Service to Others, Service to God

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Service to God, in spiritual or religious terms, can become a grandiose, almost inaccessible concept. Something only great mystics and masters can fully live out. Possibly forsaking all worldly possessions and moving to another country. We think of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Or Martin Luther King Jr. and Peace Pilgrim. Lives of dedication and deep compassion. Yes, this is definitely service to God. But we don’t really have to be a saint or monk to be of service to others and God. Perhaps we need to simplify the definition itself.

So what exactly is service? The dictionary says “help, assistance, kindness.” A good turn or helping hand. It’s when we add God to the mix that everything gets a bit daunting. It becomes about life purpose and serving all of humanity in order to relieve suffering in the world. Almost nothing can live up to that tall order. People start to tune out and turn away because they feel inadequate to the task: “What could I as one individual human do to alleviate the pain of all humankind?” So, very few consciously choose service as a way of life. But what if service begins at a very basic level of a helping hand and kindness? What if my human purpose is just to be present to another when they are feeling most alone or lost?

I have asked myself what my life purpose is more times than I can count. Sometimes I think I know part of it, but I usually feel there is much more than what I think. I too have been intimidated by the larger sense of service to God, the purpose-of-life sense. My mind engages with the word purpose, trying to figure out what it is I’m supposed to be doing. However, as I grow and evolve on my spiritual path, I am finding that it has absolutely nothing to do with my mind’s ideas about any of it. It’s completely a heart issue. And it’s not necessarily a schematic that involves single-handedly eradicating world poverty or global warming. Maybe it’s less sweeping than that, something everyone can handle.

Volunteering one day a week at a food bank or donating regularly to an environmental cause are key individual contributions, but it is also more than those. Maybe our greatest gift to others and to God is day-to-day, moment-to-moment, heartfelt caring. The small gesture: the hand held, the loving smile, the encouraging word when someone is hurting. Perhaps that is the essence of service, available to each of us in every moment. Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. lived a lifetime of small gestures of kindness to others that became their larger service to God. When I think of service this way, it becomes more accessible, doable, all-inclusive. Something that, as each person responds to another with caring and empathy, shifts the collective balance from selfishness to generosity, from suffering to well-being, from fear to love. From one to many.

Service is actually not something outside of us that we have to aspire to. It is who we are at our core. We came from the heart of God, and our souls are pure love. When we remember that, kindness flows from us easily and effortlessly. We become the light-filled human beings we were born to be. In truth, service to others and service to God are one and the same. Hold out your hand and open your heart to those who cross your path each day—that’s all it takes.

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You Were Born Shining!

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Claim your own life. Your soul knows what it wants from this lifetime. So does your heart. Your life plan is imprinted in every cell of your physical form. If you pause quietly for a moment or two, you can hear your inner wisdom speaking. It will guide you steadfastly to the destiny that awaits you.

Don’t think about it; just listen. Be silent and receive the download of God’s plan for you. You were born with it; it’s in your genes. You breathe it in and out every moment of your day. The key is to stop distracting yourself with the cacophony of other voices all around you, and pay attention to your own voice within. No one else knows you as well as you. When you align with the inner truth of your being, that truth lives through you into the world. You begin to sparkle and shine with authenticity.

Then you no longer need try to copy someone else’s lifestyle or follow the 10 quick steps to success in all those self-help books and articles. Success, in truth, is just being you. That’s why you’re here and why there is no one else exactly like you on Earth. Your soul knows this. You have a sacred responsibility to be your own true self, not a half-hearted imitation of someone else’s idea of what it means to be human.

We live in a culture that tells people they need an expert motivator or life coach to show them how to plan and live their best lives, but that just isn’t true. Times are changing. Towers and platforms are collapsing, and collaborative circles are forming in their place. Individually and together we are finding our own way to freedom of expression in the world. Within each of us is emerging wisdom that will guide us as we move out of the shadows and into the light.

Don’t unquestioningly follow anyone else’s well-intentioned advice, even that of a gifted spiritual teacher or advisor. Yes, there are individuals with great wisdom in the world, and they can remind and inspire us with their thoughts and presence. However, we don’t really need intermediaries between ourselves and our own lives, between ourselves and God. Because we are God, in human form, and we carry the wisdom of the universe within our consciousness, if we but open to it. The energy of transformation in the world is speeding up everything now, including our own evolution into highly aware, super-connected human-divine beings.

So take a deep breath and inhale the sweet fragrance of your own inner essence. You are so much more than you give yourself credit for. Every one of us is. The world around us often makes us feel smaller in our own eyes because of misguided societal ideas about how to live and ways to achieve worldly success. Many who follow this path are miserable because they are out of touch with their inner spirit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking superficial impermanent “achievements” are the real deal. To live your inner truth, your inner beauty, is the real achievement in life because that connects you to others and makes you one with the universal soul of humanity.

Look within yourself and discover your own uniqueness. Live the dream of infinite possibility that is you. No one else on Earth can do that for you. It’s why you were born. The entire universe is gently smiling on you and encouraging you to just be yourself. That is the gift that only you can give to everyone in your life and to the greater world as you pass through it with the light of inspiration shining in your eyes.

 

Life’s Essential Truth: Impermanence

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
“Birth and death in every breath…”
—Deva Premal and Miten

Recently, a dear friend told me that he is moving back to California, which he had left two years before for Florida, where we both live now. (This, only a few months after I moved here myself from Massachusetts.) A week later, I received news that a long-time friend in Boston had died of cancer. Hellos and goodbyes fill my life these days. Friends and family passing to and fro in my experience and my memory like vivid but ephemeral spirits. And I myself am moving with the flow of my own life’s journey, loving and letting go again and again.

Through the years, as I live through cycles of beginnings and endings repeatedly, I am discovering that one of the deepest truths in life is impermanence. Everything is born, and everything dies: experiences, thoughts, emotions, flowers, trees, birds, stars—each breath we take and we ourselves. Humans embody impermanence within their very existence here on Earth. We are born and we die, just like everything else we experience within our lifetimes. That can feel like both a curse and a blessing, but it is the basis of our very humanity, our evolution as individual souls.

My own experiences of joy and connection followed by sorrow and seeming loss have over time shown me that it’s all in how you perceive it. And our perceptions are always changing. What remains unchanging is change. Kind of a paradox, but it will guide you to inner peace and acceptance at the deepest level if you allow it to. At least that’s what I am finding. It is what my passage through life has given me, and I am grateful. I am learning, gradually, to let go of attachment to outcomes of any kind. That is freedom; that is how your soul experiences your life.

The idea of impermanence can at first feel frightening, but over the space of a lifetime’s experiences, it begins to feel like the key to all wisdom. Let go of expectations, attachments, plans, wishes, wants, mental machinations and emotional grasping. Let go of everything and just BE in each precious moment, free of everything that holds you to one particular outcome. Experience what is unfolding before you with an open heart and soul. This is what it’s like to live limitless possibility, to “hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour” (William Blake). Many, like Blake, who have traveled this path before us have reached this moment of illumination that takes them beyond one lifetime into the timeless expanse of being, which is soul, which is God. We are here to do the same.

As I live my life, as I grow older year by year, I find that deepening awareness and wisdom rise from my soul like mist in an open field on a summer’s morning. And I see it happening to others all around me. I feel blessed to live at an extraordinary time of collective spiritual expansion and expression, foreseen for millennia. As we come to recognize that we ourselves are God in human form, we realize that we carry divine wisdom within us. When we see the transitory experiences of life as the gifts that they are and receive and release them without attachment, we begin to love each day and everyone in our lives completely and whole-heartedly. We are no longer held back by regret or fear. We are fully present, fully alive. We are living the wisdom of impermanence.

Seeing God’s Face in an Orchid

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Does God have a face? Absolutely. But not just one—an infinite number. As many faces as there are humans, animals, birds, and insects on Earth. As many faces as there are trees, flowers, bushes, rocks, and sand particles. As many faces as there are mountains, deserts, plains, oceans, rivers, and glaciers. Cells, molecules, and atoms. And then there’s the entire universe with every planet, star, asteroid, and constellation a different face of God. You can’t count the facial manifestations of God in the cosmos because God is infinity itself.

This morning as I watered my plants on the lanai, I looked into the variegated purple-and-white face of an orchid I had recently bought. Orchids are new to me as a gardener. In Massachusetts, it wasn’t an option I considered. Here in Florida, they thrive in the year-round warm weather. They have an exotic feel to them, and I still am in awe of their exquisite other-worldly beauty and almost-human facial features. Something made me pause and study every detail of this orchid’s “face” until I felt I was gazing into the very heart of creation, all in one flower. This was the face of God. And the gift was that, with tears in my eyes, I recognized that unique expression of divinity before me and within me simultaneously.

Moments like this one are powerful reminders of all the ways that God expresses beauty in this world. Each flower, each bird, each butterfly, is an emissary of delight from the Divine. We humans are the recipients of this incredible limitless bounty every day of our lives. How could we walk by all these beautiful manifestations of love in the world and fail to see them as miracles? We lose our way and forget. But now is the time of awakening on this planet. A time to recognize the sweet presence of spirit that surrounds us at all times and to be grateful. Indeed, to live each moment of our lives as a prayer of gratitude for all we are given. Life can be painful, yes. But it’s also heavenly. One flower, one birdsong, one infinite blue sky, can turn your day around and make life feel livable again. The beauty of the Earth can uplift our souls at unexpected moments.

Yesterday, on my morning walk, my body was feeling listless and tired because I hadn’t slept well. Just when my thoughts began to take a turn toward sadness, three huge pileated woodpeckers flew by me, calling loudly, and landed on a tree branch above me. These birds are 15 inches tall with striking black-and-white crested heads—you can’t see them without stopping to stare. Immediately, I felt excited energy race through me, and I stood there smiling in sheer delight as I gazed upward. I knew God had sent me a reminder of life’s wonders at the very second I needed it.

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger

There have been so many times when I am outdoors walking quietly somewhere in a natural setting and I feel the spirit of God rise within, filling me with a profound love that seems to light the world around me. Everything sparkles with vibrant energy, and I am uplifted and renewed. At those moments, I can feel Mother Earth herself moving in synchronicity with the stars, and I know this is why I was born—to see this light and be it in the world myself. Every one of us is here for this. We are God’s orchids, embodying the rainbow colors of divine light, so that the planet itself shines brighter in the cosmos.

 

Bridging Worlds

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Recently, my initial excitement and the newness of moving to Florida began to ebb somewhat, and day-to-day life took on an unexpected, almost bipolar energy. I found myself ricocheting back and forth between two rather extreme reactions: joy, optimism, positivity, appreciation, gratitude, love, inspiration on the one hand and sadness, fear, heaviness, pessimism, lack of motivation on the other. This could occur within the space of one day or even one hour, seemingly unrelated to what was happening around me. At times I was thrilled with my new home and surroundings, and then at other times I felt trapped, out of place, and uncomfortable. It took me fully another month to realize that I was experiencing what it is like to bridge two worlds: old paradigm and new dimension.

For several months during and after our move, I was completely immersed in what I experienced as entering a new dimension. It was a powerful force that carried me forward with positive uplifting energy. When I suddenly began to feel doubts and sadness, holes began to appear in that view: Had I made a mistake, a wrong choice? But I absolutely knew that I hadn’t, that moving to Florida was part of my soul plan. So then what was going on?

It wasn’t until November 6, Election Day, that I was able to see more clearly. That day was heavy with strident, conflict-ridden energy. Everywhere in the U.S., but particularly in Florida. I could barely lift my head and feel any hope for the future. Then I realized that hopelessness and conflict is the energy of the old paradigm, and any time we tap into it, we will feel weighted down and lost. Transformative energy and harmony make up the new dimension, and when we tap into that, we are flowing with positive life force into the future.

At this time on Planet Earth, many of us feel both energies and can get lost in the polarity between them. We have to remember that we are here to be bridges, wherever we happen to live. We can’t lose faith in the existence of a new dimension even when we are feeling the heaviness of the old paradigm. The new is constantly being born as the old reforms and reshapes. The key is to understand that everything is occurring for our evolution and expansion, and ultimately resolution will emerge. A challenging path but one that has been walked by thousands of souls over thousands of years.

The idea of karma, or cosmic cause and effect, has been written of for centuries in many traditions. “What goes ’round, comes ’round” the saying goes, and many spiritual masters have carried more than their share of humanity’s past wounds to help shift the balance for the collective. The era in which we are now living has been described as one in which we all become our own spiritual masters. Perhaps in doing so, we each carry part of the collective wounding, which gets cleared more and more as we go through whatever we have to in order to reach the other side of human suffering—whether that is revealing hidden secrets of sexual abuse, standing in the truth of our racial/cultural diversity and gender fluidity, or steadfastly choosing peace over conflict, love over hatred.

If the external world is a reflection of our internal state, that means everything—past lives/karma included—affects our experience in the world. Are we now, at this juncture in the world’s collective evolution, clearing the past through all time so that the mirror reflection is clearing too? If so, then sometimes we are looking through the clear part of the mirror at the new dimension and sometimes we are looking through the murky part of the mirror at the old paradigm.

It is important to keep in mind that at any given moment we can consciously call ourselves back from the murkiness and center ourselves in the clarity just by remembering that the new dimension does exist. At some point, then, as we evolve into clear carriers of pure light, Earth will cease to be the cloudy planet of polarity and separation and become a shining star of oneness and golden light. The new dimension at its most clear and luminescent.