Eleanor enjoying the wheatgrass
I notice people’s gifts. And another thing that I notice, is how many times, these very obvious gifts are almost completely ignored, minimized, or even disliked by the person possessing them. Even when someone points them out, the person will often times dismiss the compliment with a comment such as, “It’s no big deal.” or “There are tons of people who are better at ‘this’ than I am.” The feeling behind all of these statements is, There is nothing special about me.
We’ve been taught that this is humility, but it isn’t. If this thought is backed by self-doubt, hatred, insecurity, or fear, it is just the other end of the egoic spectrum; one end is boastful, cocky, and falsely proud, and the other end is timid and cowering… both are ego-centric.
If we are (as I believe to be true) temples of the living God, points of Divine consciousness, individualized expressions of the Spirit of the Universe, how can we be nothing special? You and I and everyone could not be more unique, special or gifted.
Sometimes, our gifts are so close to us that we don’t see them as gifts, and the problem with this is that these things we are ignoring, dismissing, or brushing away, are not really valuable gifts until they are given away; until they are shared.
One of my gifts is the deep desire to understand who and what I AM. Not just who Mary Muncil is in this lifetime, but the part of me that isn’t confined to this body or to the “objective” world. The me who sees and knows beyond what is apparent. I’ve always had this drive within me….but I didn’t always see it as a gift to the world, or a gift at all.
Even as a teenager, sitting on the banks of the Hudson river with my best friend, drinking way too much, involved in a continual drama (of my own making) of too many drugs, boyfriends, and stupid risks, my friend would tell me (years later) that I made her promise me, if she ever figured out what God was, that she had to let me know.
Something within me just knew that the concept of God that I was raised with wasn’t the Truth, and through my periods of fearful “devotion”, atheism, scepticism, secular humanism, anger at religious authority, indifference to religious authority, …banging my head and pounding my fists on these doors that I was told led to God, but only seemed to lead to more contraction and confusion, I never gave up my search.
I didn’t look at myself as a researcher. I thought that field was limited to scientists and inventors, but in the world spiritual thought, a researcher is what I am. I always wanted to understand a deeper truth, and felt like there was a veil across it made up of all sorts of esoteric (or downright stupid or impossible to obey) rules and regulations. But this journey, and all of the dead-ends and wrong turns, is a part of the gift that I have to share.
Tell me who you are. Tell me what you Know from living it, struggling with it, even hating it, and then tell me what you’ve learned about yourself and life. Our gifts are what we have gone through and transcended. When I’ve been through hell, and have come out more whole and more real, then I am standing in the place of the true alchemist; changing base metal (life’s struggles) into gold (freedom), not only for myself, but for anyone who wants to stand in this place with me, and this is true of us all.
I’ve always wanted to understand, and I wanted to live it, and I wanted to know how others were living it. I don’t care about theory. If you have never been in the grips of alcoholic obsession, then you probably don’t have much to tell me about how to put down a drink. If you’ve done it, and not white knuckled it (but have gone beyond it) then just being who you are, your presence, will change me… if I want to change.
We help the world by becoming more truly ourselves: by leaving behind the limited concepts of what a spiritual person should look like, say, or do, and by accepting the perfection of who we are (even when we think that we are very far from any concept of perfection).
Your unique life’s journey, who you are, through all of the pain and struggle, loss and despair, is your gift to this world. It may come most to light through music, art, writing, medicine, gardening, law, praying for others, cooking, speaking, sewing, politics, healing work, or it may not seem to have a very focused “channel” or any defined “career path”…none of this matters.
You may be the one who can walk into a room where there is a distressed animal, and just by your presence, it instantly relaxes. You may be the one who always says, “Let me hold her or him” to the mother with the fretful baby, and the baby immediately calms down. You may be the one waving to the drivers passing by while you stand (or dance!) in the road, holding the STOP SIGN, and just your smile, changes a person’s life. You may be the one who simply held a friend in your mind with a loving thought, and you found out later that this person had a radical change for the better on that same day.
Your Presence, is your present to the world.
“The only part of our religion that is real is the part we express in our daily lives. Ideals that we do not act out in practice are mere abstract theories. Actually, such pretended ideals are a serious detriment, because they drug the soul. If you want to receive any benefit from your religion, you must practice it: and the place to practice it is right here, where you are; and the time to do it is now. A writer on prayer said; “Kneed love into the bread that you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candor with your coin you pay to the man with suspicious eyes.’ This sums up the Practice of the Presence of God.” Emmet Fox (1881-1951)