Shiva, Irma…and Faith

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger

Shiva is the power of destruction, dissolution, or transformation in our lives. Nothing entirely new and innovative can be created without this strong, and often unsettling, force that turns the tables on the status quo, normality, and habituation. Without Shiva, our lives would be dull and uneventful—one long Groundhog Day, playing the same scene over and over again. Yet the word destruction strikes fear in our hearts; we freeze at the very thought of losing what is dear to us. Of losing everything.

Hurricanes like Irma, Maria, and Harvey embody this extreme aspect of Shiva. Monumental raging winds and rising water completely obliterate the old, often leaving thousands homeless and grieving the deaths of friends and family. In the aftermath, something new is eventually created, but loss of home and loss of life are not easily assimilated or accepted. Those affected may experience emotional trauma as well as financial burdens. These human crises break our hearts. How do we face life at times like these?

Not easy. Granted, hurricanes are not daily occurrences, but loss of one kind or another is. There is not a day that passes in our lives that we don’t lose something—or believe that we do. Life on Earth brings us face to face with the end of relationships, jobs, living situations, and life itself. We cannot avoid it. Grief at times like these is entirely natural, but our beliefs about those experiences shape what comes after. Unless we can move on and create something new afterward, despair may take hold. This is where faith comes in. Trust in some greater, ultimately benevolent presence in the universe, and in the compassion of our fellow human beings. Belief in a positive outcome, whatever the circumstance.

Recently, I took part in a weekend spiritual retreat that was the energetic equivalent of a hurricane. Everything that had been superimposed on my soul’s essence over the years was wiped out, dissolved. This had been happening bit by bit anyway, but now I was becoming something like a clean slate. There was nothing to attach the memories of my old self to anymore. Both liberating and painful. The painful part was that my recent experiences of oneness and illumination were also gone—or at least seemingly so. I could feel no connection to God whatsoever. Or to anything or anyone else. I felt as if I were ghost-walking through my own life, lost and alone. An island on which all lines of communication have been knocked out.

Gradually, however, I began to gain some insight into what was occurring. I was being asked to go further and dive deeper—beyond surrender and trust, to faith. Faith that God, or Goddess, was present even when I couldn’t feel that presence. Faith that everything was happening for a reason: to ultimately bring me to an even more expansive awareness of God/dess within me. I couldn’t completely experience that until what had come before had been dissolved. Within spaciousness, life unfolds, the Divine manifests. Slowly, this has occurred, like restoring downed lines after a hurricane. Day by day, moment by moment, I am feeling divine connection again, and with it, a deeper faith in its ever-presence, which reconnects me to the world as well.

This kind of process can be set in motion by any great loss or unforeseen ending, in the course of which we are swept clean and sent on our way again to experience life at a deeper level, beyond what we thought was final. We learn that even in the worst of times, if we reach out to one another and open ourselves to new beginnings, we will survive. Faith replaces fear. It is the bird singing in the darkness, reminding us that dawn is at hand.

Often we believe death to be the ultimate ending, but it too is transition, transformation. God consciousness, embodied in you and me, is never-ending. Our souls know this, and it is this inner faith that will carry us forward if we experience loss or disconnection. Eventually, the creative force of life fills us with divine energy, and we are transformed yet again through the powerful hidden blessing that is Shiva.

 

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This Is God

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
Some of the most profound spiritual wisdom tells us that everything and everyone is God and that all that we do is in service to God. I’ve taken that in at deeper and deeper levels the more expansive my spiritual practice has become. Lately I’ve found this awareness popping up at surprising moments to remind me of God’s presence everywhere in my life.

A few weeks ago, I was taking the subway into Boston, and there was an older man at my subway stop, toothless, with a crumpled cardboard sign that read “Homeless Vet.” He greeted everyone who walked by with “Good morning.” As I passed him, I looked into his face, and the thought “This is God” unexpectedly passed through my consciousness. I turned around, pulled out my wallet, wished him “Good morning,” and gave him some money. “God bless you,” he said. I could feel my heart expand. As I boarded the crowded rush-hour train, someone rose from their seat and got off. The woman in front of me held out her open hand to the seat, looking at me and smiling, as if to say, “It’s all yours.” I sat down with tears in my eyes, feeling the angelic energy of the man’s blessing carrying me within the flow of life. God’s presence in everyone….

Then, yesterday I was sweeping the steps leading to the basement, a rather dusty, sneeze-filled task. Cleaning house is something I can only sporadically see as cheerful “service to God.” I’m usually kind of gritting my teeth to get through it. As I was sweeping the broom back and forth, suddenly, unexpectedly again, I thought: “This is God,” meaning myself this time, as well as the broom and the dust. If God is everywhere, s/he is here now, experiencing step-sweeping through my human form. Would s/he be irritated? I asked myself. I don’t think so. God, or infinite consciousness, embraces everything as a part of oneness. If I am God, as we all are, complaining doesn’t enter the picture. God, as me, would be dancing down the steps, broom in hand, celebrating another aspect of humanity/divinity on Earth.

“This is God” has now become a reminder mantra for me that re-centers me in my connection to something greater in every moment. It can be applied to everything, animate or inanimate, human, animal, bird, butterfly, flower, tree, chair, rug, on and on. If I pass a stranger on the street without really seeing him/her, I may be missing a direct encounter with the Divine. If I stumble over a stone in my path and curse it, I am cursing God. Why do it? Bless it instead. If everything is unfolding perfectly exactly as it is, then stumbling was part of my soul path somehow. I may only find out much later what the actual blessing was (perhaps to wake me up to being fully present!), but in the meantime, I need to remind myself that there is nothing that happens that isn’t an integral part of my soul’s journey, that isn’t grace. And that there is no one who isn’t God, including myself and every sweet soul I meet along the way.

View from the Edge—Our Human Journey

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
I seem to be living on the edge in my life. By that, I don’t mean hanging precariously in a danger zone. I mean delicately balanced between one paradigm and another, old and new, memory and present, personality and soul. Actually, the truer description is that my soul is fully present in the new paradigm, and “I” am increasingly aligned with that pure being-ness, observing remnants of old memories floating by me. I have a sense that this is where many of us are now, as the world “turns upside-down” all around us, and we step over the edge of certainty into mystery, and beyond. We are learning to live from an awareness and a soul presence that is continuously evolving.

So much is happening and not happening, everywhere at once. At times, I am floating in the space between the memory of who I once was and the timeless presence that is my soul. However, more and more, I am immersed in my soul’s wholeness, viewing my personality and my life story as if from a distance. This has been a process of gradually expanding into a deeper connection to spirit, which can often transcend stories and past memories. Last month, this all played out in one intense afternoon at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, a nature/spiritual sanctuary where I often walk or sit in meditation. As I passed beneath the towering old trees at Mt. Auburn, I stepped into a kind of life review in which I experienced both my own mortality (singularity, separation) and God’s infinity (oneness).

Gazing at the play of light reflected in the water of Mt. Auburn’s Spectacle Pond, suddenly I became acutely aware of my own eventual death and the shortness of my time on Earth. Perhaps because my birthday had just passed, I found myself looking back over my life with a pang of grief in my heart: it was all so rich and wonderful—and so brief, in the greater scheme of things. So many years had passed, and how many remained? And how would I live them? An urgency filled me, a deep desire not to waste a minute, to step fully into every possibility. Yet, at the same time, I felt suspended in time, with no desire to act or move at all. All I could do was cry at the bittersweet poignancy of human life and the ephemeral nature of my physical form.

After a time, I walked to Willow Pond, on the other side of the cemetery. As I came over the hill, I saw a pair of blue herons circling low overhead, like two avian sky dancers embodying grace and beauty as they flew. One landed at the top of a tall willow and stood in profile, preening like a prehistoric bird in paradise. Indeed, everything around me seemed Eden-like: large clumps of purple, yellow, pink, and white flowers that were magnets for dozens of bees and butterflies; a kingfisher calling loudly and diving to spear a fish; swallows swooping to catch insects mid-air; red cardinal flowers, wetland grasses, and willows encircling the pond. I sat beneath a tree whose branches hung low over the water and felt as if I were in another dimension. God’s dimension, where divinity dripped from every plant, tree, animal, bird, and butterfly. In this magical space, death did not exist. Everything was eternal, infinite. My heart and soul were at peace.

In the space of a few hours, I had moved from solitary sadness to euphoric connection. So much so that as I left the pond, the mere sight of a familiar old oak tree along the path, its massive trunk and branches reaching heavenward, reduced me to tears again, this time from the deep inner knowing that the expansive consciousness we call God or Goddess lives in all things, always. We carry that formless presence within us, and the more we open to our own soul’s light, the more clearly and consistently we see it everywhere. That was my journey that afternoon (and our collective human journey now): to come to fully understand that God’s loving presence is not limited in any way, in life or death, Heaven or Earth. Those of us who incarnated at this time are here to live that truth so completely and powerfully that separation is finally dissolved within a planetary oneness and radiant light that reaches the far corners of the cosmos.

 

Choosing “Different”

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
Life at its most fulfilling and expansive is not about fitting in or aspiring to socially promoted goals like a 24/7 career, with accompanying big money, house, car, and investments. It’s also not about finding one “perfect” soul mate and living happily ever after. That’s the Cinderella story they keep trying to get women to buy into so that we forget that who we really are is Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman who has her own unique, independent soul and doesn’t need anyone to make her life perfect. This applies to men looking for one mate to fulfill them too. We are not half-humans searching for the missing part to make us whole. Nor are we necessarily one gender, one expression, one role, or one anything. We are so much more.

We humans are souls not roles, beings not doings. What if life is really about your own soul and its particular destiny, intertwined with many others but not dependent upon them? So that every person you meet on your journey is a soul mate of some kind (someone with whom you share a deep connection). It’s not about “one”: it’s about oneness. Within that, you could have a partner for life, or several different partners over a lifetime, as well as many friends, all of them soul mates. Some people choose friendships rather than partnerships, or they opt for no labels at all. We meet the people we are meant to meet when we are meant to. Our relationships may be short or long, easy or challenging, but ultimately, it’s about our soul’s journey, not about a mythic “forever after” with one person. It’s about the eternal now, which is constantly evolving.

We are living in a new era of stepping out of the old stories and social paradigms that held us prisoner in expected behavior for so long. Now is the time to choose “different”: to leap like an empowered super hero over outdated frameworks, paradigms, and expectations. Choose something new—beyond your wildest dreams. Choose infinite possibility. Choose your soul self. And choose universal love that is inclusive of every being on this planet. How would the world shift if we saw everyone as a soul mate, a kindred spirit with whom we could share a sacred exchange, soul to soul? The love of all within the love of the one before you.

Whether for one moment or a lifetime, friend or lover, the connection is at the soul level. It is beyond gender and beyond roles. It is about the heart. The human heart and God’s heart (and they are one and the same). If we live from the heart, we are always choosing love—which in this world is choosing “different.” Give it a try. Love yourself, your soul self. And love your neighbor as your soul mate, your dearest friend. The world will open up all around you, and you will see kindred spirits (and God) wherever you look. And that is life’s greatest fulfillment.

 

Illumination on Vancouver Island

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
There comes a time when you realize that your life doesn’t really belong to you, like a bicycle or car that you can control by shifting gears or braking. Your life is actually part of something much greater, an expansive beingness that includes you in its infinite Presence but over which you have absolutely no control. When you reach this level of awareness, this overview, you find there is nothing left to do but let go completely and turn everything over to that Presence, or God. Within this surrender is liberation. Your soul becomes the acknowledged divine force in your life, and your human personality begins to flow with that newly accelerated energy. In releasing your grip on your own life, you are free to live it the way it was designed to be lived, the way you planned it before you were even born. God and your soul have known this all along, and you recognize who you really are at exactly the right moment in the greater scheme of things. It’s called destiny.

When we come face to face with our destiny, it is often a moment of illumination, when everything shines with clarity and coherence. We see a timeless expanse within which we are playing a small part in the unfolding of the universe. My own moments of illumination have occurred over time in increasing power and resonance. With each radiant surge, my consciousness has expanded further. Most recently, I experienced a major life-changing illumination during a six-day immersion with Panache Desai on Vancouver Island in Canada. This particular immersion, “Dynamic Enlightenment,” was dedicated to intensive traditional sacred ceremonies and activations, such as shaktipat, to bring each of us in our group to oneness and illumination, or enlightenment.

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger

During the week, I began to experience an electric vibration throughout my body, expansive pressure in my head, and tingling in my crown chakra. I felt as if my entire physical system was being recalibrated to accommodate the power and magnitude of the divine energy that Panache was transmitting. Then one evening after dinner, I took a walk as the sun was descending slowly in the west and a strong wind was rising off the water. As I looked up at the towering evergreens silhouetted against the sky, the wind began to sweep through them with a powerful force that caused them to sway back and forth dramatically. The wind was literally dancing with the trees, and the air itself was alive with life-force energy. In fact, everything I looked at was alive with this energy (prana). The very basis of all life was being revealed to me wherever I looked. The trees, bushes, birds, wind, and sky were filled with a shimmering luminosity and vibrating aliveness: God’s living spirit. I stood transfixed in absolute awe.

As I remained motionless, in an altered state of expanded awareness, my attention was drawn to the sun itself. I closed my eyes to take in the full radiance of this beautiful shining star. A golden glow shone through my eyelids, filling my senses with warmth and light. Then, after about ten seconds, the glow increased significantly, as if someone had turned the switch on “high.” The amplified light seemed to come not only from the sun itself but from within me as well. In fact, everything was light—golden divine light, in which I was immersed. God presence everywhere—in the trees, in the sun, in my human body. The soul of the universe clearly visible in that golden light. It was extraordinary, and I’ll never forget the feeling. I carry it within me now, a light that illuminates everything each time I take a deep breath and look with God’s eyes on the world around me.

We all live our own versions of illumination, sometimes dramatic, sometimes as simple as opening a door to a new way of seeing everything. En-LIGHT-enment is nothing more than stepping into the ever-present light of our own being and seeing ourselves for the divine souls we truly are. Our collective destiny is to know ourselves as God and to live as that all-encompassing harmonious love within our human forms. On the other side of all the extreme polarities now occurring on this planet, we will finally come back into balance and align with the sacred soul light and oneness at our core.