Experiencing miracles

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2012 – 12:00am

Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. They are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.

—A Course in Miracles

I came upon the book A Course in Miracles (ACIM) more than 10 years ago. I still read it from time to time. The quote above always gets to me. We think of miracles as something of divine origin but this quote says they occur when an act of love is done. To the authors, it is somewhat similar to the passing of energy (or “chi”) from an abundant source to someone experiencing scarcity.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of abundance. By this I mean abundance that is not just in material resources, but also in other ways such as physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. It is a powerful feeling, having more than enough of what you need so that you can actually share it without feeling you have lost anything in the process.

It’s wonderful to be in a state of abundance. It’s great to feel generous because you know that you lose nothing by giving. There is more where it came from, whatever it is. It feels like being in a state of wholeness, completeness. And the more you give, the more abundant you feel.

I have experienced abundance as well as a situation of not having enough, or running short on resources — not having enough money or the means to do what one wishes to do, or even spiritual poverty. It is a state of constant frenzy trying to fill a gap that seems impossible to breach. One is always worried, and counting and apportioning meager resources that seem to diminish in value every time one counts them. To not have enough, to be in a place of endless want, is a hellish place. It is like being in a hole that one can seem never to get out of, or in an insecurity that can never be healed.

And often, it makes one feel really bad because it can also bring a feeling of not being enough. It strikes at the very core of one’s self-worth, esteem and sense of being.

In life, no one is on top all the time. There is a funny but apt saying that goes, “Sometimes you are the statue, and sometimes you are the pigeon.” I experienced this acutely in Rome some years back. One night, I was onstage with the APO bowing to an SRO crowd who gave us a standing ovation. The next day, I was brought down to earth when I discovered that someone had picked my pocket and fleeced me of 650 euros — practically all the money I had with me. This brought home to me how fluid and temporary joy can be.

By the same token, no one stays a loser all the time unless one keeps choosing to be one. I know all this from personal experience since I have been on both sides.

Most of us have experienced giving material, emotional, psychological and spiritual generosity towards our fellowmen. We have given, from time to time, financial support to people in need. We have listened to people talk about their problems and seen them light up simply because someone took the time to listen to them. We may have done acts that have inspired others to do similar things.

Often, when I am more “awake” than usual, I am able to see this miracle, this passing of energy from one person to another. It happens when I summon a higher experience of consciousness and open myself to the reality that every moment is a new one that has never happened before and will not happen again, and every encounter I have can be a holy one.

Play with this idea a bit. What if every person you meet was actually sent to you by a divine source to teach you something or give you a message? I emphasize the word “every” here. It literally means everyone, not just people we like, or people who fit in a certain mode that gives comfort or resonance to our perceptions and biases. It includes even the people who turn us off, who are obnoxious, or people we loathe for whatever reason. And of course it also means people who may even hurt, threaten or humiliate us.

It forces us out of our comfort zone to accommodate this kind of reality. I don’t think I can do this 24/7 and it is probably for my own good that I do not. Besides, I am far from being so spiritually evolved that I can do this full-time. But opening ourselves to the miracle from time to time can be a transformative experience.

When I think of the thief who stole my money in Italy, or the people who have deceived me, or hurt me, I ask myself if I learned anything from them. What divine gifts, if any, did they bring me?

On a practical level, I did learn a few things — to be smart about where I hide my money, for example, or to be more careful who I talk to or choose to allow into my personal space. On the divine level, I may have learned that instead of acting instinctively and being angry, I can decide to act instead or merely react. One can choose to have a bigger view, a greater understanding to see the divine hand at play and even take the stance of forgiveness and compassion.

Sure, we can’t help but get angry when bad things happen. And it is okay to express it. But eventually, we must move on to a higher consciousness. To remain bitter, unforgiving, or even to fixate on plotting revenge takes too much energy from us and replaces it with a burning, insatiable want that depletes us of whatever positive life force is inside us. To nurture hatred is something like addictively chewing on a bone that has no sustenance left. We may think we are chewing it but it is actually eating us up.

I leave you with another quote from the book that goes, “What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?”

If you can believe this, then every encounter you have can be a miraculous event. Something is always passed on and it is both given and received. Miracles happen more often than we think and we can only see them if we are awake to them. Don’t resist the exchange. Whatever you give you receive as well and that’s how you experience miracles every second of your life.

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