My mom’s home library contains a plethora of books on spirituality of all stripes and colors. It might be called dangerous by some, and many years ago, even she probably would’ve called it scandalous. Her shelves contain the voices of dozens of controversial authors who have dared ask the hard questions of life/God/religion, risked their reputations and incomes, and spoke Truth in a way that helped congeal the myriad, rambling thoughts of the always-curious mind that resided within her beautiful head and heart.
That library had at times concerned me, soon lured me, and now delights me to no end.
Like my Mom, I love discovering these others who live outside the many recognizable spiritual/philosophical boxes of our current society…..living honestly from their gut, following their hearts into dark places of Mystery and ancient Knowings, not settling for inconsistencies or things that offend their hearts. Mom thrilled with each new voice who articulated universal themes of Divine Love even as they were flowering in her own heart. Those authors were lighting the path she found herself following, opening new avenues of understanding and embracing Spirit as well as her own amazing humanity.
And, I should mention, Mom couldn’t leave a book alone. Thumbing thru pages she’d devoured were her written reactions….her wanderings, her ponderings, her exuberant agreements….lots of exclamation points and underlinings, ‘cause Mom never did anything unless she did it All. The. Way. These books contain almost diary-like revelations, causing one to feel that they’re trespassing thru the private, sacred workings of a person in process, a person completely resolved to follow their unpredictable path wherever it leads, and completely in awe and wonderment at the journey…. regardless of random rabbit trails or even gawking onlookers shaking their heads at the direction she’s headed. My mom knew there was no going back, no folding that relentless thirsty mind and heart of hers back into its previous claustrophobic space.
Several weeks before she died, I happened upon one such book on her shelves. With a delicious title like Jesus and the Lost Goddess, how could I resist? So I teased it out from among its neighbors and began to casually flip thru the pages. As usual, the back of the book was filled with mom’s copious notes…..BUT as I quickly glanced thru the hastily scribbled lines, I immediately noticed two inked stars halfway down the page, followed by
“My prayer for Cindy and family”.
Feeling a leeetle bit guilty, like I used to feel when I discovered the marshmallow fudge twists Mom had hidden in the cupboard for herself, I checked the page number referenced and……
….decided I wasn’t sure I was ready to read it. Whether I *should* read it.
So I took the book home, (and let my Mom know), then eventually got brave and turned to page 64 where I found the two stars again, next to an underlined section.
“at the innermost depths of each of us there is one Consciousness, unchanging and the same…the hidden root of the tree of which we are all branches.”
At the bottom of that page, Mom had written “You gave me my prayer for Cindy—and the blessing to me, first. My Consciousness.”
I’m sharing this here to publicly acknowledge that her prayer for me (and my family) is being answered. I hope my Mom knew it as well before she let go of this life.
See, Mom was a genius in leaving (whole grain Brownberry) bread crumbs behind her as she picked her way ahead of me, easing my own journey toward an ever expanding, inclusive, love-based spirituality that honors both our intensely human experience as well as our infinite, perfect Self. She blazed a trail without knowing exactly where she was headed, trusting the rest of us would find the clues, perhaps avoid some of her pitfalls, and embrace our own messy pilgrimage thru the hairball of our human existence.
So now, I hope you’ll allow me to share a gift from my own journey, which has been and will continue to be inspired by my mom. In July, anticipating what I’d be facing in the coming months, I took a headlong leap into a yoga practice. I felt perhaps the holistic approach offered by a “fitness program” that’d been around for over 5000 years may have something to offer me.
That ended up being a gross understatement. I wrote all about it here.
One of the spiritual practices of yoga is the meditative chanting of ancient Sanskrit mantras, which are simply prayers or reciting the sacred names of God. It bypasses the mind, quiets the heart, and speaks directly to the Self. One chant in particular has captured my imagination, as it’s helped me feel connected to Mom’s Consciousness during the last difficult weeks of her illness, and will serve me going forward as I learn to journey on without her physical presence in my life. I feel it was and is my Mom’s heart for every one of us because I watched her try to practice it herself. It translates:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Peace Peace Peace.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Thank you, friends, for letting me share this with you, and for holding the sacred brilliance of my fun-loving, brave, pioneering mother in your hearts.
The Divine (Consciousness) in me bows to the Divine (Consciousness) within each of you.