I typically pray with my hands open wide in a stance of receptivity to God and the energy of the universe. If only that were the only thing needed to receive the messages, nudges, assurance, creativity and peace of the Divine.
(For the full audio version of this sermon click here.)
Last Wednesday I wanted to start writing this sermon, but I couldn’t even start because I could not shake the negative place I was in. It was the middle of a long week with stuff to do every night and not much down time. I was tired, I was whiny, I was grumpy and I felt like I just couldn’t help it. Not only was I not shaking the negativity, I kept harping on it in my mind. Do you ever get that way? You get in a bad mood, or something makes you angry, or you are easily irritated, and the feeling just won’t go away?
Anyway, I took myself out for a walk and had a little come to Jesus meeting with myself. “Ok, listen up Kaye,” I said to myself, “isn’t it interesting that you are trying to preach on being receptive to God and here you are stuck in your own s*&% and unable to be receptive? Why can’t you let it go? Why don’t you want to?” My inner self had no answer. She was listening, but she was pouting. I had no good reason to hang on to my grumpiness, so I decided to defy my inner pouty girl and start trying to let go.
After surreptitiously looking around the walking path to see if there was anyone was around (yes, I still struggle with vanity) I spread my arms out, palms and fingers splayed open to receive the cleansing breath of the spirit. It was a beautiful windy day and I envisioned the wind blowing through me and taking away the negativity bit by bit. Slowly, my body felt lighter. The heaviness of the negativity was replaced with a clarity and peace. Coming upon a bench, I sat for a little bit, closing my eyes and extending my walking meditation by opening my hands and continuing to feel my bad attitude drain from me. Honestly, it sounds a little corny, but it worked.
For the Children’s Time on Sunday morning I brought a glass jar with a lime inside. I explained that when people wanted to trap monkeys they stake a jar to the ground with a piece of fruit in it that just fits through the opening of the jar. When a monkey sticks its hand in to get the fruit out, its fist and the fruit won’t fit together through the opening. But the monkey is so determined that it needs that fruit to survive that even in the face of being captured, it will not let go of the fruit until the last second. By then it is too late. I was behaving just like the monkey with my fist tight around my own negativity. Sometimes we all close our fists desperately around things in our lives. We refuse to let go of illusions, expectations, negativity, baggage, anger, guilt, grief… the list goes on. And refusing to let go keeps us stuck in one place and, metaphorically, makes it impossible for us to open our hands to receive anything new. We deny ourselves our freedom to live and grow.
Being receptive to the Divine is more than opening one’s hands in prayer, it is about living life with a stance of openness, with a stance of receptivity. To begin to do this we need to be aware of whatever is in us that might be blocking us from truly connecting with God. Silence, meditation, journaling, music, prayer, walking, yoga (sometimes therapy is necessary) are all things that can help us release the things we don’t want to carry anymore and help us to open our hands. The choice is ours.
Love & Light,