When I was in India several years ago, I noticed that belief in miracles was commonplace. There was an attitude of wide acceptance and even expectation of the occurrence of miracles. Miracles were marketed much the way we might advertise autos or hi-fashion. Unlike our culture where eyebrows are often raised at the prospect, the east seems to accept the miraculous as an everyday part of life.
We in the west have much “over” the eastern culture as far as material comforts, but I can't help but envy a bit their inculcated belief in miracles.
Isn't it interesting that most Christians today have no trouble believing that miracles were frequent during the times of Jesus? But those same individuals view with cynicism or outright denial that such phenomena is possible in todays world. What happened?
First of all, what are miracles? The American Heritage Dictionary defines them as that which “…appears inexplicable by the laws of nature … supernatural in origin or an act of God …(and) excites admiring awe”. In addition, I've found miracles to be a manifestation of Divine intervention. I've also come to see that what we call “problems” often pave the way to miracles! It seems that it's often the painful events in our life which serve as avenues for the phenomenal to take place. Perhaps the only way some of us can expand into our fuller selves is when trouble shakes us out of our ruts enough for the exceptional to occur.
A Course In Miracles says, “miracles are a natural expression of love. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong”. It goes on to say that they are everyone's right …”Love is expressed through miracles”. Love generates miracles, as well. When we learn to engender love, wonders naturally follow.
I myself, am a firm believer in miracles. I've trained myself to see them everyday. I've come to understand miracles as everyday occurrences waiting only for my acknowledgment. If we only count as miracles those of “burning bush” proportions, then we miss out on the marvels that surround us. Just because something happens often doesn't make it any less a wonder! Take, as example, the sprouting forth of that tiny flower you planted or the birth of a kitten. It seems that we take for granted the awe of life about us. In other words we ignore the daily marvels. Life becomes ordinary and mundane. Depression can result.
Synchronicity is one type of miracle. Having the very person you needed to see show up at the right moment is more than coincidence. How many times have you been thinking of a friend you haven't seen in awhile only to answer the phone and find their voice on the other end? Very often, synchronicities serve to indicate that we're on track in our lives. It's as if the Universe sends us little blessings by way of synchronistic events in order to support us along our way. I'm reminded of a recent example in my own life. Having that morning decided I was ready to add a kitten to our pet family, my significant other and I went bike riding. We stopped by a fresh puddle in front of a little farm house in order to allow our dog, Shiloh to drink. A lady came out on the porch of the house to greet us. We were chatting amicably, when I noticed a cat behind her. Following my instincts, I inquired if she had kittens. She immediately lit up. “Why yes, do you want one?” And that's how life gifted us with Kitty Black Jack! There are no accidents or coincidences, only small, often practical miracles.
It is possible to cultivate a life where wonders abound. First we must acknowledge that anything alive is made up of the miraculous! Other preparation is necessary, however, before we can begin to recognize and call forth personal miracles. For instance, in order to invoke the miraculous into our life we must cultivate an attitude of gratitude. We begin to practice seeing with appreciation even tribulations in our life. By fostering a grateful mind-set, based on the understanding that even hardship comes bearing gifts we open ourselves to the miraculous. This intentional mental state is one, which in time, overflows the heart to allow a softening into abundance. Gratitude conquers fear and creates love. Thankfulness is the essential component of the energy we call love.
In order to give up fear we must also learn how to ally with our Death! Dying is our most essential fear. Until we can begin to accept the concept of dissolution we will have difficulty relishing life. Birth and Death are aspects of the same cycle, inseparable from each other. Where there is one, you will inevitably find the other. The physical body is merely the final of many “deaths” through which we are required to go. Mini demises occur each minute of the day for every one of us – through the breath. Now there's a true miracle! Nothing is alive that doesn't breath. And yet, if we study it, we see that each breath includes both an inspiration(to bring life into/birth) and an expiration (to release/expire/die). Therefore, breathing itself is a microcosmic example of the birth-death process. We breathe life in and then let it go with every breath we take. That is, unless you're like some clients I've observed who take a deep breath and hold it. Their out breath is imperceptible. This is not an uncommon way to breathe in a culture where we are afraid to let go of anything, even our breath! Could this be an example of the fear of dying? The unconscious mind seems to say, “Breathe in life and hold on for all you're worth … don't relinquish it, you may die!” (It might be of interest to note that the clients with whom I've observed this phenomena are usually survivors of some life threatening situation such as physical or sexual abuse, early childhood illness or exceptional birth trauma.)
Anxiety is the genesis of control. All need for domination comes from fear. The more we struggle for control the greater our internal apprehension.
Just as breathing demonstrates the birth/death cycle, every act of creation includes some kind of dissolution or demise. Go ahead, think about it a minute. If you want to build a new house, what has to happen? Doesn't the ground have to be cleared? All the vegetation and trees have to be sacrificed before the foundation can be laid. If you start a new business, don't you have to leave the old job behind, ie “die” to it, before the other can take place? Death and Birth are both names for the doorway into transition. A child dies to the womb in order to be born into the world. Every time we move to a new place, or make any kind of change, there is something that must be left behind or sacrificed. Birth/death … death/birth, it is the cycle of life … simply the way it is.
What does the birth/death cycle have to do with miracles, you ask? Surrender, let-go, death-by-whatever-name, clears the way for acts of divinity. Relinquishment is required before something wondrous can happen. We must become unclenched before there is space enough for the extraordinary to take place. Learning how to let-go is a basic ingredient for cultivating ground for the supernatural. Nothing outside the expected can happen as long as I'm trying to control outcomes in my life. Control means holding on, holding back, or closing down around something. It narrows the scope of possibilities, making it very difficult for the supernatural to work in one's life.
Physical tension is but another form of anxiety based control. What is tension, if not resistance? And resistance is another word for fear. When we clench the body, we obstruct “flow”. Flow is that which carries Divine Order … “Thy Will(not mine)be done”. From Source, miracles come. Fear is the antithesis of awe. Awe is the natural result of surrender.
We are only able to let go into a state of gratitude when we believe there is something greater in charge of the Universe. This means that a basic premise for accepting miracles is a belief in a Universal Plan. Carl Jung was once asked if he believed in God. He replied, “I don't believe, I know!” When we operate out of faith, we find ourselves having a daily spiritual experience with Source, which in turn, strengthens our knowing. One way we get to “know” Source is through acknowledging the wonders around us.
The conscious use of invocation is one way of getting to see the magic of miracles manifest before our very eyes. Invocation is a type of prayer wherein we visualize that which we desire, thereby calling it into our lives. The truth is we invoke unconsciously all the time. Every time we say things like, “I can't do that” or “I'll never have such and such …”, we are, in fact, creating our reality through a fear based invocation. When we realize the power of thought we can begin to call Universal Support into our lives consciously. Take time to notice how many things you “invoke” into your life by the way you talk to yourself. If you are anxiety driven, then you will hear yourself talk very negatively to yourself. Be aware as you do this that you are reinforcing into reality the very things you are negating.
But when we exchange those negative reinforcers with a focus on gratitude, we can begin to transform our lives from that of the mundane into the extraordinary. We can start to live lives full of magic, where dreams come true, manifesting in and through us in wondrous fashion. Our reality becomes a place of heretofore unheard of possibilities through the practice of faith, surrender and gratefulness. The heart opens to love and replaces the constriction once created from fear. Only then can the miraculous become everyday reality.