In My Image and Likeness

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We often pray to God for things to happen the way we want them to be. We ask God for peace and heal the wounds of our anger and animus. We ask him to solve the problems of the world which are largely our own making. And often beyond that, I often want to refashion God into my image and likeness. I sometimes want Him to behave as I want him to behave. I ask him to catch me whenever I fall, to shield me from all harm and adversity, to clear paths for me. I would even not allow Him to be God by invoking justice calling for punishment upon those who have hurt or wronged me.

That is all so reprehensible. God is Lord of both History and Creation. How can we pretend to tell Him how to work things out. The real prayer is for us to know God’s will or design, through the signs and wonders He sends us everyday. And then align our lives to His will. God gave us the free will to plan out our own lives. But our plans have to align with His Divine Will and not go against it. I must let God be God.

There also this tendency to create others in my image and likeness. Wouldn’t the world be a lot better if only everyone behaved as I expected to do? This is specially evident in my relationships with my loved ones. I painfully learned recently, hopefully not too late, the deleterious effects of this tendency on my most treasured relationship. The Other is a gift and one does tamper not tinker with a precious gift. Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate! The gift as I received it is perfect, direct from God. I should not try to refashion nor recreate it in my image and likeness.

Karen used to sing:

You’ve got lo love me
For what I am
For simply being me
Don’t love me
For what you intend
Or hope that I will be

What I am I have to be
The picture of perfection
Is only on your mind
For all your expectations
Love can never be designed
We must take each other
For everything we are.

Creation is a work of heart, God’s heart. And love is God recreating creation in the human heart. Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate.

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The Universe in a Flower, II

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I wake up every morning always thrilled
by the sunrise streaming through my window
grateful for the breaking of another day.

I imagine the sun’s light traveling millions of miles
and suffusing the entire earth with life giving energy.
the numbers are mind-boggling:
the earth is some 93 million miles away from earth,
the sun is more than a hundred times bigger than earth,
about 1.3 million earths can fit inside the sun.
And to think the sun is but a medium sized star.

It is amazing how plants and other living things
absorb and store this energy,
each in its own unique way.
We eat plants and meat from animals who also eat the plants
to give us the energy we need to keep alive.

This is cycle of life – energy from the sun
eventually is the same energy that power up our cells.
Studying the stars and the universe,
Einstein saw the interconnectedness of everything that exists.
The bee that sips nectar from flowers,
which have been energized by the sun,
produces the honey that feed us.
Our bodies eventually die to serve as food
for new plants and the cycle repeats itself.

Einstein also the oneness of creation.
One of his insights is that energy is never destroyed.
It is merely changed into other forms.
Einstein, through his genius, discovered and proved
our interconnectedness and our oneness with the rest of the universe.
It took the development of science centuries
to understand and clarify this cycle of life
– how we are all connected to and one in the sun’s energy.
It takes longer, or sooner, for men to see
how God’s grace also permeates all of creation
making it one, whole and holy.
Longer, if one were only to believe in the sciences.
Sooner, if one chooses to see with the eyes of faith.

 

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The Universe in a Flower

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I recently read the book Einstein and the Rabbi by Naomi Levy, a woman Rabbi. She begins her book by telling the story of Rabbi Robert Marcus. This Rabbi was struggling with his grief over the untimely demise of his ten-year old son. One would have expected such a person to have sought solace and the solution for his sorrow from a person with a religious background like he was. Instead, he turned to a man of science, a fellow Jew.

Here is the substantive portion of Einstein’s letter to him:

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself of this delusion is the one true issue of religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable peace of mind.”

Einstein was an agnostic; although there are Jews and Christians and atheists alike who claim him as one of their own. But one thing all of them agree on is that Einstein was undeniably one a genius and one of the greatest minds in science.

Science deals with observations and measurements. The senses are the mind’s primary tools for data input. Measurements (of mass, weight, density, speed, etc.) are the tools for defining and understanding objects and events. The basic assumption of science is that what can be measured can be understood, managed and manipulated. This mantra has also been adopted in management and business. To see is to believe.

Albert Einstein once wrote on his blackboard: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” In the same manner, not everything that can be seen exists; not everything that exists can be seen.” Reality is much more complex. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet declares.

Einstein appreciated this complexity of reality but at the same time he also believed that everything and everyone is part of the whole we call universe. Everything that exists in somehow interconnected because everything is part of the whole.

If the universe is one, there can only be one cause. And unless we believe in this truth, we will never see reality for what it is. To believe then is to see. We see the beauty of flowers in bloom, then we can believe that there is a Creator who is the source and maker of that beauty.

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Innocence And Beauty

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Children are color blind for all they see are
Bundles of joy and laughter with whom
They can spend the whole day at play.

Children do not care what color your skin is
They simply pass away the hours
Painting the colors of the wind.

No one is born hating or angry at someone
Babies know only peace at Mommy’s bosom
While suckling at her breast.

Babies seem to live only to get and receive
But they give us joy by just being there
And lessons we spend the rest of our lives learning.

Children teach us love like no other
Love is being with and doing things for another.
Love needs no special reason to be with nor to do things for.

Love can give one a nice warm feeling
but more than the feeling,
love is the decision to be with the persons you love
and do things for them no other person would.

We come from innocence and beauty.
Somehow along the way, we lose these both.
And life is all about getting back to where we began.

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Reflected Glory

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The moon has no light of her own.
She is but the reflections of the sun.
When the sun is out, we don’t see her.
But she bathes our nights with her warm and tender light.

Everything that is has a beginning
But I am not so sure about the ending
There’s always a cause to everything with that is
And everything that is seem to somehow persists.

Where there is smoke there is fire.
Things do not just appear just like magic
The beauty and goodness that I enjoy and see
Must have been placed there by somebody.

We all believe in cause-and-effect
When we see the world around us
There must have been a beginning and a cause
Why do some believe all this is chance.

I see beauty and I can’t wait to see the source.
I see goodness and it moves me by its force.
I am here though I did not ask to be
I simply want to know the God who made me.

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God, Being God

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Watching the sunset gives me deep and almost heavenly feeling. It is the end of another day, something that should bring about sadness as most endings do. But sunsets leave me with a sense of wonder and reverence at the beauty that marks the end of each day. They make me feel grateful for the gift of another day. I become hopeful for the coming of another day; for such ineffable beauty cannot simply disappear into the night. It is something that is meant to last for a long time, if only in my memory or better yet, into eternity.

I see the sky as God’s palette and I enjoy watching him paint it with melted rainbows, constantly changing with each passing minute. Or be delighted by the bare branches of trees waiting to bloom back in spring seemingly dancing in the fading sunset. I can only stand with mouth agape at such artistry and creativity unfolding before me. This is God, being God.

Often in my prayers, I pretend to be better than the Great Artist and ask God to paint nature and life according to my concept or idea. I ask him act the way I would want him to. I assume I know better than God who alone can paint sunsets of endless beauty. I ask him to give more material blessings believing these will bring me happiness. I ask him to change people around me in the hope of taking away my problems and difficulties. I ask for more blessings and happiness often forgetting that I have more than enough. Being alive is more gift than I deserve. I want to create God in my image and like-ness, like I like God to . . . .

“Behold, I make all things new.” God had promised us. God has no plan for us. That is up to us to make. But we have to align our plan and life-project to God’s will. And we see God’s will in the signs we see around us and in us. God is a God who makes and creates. God makes all things good and beautiful. He makes all things new.

I choose to let God be God then lead my life according to His will.

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Life and Love as Process

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Everything that exists is in perpetual motion. The ebb and flow of the tides. The waxing and waning of the moon. The coming and going of the seasons. Even seemingly inanimate and immobile objects are teeming with pulsating protons and neutrons. And I imagine these motionless rocks along the coast are in an endless tug of war with the waves beating upon the shore. Eventually, the waves grind the rocks into sand or a river deposits enough enough silt and mud to push the shore live further out into the sea.

All life is a process. Everything is always in a flux: coming and going, rising and falling, pushing and pulling, But this ever on-going process is not static at the same level. The process and the cycle is ever moving upward. Humanity has traversed this upward spiral throughout history. Bit by bit, the river flows, till all at once it overflows. Life has definitely become better through the centuries. And so have individual lives. Even in times of difficulties and adversities, people grow smarter and stronger going through such challenges.

And so it is with love. Love is not a one-and-done event as in falling in love. Love is a decision that is made daily, from the lump-in-the-throat moments to the ordinariness to just being there for a loved one. Yes, love is also a process, an upwardly moving cycle and spiral. Sometimes, there seems to be mote things to be carried like a burden than joyful moments to be truly shared with a loved one. But then one day, all things seems to come together and it is the love that has been nurtured and cared for daily that makes all the difference.

 

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