Divine protection

Many traditions teach the power of Divine protection. Ancient practices from many corners of the world included elaborate ceremonies with herbs, fire, smoke and dancing to “pray protection” on their people.

Better known to many today is one ancient act of protection that was noted in the story of the Hebrews in captivity in Egypt: the story of the Passover.

You may (or may not!) recall the story of the Hebrew captivity. Outside of the biblical realm, history has documented centuries of the enslavement of some groups of people by others. It is therefore not in dispute that the Hebrew people were slaves in the land of Egypt. It is also historically accurate that in situations where there were “strangers in strange lands“, the religions and traditions of the enslaved often clashed with that of their captors.

While all this is wonderful biblical lore and cultural literacy for the Western tradition: what relevance does this have today?

I come from the perspective that all ancient wisdom texts – biblical included – are not so much historical records as they are wisdom lessons. While the external world has changed substantively over the millennia, the spiritual Truths – documented in all of these texts across cultures and geography – ring true today if we will take the time to read critically, and ponder their wisdom. Let’s look at one today – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – that has a lot to teach us.

The Passover

It’s not lost on me that the celebration of the Passover is upon us (coming soon!) just as we all hunker down in our homes to avoid the Coronavirus. In the story of the Exodus from Egypt, you may remember that in their bid to be freed from slavery in Egypt, the Hebrew people turned to their God, who decided to send 10 plagues to be visited upon Egypt.

The LAST plague targeted the first born sons of the land. It had its intended impact – the next morning the Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to take their people and get out!

Metaphysically, we look at these stories not as history (although there is some historical accuracy to many of the Hebrew scriptures), but as allegory – a teaching story. Let’s examine this one.

The plague on the first born son is a direct attack on succession of power. In traditional households, the oldest son is often looked to as the rightful heir of the family wealth and power. As gender roles evolved this has loosened somewhat in modern families but the position of the first born still has a default role in many families.

It was the POWER structure in Egypt that kept the Hebrew people enslaved. This final and most terrible plague was directed intentionally at this point to send a message, and create disruption.

In the scriptural canon, Yahweh sends the angel of darkness to sweep over the land and take the breath of life away from every first born in the land. For the Hebrews living in this same land, there had to be an option for them to be spared from this awful act; and of course, there was.

22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 

Exodus 12

The Hebrew households were specifically instructed to paint the blood of a sacrificed lamb on the doorposts and lintel (overhead door post) so that the angel of darkness and death would “pass over” the house – thereby sparing the first born.

If we look at this from the metaphysical perspective, the sacrifice and blood painted on the doors are intentional actions taken by those in covenant with the God of Israel. We don’t do a lot of that today, but we do make “covenants” with teachings and traditions in which we believe.

So what does this mean to us today?

Facing challenges is a part of life. Each of us deals with these challenges in our own way, and often in at least some of the ways that we were taught by our families. This wisdom lesson from the Hebrew scriptures teaches that when we “paint the doorway of our homes” with the Truth, we are protected from the “plagues” of life.

As I write this, the COVID-19 scourge is sweeping the nation and fear is rampant. How can we inscribe divine protection across our homes and lives to safeguard ourselves and those that we love?

We can strengthen our daily spiritual practice, whether that be meditation, music, creative activities (art), prayer – whatever you do; keep doing it!

We can follow the advice of public health professionals, and clean up our thoughts. The news media is CRAZY with negativity and scary statistics. It also passes on some good advice for staying healthy. We need to make sure we’re not overdosing on the negativity OR refusing to heed the good advice.

The vast majority of people exposed to the Coronavirus will recover. The fatality rate is lower than initially projected and while people have died, and will continue to die from this disease; it does not appear to be the Bubonic plague or even the Spanish flu.

As spiritual people, we can “paint the doorposts of our homes” by immersing ourselves in our spiritual traditions, and remember that we are never alone – no matter what passes through our experience.

We can support others who are frightened, or facing economic perils from this situation. We can know the Truth or pray for those who are in harm’s way, or who fall ill. We can take steps that are helpful to our physical health: get enough sleep, wash our hands, practice social distancing, and eat whole and healthy foods.

The other lesson from this biblical story is that of the cost of freedom. The Hebrew slaves wanted to be freed from Egyptian control. The plagues were sent to aid in their quest. What “freedom” are we seeking – collectively and as individuals – that this circumstance may clear the way for us to find?

The answer to this question is likely as many and varied as the traditions who ponder the story. Here are just a few to consider:

While many businesses are being disrupted, this “plague” is forcing options on employers that many had resisted for some time. It is inserting a forced flexibility into some areas that was not possible before. It is opening the doorway to major transformations of old business models and some may argue that it a BAD thing; but I would suggest that perhaps it’s time for a new age – a new way of doing MANY of the things that have not changed for decades or longer.

Like the 10th plague and its impact on the power structure in ancient Egypt, the pandemic is opening a doorway for true leaders to emerge. There are “formal leaders” – those who are anointed by the government or other organizations, and who hold titles; and there are what is known in management theory as “informal leaders“. These informal leaders are people who step up and lead by their actions – regardless of title or pay. We are seeing this play out on the news daily, and it is happening in organizations large and small across the globe.

As a culture, we are being held accountable to the way we spend our time and money. How many of us shop for entertainment? Malls, shopping complexes and more have been built over the past century to provide “spendertainment” to the masses. Perhaps, just perhaps, this global reset will cause more of us to take a walk outdoors instead of going to the Mall.

I can report from my own small circle that the incessant running around by the average family has ground to a halt – and no one is complaining about that!

Yes, these are scary times; and there will be unfortunate and upsetting outcomes in some corners. This does NOT mean that we need to descend into fear and panic.

This is a call to remember who we are, and reconnect with how to Be in the world. It is a time to return to simple Truths, and our true essence (spiritual Beings having a physical experience). We are, indeed, beloved children of the Most High; under whose wings we find shelter and protection.

So let us paint the doorposts of our homes with the knowing that the Infinite is – and always has been – our shield and rampart. We, and all whom we love and cherish are lifted high on a rock in times of trouble.

I know and accept this for myself, and for each of you. And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Related posts:

Finding refuge

“I am known to the Divine, and abide in the secret place of the Most High. Sheltered in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord: God is my refuge and fortress – in the holy One I place my trust. Enfolded within the sacred circle of eternal love, I know that I am safe, for the whole armor of God surrounds me. I am shielded and protected always by the overshadowing Presence of God; immunized from harm and filled to overflowing with Divine comfort, love and peace!”

prayer (adapted) from Joseph Murphy‘s writings

For every news report of people ignoring public health reports, there are multitudes more of us quietly wondering and worrying how this is all going to go, how it will play out and when it will end – if it will end. It is a lot to process; and it can be frightening.

I don’t know the answers to any of the questions surrounding this crisis, but I do know that the ancient words of the Psalms have provided comfort and strength to people across the millennia. They are welcome words now, too.

Whether we use the prayer adapted from the writings of Joseph Murphy (above), the words from Psalm 91 (below), or another resource; these touchstones of strength, peace, and faith provide the assurance that we are not facing the unknown – or anything else – alone.

Photo of a perfect feather, found in my driveway one morning in 2018

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Related posts:

Prayer for Times of Turmoil

The One Infinite Presence that is the True essence of all, and that constantly and consistently expresses in, as and through all Life is expressing here now – in my own life, and in the midst of this global circumstance. In this moment and always I stand on the knowing that the Power and Wisdom of Spirit is at the center of all.

Grounded in this Reality, and regardless of appearance; I stand in strength. In the midst of fear, I know peace. In the midst of chaos, I know calm. In the midst of illness, I know recovery and health. In the midst of lack, I know that I am provided, always. In the midst of danger, I know God’s protection surrounds, enfolds, and lifts all to higher ground, to safety.

I stand firmly on this foundation of Truth, and am grateful to know that regardless of the storm, the challenge or chaos; Spirit is present, and all is well.

In calm gratitude and with a deep sense of peace I release my word into the Infinite Law, assured that it returns complete and fulfilled. I speak it, I know it, I let it go. And so it is.

A Gift of Healing

Thank you for coming along on the 30 days of healing path this past month. I hope that you found the verses, accompanying pictures, and the origins of each to be insightful, inspiring and more.

Please be sure to check out the book with all 365 days of the year annotated with a quote, verse, poem or other reading.

With the holidays coming, I can think of no better gift to give someone, whether they have everything or need everything.

Invited to Thanksgiving or other holiday celebrations this year? The hard copy version of this book (~ $8) would make a perfect host/hostess gift and will last long after the wine, cookie tray or pumpkin bread!

Available at Barnes & Noble

Peace & blessings!

Blessings in Passing

When I first began to study what I refer to as “larger spirituality” – spirituality not confined within a single dogma or worldview – I got a mental picture in my head when someone would use the phrase, “daily practice“.

I envisioned a room or at least a corner dedicated to their “practice” and often I immediately moved to the many barriers I had in my life that would prevent me from being able to sit in an incensed room in yoga pants for an hour every morning.

That’s not what they were saying – that was my filter. I learned down the road that while some people may have something like that going on, many others do not. A daily practice is as unique as each person, and requires no specific accessories.

In studying the works of Joseph Murphy and Neville Goddard, contemporaries in the early part of the 20th century (Goddard passed on in 1972 and Murphy in 1981); I am always struck with the sheer simplicity of their approach to prayer, or “knowing the Truth” about someone/something. It was from this perspective that I began, unintentionally, an extension of my own daily practice.

I live in a suburban neighborhood, and as I drive to work, I pass many people walking along the streest: school children, with and without parents; dog walkers; commuters walking to public transit and others. One morning I noticed a teenaged boy walking along the street. He was alone, and did not look happy. He was on the heavier side, and walked as if he dreaded arriving at his destination.

I immediately felt compassion for him – middle school and high school can be challenging places to exist – and so I held the thought for him that today was a much better day than usual. Driving past people, even on a neighborhood street, doesn’t leave much time for a long, complicated blessing. Plus, I have no way of knowing what each person would need: so my thought that day was a knowing that the blessings of the Infinite were upon him.

I am particularly moved when I see school kids walking alone and appearing to be sad; dreading the day ahead or trying to recover from whatever they experienced at home before walking out the door.

I think of the following from one of Joseph Murphy’s prayers:

I know that (individual’s name) is surrounded by the sacred circle of God’s eternal love, and the whole armor of God surrounds her/him and s/he is watched over by the overshadowing Presence of God.

Joseph Murphy
(Archangel Michael)

Since I don’t know the names of the people I drive past each morning, an easy technique is to simply accept that they are accompanied by the holy Presence and watched over in all they do.

If I am stopped in traffic I may add a visualization of a grandmotherly angel or two if the child/children are small, or a warrior-like archangel if they are teens.

Skeptics will roll their eyes (& aren’t likely to be reading this blog), but readers across the New Thought canon know that many of the teachers whose work form the foundation of the movement taught and lived this Truth: a thought held in the human mind is connected to the Infinite Mind and will demonstrate or manifest.

Over time this simple teaching has evolved into an organized religion (at least 3 versions at last count), each of which has added dogma, regulatory guidelines and complications that are unnecessary for the process to work, but that are understandable in the world of Caesar. And yet, the truth remains that the Good that is possible requires no prescribed order of words or official interventions.

In one of his most beloved talks, “Live in the End“, Neville shared the following:

“Do you know a friend who is unemployed? Well, then, see him as gainfully employed, and don’t tell him, that you may brag tomorrow. Don’t boast. Just see him gainfully employed.”

Nevill Goddard, “Live in the End”

Neville’s life work was a testament to this process. Many have studied and applied this process – some within, but I suspect most outside of formal religious or spiritual organizational structures.

There will be those who say, “How do you know it works? What if you’re just deluding yourself and wasting your time?

I know that this works when I use it for myself, and for the people around me who seek out my knowledge on such things. For the people I pass on the street, I may never know if my simple blessing thought was helpful or not.

But let’s consider this: at one point, a VERY long time ago, everything that we see (and much more that we don’t/can’t see) was part of an infinitessimally small, dense and hot singularity…and then BOOM!

An explosion and rapid expansion, heating and cooling of matter…13.7 billion years later, here we are. The fact remains that the preponderance scientific inquiry to date suggests that we all come from the same stuff. We are indeed, all connected.

I can’t single-handedly fix all the problems carried around by the people I meet or encounter each day. There are days when I’m not sure how I’ll manage my own issues, and those within my inner circle. But I can apply the principles I’ve studied and learned and used with success in my own experience.

If nothing else, my own knowing of peace and Good for the random people I pass on my commute helps to put me into a better space, which means I show up at work in a positive and beneficial (to me and to others) state of mind. I also believe that there is Good to be planted and blessings to be harvested when we know peace, joy, healing, love and more for those we meet along our way.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path 

Day 28 (Healing)

Christian Science
Practitioner's Path
To ignore God as of little use in sickness is a mistake. Instead of thrusting Him aside in times of bodily trouble and waiting for the hour of strength in which to acknowledge Him, we should learn that He can do all things for us in sickness as in health.

~ Mary Baker Eddy, Science & Health
with Key to the Scriptures

#30 Days of Healing

Taken from the book, “Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World