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.

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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.

 

Where Is God in This?

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
When things aren’t going well, or the situation seems dire or extremely painful, we can call ourselves back from the cliff edge of despair with the simple inner question: “How is God present in this?” There are no coincidences, and our lives play out with our soul’s wisdom and God’s overview. Everything was chosen for our greater soul evolution before we even came into this lifetime. God is the midwife and helpmate in each situation. Actually, we are God, in the deepest part of our being. Everything that happens is meant to bring us to greater awareness and move us further along on our soul path. If we didn’t experience the poignancy of life, we wouldn’t be able to recognize and relish the joy. They are both part of the miracle of being alive on this Earth in the middle of a whirling mysterious cosmos, which at its heart is God as well.

My own life has been a roller-coaster ride this past year as I moved from one section of the country to another. I was very clearly guided to this next step in my life. We are always guided, of course, but we often don’t listen or see the signs, and the divine energy of the universe comes up with innovative ways to get our attention. The “sign” in this case was one that said For Sale in front of the house where my partner and I rented. There was no doubt in our minds that we were meant to make this move. Even though there have been, and continue to be, both blessings and losses along the way, I still feel that certainty.

What makes me so certain? Well, it’s an inner knowing and trust in a greater soul plan for my life. That trust has opened me to seeing the signs, sometimes very subtle ones, along the path in front of me. A chance encounter with a stranger or conversation with a friend can lead me to a next step. Everyone has a message for us—it helps to be open to hearing God wherever we go. Your own intuition is also God’s voice.

It may not always be obvious, but synchronicity runs like an electric wire of energy throughout your life. When I hold that in my awareness, I see the connections and cosmic arrows continually. Life becomes a magical game of risk and reward, listen and act, give and receive. Yes, reciprocity is part of the energy. The more you “return the favor” in helping others and living your life with generosity of spirit, the more the universe smiles and opens the door even wider.

Of course, life is not always smooth sailing and rewarding experiences. Sometimes, there is pain, loss, and intense challenge. It is particularly at these times that we need to consider how God may be present in this or how it is part of our own soul evolution. You may not always immediately know. I certainly don’t. It may take years to have a light-bulb moment when you “get” why something happened the way it did, how it moved you along to another necessary point in your life. The key is to continue to trust that there is always a divine presence within us and all around us that is moving us forward. If we are open to that, if we let go of our fear and just ride the current, then eventually the larger picture becomes clear.

At least that’s how I’ve experienced it. I don’t yet know all the “reasons” why I was moved to make this major change in my life, but I continue to surrender to possibility, even when things seem not to be going well (a sudden episode of lower back pain; a close friend moving away). Even on the most challenging day, the sunrise outside my window is spectacular, and heaven itself appears to be opening its heart to me. So ultimately, it’s all in how you see your life experience, how you frame each day, each moment, and how you embrace change.

“Trust in God” is not just a religious platitude or throwaway coin maxim. It is the key to everything in life. And if you don’t really resonate with the word God, just say “trust.” The words don’t matter. It’s the feeling of something greater at play, that your life is not a mistake. It’s a miracle that you only see when you are open to it. Then life itself opens up all around you.

What Does Unconditional Love Really Mean?

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
We hear the term unconditional love a lot these days, especially in spiritual circles. But what does it mean exactly? At first glance, it seems to mean loving without conditions. Yes, it is that. Yet it is more than that. As I live my life, I begin to see other levels to it. Something that involves seeing clearly someone’s human vulnerabilities and seeming faults as well as their divinely sweet magnificence–and loving them for all of that. Holding it all in my heart at the same time, seeing it as part of this particular individual’s soul journey. And seeing myself that way too. I’ve found that viewing everything as perfectly lovable in just one other person unlocks the ability to do the same for everyone in my life—and then for everyone on the planet.

That is why we are here, to do just that. Our greatest challenge and our greatest gift is to love and be loved in return—unconditionally. When we do so, we form a sweet circle of reciprocity that lifts everything on the planet to a higher vibration. Vibration is the key, because everything in the cosmos is energy. When we up-shift the energy within us, the world reflects back to us a higher vibration. And love is the highest vibration of all. It dissolves the fear or negativity that may be keeping you (and everyone around you) stuck in one place. Love yourself, love another, love everyone—no holds barred. That’s the sequence of unconditionality. That’s the global shift we are now a part of.

I recently felt this happen within me quite powerfully with someone I have known for years. I thought that I already loved them unconditionally, but I found that I still held certain life-path desires for them. When I suddenly became aware of this, and then consciously and intentionally released those expectations, I felt my heart open wider as I surrendered everything to God’s greater wisdom. Even the most well-meaning wishes for someone else’s life can be an unconscious limitation for them, as well as a limitation on love itself. Because unconditional love is not about the depth or strength of the love but rather it is total allowing, complete acceptance. Compassion. Within that framework, it doesn’t matter what someone does or doesn’t do on their life journey; you still love them completely.

This is soul-level love. This is the way God or the Divine Mother loves. The mind doesn’t enter into it at all. This love is pure heart, pure soul. A sacred open embrace. And this is the unconditional love that the new Planet Earth is moving into. The hatred, judgment, fear of difference, self-loathing, abuse, and violence that we thought was the only reality are gradually crumbling as the light of unconditional love shines fully on them. When our shadow side is spotlighted, we see the truth of who we are behind the shadow. That truth is unconditional love: the shining diamond at the core of our being. We were born with it, and now it can be fully seen and experienced as the shadow falls away.

Our so-called “flaws” make us sparkle even more. We are beautiful in our humanity and our divinity, and when each of us can see the full spectrum of beauty in everyone we meet, there will no longer be a distinction between Heaven and Earth. That is oneness; that is unconditional love.