Meditation

Presence is the essence of all sentient life that surrounds you, and is within you at all times and in all places. 

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Your ability to feel Presence begins when you notice openings in the continual stream of thinking. These are doorways into the timeless. The timeless moment opens out like a flower filling you with its essence, without any need for thinking.

To enter the deeper dimension that is present within you, here, now, requires no mind, no thoughts, just an alert, inner awareness.

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The practice of Meditation means To Be receptive to Life (Kabbalah in Hebrew): as you bring your attention fully into the present moment, you become rooted in the timeless. The mind becomes still. In this stillness, you realise your connection with Creative Presence.

The Bible calls this entering the Kingdom of Heaven – a deepening revelation of potent creativity in the present moment. This takes us beyond belief, and all identification with spiritual philosophies and religious creeds, into the formless One.

You realise the formless, timeless essence as the core of who you are; the core of everyone and everything.

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Every moment spent in Presence creates gaps in the thought streams of the mind, that open out into deeper awareness that permeates through you.

Once you are able to observe the egoic mind, even fleetingly, you notice how it seeks to fill inner space with thoughts and emotionally charged forms or identities, which draw you back into unconsciousness. Although it is a real challenge, your ability to become, and then remain, present, so that you can observe this return to the ordinary mind, is the beginning of the end of their power over you.  

It is important not to fight the ego; this simply strengthens it. Your attention in the present moment, without judgement, dissolves all past thought forms that cause division and depression, and all future imaginings that cause compulsive needs and anxiety.

Planet-earth

Practicing meditation by being still before doing or saying anything brings the spiritual dimension into your daily life. In this clear space, subject and object separation is diminished. Realising you are an integral part of the interconnectivity of all life on Earth and in the Cosmos brings Peace: your body loves this connectivity and is invigorated by it, the senses open out, the incredible depth and fullness of life reveals itself to you. And then you know that Heaven and Earth are One.

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The senses fill to overflowing, 

enlivened in your awakening,

wordless inner knowing,

a trusting,

you are supported by the universe,

and everything connected,

flows in and out of you as Conscious Breath.

 

Entering the Place of Peace – September 2014 Weekend Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.” (From Patterns of Creation.)

Weekend workshop Saturday the 27th and Sunday 28th of September 2014 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop focuses on finding Inner Peace. In Kabbalah Peace is understood as the core of who we are, synonymous with Presence, and the stillness of Being. From inner Peace we realise our intimate connection to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the entire Universe.

Inner Peace, is the end of all of our projections: it equates with true love, which means no enemies and marks the end of all our unconscious destructive behaviour towards the natural world.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with the Place of Peace within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, as we experience these profound spiritual truths for ourselves and move beyond the mind dominated by ego into the stillness and the peace of Presence at the core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts.  His book Patterns of Creation – Axis Mundi Books 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

“This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.”

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

“You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.”

Goodreads Review. 

10.00am Saturday -­‐ 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday £165. Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals. You have the option of arriving on Friday for the evening seminar, The Peace of Wild Things. Join us for both with two nights accommodation for £190

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com

The Breath of Life

Spiritual awakening begins as a seed in space deep within you.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life

To feel this seed awaken within, take a Conscious Breath and become present with all of your attention. Breathing with awareness of the vitality of the body allows the seed to open into spacious Presence.

You are Creative Life.

Creative Life is the space that allows the seed to grow and blossom into a full expression of consciousness. 

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Through bringing all your attention to the Conscious Breath, the mind becomes still – no thought.  

You are the spaciousness within, the aliveness, the vitality that forms and sustains your Soul and body.

In awakening to Conscious Presence you begin to realise the creative dynamic of the Spiritual body, which is without form and has as its core Stillness – I Am – Being. 

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This Icon of the Black Virgin symbolises Nurturing Space, allowing the Seed of Conscious Presence (the Divine child) to grow and blossom within the Soul and body (the boat.)

The creative Spirit – Ruach in Hebrew – means Universal Breath. All thoughts, every form arises and dissolves out of the movement of  the Universal Breath of Life.

As we increase our awareness of the Breath of Life, we allow all thought forms of fear, grief, pain, loneliness and separation to be held in a space of love and compassion, where they are dissolved into the One Consciousness that pervades all of life.

Be Present in the here-now with all your attention – as much as you can give to your awakening in this moment.

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As you Breathe Consciously realise that you are rooted in Being – timeless Presence.

Right now, you are at one with the breath of Elohim – One Consciousness.

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Realise that you are being breathed.

Space and breath are One.

This is beyond all form, beyond anything that the mind can understand as anything.

The Creative Spirit continually conceives new life, allowing all past and future imaginings to dissolve into Presence.

The Cave of Mary Magdalene

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 This post is inspired by my recent visit to the Cave of Mary Magdalene, La Sainte-Baume (“Holy Cave” in Provencal) Provence, France.

The Hebrew name for the Tree of Life is Etz Haim. Etz, translated as Tree also means the Spinal Cord. As a Tree of Life you are rooted in Being; remembering this allows the power of Creation to flow through you as Living Breath.

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The conscious Breath is a doorway to the Eternal Present.
Still the mind and enter your innermost room.

To enter the cave is to be at peace with not knowing.

Without any thought we enter inner silence. 

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Be aware of the spinal cord as the axis of consciousness within your energy field, and breathe with awareness.

Feel the conscious breath massaging the spine allowing you to fully inhabit your inner space – expanding through the six directions.

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Love and creativity continually arise out of consciousness which is beyond the mind. This is the core of who you are, your true Self.

In Hebrew this inner core is called Tipheret: Goodness, beauty and truth; pure consciousness that witnesses the passing of every form into New Life.

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At your core lies your formless timeless Self, a Self that shines without ego: No-mind.
One with the source of all Life.

The sound of every in breath and out breath is the mantra of Ehieh, which in  Hebrew means, I Am – Being.

Listen now, with all of your attention to your breathing, as you take an in breath,     a silent pause, and then an out breath.  

As you breath consciously you bring your attention to the peace of your inner core. This peace is eternally present within you, untroubled by any thoughts arising in the mind. 

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Above the forest in the distance lies La Sainte-Baume (“Holy Cave”, in Provencal) which appears to the mind as an outer place, but which points to the timeless, formless, Self in which all ego dissolves. To look into the Cave with awareness is to see into the core of who you are: Being.

The journey to your centre takes place in the eternal present, each step you take unfolds out of the present moment. 

The journey appears as movement in time-space; Conscious Presence witnesses all movement from a point of Stillness.

Through your practice of the conscious breath, inner and outer, subject and object, are known to be One.

This is the end of all division, all mind-made separation from the Present Moment, Ehieh – I Am.

This is your gift to the World.

 

The Gospel of John.

IMG_1964The Gospel of John was written for you. It is about you: not as a personality or ego identity, but as spiritual consciousness, the vastness of the spiritual body, which is far beyond the understanding of the mind.

Awakening to the presence of the spiritual body can be felt as a pressure for change, which is not often welcomed or understood by the ego. In reality this pressure comes from our inner core, the deepest part of us, that is more natural and real than the world we experience around us through our everyday mind.

The sacred heart or core of life is Love. Unconditional Love or Agape is Consciousness: universal, beyond gender and race and creed, the source of all life. This is to know peace, stillness, profound silence and bliss. The stars in the Cosmos and the cells in the flesh of your body burn with the same Divine light. All is One.

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Mystical awakening is a reality outside space-time as the mind understands it.

The created universe of Spirit is seemingly endless, worlds within worlds where linear time has no relevance. At the core of this realm there is no separation, no inner and outer distinction. This is I Am consciousness – beyond subject and object – At-one-ment with the Divine.

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The World is not what we think it is.

The Earth in all its magnificent beauty is not just a planet spinning around a star in space: it is a vast field of consciousness that washes through us, and yet we are mostly only dimly aware of its surface in our everyday thinking minds.

The Hebrew word for the Earth or World  is Eretz. Through its three Hebrew letters this can be translated as: Absolute consciousness expressing itself through universal containers as the exaltation of life through diversifying forms; conscious intelligence, creativity, enjoyment.

As we learn to Love the magnificence of the Earth we come to realise that it is transparent, revealing a greater reality suffused with the creative energy of Divine Light.

In every moment souls are continually arriving and leaving the physical realm. The flow of consciousness continually emerges out of the timeless present moment, taking form in individual and collective patterns before dissolving back into the formless again. To know this is to realize that everyone and everything is connected.

Star birth cloud - Hubble imagesThis is the breath of life. The breath and to breathe consciously, is so vast and so deep that it fills all of life and is all of life: the movement of creation, the continual flow of creative life unfolding Eternal Presence. This is Logos. (Logos is the Greek term normally translated as Word in The Gospel of John. In reality it is untranslatable.)

The teachings in the Gospel cannot be adequately be expressed in the written word or any one translation. They remain primarily oral (spoken). This is because living teachings emerge out of the present moment. Or we could say that the teaching continually emerges out of Presence.

Two Day Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.”

Weekend workshop Saturday the 2nd and Sunday 3rd of November 2013 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop takes you into the depth and beauty of the mystical teachings of Kabbalah, which tell us that we are intimately connected to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the vastness of the Cosmos.

“You are a tree of life, connected to all that is unfolding in the natural world, the solar system, and stars. You have within you the light of consciousness that continually gives birth to, and sustains, the created universe.” (From Patterns of Creation)

The workshop will help you to experience these profound spiritual truths for yourself, going beyond the everyday mind, which is dominated by the ego, into the stillness and peace of Presence at your core.

The creative intelligence of life is far greater than the everyday mind can conceive: it is the formless essence out of which all life forms emerge, and into which they dissolve, to be reborn as new life.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with that creative source of life within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, and the realization that we are part of the great community of life on Earth, and intimately connected to the life sustaining the vast Cosmos.

Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm with an evening session. Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts.  His book Patterns of Creation – Axis Mundi Books 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.

Goodreads Review.

 

Cost of the workshop: £165.00

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

If you wish to arrive at the Abbey and stay on the Friday evening there is a small supplement. Enquire on booking. 

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com

Etz Haim – The Tree of Life

The vast Cosmos is a manifestation of the Tree of Life – every galaxy an emerging blossom on one of the great boughs of this single Tree.

hubble telescope image 0f near and distant galaxies.

The pulse of creative life breathes the Cosmos into existence. This is taking place within you now, as you read these words.

In the Creation story of Genesis the Tree of Life, Etz Haim in Hebrew, stands in the midst of the Garden of Eden – the universe of diversifying forms. Eden is not a place, but a state of higher awareness. The Tree of Life is the stillness out of which the continual creativity of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil emerges. In Hebrew, the words translated as good and evil mean the movement to buildup and breakdown formless creative patterns and their emerging forms.

The garden of Eden symbolises the beauty of divergent forms and their manifestation as the continually emerging Cosmos and natural world.

DSCF0883The movement of creative patterns continually unfold out of the formless and dissolve back into the formless.

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You are a Tree of Life: the still centre out of which the creative movement of life continually emerges.

The four worlds as described in the Book of Genesis:

Tree of Life, eternal Being – Stillness.

Tree of Knowledge of good and evil – the formless universe of primal movements, the creative impulse of Life.

Eden – the universe of luxuriant, diversifying forms, giving life to the Cosmos,

the foundation of what we experience as the physical universe.

Dawn on the Sea of Galilee.

The Sun appears over the Jordanian hills illuminating the Sea of Galilee. Can you be aware of this as an inner reality?

Being is the essence of all creative life which is a continual movement out of stillness: this movement continually creates and sustains all forms of life out of the eternal present moment. Take a conscious breath, and feel the inner stillness out of which each breath emerges.

Mary Magdalene as the receptive vessel - Grail

In this image of the sun setting over the Breton coast the form of the Grail appears – the cup of light. The sun is both receiving and giving simultaneously in the eternal present moment

All life is continually emerging and dissolving out of nothing that we can say is anything: all sub-atomic particles are continually appearing and disappearing into and out of the formless womb of creative space, which ceaselessly nourishes physical matter.

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Geometric Tree of Life – from the Madīnat az-Zahrā, Cordoba, Spain. 10th Century.

Every flower and insect, every bird, and all the creatures that live upon the land and swim within the rivers and seas, are part of the Great Tree of Life.

You are connected to the whole of life. Whatever happens to the myriad  forms of life in the world around you, has a direct affect on you.  

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Menorah – depiction of the Tree of Life

The Tree of Life and Torah:

The Torah, or the laws given to Moses, are not a set of rules governing human behaviour. Torah is the teaching on life’s creative patterns, which tells us that everything is alive, and that we are intimately connected to the whole of life.

Torah signifies the laws which give space and movement to the whole of life.

The Tree of Life

The image of the geometric Tree of Life emerged out of the relationship between Greek and Jewish Cultures. From the Book Patterns of Creation.

It was often said by the mystics and prophets of the tradition that the Torah is oral; it can only be taught by word of mouth. And that it was only permitted to be written down if it was in danger of being forgotten.

Why was this warning given to us? Because the Law is not, and can never be, fixed or contained by either the mind or the written word.

The Laws which govern Life are continually transforming with the unfolding of creation into the form and matter from which they are inseparable. We cannot say “here they are, we have defined them in a book.” Or “there they are, we hold all the answers to life’s problems and mysteries.”

When we truly awaken to the realization that all life is One; feel it in our breath and blood, in the cells of our flesh and bones, taking each step of the way with awareness of Being, then all our life negating, behavior will cease.

Through conscious presence the Torah lives in you as the abundance of the Tree of Life. Take a conscious breath, breathe with awareness. 

The Laws of Life give us insight into the continuing story of the emergence of existence. If we can live from the place of unknowing deep within, we allow ourselves To Be. From the place of unknowing, at your very core, know that you are supported by Eternal Presence as you move within the continual creative flow of the universe – Genesis of the great river of life.DSCF0017 copy

Agape – Universal Love

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The sound of the breath resonating from a gray whale mother as she surfaces with her calf in the San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California. Agape – Universal Love wells up from deep within us, beyond all our transient and changeable feelings. It is  Love for all life within the great community of the Earth.

Agape – Universal Love, is synonymous with spiritual awakening, or consciousness becoming aware of itself, in the deepening of connection with life in all its forms. When we are intensely present we are given the opportunity to meet in communion with Life in all its diversity and realise that all this magnificent beauty comes from the One – Logos. To practice Agape in our daily lives is to join in communion with the whole of created existence.

Earth - NASA images

When we make our idea of Love small,
we make ourselves small.
Agape – Universal Love is to take responsibility for our place within the Earth Community. Love is the continual creative outpouring through every living thing – every creature,
each moment of every day.

This is the inner meaning of Receiving Logos. 

Agape is beyond what the ego thinks of as love. The transient nature of the unconscious mind separates life into subject and object and seeks to find completeness outside of itself through clinging to ephemeral forms, which it seeks to possess as ego identities. These phantoms can arise as images of love in our relationships which turn all too quickly into their opposites. These same phantom thought forms also cause us to associate love with the accumulation of money, power and possessions as wealth. This causes a disconnection with the natural world: our fellow creatures become mere commodities for us to exploit and destroy, rather than being realised as the manifestation of Divine Love, the true wealth out of which we ourselves emerge.

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White Rhino and her calf. Heavy poaching means that these animals may soon be extinct in their diminishing habitats in Africa. Other endangered species in Africa now include the Elephant and the Lion. When these creatures vanish from the landscape, a whole ecological web of life goes with them. From the human perspective we are not just destroying our children’s inheritance, we are also committing mass suicide.

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Agape – Love, is Universal Creative Power.

For if I speak with the inspired language of the Human Spirit (Anthropos) and the voices of Angels (the Patterns of Creation) but have not Agape (Unconditional/universal Love), then I become like the roaring echo of an empty vessel, the clamouring of restless and raging passions. And though I have inspired prophecies and insights into the mysteries, and all gnosis (spiritual knowledge), and such faith that I could remove mountains, and have not Agape, I am nothing. 

And if I give away all my possessions to the poor, and give the vitality of my body to burn as a shining light showing the way, but have not Agape in me, I gain nothing.  

Agape stays constant, is patient and kind; Agape does not envy or hate – knows no anger; Agape does not boast, and has no pride; it is not coarse or rude, does not insist upon its own way: is not irritable or easily provoked; it is not resentful, injurious or destructive. It does not rejoice at finding wrong but rejoices at goodness, beauty and truth; it bears all these things, believes all these things, endures all these things. 

What we can know is only ever partial, our prophetic visions are only ever partial, but when that which is perfect comes (the peace of completion/Oneness with the continual creative outpouring,) the imperfect will pass away.   1 Cor 13:1-10 (My translation)

Dawn on the Sea of Galilee.

Dawn on the Sea of Galilee.

The source of Agape is stillness and silence; the Peace of Presence.

Out of silent Presence, comes the continual outpouring of birdsong and the waters lapping on the shore.

The movement in sound, vision and texture of countless living forms.

The music of the planets, the Glory of the Sun and the other Stars.

IMG_1122Listening is an art: in order to listen, become still and silent inside. If you think you are listening, you are not truly listening, there is mental noise covering the silence: inner silence is no thought.

Be still; take a conscious breath and enter Agape  from there.

Unless we can embrace the magnificence, elegance and beauty of nature, the Earth, the Sun and the other Stars, realising our deep connectivity, we cannot comprehend the depths of Agape.

DSCF0836 copyAgape is not limited to human relationship, or to God loving humanity, as if we humans were some kind of separate and special entity from the vast, all embracing creative power of the Cosmos, that continually manifestes the living Earth.

Galaxy

Every Galaxy is a living manifestation of the continual Creative outpouring of Elohim. Our Earth and all its life forms are part of one such glorious manifestation.

Universal and unconditional Love means that we awaken to the whole web of life, and begin to co-create with God, with the totality of the universe, rather than our current path of destroying life.

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Before and after images of tar sands mining in Alberta. From http://www.consciouslifestylesradioblog.com

To destroy the web of life on Earth is the greatest evil we can do, no matter how hard we try and justify our actions.

sunrise-earthTo practice Agape is to work with the voices of angels and archangels in manifesting the web of life in co-creation with Elohim. In Hebrew, Elohim means Absolute life, Being of Beings – the source of all created Life.

Any human that lives in Agape – Universal Love becomes a human – Being: we no longer separate the Presence of Elohim from the Cosmos and the Natural world, which are the physical manifestation of the Creative Spirit of Elohim. When we  consciously choose to awaken spiritually we are at-one with Elohim in the vast creative outpouring into the Cosmos and Nature. This is the gift you can bring to the community of the Earth.

 

Meditation on the Conscious Breath

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Consciousness — the light of the Logos — expresses itself through the diversity of life; this is the beauty of creation  that gives you everything you need, and that is always present and accessible.

Breathe consciously and realize that you are intimately connected to the abundant creative flow of life that manifests the Cosmos. All that the ego seeks to possess is an illusion, which is a primary cause of all suffering. When we release ourselves from the needs and fears of the ego we become free; free To Be with life, allowing it to support us, becoming One with its creative outpouring. This is the very essence of the teachings in John’s Gospel.   

Focus on the breath for a few moments. Be aware of your spinal cord as the axis that unites the physical and spiritual worlds. Focus all your attention on the energy that manifests and sustains your body. Do not let the mind distract you by attaching judgments or identifying with what you see, hear, or feel. Feel this vital energy as a sphere that is expanding about you from your center. Feel it flowing into every part of your body, and connecting you to all that is perceived as external.

Now, become aware of the space that surrounds the energy — within and about you; be aware of the silence containing all sound, and the ever-present stillness out of which all movement occurs. At your very core, is the center of consciousness connecting you to the whole of life; continually manifesting in the Earth, the Solar system, the galaxy and the Cosmos.

All that is perceived as external is present within you; it is timeless, it is here, now.

 

Triple circles tree 1

Geometric Drawing of the Tree of Life. From Patterns of Creation
by Stephen Pope

This meditation is from the Book “Patterns of Creation. Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John” Stephen Pope Axis Mundi Books 2012 Available from Amazon.com 

The Light of the Cosmos

The light of the Sun seen piercing through clouds in the beautiful Connemara national park, Eire. The light shimmers off the surface

John 8:12 Jesus spoke anew to them saying; “I exist as presence – Being –  the spiritual light of the Cosmos. Whoever walks in presence step for step (through conscious living) shall not walk through life in spiritual darkness (the unconsciousness of ignorance) but will hold (within them) the spiritual light of all life – the living breath.” (My translation)

Pilgrims climbing Cruach Phádraig (Croagh Patrick), Co Mayo, Eire on St Patrick’s Day.

The Peak of Cruach Phádraig shrouded in cloud. Climbing the mountain symbolises the ascension in consciousness into the Presence of God.

In the Gospels conscious living is symbolised by light. This means to be as fully present to life as you can be. This can also be called Love, for Love is consciousness, it is universal. As we awaken we fluctuate between ego love which fears rejection, feels hurt, seeks revenge and hates – and Universal Love that has no opposite – no fear. This is how we learn the difference between the Love – Light of conscious presence – that Jesus speaks of, and the love of the ego.

The Sharpness of light from the winter Solstice Sun on Ballybunion strand, Co Kerry, Eire.

Newgrange Neolithic site dating from around 3200 BCE, Co Meath, Eire. It is aligned with the rising sun, which floods the interior stone chamber with light at dawn on the winter solstice. The inner passageway and end chamber is set out in the shape of a classical Celtic Cross, also depicting the six directions of space.

Newgrange Neolithic site dating from around 3200 BCE, Co Meath, Eire. It is aligned with the rising sun, which floods the interior stone chamber with light at dawn on the winter solstice. The inner passageway and end chamber is set out in the shape of a classical Celtic Cross, also depicting the six directions of space.

The Hill of Tara represents the sacred centre of Ireland and the six directions of Space that radiate from it. Seen here on a summer’s day, with the land shrouded in cloud, mist and rain.

The centre of the great circle of Life exists at the core of every human being, whether we are aware of it or not.  The presence of God that we seek is already within us and cannot be hidden. If you would only become still and silent you would feel God’s Presence now, opening your heart.