Sunday, June 25, 2006

In Anticipation of Shiners: Bright Reflections of the Peace of God

I came across this statement a long time ago, and every once in a while, it comes to mind again. "Whether you are looking into a microscope, or into a telescope, you are always seeing only what is inside the back of your head." I like that. It is a reminder that whether you are looking at little things, or big things, you are always only looking into a mirror, and what you see can only be a reflection of your state of mind.

The truth is that there is only one state of mind, the peace of God. As Jesus' Course in Miracles teaches, you are as God created you. But sometimes there appears to be another, an ego state of mind, projecting hell, sin, grievances, and darkness.

Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within. The source of neither light nor darkness can be found without. Grievances darken your mind, and you look out on a darkened world. Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light. W-p1.73.5:1-4

But in this moment we are asking for help to experience the only time there is, now.

The holy instant is this instant and every instant. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, where you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. T-15.1V.1:8

When we are accepting, we become a spotless mirror.

In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God's reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of himself. Only the clear reflection of himself can be perceived upon it. T-14.1X.5

I experienced a powerful metaphor for God's shining when I was in high school in Three Rivers, Michigan. Every morning I walked the twelve blocks to school, and about half-way there, I crossed a rather high bridge over the Rocky, one of the three rivers that gave our small town its name. On a sunny day I would stop and stare into the dark, murky river, looking for silvery flashes of light. Every once in a while a shiner, a bottom-feeding fish, would turn on its side, producing a silver flash as it caught the sun's reflection.

A metaphor serves to carry (phor) beyond (meta) the meaning of a specific occurrence. We are always looking into a mirror, and just as the sun is reflected in the shiner's silvery side, so is our state of mind of the peace of God reflected in what we look upon.

The great peace of the Kingdom shines in your mind forever, but it must shine outward to make you aware of it. T-6.12:12 Then let the Holy One shine on you in peace, knowing that this and only this must be. His mind shone on you in your creation and brought your mind into being. His mind still shines on you and must shine through you. T-4.1V.9

And now these many years later, coming across shining passages in poetry is like spotting shiners in the dark water. Robert Browning (1812-1889) must have looked out from a peaceful state to see these bright reflections.

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!
Pippa Passes (1841)

For a moment, in this forgiving state of mind, Browning saw these shinings.

Forgiveness turns the world of sin into
a world of glory, wonderful to see.
Each flower shines in light, and every bud
sings of the joy of Heaven. T-26.1V.2:1,2

Here's a first line from William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

My heart leaps up when I behold
a rainbow in the sky.
from The Rainbow

And from Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889).

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.
from God's Grandeur

To feel the Love of God
within you is to see the world anew,
shining in innocence, alive with hope,
and blessed with perfect charity and love. W-p1.189.1:7
It offers you its flowers and its snow,
in thankfulness for your benevolence. 2:6

Now here are some flowers from Wordsworth.


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

In his heightened state of awareness, experiencing the peace of God, Wordsworth imagines himself out of his body, floating through the sky, wandering like a cloud. He is doubly blessed because he sees the daffodils first in nature, and then, later, in his mind.

Finally, look at the state of mind John Keats was in, despite the fact that he lay dying of tuberculosis in Rome at the age of twenty-six. (1795-1821)


When Keats, at last beyond the curtain
of love’s distraction, lay dying in his room
on the Piazza di Spagna, the melody of the Bernini
Fountain “filling him like flowers,”
he held his breath like a coin, looked out
into the moonlight and thought he saw snow.
He did not suppose it was fever or the body’s
weakness turning the mind. He thought, “England!”
and there he was, secretly, for the rest
of his improvidently short life: up to his neck
in sleigh bells and the impossibly English cries
of street vendors, perfect
and affectionate as his soul.
For days the snow and statuary sang him so far
beyond regret that if now you walk rancorless
and alone there, in the piazza, the white shadow
of his last words to Severn, “Don’t be frightened,”
may enter you.
Christopher Howell

Keats knew full well that There is no death. The Son of God is free. (Title, Lesson 163)
That is why he saw such bright reflections. You can hear him saying this prayer.

Our Father, bless our eyes today. We are
Your messengers, and we would look upon
the glorious reflection of Your Love
which shines in everything. We live and move
in You alone. We are not separate
from Your eternal life. There is no death,
for death is not Your Will. And we abide
where You have placed us, in the life we share
with You and with all living things, to be
like You and part of You forever. We
accept Your Thoughts as ours, and our will
is one with Yours eternally. Amen. W-p1.163. 9