"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy..."
This has been a very hard piece to write and will, perhaps, be a harder piece to understand, but it is as though these thoughts, words, feelings come from beyond me, and the very words that I write are coming from the spirits that guide me. Most people have such staunch belief in their own path and way of thinking that while they take God "on blind faith" they don't accept much that is at work on this earthly plane that they cannot see, touch, feel, hear, taste. I have gone so deep into a spiritual path, a place of mysticism, that it made me think of some of the books that I love most that are considered "Magical Realism," because parts of the books go beyond what most people will believe possible. And that is the very crux of the matter for me. I see the things that are unseen, because I go so deep in meditation and prayer for such long periods of time. I can see them, touch them, taste them, and I feel their presence. This puts me in an odd place amongst the vast majority of people, and so I think it is best that I lead a cloistered life, at least for now, and give all I can give from right here. This is what I plan to do.
The last couple of weeks or so I have been having a time out of time experience. It is very hard to explain. I was floating somewhere between the seen and the unseen, heaven and earth. I have spent a lot of time in meditation and prayer, seeking guidance and answers on this new path I have been set on. Ordained and yet not preaching in a church, finding my own way which includes teachings from Buddhism, Christianity, the path of St. Francis, and the Catholicism I was raised in, as well as earth based religions, Native American spirituality, and more. I have been seeking knowledge, reading, studying, letting the unseen guide me, and seeing where it will take me.
These things have taken me to extraordinary places from my physical body to somewhere beyond. I have a feeling right now that most of you think I have gone "round the bend" and loop de loop. There certainly was a period, perhaps for most of my life, when I would think a person saying some of the things I have said and will say in this post downright insane. This is why I have hesitated to write all of this. Even yesterday when I planned to get this up and had already written most of what you've read so far, if you're still with me, that my stomach flip-flopped and I thought, "You can't say that." Sheesh.
It has been hard for people to understand that I am an ordained minister and yet not in the ordinary sense. I am studying the lives of the saints, Thomas Merton, the Benedictine monks as well as Buddhist monks and what I see in every religion I study is that there are always some that are cloistered, and some that walked alone. Jesus didn't preach in a temple nor did Buddha. St. Francis lived very humbly and very close to the earth. Buddha found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The great spiritual leaders taught by walking amongst the people of the world, or living apart from them in solitude and prayer. I am humbled by their divinity as well as their humanity.
I have become sensitive to every breath, the song of every bird, the wind touching my cheek, the angels that are around me, and the spirits that guide me. This is very hard to explain to people and it is as though now that I am ordained I have gone to the cave on the mountain to find the answers that will send me back out with the knowledge necessary to do what I am here to do. What I know, right now, is that my message, my mission, my work, is to concentrate on spreading seeds of compassion, loving-kindness, mindfulness, and the oneness of all things. My writing is my vehicle to share what I am learning, the song from my lips, the seeds I plant along the way. I am singing my songs to you. I think I have a lot in common with with Johnny Appleseed and Jean Giono's "The Man Who Planted Trees," planting seeds and saplings that no one will notice and a flower filled meadow filled with apple trees will be left in my wake. I will not go down in the history books like Gandhi or Mother Theresa, nor should I. My work is very humble and comes from a very quiet place inside my soul.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy..."
I had an amazing talk with my spiritual advisor over these last two weeks, and what he had to say really made me stop and think, and I spent much more time in meditation and prayer trying to digest it all. He wrote to me, after our talk..
"You take a year or two to develop this very special and unusual ministry that you have begun. Not Jesus, or Buddha, nor any great historical spiritual figure taught in robes of gold in temples. They walked amongst the people, eye to eye, hand to hand. Your home is like a monastery, your fellow "monks" are your animals. You are a Franciscan at heart, and you are still learning your way. It is right that you were ordained, it set you more firmly on your path, and, Mother Maitri -- and I think that name suits you well, because you are a gentle teacher, a motherly presence, a woman who is a healer and holy woman --- yes, you are a minister, but there is something more in store for you. Follow your heart. Meditate, pray, study, and write. Right now, your work, as it will be an outreach ministry over the internet and phone, e-mail and sometimes in person, sets you apart. Thank God for that in your prayers and don't question it. Be who you are Mother Maitri. Your instincts are good. Now go deep into retreat and seek the answers you need."
And into retreat I went. I went in so deeply for such long periods of time that it was as if I had entered another realm. The unseeable, the unknowable, the beginnings of the answers I need to lead me on this path. Now, re-entering the world, at least my daily world, part of that time seems like a dream and part of it I carry with me. Part of it was ephemeral and fleeting, but it left it's mark on me and I am deeply changed.
On Friday I went to my psychiatrist. I told her I wondered if my myriad symptoms, longsince medicated properly after 3 decades of therapy, wa causing me to see and feel what I was. She assured me, with a smile, that I was not crazy and none of my diagnoses had anything to do with what I am going through. Yes, I certainly have issues, but thank God I also have a good doctor and the medicine I need to keep me straight. She told me I was highly sensitive, and open, and willing to accept things that others won't allow themselves to see.
If you have ever talked to a psychic or medium (which I am not), and I mean a real, genuine one, of which there really are many, they will all tell you that the abilities that they have are not only not special, but that we all have the ability to open up to these things, they are within us, they are not hoodoo voodoo, simply a kind of second sight. We see through our souls. We are sensitive to the energies around us and we feel them. I feel them. I feel the presence of my spirit guides almost as if they were here with me having a cup of tea. I walk through my day saying, "Thank you," because I am so filled with gratitude for all that is opening up in me, in my worldly life and in my inner life, my subconscious mind spilling over into consciousness. There are more things on heaven and earth... I begin to see the unseen more and more.
As I go deeper and deeper in my studies, prayer, and meditation, I seek the root of all that is, meaning there may be many religions and traditions, but, as in the kaleidoscope analogy I used in a recent writing, all are rooted in the same source. Different earthly teachers have grown congregations and churches to the knowledge that they had gleaned, filtered through their own human life. I seek the common thread. I open my arms to all that is. And so I am a quiet woman, and I grow more humble each day.
I took the name Mother Maitri because I felt it a very humble name. I am a mother, and now that my children are grown, I feel it is my path to carry that motherly essence out into the world. To love, to heal, to teach, to put bandaids on broken hearts, and sew together souls that have had a hole torn in them, the air inside nearly completely gone, near the brink of collapse. I tell stories, I hold hands, I save ailing and elderly animals and nurse them back to a more vibrant life and shelter them and provide them a home. I have kept a Christmas tree alive until it starting forming little pine cones, and went on for nearly a year of use before it went into the woods, a haven for the wild ones outside.
This was a cut tree for Christmas, but after Christmas I planted it in a half barrel outside on my patio and kept it watered. The cold air and the water kept it green and it was truly enchanting. I put bird seed and suet in it's branches and it filled with birds. Only when the warm weather came did it dry out and die, and then I filled the barrel with morning glory and moonflower seeds, and the vines filled the little tree, and it lasted through the summer and into the fall, radiant with flowering vines lit by the sun, and the huge white moonflowers perfuming the air as I stood outside under the moon and the stars and thanked God for all that is. I live in a state of being wherein everywhere I look I see potent possibility abundant. Some people travel the world. I see paradise in my own back yard.
And so I will continue on this journey, and I will share with you what I see and experience. And you needn't believe what I write, as I, too, would not, at one time, have believed. But perhaps you can allow a little seed to be planted and ponder over it. You can draw your own conclusions. I am building a congregation, one person, animal, tree, acorn, blade of grass at a time. I see the glory in all things. I look to love and light to guide me, and while I pray for everyone I don't allow the shadows in the world to block me. If I allowed this to happen I could not see and do what I am supposed to, I could not help and heal and nurture.
And so dear reader, if you have read this far I hope you will have at least have kept an open mind, and as you go about your days, whisper thank you, even if you do not know whom you are thanking, or, perhaps, even what you are thanking this unseen being for. From this place of gratitude grows a fertile ground in which a seed, a life, may be planted and grow into something glorious. Or so I believe with my whole heart and soul.
I send the deepest blessings with my arms open wide to receive you, to give you love, and warmth, and gentleness, that you may carry it with you on your way and pass it on.
Each one, reach one. Those very words are at the heart of this ministry I am growing. Have faith in yourself, and keep moving forward. We are all walking the path together, some before us, some behind us, but all following the same worn path that many have walked for millennium. Believe in yourself. I believe in you. And you are in my prayers every day that I am on this earth for the rest of my life.
Go gently, and be well, and as I leave you for now I want you to remember 2 little words... Amor Fati... it means Love what is. Look long and with tenderness at everyone and everything around you. If you are love, you will draw love. Draw to you all the love you can