I’m going to hell, I panicked after stealing a piece of bubble gum from the dime store. As a five-year-old kid, I was taught to follow the rules, and I’d broken a big one. Yikes! My guilty conscience fumed at me like the fires of hell I figured I’d soon be encountering.
Growing up, faith for me was all about striving to be perfect. Be perfect like your heavenly Father was more than a scripture verse, it was the yardstick I used to judge myself. It was something I strived to be—but never could.
I tried to do the right things as a kid. I became an altar boy, got good grades, and kept my room tidy, but I always fell short of perfection. Sometimes I used God’s name in vain and looked at magazines that weren’t part of the goody-two-shoes path. Despite always trying to please God and my parents, I never attained that lily-white soul I wanted. My soul had too many black spots on it. I rubbed my nose repeatedly in my being a sinner.
I’d go to confession to scrub off those dark spots. But it was exhausting trying to mop up all my venial sins. It seemed I was always auditioning for God’s favor.
One day, Tom, a wise mentor, told me I had this faith thing all wrong.
“Sure, it’s good,” he said, “to strive for purity and excellence. But if we spend all our time trying to stomp out our imperfections, we lose sight of God. We focus on the problems, not the solution.”
“What’s the solution?” I asked.
“It’s ‘The Way,’” he said. “The Way is what Jesus taught—living a life of wisdom and compassion. By his example, Jesus showed us by that wisdom and compassion are like the two wings of a bird that keep us centered, grounded in God, and on the path toward wholeness. The Way is a journey, a manner of thinking, feeling, and acting. That’s the road Jesus traveled and pointed us toward.
“When he said, ‘Follow me,’” Tom explained, “Jesus meant follow my example. Live the way I do—grounded in wisdom and compassion.”
Tom’s words spoke deeply to me.
I bet Jesus discovered wisdom, the first wing, by going each day into solitude to seek divine guidance and insight from the Father. From those times of prayer and meditation, Jesus received inner courage and strength to carry out his work. He connected with the Father and understood how to live his life day-by-day, step-by-step. Like us, he was human and divine. And the human part of him, the human part of us, needs to connect with the Divine to be balanced. God’s the other side of us. We need his wisdom and guidance to live a life of inner peace and wholeness.
Compassion was the other wing of Jesus’ life. He lived and taught love. Love God. Love ourselves. Love others. He said the kingdom of love was here and could be experienced if we followed the way Jesus pointed. In fact, maybe that’s why “The Way” was the most widely known name for the early Christian Church (Acts 9:1-2).
“How do I find the Way?” I asked. “How do I live a life filled with wisdom and compassion?”
“You find flow,” Tom explained.
“Flow is trusting the river, trusting Divine Flow—knowing there’s something bigger than us, some Being that created and continues to create us as we allow the flow of love and wisdom to move in and through us.”
“You integrate flow into your life by incorporating the four lifestyles that Jesus lived.
“Solitude—taking time each day to unplug, be alone, and sit in Divine Presence so God can speak to your heart and fill you with insight and wisdom.
“Spiritual reading—reading books that inspire you to grow like Jesus did as he read and recited the Torah.
“Community—surrounding yourself with a handful of people who nudge you to grow, like Jesus surrounded himself with Mary, Joseph, and the twelve apostles.
“Spiritual gifts—allowing God to show you your unique talents and then using them in life-giving ways, just as Jesus learned and used his gifts of healing, preaching, and mentoring others.”
When we incorporate these four lifestyles into our lives and seek wholeness instead of perfection, wisdom and compassion become guardrails on life’s highway. They keep us centered, moving in the right direction. If we veer off the road into a ditch, we can stop, look back, see which of the four spiritual practices we’ve abandoned, and put them back into our lives.
These four practices keep us in the flow. They fill us with wisdom and compassion. They’re the spiritual fuel that fills our human gas tanks so we can sustain wholeness, inner peace, and balance.
With regular practice, we develop an inner awareness of God’s Divine Presence that reminds us of who we are and that helps shape us into who we’re becoming. We find the Way and live it.
“I think we should start a movement of finding flow so we can discover and live The Way,” I suggested to Tom. “Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone incorporated these four spiritual practices into their daily lives like Jesus did? What if instead of being look-at-me grandstanders trying to prove we’re perfect and have all the answers, we became wisdom-seekers seeking Divine Truth on the path toward wholeness?”
Tom’s face filled with a grandfatherly smile.
“Yes,” he said. “Let’s change the world by finding flow and following the Way. I’m in. Are you?”
—brian j plachta
Want to learn more about flow? Check out this video to learn about the background of Finding Flow. Click Here.
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LECTIO DIVINA OF DREAMS
-Simple Ways to Discover How God Is Speaking to You
Through Your Dreams
A Finding Flow—Simple
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Eastern US Time)
Have you ever wondered if God is speaking to you through a dream?
If so, how do you discover what God might be saying to you?
Is it possible to experience Lectio Divina (divine reading) of a dream to discern its meaning?
Join me for a free Zoom Webinar to explore these questions and others.
During the webinar you’ll discover:
That God has spoken to many people in the bible through their dreams
That God uses our dreams to communicate with us
There are simple ways we can use to discover what God’s saying to us through our dreams
I look forward to being your guide for this workshop and offering you a simple way to discern God’s invitations to you through your dreams.
We’ll invite some of the participants to bring a recent dream to the workshop. We’ll then use the practice of Lectio Divina to discover some of the dream’s meanings.
You’ll experience a spiritual practice you can integrate into your life to help you discover how God is guiding you through your dreams.
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