in life.

Practicing music is probably the only activity that cannot be accompanied by listening to another piece of music in the background – obviously because it IS music itself, and requires complete focus, both internal and external listening.

To some extent, the performance of music enables silence in the listener. It may surprise some that musicians, in turn, deeply value times of silence, since “sound” is their career.

May those that cherish their commitment to the Life and Guidance of the Creator find inspiration and nourishment in music thus dedicated as another New Year approaches. – mjd

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Powerhouse of the Universe

Originally posted in December, 2016, this quote is universal – both in time, history, and space. It is a personal favorite, because it opens the door to all who care about “who we are” in the Creator’s cosmos. Despite the ups and downs of our lives, there is indeed a central core that never changes – always giving, always responding, with only one requirement: seeking and listening. Christmas reminds us that this universal “core” cares that we accept our humanity as part of the cosmos – that we accept the fact of the Presence available to any and all at any time and in any circumstance. May you, dear reader, be infinitely blessed by knowing the Presence, whether you understand it or not. All of life is molded by accepting and growing through the years given to us.

Thoughts by Mary Jo Disler

“The great central fact of the universe is that spirit of infinite life and power that is back of all, that manifests itself in and through all. This spirit … is what I call God. … He is the life of our life, our very life itself. We are partakers of the life of God; and though we differ from Him in that we are individualized spirits, while He is the Infinite Spirit, including us, … yet in essence the life of God and the life of man are identically the same, and so are one.”

“The great central fact in human life is the coming into a conscious vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow.  … In just the degree in which you realize your oneness with the Infinite Spirit, you will exchange dis-ease for ease, inharmony…

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Originally posted Thanksgiving, 2016. Many years ago, I realized the power of genuine gratitude. For those who may doubt the reality and power of the Creator of our universe, gratitude is the eternal gateway. If you would like to pray, but feel as though you don’t know how, begin with thinking, expressing genuine thanks for whatever comes to mind. Let the All-Knowing-One speak to YOU.

Thoughts by Mary Jo Disler

“The thankful heart is always close to the creative forces of the universe.”

  • Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, 1963.

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The reason for peace is that there is nothing to fear. While there is something to fear, there is no peace. Once the peace has descended upon us, the prayer is complete; … The feeling of peace is the successful prayer.

All prayer, all communion with God, is only for one purpose … to achieve for us this sense of peace, or well-being, this realization: “Lo, I am with you until the end of time. Lo, I am always with you.” Let us have that sense of the divine Presence, and we shall have answered prayer. … In “My presence” the fire does not burn, the water does not drown; in “My presence” the storms do not rage. The power of Christ is the answer to every form of inharmony. The feeling of the Presence is in itself a prayer. Let us understand this: Our problem is at an end–not when we think we have found a solution, but when we have felt this inner peace.

The solution of the outer problem is automatically taken care of in the realization of this inner peace. The peace within produces harmony and joy without.

 – Joel S. Goldsmith, “The Deep Silence of My Peace,”
Collected Essays of Joel S. Goldsmith, copyright 1986

Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you;
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

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God is within you now, and you are in God now; you already have God’s presence where you are; but it is your conscious remembrance of that Presence which brings it into manifestation.

The light is attained in that moment when you have no external desires, when you have the knowledge that it is only God’s grace, God’s will, and God’s law that you are desiring. … The moment you stop chasing something, it comes into your experience; the very moment you stop running after something, it begins running after you. As your desire for anything, anybody, or any condition in the external world comes to an end, you begin to live this inner life of conscious oneness with God, and then your external life begins to take care of itself. There is an invisible Presence, Something that you cannot see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, going before you to make the crooked places straight, … and to bring unto your own.

… those who spend only a few hours of the day consciously aware of an indwelling Presence, of God as the Substance of their good and as the Source of peace, safety, and security, find that God is their high tower and fortress. God cannot give safety and security; God can give only Himself, but in God there is safety and security. God cannot give peace to anyone: God can give only Himself, but in God there is peace.

 – Joel S. Goldsmith, “Meditation on Life by Grace,”
The Contemplative Life, copyright 1963 & 1991.

(Jesus:) Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him;
and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:4-5


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A legacy

This post is different from the usual topics which focus on the spiritual life. It is a tribute to my brother, John, who fulfilled his life quite recently. It will be read at his Memorial service. In the interests of family privacy, I will refer to his first name only, “John.” He had a career in military flying, including exceedingly dangerous assignments during the Vietnam conflict. His faith and belief in Biblical precepts was paramount to his flying during those years. Upon retirement from the US Air Force, he trained and flew as a commercial pilot, assigned to journeys westward to Asian and other ports. In its own way, this post represents the “fruits of the spirit” – the life that flows  from a committed, believing spirit.

The Legacy of “John”
Psalm 19:1
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 139:1-18
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.

A story: John’s career centered on his love of flying. But his legacy centered on his love of people – his dearest wife – his high school sweetheart, their family, and just about anyone he encountered. An example: During his commercial flying years as a pilot, a day came when a 747 was loading and preparing for takeoff. But a young boy was very frightened about this new experience – so much so that he was nearly hysterical. Someone from the cabin crew went into the pilot’s area and related what was happening. John went out to sit next to him and console him. So he started a conversation about –– baseball! As they talked, the plane started down the runway, soared skyward, and all was well. A potentially terrifying new experience transformed into welcoming a new friend who cared deeply for a young soul.

So what is John’s true legacy? – It is found – perhaps in secret, perhaps down deep somewhere in the lives of countless people he encountered in life, and in some bit – some kindness spoken or unspoken – that may have transformed their day, their outlook on a rough patch in life, their appreciation of personal loved ones, their reassurance that there are those who really care – something that each will in some way pass on to others in their life legacy.

To close, a poem that has become a modern day psalm – especially for those who love flying.

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941), Royal Canadian Air Force pilot

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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