Monday, May 30, 2011

A Prayer of Remembrance

Dear God,
Please give me the courage and strength today to Remember.
Remember those who have had their light extinguished so that another light may shine, and to give evidence that in Truth all light is One,
Remember that in Love life holds supreme value, and that life itself is not to be wasted on ideas, fear and emotion.
Remember that the service of restraint must surpass the service of vengeance.

Dear God,
Please give me the cause today to Remember,
Remember those who suffer at the loss of a loved one,
Remember those sacrifices as so enormous as to be made only with the true and utmost reluctance.
Remember that Peace is the victory we seek, not vengeance, not retribution, and not satisfaction of a blood lust.

Allow us to remember that we cannot find Peace unless Peaceful,
And that we cannot find Hope unless Hopeful.
And that we cannot find love without first opening our arms to embrace it.
Today allow me to remember that we cannot forgive others until we have forgiven ourselves,
And that there is no liberty until we allow others to be free.

Dear God of Love, Unity and Compassion,
On this day allow me to remember there is no glory in killing,
There is no true glory on the battlefield, or in the upraised arms of the victor,
For thine alone is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory,
Forever and ever, Amen.

  ©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

A Miracle Moment #1

On Sunday, May 29, I was challenged by a dear friend to ask the universe for something, "anything", to which the universe would always respond "yes".  Since I had no idea what I would ask for prior to the challenge, there was a moment's hesitation between the challenge and the request as I thought about what I should ask for.  The shear number of suggestions that popped into my head during this moment was astounding.  Should I ask for abundance, love, peace, harmony, more sex, less sex (just kidding), health, joy?  Finally the answer was clear as if it was not really me making the decision.  Perhaps I had asked the universe for the question?  If I did the question I needed to ask became quite clear even if the answer itself was not.  Well, not at first anyway.

The conversations we have with the universe can occur at super-light speeds.   As quickly as I posed the request, it seemed the answer was echoing in my otherwise still mind.  It's funny, but when you still your mind the slightest breeze in it can feel like a hurricane-force gale.  In this case, both me and the universe sounded a bit like Gandhi talking through a megaphone; peaceful and content but with a touch of force behind the words.  Such conversations often bring a smile to my face.

In this moment, the conversation went something like this:

"I want more love and forgiveness to come into my life," I asked silently in the stillness of my mind.
"I can't give you any more, you have all there is to have," came the reply.
"Wait, you were supposed to say 'yes" to each request," I said rather abruptly to the Universe.
"I did say yes, long ago when you stated you wanted to know love and forgiveness.  I gave you all there is to give, you just don't allow it in."
"Then I want to allow more love and forgiveness to come into my life," came my rather sarcastic response.
"Then allow it."  It seems I don't have the market cornered on sarcasm after all.  "I'm not stopping you."
"Alright, then allow me to be a vessel of love and forgiveness."
"Ok, you're allowed.  Now what?"

I was a bit dumbfounded.  Was the universe that frustrated with me as to treat me so harshly?

"Fine, let me make this easier then, I want more abundance to come into my life," I said in the matter-of-fact kind of way children usually reserve for those moments when negotiations for more TV time are breaking down..
"I can't give you any more, you have all there is to have," came the reply.

I was just about to respond with the "wait, you were supposed to say 'yes' to each response" part of the continual conversation when it hit me.  Here I was, proverbial mouth wide open, proverbial finger about to point, staring into the universe when I suddenly realized I was proverbially speechless.  I was having that "miracle moment" I had often heard described but never had really seen.  Not that they have never happened, I just haven't seen them.  Yet here it was, in all of its glory, a miracle moment all of my own.

See, I have asked for it all at one time or another in this existence.  I have asked for help, love, forgiveness, money, strength, enlightenment, peace, victory, harmony, courage, understanding, and the zillion other things that have come up at one time or another.  Yet, in my very human perspective I have felt neglected in the answer.  I continued to make mistakes for which I believed I was not getting help.  I continued to feel unloved as the darkness fell all around me.  I felt despised for my mistakes and unworthy of either love or forgiveness from those around me and, most of all, from myself.  I felt money was always going to be an issue no matter how much I asked for abundance.  It seems that no matter how many times I have asked, the answer was usually a far cry from the "yes" I was told was coming.  Whether that small child crying for help under his bed, or that young boy asking for strength while hiding under the blanket he thought would make him invisible, I have asked for it all already. As a young man struggling for identity and some semblance of self-esteem I have asked for it all.  As a man working to provide for his family and wanting so desperately to see his family have the happiness he himself had never had I have asked for it all.

In that moment of realization, in that miracle moment, using that always perfect 20/20 version of hindsight, I understood it was never the universe saying "no" it was my unwillingness to allow the answer to be.  I myself converted the tests of my youth to fear in adulthood.  I alone created monsters out of shadows.  I alone was the creator of unhappiness in those around me and, most importantly, in myself.  I had asked the universe for a shovel to find gold, which it provided, and I in turn used the gift to dig a grave while denying that the gift itself was ever provided.

I smiled in that moment as I am smiling now.  Tears welled in my eyes as they are welling now.  A feeling of something, peace, love, harmony, whatever you wish to call it, fell over me and completely filled my body.  I understood in this, my miracle moment.

"Thank you," was the only reply I could mutter and it was the only one needed.

In this moment the universe had again answered my request in with a resounding "yes".  What was different was that I was listening, I heard that "yes".  In fact, it still echoes in my heart as if stuck in a continual loop.  I admit that there must be a million "miracle moments" presented to us in our daily lives and about a million that go unseen.  This one moment has changed me.  I love me, and I love you.  While that in itself is no different than before what is different is the simple (ok, maybe no so simply) act of allowance.  With this in mind allow me to leave you with one simple quote that is shouting from my soul at this very moment,

"In Gandhi's time there were over a billion Gandhis in the world.  Only one had the willingness to allow it."

  ©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Two Qualities

There are but two qualities that reside within me: that which I know and that which I believe.  What I know is rooted in Love and Eternity, what I believe is rooted in fear and damnation.  My life's purpose is to let go of what I believe and let what I know fill the space.

What I know is not the confirmation of what I believe, it is what is left when I let go of what I believe.
What I know is not the ideas in my mind, it's what is left when I let go of those illusions.
What I know is not the faith that my heart will beat, it is in the sound I hear when it does.
What I know is not the belief in the idea of God, it is in what I know when silent.
What I know is not the body nailed to the cross, but the Spirit that body and cross could not defeat.  It resides in each of us.
To know is to be enlightened, to believe is to be denied.

©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Short thought...

The key to life is not in making sure you tell others how much you love them, it is in making sure you never have to.


  ©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Who and What

I struggle with your condemnation and your desire to create what you see with what you think; and I wonder, "What?"

Who is it that you are creating me to be?  In this moment, who is it that your eyes want to see?  Who is doing the wrong, and who is doing the judging?

I struggle with your understanding and your desire to believe what fear dictates you to have faith in; and I wonder "What?"

What is it that you are searching for?  What do you wish to create in the moment?  What is it you are truly trying to accomplish?

These are but rhetorical questions, as many I ask are.  I don't seek the answer in you, I seek the answer in me.  Yet I hope in my search you may find an answer in you.  I forgive me for the question so that I may forgive you for the answer.  In this forgiveness I can see the meaning I give both the question and the answer, and the trouble that meaning may have caused in footsteps laid long ago.  Today there is but light, forgiveness, and the love that gives life to both.


©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Love of a Woman

Imagine for one minute you are sitting there completely devoid of feelings. You feel nothing, not contempt, not anger, not hate, not worry, not joy, not love.  You are still living, but you truly can't experience the life you are living because you are unable to feel it.  Think about it, if you could not feel the moments, would you actually be able to experience those moments?  Would they have any meaning?  If the answer is, as I suspect, a resounding "no", then it must be that feelings are not only the translation of life's experience into thought, but also the translation of thought into a life's experience.  They interact with one another, with one molding the other so completely as to change the fabric of reality within the artistry.  Both are that powerful and that necessary.

I was taught a lot about my feelings in the anger of a woman.  I was taught a lot about my feelings in the sexual deviance of a woman.  I was taught a lot about my vision of self in the pain of a woman. I was taught a lot about who I am in the rejection of a woman (in case you haven't guessed by "woman" I mean "women").  Yet despite all of these experiences and lessons, I learned the most about myself in the love of a woman.  Interestingly, I can no longer see these events as separate unto themselves.  Fear (anger, jealousy, hatred, contempt, etc.) is not a separate entity to love.  Rather, it is an opportunity for love to know itself, to express itself, to show itself and to understand.  Love is known because fear is known, fear is known because love expresses itself so perfectly that fear is allowed to be.  In fact, it must be.

It has been my life's experience that pain is no small substitute for love's understanding and that fear is not the absence of love as some may suggest.  I have looked at many moments of supposed lack, pain, anger, sorrow, etc. and can see the light of love beneath the basket of fear.  Love is like the tapestry to which fear is the seam, like a great masterpiece where love is the canvas and fear is the paint.  These things are not separate, they are one, unable to honestly exist without one another.  It is us who assigns "good" or "bad" to them, who separates one into the "good" pile and the other into the "bad" pile.  We create the idea of separation in order to feel special about ourselves when we spread love and demonize ourselves when we act in fear.  Yet, without this need for praise or rejection, love and fear operate within the same circle, allowing the expression of one through the experience of the other.  They are, in essence, perfect until we create them otherwise.

For me, I experienced fear most of my known life.  I was taught it from a young age and it was reinforced throughout most of my adult life.  I magnified the rejection of my peers in fear, the loneliness I experienced (often self-created) was enhanced by fear, I expressed fear in womanizing, in sexual deviance and in inflicting great pain on those who would dare get close to me.  I fought fear with violence, spread fear through anger, and basically created a universe of fear around me.  That was how I gave meaning to life.

Yet now, through the love of a woman, I experience love.  The sun has risen, the spring is upon me, and the thaw is creating vast rivers flooding my soul.  With no effort on my part, I magnify the acceptance of all things, feel equal completeness in being alone or in a crowd, express my love to all things and wish to be a vessel of warmth for anyone who would grace me with their presence.  I embrace love with open arms and allow it to spread around me in order to provide light, warmth and shelter wherever it is necessary.  Sometimes those things manifest themselves as a smile on the lips of a stranger, or an embrace of an old friend, or in one of a million ways love can show itself.  That is the goal and intention of each moment at least, the success of which I will leave to others who wish to do the separating.

And that is love, or at least the feeling of love expressed to me.  It speaks a word I cannot speak myself, describes a beauty that is indescribable, so therefore I realize I am probably not doing a very good job of describing what I feel.  Yet, I believe that once we experience love, we need not have it described to us...we can just allow it to be.  My goal here was not to describe love, but describe the perfection of fear as it relates to love.  I no longer hold the concept that they are different, or separate, or "good" versus "bad".  One is not perfect while the other imperfect; they are simply One perfect expression of the Whole, completely reliant on one another because they are not separate from each other.  At their quantum levels they are the same experience expressing itself differently or the same expression of a different experience.  The are the white light we can see as blue and red.

At the end of the day, I was shown fear by a woman and shown love by a woman.  Yet, the choice of which to express and experience resided solely with me.  In fact, the choice resides solely with each of us.  If we blame another for our actions, we fail to recognize that we solely made the choice of the expression.  We fail to realize the wholeness of the stimulus to the response and the fact the we alone are responsible for the choice of mindfulness or forgetfulness.  Which do YOU choose this very moment?  Of course that question's rhetorical, that answer is known long before you can express it.  Yet, if you can recognize that you are the soul Creator of the expression of who you are, you can become mindful of who you are.  It's not a trick, or a gimmick, it's a time-tested and verifiable way of expressing your Oneness regardless of the choice you make in how you experience the moment.

Enjoy in joy the moment, and your expression; and who you are.


©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Reason to Live Today

I have found such a beautiful reason to live today.  It's not money, or success, or closing a deal, or my car, or my home, or "my family", or any other "impermanent" thing I could list as a cause.  In fact, the reason I found to live today is somewhat different than a thing, in fact it is nothing at all (yes, I seem to love that play on words).  Let me explain.

Today I had conversations with two old and dear friends.  I have not seen these friends in at least 15 years and although they weren't always on the tip of my tongue there were always within the soul that inspires it.  What I discovered in those conversations was that despite the gap of time that had elapsed since I last saw them the feeling they created in me had not dissipated at all.  The same smile crept up on my lips, the same laugh echoed from my throat, the same joy came crashing from my heart.  Certainly we had changed as years passed.  Certainly we had experienced life in many different ways, and those experiences had an influence on who we are and how we see the universe.  Surely we had all become byproducts of a life formula that is as individual as it is universal.  Despite all of that here I was, smiling, laughing, and taking great joy in the fact that these friends were in my present moment.

It came to me in an awesome wave of understanding that felt like the warmth of a fire on a frigid winter's morning.  Here was my beautiful reason for living.  It wasn't the conversation or the memories or the chance to connect with old friends.  It was the joy.  I felt as if the moment stood still, that any joy I was providing these people was being returned to me a hundred fold.  See, they let me in, and in doing so provided me with an eternal gift, a continuous wave of love and joy that is eternal even if it gets overshadowed from time to time.

I have come to what is, to me, a rather astounding revelation.  When I outstretch my hand to someone whether during a fire, or a rescue, or just on the street as another anonymous human Being my outstretched hand is not the gift.  No, the gift here is found in the acceptance of my hand.  What is the gift in this relationship is not the offer of love but the acceptance of it.  The giver of this gift offers me the joy of accepting it, and in that joy I have found an eternity that is indescribable and immutable.  The joy I felt in these old friends 15 years ago still existed today.  It wasn't new joy, it wasn't new love, it was the same as what as existed since the beginning.  The giver and the receiver are impermanent in the flesh but eternal in ripple or wave that we, in our limited ability to communicate, call "Love".

Today I feel inspired to not only accept the gifts of love and joy but to re-gift them to as many as possible in the time I am given.  I don't think anyone will mind...


©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ