Manna’s modern lesson

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions…” 

Exodus 16:4-5

Newcomers to metaphysical spirituality are often drawn to the teachings for the purpose of healing. In many cases the focus on the healing is their relationship to money, and the study of metaphysics has helped countless seekers learn how to change their perspectives around money and live in a much more harmonious relationship with it.

Unfortunately, some seekers come with misguided, preconceived notions about metaphysical teachings and attracting wealth (thanks in part to the movie The Secret and some of its Law of Attraction teachers) that can create misunderstandings and disappointment.

In my previous post I wrote that too often we pray, chant, affirm, meditate and wait on a million dollars – feeling increasing misery and disappointment as time passes and we’re still not seeing it materialize. From this perspective we are unable to recognize the crinkled, unassuming dollars that show up – millions of times across our lives. 

In this regard, while I do not draw a line in the sand and say that it’s impossible to manifest winning lottery tickets or some other giant, financial windfall; it has been my experience that the Good we seek comes to us most often as daily bread.

I feel justified in this perspective since it has some strong Biblical backing. The first and most significant reference is documented in Exodus about the Hebrew people’s journey from captivity in Egypt.

They had followed Moses across the parted Red Sea, and into the desert, where they faced much uncertainty – at least it seemed so to the average person.

Keep in mind that the concept of One God had been competing with the many gods of Egyptian culture that they had lived in for generations. And while they had been slaves in Egypt, they had more to eat than they saw available in the desert. Human nature being what it is, the many gods of Egypt were associated with enough food and this One God concept was starting to look like an iffy proposition.

Fifteen days into the second month of wandering in the desert, the unrest was growing. God then spoke to Moses and promised to provide food to the people – and the food came, but not in the form of a warehouse of food designed to last a few months, or even a week.

Quail fell from the heavens into the camp each evening, and in the morning after the dew on the ground had gone away, “thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor“. The people were told to take what they needed for their family for the day and not to hoard or store any extra. They were specifically instructed to eat that day’s manna; not to keep it overnight.

True to human nature though, some people saved a little extra, keeping it overnight. But in the morning, the manna smelled terrible and was found to be full of maggots.

I think we can all relate to the motivation. Only one day before they had been close to starvation. When the manna came they found just enough sustenance to feed them. Could they count on this God to provide tomorrow’s supply?

When we are in distress, and especially financial distress, it can be tempting to focus our meditation, prayer and affirmations on a large financial solution to our problems.

If I could just pay off <insert list of debts>, things would be OK.”

Lottery winnings, an unexpected inheritance from a wealthy relative or finding a valuable and rare coin in our change purse all seem to be pretty desirable answers to our prayers when we’re knee deep in money trouble. Like the Hebrews wandering in the desert – we want to know that we’re going to have enough, and we think we know how much “enough” it needs to be.

It didn’t work that way for the Hebrew people. The manna went BAD if they hoarded more than they could eat throughout the day. It doesn’t work for us, either.

The God portrayed in the Hebrew scriptures was teaching the people a lesson: that they needed to draw closer – to rely on God, and not once in a while when they needed something (like a quick escape out of captivity); but all the time. They were learning that God is the Source & Substance of all their Good. In this story the manna fell for 40 years, sustaining them until they entered the land of Canaan.

The lesson for the 21st century modern world is this: real abundance comes when we move beyond the excitement of manifesting amounts of money and things, and move into the knowing that no matter what we need, no matter how dire our circumstances appear to be, we are provided: always, and in all ways. There’s not a lottery jackpot anywhere that can compare.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Fear & Promises

In my meditation this morning I was reminded of the promises of protection in the Hebrew Scriptures – some of the most profound and direct promises in the biblical canon; and promises that are broad enough to cover many circumstances, and yet specific enough to grant peace.

Psalm 91:4 is a powerful one, and as I shared in an earlier post, inspired me to add it to a photo of a perfect, white feather that had arrived in my driveway one morning.

The 27th chapter of Psalms also has some powerful protection language, and is worth committing to memory for times of distress.

For (God) will hide me in (a holy) shelter in the day of trouble;
(God) will conceal me under the cover of (a holy) tent;
(God) will lift me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:4

The fear that can inspire an outreach for spiritual support is in many cases, non-specific and the language of the Psalms is helpful in addressing these needs. In addition, an affirmation that reinforces the knowing that “All is Well” can be helpful. Karen Drucker’s song (YouTube video below) is one that puts a wonderful affirmation to music.

Here are the words:

All is well – I can rest – I am safe – All is well. 

Karen Drucker

When affirmations, music and the reading of a scripture verse seem to fall short, a direct Spiritual Mind Treatment (affirmative prayer) may be in order. Here’s one that you can use at anytime when you are feeling the need to take action and speak your word that all is well.

There is One power, One presence; One omnipotent and omnipresent Spirit – the Alpha, Omega; the only, the all. Spirit is the inexhaustible, unlimited Source, ever expressing, in every moment across space and time.

I am one with this infinite Spirit – contained in, a part of and expressing as God in all that I am, and all that I do. As I accept that I am an individualized expression of God and a unique idea in the One Mind, I am always aware that where God is, I am and where I am, God is – no matter the outward appearance.

Right here, right now I make the declaration that I am safe from harm, knowing that God is my shield, and that I am protected under the wings of Spirit. Regardless of what I am facing, I feel calm in the knowing that God hides me in a sacred shelter in time of trouble; concealing me under the cover of holy safety. God lifts me out of danger, and onto high ground – safe from that which rages below. I know that regardless of the circumstance, the appearance of things, the history, or what others may say; I am protected, provided and safe.

I am grateful for this Truth, and as I embrace it I release my word into the Infinite Law, knowing this is already manifest in my life. I know it, I speak it, I let it go – and so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Related blog posts:

Going to Ninevah (the hard way)

Hebrew Jonah

Picture found at Tanakh through world art

Have you ever heard the voice of God?

Has God ever said “Get up tomorrow morning & go to Ninevah” ?

Maybe not, but I’ll bet you’ve felt that nagging feeling about helping someone out; apologizing to someone; or going the extra step on a task or project.

That’s the same voice of God – the divine “nudge” – that spoke to Jonah, telling him to arise and go to Ninevah.

Most of us feel it first in the negative, or reverse direction – often as young children and most definitely as adolescents. It’s that strong almost-audible voice that says:

Now you KNOW you shouldn’t go there / do that …”

It is also as young children or adolescents that we often learn about Jonah as told in the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament.

Jonah heard the voice of God tell him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 

Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah and he made a decision to turn around and head so far away from Ninevah that maybe even God wouldn’t be able to find him. He went to Joppa and found passage on a ship headed to Tarshish.

Funny thing about people that God speaks to: they can’t hide.

God “…hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.”

Sailors are, by definition or custom, a superstitious lot. When this storm blew up out of nowhere, it was soon decided that this last-minute passenger might have something to do with it. When they cast lots (fortune telling, of sorts) the lots fell on Jonah and he ended up confessing that he was a Hebrew, and was running away from God.

They were beside themselves as the storm was tremendous and they didn’t want to be responsible for his death, but they had no idea how to survive and asked Jonah how to calm the sea. He told them that nothing short of throwing him overboard would help, so they tossed him into the raging waves.

The story might have ended here. Jonah made this disaster, he ignored God’s request and blatantly went in the opposite direction. Now he’s created a colossal mess and is about to be consumed by it. Sound familiar to anyone?

But God was not done with Jonah. Yes, Jonah had ignored God’s message, but God was not giving up on him and would not forsake him, or leave him in his hour of need.

17And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah ends up in the belly of a whale (great fish) – not a great place to hang out, I imagine but safe from drowning. Eventually the fish vomits Jonah out on dry land.

This is such great imagery, and a great spiritual lesson for kids and adults! Here are a couple of the lessons we learn from this story of Jonah:

  1. When you put your foot on the spiritual path, you can’t continue doing things “business as usual” – our actions have consequences and sometimes they’re dire.
  2. We can’t hide from the Divine.

Have you ever noticed that once you begin to read and follow a spiritual path, you can’t go back to your old ways?

This same concept – this counsel to stay connected to Source, or God, appears in many wisdom texts. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that the way out of the cycle of karmic birth and death is NOT to avoid the tasks required of him (i.e. the instructions or nudges from the Divine) but to perform these duties without a selfish attachment.

Krishna knows that Arjuna can easily get caught up in his own life, and actions and begin to act out of selfish motives – which would keep him in the endless loop of the cycles of life and death.

When Arjuna asks Krishna what binds us to our selfish ways, Krishna tells him that anger and selfish desires are the greatest enemies: they are the destructive powers that can compel us to wander away from our purpose. In the same way Jonah said “Oh I don’t think so,…” when God told him to go to Ninevah and wandered away from his divine purpose.

We learn from Jonah and the Gita that following our own self-centered urges, and ignoring the voice of God has consequences. In the 21st century – especially in America – we live in a very self-focused world. Does this mean that we are all doomed?

Not quite.

This where the rest of the tale of Jonah is instructive.

Jonah defied the instructions God gave him; he ignored that Divine urge and ran in the opposite direction.

But God did not say, “Oh well, Jonah – I ask for a little help and you run off, so good luck dealing with the consequences of your actions!

Instead, God sends a great fish/whale to save Jonah from a certain death by drowning in the raging storm – a mess that he created by running away. The greatest lesson in this story is that we are not ever cut off from the Divine – even when our selfish and foolish ways should mean the end of us.

We may cause ourselves some rough seas. We may experience a close call and spend time in a really awful place,… but we are never cut off from the Divine – and there is always a way back.

In the belly of the whale, Jonah recognizes his folly and calls out to God. We are not cut off from the Divine unless we choose – Jonah chose to reconnect.

Wayne Dyer talked about that connection using the metaphor of the trolley strap in his work on the Power of Intention. He spoke of reconnecting to Source being like reaching up and grabbing onto that trolley strap.

Whether we choose to envision grabbing the trolley strap, or praying from inside the belly of a smelly, giant fish – we are well-served when we remember what Ernest Holmes taught about the voice of God.

“… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence”  ~ Ernest Holmes

In the New Testament, Jesus told his disciples, “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world but there is perhaps no greater symbolism of the omnipresence of Spirit than that of the whale, or great fish that plucked Jonah from the depths of the sea.

It’s a strong story to remind us that no matter how colossal the mess we create in our lives; no matter how desperate the circumstances appear “… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence“. 

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Here’s the Kids Sheet – Jonah and the Whale (kids sheets) – for the story of Jonah