Those rascally quanta!

This morning, Fr. Matt delivered a sermon that had several of us standing outside after church talking about it. Now, that happens…but this one really struck a chord. It was on a subject I’ve thought a lot about (and alluded to, just a bit, in previous posts) but it’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one wandering into what I’m calling the “physics of prayer.”

Like most of us, I hung onto my concrete childhood concepts of prayer. Asking God was like asking mom or pop.

girl praying

Somewhere in high school, I listened to my inner self that said that prayer could be something more, and could be found throughout everyday life…and of course, my cynical teen self didn’t buy everything from religion class, either. For example, I had never bought the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Transubstantiation. (Perhaps I had an overzealous religion teacher or two. Or three.) And when I heard the my catechism teacher explain that “Jesus could never deny His mother anything, so pray to Mary” I thought that was pretty much along the lines of “if daddy says no, go ask mama.”

As I reached young adulthood and attended a Jesuit university, my concept of prayer expanded to, well, “hanging out with Jesus” and trying to listen to the quiet voice of the Divine. The Zen courses I took at Loyola helped with that (as did my physics and philosophy classes), and partly because of Zen, the book The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav appealed to me. I finally read it in my late 20’s.

dancing wu li

Now, why hadn’t physics been like this in high school and college? The concepts were fascinating, and made actual sense. Yes, on the “macro” scale everything is totally different from the teensy-tiny-itsy-bitsy quantum scale. Those rascally little quanta! Just when you’re not looking, there they go…. but I digress.

Suddenly, the power of prayer and prayerful intention that I’d learned about and tried to practice in some fumbling way started to make some weird sort of sense.

In his sermon today, Fr. Matt spoke of this. He spoke of quantum entanglement. Put simply, quantum entanglement is when two particles interact at some point and then are separated…except that they can never be truly separate again. Their quantum state is such that they can no longer be described separately. It is as though they have a “forever connection,” and that connection is not dependent on space or time. (That’s my 2 cent summary of quantum entanglement; just don’t ask me to do the math.)

quantum formula

No, please do not ask me to do the math.

So what does this have to do with the power of prayer? Well, think about it, because at the very foundation of who and what we are is energy, and we are all “entangled.” Each encounter we have with another human being has an effect, however slight, on our spirit. How can it not?

I remember having this mind-blown feeling when I first learned about quantum entanglement. This meant that intercessory prayer had a legitimate foundation beyond “I don’t know why it works, but it does work.” Here was an explanation for the power of prayer, especially of group prayer and group intention.

My inner cynic/skeptic loved it. For the first time in my life, I realized that Transubstantiation seemed possible. Intention is critical. I’m not going to wander down a rabbit hole of discussion on under what exact circumstances Transubstantiation may actually occur. I’ll use the all-encompassing answer that I learned from the Sisters of Mercy: “It’s a mystery.” (This is why I prefer the explanation that Christ is uniquely present in the Eucharist.) Niels Bohr, one of the fathers of quantum theory, said something along the lines of “all the stuff we think is real is made up of stuff that isn’t real.” That’s not “new age woo-woo,” that’s a Nobel Prize winner. In physics.

niels bohr

Niels Bohr. (Image from famousscientists.org)

We don’t know exactly how the power and intentionality of prayer connects to quantum mechanics. There’s really no way to measure for this connection, either, unless you subscribe to superdeterminism, a group of theories that says that everything is determinable. Taking the quantum physics thing a step farther, Bell’s theorem says that basically…there’s no way to measure absolute outcomes in this quantum landscape because you can’t know all the variables; in other words, free will. (Take THAT, superdeterminism! It occurs to me that I am skating dangerously close to discussing Predestination and the paradox of free will. Physics, theology…is it really that different?)

Free will. Mystery. (Let’s not forget the Uncertainty Principle.) Starting to sound familiar?

No matter what we pray for, we – and the one(s) being prayed for – are dealing with free will. How do things happen? How are prayers answered? Why do we see those mind-boggling flashes of coincidence that Jung called synchronicity (meaningful coincidence)?

How many times have we been thinking of someone when they called us? How many times have we been reunited in a completely unexpected way with someone we haven’t seen in decades – right after we were thinking about them? I experienced synchronicity just yesterday when, at a luncheon, the keynote speaker used the very same quotation I was planning to use in my summary remarks.

I’ve written of some synchronistic events that clearly had a “God touch” to them. There’s the story of finding Nancy’s lost earring, and another one about finding my singing bowl.  I wrote about the power of joined intention at Pentecost.

I recently picked up another copy of one of the God Winks series by Squire Rushnell. I love his books about synchronistic God-winks. A departed friend, Janette, used to call such synchronicities “cosmic post-it notes.” These are those odd coincidences that let you know you’re on the right track (or gently steer you onto the right track).

christ project

What is the right track? Well, we all have a “Christ project.” (I used to hear it called “God’s plan,” but I really like “Christ project.”) How can I become more fully a part of the Body of Christ? This is my Christ project, and those God-winks are like…well, little cosmic post-it notes that remind me about my Christ project, and remind me what I’m supposed to be doing.

rascal quanta

Somehow, through quantum entanglement and through the ripples of energy sent forth by our actions, thoughts, prayers and love, we get back on track when we wobble. We hold each other up, and help each other out.

Following the terrorist bombing in Brussels last spring, I wrote about the power of prayer. News media was sneering about calls for prayer, but I posited that the need for prayer is real. It always is, and always will be; for through prayer we are entangled with others, and entangled with God, working on our Christ project.

We often use the term “quantum leap” thinking it is a huge jump. Well, it’s actually a miniscule jump on a subatomic level, but it results in a jump from one energy level to another. How does that fit with prayer, with being a part of the Body of Christ, and with our Christ Project?  I’ll leave you to ponder that – that, and the nature of those rascally quanta!

 

Become the prayer for goodness your lips have uttered.

A couple of years ago I wrote about singing at Temple Gates of Prayer in New Iberia, La. There is a small Jewish congregation here, and I have been blessed and honored to sing for their rabbi-led services for some time.  Fall is the season of High Holy Days, which encompass Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat Shuvah and Yom Kippur.

This is a Reform congregation, who uses the New Union Prayerbook.  There are many beautiful prayers within the covers of the regular book as well as Gates of Repentance, used during HHD.

Monday, during the morning service for Rosh Hashanah, these words leapt off the page at me:

“Be among those who cherish truth above ease, and whose prayers are shafts of light in the darkness….Aspire to be loving, compassionate, humane, and hopeful.  Become the prayer for goodness your lips have uttered.” *

Become the prayer for goodness your lips have uttered.

Sounds deceptively simple.  It’s certainly challenging.  I know I am often overwhelmed with day-to-day minutiae, and tend to get onto the “just get-it-done” track.  I’m not rude, cruel, dishonest or treating anyone badly, I’m just…getting things done.  Work. Errands. Housekeeping. Paying bills. Doing laundry. Autopilot.

peace-window-temple-gates-of-prayer

Peace window in memory of Jack Wormser, who was a man whose life was his prayer of peace.  Temple Gates of Prayer, New Iberia, LA

The apostle Paul wrote:

Rejoice always, pray continually. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17

What if we were to become the prayer?  I cannot bring peace to the world, but I can be peaceful.  I may not be able to cure someone, but I can be a healing presence. Kindness towards others – even a smile – can be prayerful.

Intention is the difference.

Now, more than ever, our country and our world are torn by voices of division.  We hear so much about what’s wrong, about oppression, aggression, unfairness, shaming, blaming, hatred.  Individual pain is exploited for political gain, and groups and individuals become game tokens in power plays.  Individuals wonder what can I do?

snail-1

Make a difference.  Even this snail makes tracks.

Do what you can. Be open and aware.  Set an intention for kindness. Show gratitude.  Smile.  Pray continually.

Then, become the prayer for goodness your lips have uttered.

~~~~~~~~ * 1984, Central Conference of American Rabbis: Gates of Repentance: The New Union Prayerbook for the Days of Awe.  P. 187.  (New York)

Filling in the Gaps

Our church has a small but dedicated choir, but we often  compliments such as “it sounds like the loft is FULL! It sounds like there’s a lot more people singing up there than there is!” It’s a lovely comment, especially as we’re often more of a quartet than a choir.

My friend (and fellow chorister) Margaret recently observed: “I think that God comes in and fills in the empty spaces for us.”

hymnals

We do sing with intention. We want to give our best to God, to our church family, and to Leon (our choir director who brings out the best in us).  I think Margaret got it just right: God does fill in the spaces and magnifies our efforts. God can enlarge what we do if we allow it. Here’s an example from my own musical life:

On December 27, 2011, I lost my hearing in my left ear.  Unable to find any other explanation for this sudden change (I’m meticulous about hearing protection when performing), my doctors figured it was the result of “a virus.”  Over the next year I went through multiple tests, consultations, and listening to well-meaning folks telling me that it might just be wax in my ears, and why didn’t I just have surgery? I clung to hope of a spontaneous return of hearing (it might happen, my doctor said, we have to give it a year).  I resisted the idea of a hearing aid for a while, and then began to look forward to the one year mark when I could begin the process of being fitted for a hearing aid.

That was not to be.  The sensorineural hearing loss I have does not respond to a hearing aid.  Welcome to life in monaural. I cried a river.

I’ve had to adapt.  In the case of Epiphany’s choir, small is a blessing for me.  I’m able to hear and enjoy the other parts without being distracted or confused.  You can’t sing harmony without listening to what else is going on. While that’s not a problem with two working ears, it’s very tricky with only one. Unison singing can be challenging if we’re not all completely unison.  My fellow choir members have become used to my moving around to find just the right spot to stand in the loft so that I can hear. At least solos are easy.

Recording vocal parts requires adjustment, too.  My music partner Joshua and I recently remixed and re-recorded some demos from our Women at the Well program and released a short CD.  A main objective was to re-record vocals and add vocal harmonies on several of the tracks, and there’s where God filled in the blanks.

Adding the harmonies required overdubbing – me singing different lines over myself.  You can’t do that without hearing everything, and hearing everything with only one ear means the brain is  processing some signals differently.  I can’t exactly describe it, but I do know I had to completely re-learn how to manage this.

Since the only budget for this project was earmarked for CD replication, we were recording at Joshua’s house.  The bathroom was the vocal booth.  Contrary to what you may think, that’s not because of “bathroom acoustics” but rather because it was the quietest room in the house. Since a vocal booth needs to be “dead,” we had a lot of blankets and towels draped everywhere!

It’s a pretty funny picture.  I was standing in a tiny bathroom, blankets draped over the shower curtain rod and piled in the bathtub, a big stuffed teddy bear crammed into the closet-without-a-door, scribbled notation taped to the wall in front of me so I’d remember exactly what to sing (what line am I singing now?) and I’m holding one headphone a couple of inches away from my ear so I can hear where to come in – but not so much as to be confusing….In the middle of all of this, a daddy longlegs spider appeared in the corner to watch.

Our budget also doesn’t allow for autotune, so it had to be perfect.

When I heard the final product, I cried with joy and relief.  I’d feared I’d never be able to do this again, yet there it was, beautiful harmonies and all.

One of the first people to hear the final product was our friend Danny, who plays keyboards and sings backup in a world-touring zydeco band.  Danny knows of my hearing loss, and also understands what’s necessary in overdubbing harmony lines.  How did you do that with just one ear?  he asked.  That’s a miracle.

God stepped in to fill in the blanks inside of my head and ears.  A next-to-nothing budget, Joshua’s considerable production skills and a whole lot of Divine assistance gave us a CD we could be proud of, that we could offer to those who heard our Women at the Well program and wanted to revisit the music again and again.

God fills in the empty spaces wherever we allow God to do so.  My hearing loss makes me realize that if I’m going to keep doing what I love, I need God to fill in those empty spaces.

This morning I was fixing my tea and thinking about Margaret’s comment, our “heavenly choir” and how God fills things out for us.  My eyes fell on a mail order catalog that my husband had left open on the kitchen table.  There was a teeshirt that simply said:

God greater than

God is greater than. Can I get an AMEN? God is greater than anything and will fill in the blank spaces when we allow it.

To learn more about the Women at the Well program, visit www.women-at-the-well.com. For information about the Living Water CD, visit www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbontherock The CD page has the latest recordings.

Plants & Prayers

It’s been an upside down couple of months.

You see, someone very close to me has been diagnosed with several coronary arterial blockages (with one being of particular concern).  Wanting to avoid coronary bypass surgery if at all possible, the question was asked “do I have any other options?”

Surprisingly, the response was a (very guarded) “well…yes.  There is a dietary option.  It’s not easy, but it has been shown to have dramatic results.”

After much research and prayer, my “impatient patient” opted for the dietary change.  For someone living in south Louisiana who is used to cooking with (and eating) meat, seafood, dairy, nuts and oils, a sudden transition to a totally plant-based diet required a very steep learning curve for everyone involved.

So I dug into my vegetarian past, started studying more current research and food availability, and fired up the crock pot and the pressure cooker. I won’t go into the emotional rollercoaster part of all of this; that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

We’re used to “dietary changes” taking a long time to show results, and we always wonder if they’re doing any good because there’s a lot of seemingly conflicting information out there when it comes to diets and nutrition. When I worked in the oncology field, I saw patients changing their diets in many ways, hoping that eating more fresh foods would tip the scales in the favor of health. Anyone who has struggled with weight issues knows that it takes time to see the results of a dietary change. That kind of slow, invisible and unknown progress is what we all expect.

Imagine our shock when our Impatient Patient, under doctor’s supervision, discontinued all medication for high blood pressure because the IP’s blood pressure was, for the first time in decades (did you hear that? DECADES), controlled without medication. This happened within a month.  In fact, within a week, the blood pressure stabilization had begun.

Let me pause in my narrative to say that I’ve always been a bit skeptical of “fad diets.”  There’s always a new diet (usually with a book and guru attached) that’s touted as being a cure-all. I’ve always felt that a sensible, balanced diet was the way to go.  That, and regular exercise, have served me well for several decades. It takes a lot for me to say “wow, this diet is life-changing.”  In fact, I’ve never, EVER said that, until now – because I’ve never seen it happen until now.
mango mandarin slaw
So, my latest creative output has been in the kitchen.  Luckily, I love to cook, and would have stayed vegetarian had I not married Mr. Meat-and-Potatoes years ago.  My goal was to make this nutrition plan NOT an “I’ll never be able to eat ____ again,” but rather “ohhhh, this is DELICIOUS!!”

Trial and error, experimentation, and some great guidebooks and cookbooks have paved the way. I also happen to love whole grains, and I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t like (with the possible exception of beets).  I’ve discovered that there are even people I know who are following this plan as well, and we’ve shared ideas and resources.  Mr. Meat-and-Potatoes has even started enjoying a plant-based diet – and he LIKES it!

If you want to learn more about Dr. Caswell Esselstyn’s plan for reversing heart disease, check out his book Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease.  Other resources include Dr. Colin Campbell’s The China Study.  There are more resources out there – I’ll include more in this space over time.

The power of plants and prayer is what is getting us all through.  I’m amazed that in spite of the extra time spent on grocery shopping (label reading!) and cooking, I have more energy.  Right now I’m about to sit down to mango-mandarin slaw, take some whole grain bread out of the oven, and enjoy lunch!

Mango Mandarin Slaw

1/2 – 1 mango, cubed

2 oranges, peeled and diced

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

juice of 1 lime

about 1 tablespoon pineapple/orange juice concentrate (or substitute orange juice)

1 tablespoon of honey or agave syrup

Mix the above together, then pour over:

cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots, 1 bag)

Toss, and enjoy.  I served over baby spinach with some ground flax and chia seed.

Faith…and Prayers for Lafayette and all of Acadiana

One week ago, a madman opened fire in a theater in Lafayette, La., killing 2 people and injuring others before killing himself. I don’t often use hashtags, but #AcadianaStrong #LafayetteStrong and #PrayforLafayette strikes home because yes, this is home, and people and families from throughout the Acadiana area were deeply affected.  I’ve been to that theater, and have brought my children there over the years as well. AcaianaStrong

The day before the shooting, my daughter and I shared latte and conversation at Johnston Street Java, a coffee shop in the parking lot of the Grand.  I (and everyone I know) share connections to those shot, and we are all shell-shocked, grieving, and wondering why. Reasoning and political posturing (which isn’t always reasonable) fly in the aftermath.  I would like to think we all agree that we want a peaceful society. 

Sometimes, though, I wonder. Do we really, really want a peaceful society?  If the answer is yes, then why do we worship violence through our choices of entertainment? Consider the changes in Hollywood over the past several decades.  Violence is invited into homes on a daily basis, and not just through the news.  Millions flock to movie theaters, and Hollywood glorifies violence in ever-increasing graphic, sometimes even sadistic, detail.  Many video games encourage participation in bloodlust.  Numerous actors, directors and others who make their living (often a very, very good living) in the movie industry call for gun control, but then don’t live their convictions. hollywood gun glory

If you want to make a difference, please start by setting an example.  As for the rest of us, we don’t have to patronize movies or other media that glamorize violence.  If enough people feel that way, profits for such media will shrink, and its presence will diminish.

Another point to ponder:  If we really want a peaceful society, then why are we becoming more and more of a secular one, afraid to touch anything that might bear the hint of religion or spirituality? We are, still, a nation of laws, and there are basic laws of God and nature that must be upheld.  Thou shalt not commit murder.  Thou shalt not steal.  The strengths of these truths are watered down by a constant barrage of violent images and messages coming at us on television, in movies, games, music, online, etc.

I don’t think there’s any single or simple answer to this violence.  Humans are flawed, and some choose evil.  Those who would commit evil can find a way to do so regardless of whatever laws there are to prevent them.  Evil can use anything as a weapon, be it a gun, homemade bomb, club, car or airplane. The rage of a madman exploded in an act of violence that took the lives of two shining, vibrant young women and rocked the souls of an entire region. Prayers4Lafayette

But I know that there’s something in this region, in our Louisiana culture that comes through in every disaster we face. It may not be unique in the world, but it’s more important today than ever before: Faith.  Over 250 years ago, the Acadians were forcibly removed without warning from their homes in Nova Scotia. Families were separated, all property and land was taken, and the Acadian people were literally shipped across sea and land. Many were removed and displaced several times over decades before finally finding a place to settle. LoveLaf In most cases, they could bring nothing with them – except their faith.  No Crown, no government, no soldiers or guns or threats or ships could strip that away, and they clung fiercely to God and to each other. Generations later, we still turn first to God in times of need, regardless of religious denomination. Our ancestors learned that no one can take faith away from you.  It may be shaken, it may be temporarily misplaced, but no one can take it away.  Not hurricanes, not economic disasters, not oil spills.

Not even a madman.

As the eyes across the nation and beyond focus on Lafayette and all of Acadiana, I hope they can see and sense our prayers, our faith, our trust in God. Tonight there is a concert and gathering in Lafayette for strength, prayer, hope, music and togetherness.  For every person in attendance, there will be countless more who cannot be there physically but are present in prayer and spirit. And yes, we feel, and deeply and humbly appreciate, the prayers from around the world.

I think of the song Let There Be Peace on Earth.  We all want peace on earth, as impossible as it may seem at times.  The lyrics “…let it begin with me” resonate with more truth than ever, for where else can peace begin but with the individual? The response of Emanuel Church in Charleston give us a beautiful example of this. As we all wonder why, and what can I do, the answers come back to those answers known for generations, entwined in our DNA. Keep faith, pray, and know that the first step in achieving peace on earth lies with each one of us.

Thank it forward.

A friend asked me today how I can make a prayer shawl and not be too concerned about whether or not I ever receive feedback from the recipient.  Her question made me think.

There’s a certain amount of detachment, once the shawl is finished and given.  But there cannot be detachment during the making.  Be a channel, I thought.  All creativity comes from God, I’m just the hands that make the shawl and the human being that prays, however imperfectly, for the recipient.  Couple that with a thick-skinned attitude gained from years of performing with a blues band, and I suppose you have a working definition of being detached from the responses to your creative offerings.  (“You’re awesome!” “You suck!” all in the course of an evening, and maybe it’s alcohol talking. Then again, maybe I am awesome! Um, and maybe I do really suck.)

thistookforever Maybe one of these cool labels from www.sublimestitching.com would be a hint!

When it comes to our creative gifts, we can’t be completely detached, and I find myself mulling over the question this afternoon as I sweep floors and do laundry.  God has such a sense of humor.

I cannot detach as I make a shawl for someone who is in pain.  Right now I’m  working on one for a woman who suddenly lost her 28 year old daughter.  She is struggling with a pain and loss that I cannot understand, and yet I grieve and pray with her in spirit, and those prayers are woven into stitches.  I cannot detach from songs I love to sing, and especially cannot detach from sacred music. What gives me courage to sing is to remind myself that I am doing the best I can with what I am given, and the rest is up to God.

I believe it’s that way with any creative endeavor, and especially with those where there is a recipient involved.  So much of it is up to God, to the Divine Creative. Whether writing, cooking, making a shawl, making music, building or crafting something of wood…we pour an extra measure of love and heart into it. We share our soul with the recipient, whether we know them or not. We are open and vulnerable as we create, but must have a bit of a thick skin when it comes to the reception of our work – a thick skin or a constant reminding that it’s all from God.  It’s a crazy balancing act, and one that I’ve never quite gotten the hang of, either.

Sometimes I love to give anonymously because I know I’m NOT going to be thanked. I can remain unknown, and imagine someone else’s surprise.  No one feels obligated to reciprocate, say thank you, or anything. I love to think that I made a difference, even if a tiny one. When something is given anonymously, thanks can be given to God, and the recipient will “pay it forward” sometimes.  That starts such a ripple of blessings, and it’s good for me in that I cannot expect thanks.  I find that I feel blessed, and that’s thanks enough.

over the teche 2 Sometimes I do get attached to shawls.

And yeah, sometimes I want to hear “thank you.” Hey, I’m human, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting some sort of thanks or an occasional accolade.  I guess the question is, do we want to be thanked, or do we need to be thanked?  It would be pretty cold to not care at all.

We take thanks where we get them,  knowing that for everyone who says “thank you,” there are others who cannot do so. Sometimes there are no words; sometimes there is no opportunity.  To find myself wanting thanks is also a lesson that I can be grateful for.  If thanks doesn’t come, well, that’s not about me or my gift.  We can only be the channel, the conduit, for something that must be expressed, made, created, given.  Once the shawl is given, once the song is sung, once the meal is served – it’s out of our hands. Our humanness may be saddened (and that’s OK), when our efforts aren’t acknowledged. I can still be thankful that I have gifts and abilities to share. We can only learn from that twinge of “gee, did they like it?” and then let it go.  Let it leave our hands as did the shawl, knowing that the prayer and the spirit will continue to lift us – and who knows who else.

An Epiphany at Pentecost

I had an Epiphany on Pentecost.

My “ah-ha!” moment occurred during Fr. Matt’s sermon.  Now, I’ve heard many sermons on Pentecost.  They’ve all focused on things like the birth of the Church, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the empowerment of the disciples and the like.

But Fr. Matt pointed out something I’d never considered before: Pentecost happened during a meeting.  

meeting-808754_1280 image from geralt on pixabay.com

Well, I about fell out of the loft chuckling.  A meeting! Known to so many of us as that great interrupter-of-productivity, that drainer-of-energy, that breaker-of-plans.  There’s not a soul on the planet who hasn’t, at one time or another, prayed for an excuse to avoid sitting in a meeting. Aw, shucks, I’ll have to miss the meeting, I have to bathe my cat / have a root canal / go to my niece’s dance recital.

It wasn’t just the meeting idea, though, that brought about my Epiphany.  It was the realization that yes, there IS power in group intention, and I’m seeing it coming out of the spiritual closet after hiding out for a while.

The apostles had been sequestered for some days after Jesus’ ascension, wondering what the heck was going to happen next.  They’d already seen incredible miracles.  But…what next?  They were hanging out in the upper room, praying, talking, eating, and yes, meeting.

mosaic-409427_1280 photo from music4life on pixabay.com

Paul, in Acts, tells us of the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  Call it a Hollywood moment or not, but clearly something happened.  Whether it was an arrival of God in the Holy Spirit, or whether it was an awakening of God / Spirit within is something I’ll leave up to theologians to quibble over.  But something stirred, woke up, brought, quickened, sparked SPIRIT inside of everyone there.

And I wonder what their shared intention had to do with it.  They were there, in community, together, all focused on receiving whatever direction they were to receive.  They were focused on surrender, to following whatever the path was.  I don’t doubt they were frightened and probably quite clueless.

What next?  And then, something happened.  Whether you call that something the Holy Ghost, Spirit, or whatever – something Divine that was greater than any one of them brought them all together in shared intention and empowered them.

Acts tells us that they went out among the people that very day, preaching and baptizing thousands.  Was it their shared experience – their meeting – that enabled them to lean upon each other spiritually, enhance the spiritual strength of the whole, and thereby be in a position to receive this incredible gift?

One way or another, consciousness rises.  Sooner or later, humanity realizes that God is indeed in each of us.  When we read the story of Pentecost, we should remember that this is what the story is about; that relying on Spirit – God – within ourselves gives us strength to do that which we would not otherwise do.  Joining with others to focus intention, prayer and awareness raises this consciousness as a whole.  I believe this is a path for humanity that we need to follow.  We are a wonderful collection of unique, individual souls with a glorious diversity of gifts and personalities.  At our core, we are all expressing God, for we are all made in the image and likeness of God from the very being of God.

The color of Pentecost is red.  This is the same color as the root chakra in Hindu and yogic traditions .  (If you’re not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers in the subtle body; a quick internet search will give you an overview.)  Each chakra is important.  The root chakra is one of energy and empowerment, and well suited to Pentecost.  For without the energy, empowerment, and passion of the Spirit that was awakened during that Pentecost meeting, the story of Jesus would never had made it out of the upper room.