Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Entering the Stream

I read my friend Corinne's post this morning and she started off by saying that she was choosing to simply write freely for that day's post on her blog. To simply just write what came to her mind. I thought of how it is quite a liberating process to write in a stream-of- consciousness style, though sometimes what comes out oftentimes I choose to keep "in" for one reason or another.

Unless some spontaneous poem rises up in my consciousness, like yesterday's post, I usually take some time in developing a post. Sometimes the idea might come easily enough but it is usually my desire to find references, quotes and passages, to help support some of my thoughts and conclusions. This takes some time and more than naught I eventually am led  to abandon my pursuits to the more mundane things of life that tend to get in the way. After all, there are dishes to wash, floors to clean, skirmishes between my children to help break up and reconcile. Very often almost as soon as I get my books out, turn on my music, and begin to write, the door bursts open with one of my offspring either expressing some joy about a discovery needing to be shared or some angst over a conflict that needs my intervention to be resolved.

But this morning, as I write sitting in my bed with my lap top before me, my husband snoring beside me, my children are playing quietly in the other room. I know every minute counts, so I will just write and see what happens. I suppose I will share some of my morning with everyone. I don't write a lot about my personal life beyond my ideas regarding philosophic and religious ideas, so this will be a bit of a change of pace. A glimpse inside our tiny house on a Sunday morning in small  New England town.

The day began quite nice as my son crept into our bed very early in the morning as he has gotten into the habit of doing. I don't mind that much except it has broken up my morning routine of meditation and chanting, which I need to resolve somehow. But other than that, I enjoy his warm and tiny body curling itself up beside me. I love laying next to him, breathing in his sweetness. We co-slept with our daughter until she was the age he is now. He is much more independent than she was at this age as he has been sleeping in his own room for nearly a year now.  So, I drink in these moments, the precious nectar they offer, until he starts squirming too much. At that point I know he will no longer fall asleep and just cause my husband to grumble as he is continually woken up by little feet and knees against his back turned towards us.

So, we rise. Oftentimes, we take to the "blue chair", my favorite perching place in our living room. It is an over-sized chair that my husband and I have had since we got married nine years ago. If we had more money it probably would have been replaced by now as it is particularly worn down. In fact, one has to be very careful getting in and out of it as it tends to wobble precariously at times as the frame that forms the base of it has seen better days and is unstable.  But I like it nonetheless because I can either recline it and sit with my legs extended comfortably if I wish or sit criss-cross which I prefer to as I read or chant. It's almost like sitting on the ground because it is firm and the seat spacious, yet I am high enough so our loving border collie won't lick my face in moments where I seek contemplation.

This morning was a little different than other usual mornings as when we entered the living room I realized it was still pretty early and my daughter, who tends to sleep considerably later than my son, probably wouldn't be up for another hour. My son had wanted to watch a Superman episode yesterday but my daughter, being very sensitive to its content (she gets frightened of the fighting),  started protesting loudly to him viewing it with tears and arguments. He finally agreed to watch it at another time. I was very grateful that he made that choice and proud  that he put his sister's concerns before his own desires. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity and turned it on for him thinking that it would end before she came down the stairs, sleepy-eyed, looking for hugs and her Sunday morning mug of hot cocoa.

Of course fate had other plans, as right when we turned on the episode my daughter's footsteps could be heard descending the staircase. My heart sank as I knew it would be a lot to ask my son to stop his show because he had to already had to stop it yesterday. I anticipated conflict so asked Montana if she wanted to sit and eat breakfast with me at the table while Noah finished watching his show. She could draw, and instead of sitting on my blue chair that was truly beckoning me at that moment, I would read at the table. She agreed.

It turned out to be a time that yielded  fruitful conversation, even though, at first I have to confess I felt a little resentful. I am one that is very much for routines and I was hoping it to be like every other Sunday morning. But instead, my daughter gayfully took out her art supplies and I began reading a translation of the 10th Canto that I have been going through.

I decided to see if Montana would be open to the idea of me reading out loud. She had no objections and so I proceeded to read a story of how a demon, under the charge of Lord Shiva, who had ten thousand arms grew too haughty and proud. Ego inflated to nearly bursting, he thought he could battle anyone and win so decided to go up against Krishna. I explained to Montana that Krishna is another name for God and that in this story Krishna had taken human form.  The story brought up Narada and I told her that he was Krishna's earthly father, comparing him a little to Joseph who wasn't Jesus' biological father but served as his father on earth. I asked her if she thought it was a good idea to fight against God like this demon was attempting to do and she agreed that that was undoubtedly a very foolish pursuit.

Krishna cut off most of the demon's arms in the battle that had ensued. With four left, Lord Shiva intervened asking for mercy for the demon who would surely see his demise if Krishna did not cease his assault. Seeing the demon humbled, Krishna agreed. In these stories of Krishna's past times I have to say that they present God as being very reasonable in granting mercy to others. We talked about some of the lessons that could be learned from such a story. I love how deep Montana thinks. She asked if they were real. I remembered a Buddhist teacher's lecture I listened to not very long ago on parenting, one in which I agreed with very much that expressed the need to not impose our ideas and beliefs on our children but to help them develop the inner tools to search for the truth on their own and develop their own ideas.  Personally, I am still working out my own personal philosophy so sometimes when my children ask me a question I answer it in a very neutral way anyways.  I answered that, just with the many stories in the Bible, many people believe them to be literal and true to every detail given, while others believe them to be stories that were inspired to teach us important lessons about our own true natures and of God's.

She then asked me about the story of Noah's ark, if that were real or just a story.

Up until a little over a year ago she had been attending church regularly nearly all of her life. I had been a Sunday school teacher with her in my class for years instructing her and her peers that the stories in the Bible were literal. Well, this morning I took a little bit of a different approach as I answered that I thought it was quite possible that there had been a flood, a really big one, so big that maybe the writers perceived it as engulfing the whole world. She then asked me who the writers were, Noah, one of his family  members? To be accurate it would have had to have been someone who was there. If it wasn't Noah or any family members then other people must have survived and the story wasn't exactly true because it said just Noah and his family members lived through it. And how did the world go on after that if just his family members survived? Did that mean brothers and sisters or cousins had to marry one another. Wouldn't that be "gross"?

Hmmm..what to say to that! Well, seeing that her own conclusions were very speculative towards the literal take on the story, I just finally conceded that it was most likely a story told to convey an important message to those that read it.  That there were similar stories to the Flood story that is found in the Bible found in other cultures throughout the world. That the message it conveys is a universal one, as God Himself, is universal.

I have to say that lately I've had no conflict teaching my children that there is only one God and that He is perceived and worshiped differently throughout the world. I am really glad that I have abandoned teaching them that there is only one way to salvation. I believe that creates a destructive "us v. them" mentality. A "saved v. the damned" way of thinking. I realize that by teaching them of my belief that God manifests Himself differently to different people  contradicts my stance of not teaching my children "my beliefs". I feel, however,  that that is a neutral enough platform in which they can set off to investigate their own inquiries and that some kind of foundation is needed for stability. My children think of God as being personal and, though sometimes I go back and forth in the way I perceive God and the nature of reality, I always talk to my children of God as being personal as to not confuse them.

Well, this post is probably more than long enough. See what happens when I choose to "write freely"? I could probably write all day!

Would love some thoughts in the comments section. Thank you!


  1. Oh, Jess. I loved this. I took in every word and was able to imagine your time with the kids. I think you should do this more often, even if you don't publish what you write. Does that make sense to you? :)
    I can understand how you've broadened your understanding of God - I know I myself moved from a 'saved/unsaved' position and it made me so much more loving and accepting of others. Your children are blessed to having your loving, guiding, teaching presence. ♥

    1. "I think you should do this more often, even if you don't publish what you write. Does that make sense to you? :)"

      It definitely makes sense! Off and on I write in a journal. I always seem to gain at least a little clarity when I just sit down and write. If anything it just is enjoying to allow just anything to flow out. :)

      "I know I myself moved from a 'saved/unsaved' position and it made me so much more loving and accepting of others. "

      I can identify with that! It is definitely freeing.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing and for all of your encouragement. :)

  2. Jessica, I loved this glimpse into your Sunday morning life with your two beautiful, and might I add, precocious, children. And, Corinne's right - you should share in this way more often, relaxing into your writing, and floating with the current.
    I like, too, how you are able to discuss God with such love and allow your children to draw their own conclusions. Kids really know more than we often give them credit for, and shared times like these will help them to grow in confidence and knowledge.
    Blessings to you, my dear!

    1. Thank you so much Martha! It was nice to share. I'm always amazed at my daughter's curiosities and her questions and always admire her deep introspective nature. Not too long ago she was asking me about death and wondered if it was like it is before we were born. I told her I wasn't sure, and we talked about things, but I also told her that was a pretty good theory considering others, much older than her and very learned have surmised that that's how it might be. When she asks questions like that the first thing I tend to do is not answer but ask her what she thinks.

      Thanks again for stopping by. :) <3

  3. Thank you Jessica for sharing your morning with us. It's always great to hear stories about how us 'moms' deal with our children:)
    I am curious though...as I always am...what, or who, changed your belief in Jesus Christ being the One and Only God? John 3:16-21
    I ask because I was saved as a young teenager. It was the best years of my life. Over time, I began to listen to other philosophies and beliefs and fell way short of my faith. It has been 40+ years that I have lived that way, believing a hodge-podge mixture of faiths. There is always a reason for things that happen. I believe that God wasn't quite done with me yet. He reached out and touched me in a powerful way through my son! I am now back to my faith in God, and believe that He has great plans for me yet to deliver His message to anyone who is called to hear His word.
    And Jessica...I love when you write from the hip :)

    1. Mary,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I am very happy that you have found yourself drawn back to a path that has renewed your sense of faith and hope and given you peace.

      "I am curious though...as I always am...what, or who, changed your belief in Jesus Christ being the One and Only God? John 3:16-21"

      I don't believe anybody can really change anyone's faith. I would say that the change in my beliefs happened not immediately but was a gradual falling away, a gradual transition.

      Honestly, it wasn't the atheists I sometimes converse with, the compelling thoughts by Carl Sagan and others I have read, but by reading the Bible itself, without participating in a Bible group, being led by a Study guide or reading it amidst others congregating at church on a Sunday morning or randomly selecting a verse or chapter here and there to read. But by starting from Genesis and reading onwards I found mind coming up with all kinds of questions, taunting me-regarding God's nature, regarding whether or not these stories I once held as true really happened and what it meant of the God that the Bible represents if they were true.

      I just started feeling great conflict regarding the morality of God, especially in the Old Testament. If the stories are taken symbolically and not literally, they make a lot more sense.

      In my investigation of other philosophies and religions I have seen beautiful parallels. If one reads the deep and intimate spiritual experiences of the sufi mystic one might very well think they are reading something from Thomas Merton (a Catholic contemplative monk) or perhaps the account written from a devout Hindu of his journey inwards and his encounter with God.

      Through meditation I have been given the impression that God is pure love. The Bible says where there is light there can be no darkness. God is a God of light. And there is so much light and love coming from the hearts of those belonging to all religions it would seem disingenuous for a God to produce such beautiful fruit in the souls of others following other paths if that fruit was only to lead their soul to ruin, would it not? That gives me the sense that no matter what God we worship that we all worship the same one. He just has different names and different forms.

      The Vedas (Hindu sacred texts) express the idea that God comes down in different incarnations (avatars) to help guide humanity when it has fallen too far away from His ways. Many who aren't Christian still consider Christ a real incarnation of God, but also consider Muhummad one as well, the Buddha, Lord Chaitanya.

      Now, this is all presupposing that God is personal, which is a whole other subject, because I struggle with that idea and tend to flip flop in my position as I see plausible arguments from both sides as to what the real nature of God is. But surely, if God is personal, he is non-sectarian. That I feel certain down in the core of my soul.

      Sorry for the lengthy reply! I hope this helps answer your question.

      Peace and blessings,


    2. Thank you Jessica for such a reply. I appreciate you taking the time to go through everything with me. It certainly enlightens my understanding of where you are at the moment.
      It amazes me how we both have come so far since first meeting :) I guess I'm taking at trip down the memory lane of blogging? [smiling]
      Have a great week Jessica and again, thank you for your reply ♥♥♥

  4. Jessica, I have to admit.. I have the same question as Mary... what changed your faith...I am not judging as I have been there many times myself....and I still struggle with my faith...I don't go to church as often as I should..nor do I read the Bible as I should...But I am in a period of needing more in my life and I realize the more is God...my personal relationship with Jesus Christ needs to grow...I will say that even in my denial phases.. even when I have walked away from God I have always backed my children's teaching from the church.. I have always let them know though even though I struggle The BIBLE is truth.. no matter what.. I think it's important to have a foundation. (something I never had .. you know I love you and always pray hope and wish only good things for you... As always...XOXOXOXOXO

    1. Bonnie,

      Hopefully my response to Mary will help to answer your question.

      "I will say that even in my denial phases.. even when I have walked away from God I have always backed my children's teaching from the church.. I have always let them know though even though I struggle The BIBLE is truth.. no matter what.. I think it's important to have a foundation."

      I think it's important for children to have a foundation too. Mine do believe in a personal God. Their foundation is that God is pure light, pure goodness, and reaches out to people in different ways, in ways that they can relate to and understand best. That in His mercy and compassion He did not create any of us for ruin (so the idea of predestination-some are born saved some are born unsaved no longer applies to my teachings) and there are multiple ways to the same summit.

      Just as an apple is called different things by different people but to eat an apple it nourishes all bodies in the same way, God is called by different names by different people and by reaching out to Him earnestly one is drawn into the same pool of infinite love. Whether one interprets that as Krishna, Jehovah, Jesus, Muhammad ,etc.

      It's not that personal problems have drawn me away from accepting the Bible as being the only authority on God. I have given it much thought and study. Problems come and go but the truth is eternal. I look not to my problems to influence my sense of the truth but I dive deep within to find it and through much internal introspection I believe I have encountered a Source that is the Source of all...That is knows me more deeply than I even know my own self. I don't always know if "He" is personal or not, but I know His love is truly unconditional and pure.

      The Bible says He who seeks shall find. There are seekers amidst all peoples and religions. If the Bible is really true than those seekers also find Him as well.

      Love you lots. :)

  5. Lovely post Jessica. Thanks for sharing your morning so vividly with us. I agree it's important to allow our children to find their own path and not impose our beliefs on them and you handled the questions so well. I have also lost my way many times during my spiritual quest - running down from path to path that led to nowhere or just simply did not resonate. Until the moment that He came to me in so many dreams and ever since then I've found peace and joy in my life. I believe that there are many paths to God and He shows us the path that is best for us. Hence there are no right or wrong paths. Blessings to you and yours Jessica. Namaste.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Suzy. I could relate to much of what you wrote.

      "I believe that there are many paths to God and He shows us the path that is best for us. Hence there are no right or wrong paths"

      I agree whole-heartedly!

      Thank you. :)

      ~ Namaste~

  6. Hare Krsna Jessica!

    What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing your Sunday morning with all of us! I think it is just so wonderful that you incorporated your need for reading by sharing it with your daughter. I'm sure that she will cherish these moments when she grows up.

    Are you currently reading the Srimad Bhagavatam? I was wondering since you mentioned 10th canto.... :D

  7. Hare Krishna Vrndavana!

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I am not reading the Srimad Bhagavatam, though I have that on a pdf file and plan on beginning it in the near future. I was reading a translation of the 10th Canto in a book called "A God Who Dances" by Carl Woodham.

    I love sharing things with my children. They have so many questions and their natural curiosities make it fun to explore spiritual truths with. I wish I had more certainty of the answers sometimes, I'm still very much seeking myself. But I think we are always eternal students.

    ~ many blessings

  8. As a writer who writers freely almost daily I commend you giving way to the strings in your heart. I suspect when you started out this was the last thing on your mind but the message that came out was exactly what you were feeling. I personally love when the writer in me takes control. And your message, sharing and giving of ourselves with our children are often the strongest lessons they take from childhood.

    1. Thank you Brenda! It was definitely a refreshing process. I love when words and thoughts just simply flow out. So glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  9. Hi Jessica:
    Entering the stream
    Free Writing
    Stream of consciousness

    This all reminds me of The Flow
    That place we sometimes find ourselves in when we are doing something we so love that we lose track of all time. My blog post this Wednesday, January 23 will touch briefly on my own experience being there.

    Seem like you are continuing your spiritual evolution. Doesn't surprise me as I've watched your growth through reading your thoughts here over the course of several years.

    Think your children are in good hands, Jessica.

    1. Hi Chris. Thanks so much for stopping by! :) I love how you are so organized that you know when your next blog post will be and no doubt have it written already. Someday I'll be that organized. :) I'm looking forward to reading it!

      I've really enjoyed sharing with you my journey since I first began. It's great to know some people who have been there since the beginning. It doesn't surprise me that you understand where I am. I'll definitely confirm that I'm continuing with my spiritual evolution. For those of us who live out our spirituality and continue to seek and probe for answers and truth and fresh experiences I can't conceive of it not continuing to evolve since it is an ever-unfolding process.

      Hope you are well.

      ~ Namaste~

  10. I like that. It's true. We are all students. By the way, since you are reading to your children, I thought I'd just share something that came to me. Do you happen to have the Krsna Book by Srila Prabhupada? I was going to say that I think you would LOVE it! It's the perfect blend of Krsna's pastimes along with practical philosophy. Something also I think your kids would love. Also, I was thinking of how much you love chanting and thought you might enjoy this blog post I wrote awhile back!


    Hare Krsna!

    1. I have heard so many people mention the Krishna Book but have yet to get my hands on a copy yet! I've heard so many great things about it. I'm looking forward to buying a copy sometime soon. I hear it has beautiful illustrations (as do most of the publications that Srila Prabhuapda has written) and I know my children would love those as well as the timeless stories it contains.
      Going to check out that article right now. Thanks for sharing the link. :)

      Hare Krishna!

  11. What a beautiful post, admiration is what I have for you. You write with such tenderness and love.

    1. Thank you so much Jan. I'm glad you enjoyed it! ~ love and blessings :)

  12. Your each article opens a new window for me. Thanks.

  13. Yes, I agree! One God but many paths to God. There is no them, only us. Very wise.

    1. I couldn't agree more. Thank you for stopping by Galen. :)

  14. I love it...it's like reading a diary and it felt like you were just right there talking to me :)

    I understand how it is when we prepare posts ~ it takes time... but there are some that just come spontaneously and I like it when it doesn't have to be barred or limited...nor too conscious to give something out...

    Hmmm... I like the openness that is shared about God... and I agree about not having just ONE way to go to Him. I remember a young student telling me that she doesn't believe in 'God.' And I asked if she believes in love, peace, joy...and she said yes, and that was enough for me. I know that God will manifest Himself in many different and unique ways... I always remember Fr. Nil Guillemette's stories when this topic arises :)

    Whenever you share about your kids, I imagine them and my nieces... how I wish we could take care of a boy too :) It would be different.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and 'free writing.' I really appreciate the experiments you make.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post Melissa and thank you for sharing!

      "I know that God will manifest Himself in many different and unique ways.."

      I couldn't agree more!

      ~ blessings to you and those beautiful nieces of yours! :)

  15. Thanks for such a personal post. We have different takes on God...I see Jesus as the only way to Him...but I appreciate this piece as a glimpse into your family and faith. Time with our children is so precious!! It is wonderful that you spend 1:1 time with each of yours and that those times lead to fruitful discussion.

  16. Thank you so much for stopping by Melinda. :) I'm glad that even though we don't share the same religious/spiritual perspective you were able to enjoy elements in this post. Hope to see you back again sometime soon to hear more of your thoughts. :)

    ~ blessings

  17. I feel like you are expressing some confusion and that's okay, I have had my share of confusion. I think we can study God so much, yet not know Him. I could talk about Him all day but actually going to the park and talking to Him is what He desires. Secretly deep down, I know it's what I want too. I used to have this view that all paths led to God until someone stopped me and said, "You know Jesus is the only way to God." I decided to open my heart and God proved this person was correct. I feel like I've been through the wilderness and because of that I love everyone fully, without judging. God says to love everyone. That means I love fully. Everyone.

  18. "I feel like you are expressing some confusion and that's okay,"

    Well, I definitely don't claim to have everything figured out, that's for sure. ;) Sometimes the more I read, study, meditate and seem to finally begin to know some things that's when I realize how little I really know ...I still feel very much at the beginning of my journey towards the truth and understanding.

    "I think we can study God so much, yet not know Him."

    I agree.

    "I could talk about Him all day but actually going to the park and talking to Him is what He desires. Secretly deep down, I know it's what I want too."

    I think there's definitely a difference between our intellect being hard at work in speculating and receiving fresh revelation of the truth via experience...whether that is by praying in a traditional sense , chanting, or meditation. There's a certain restlessness that many of us have who yearn for the truth that can not be appeased through the intellect, but through spiritual experience. I've been reading about bhakti yoga, and that path teaches that we were all made to be devoted to God and when we are a distance from knowing our true natures and that of God's and our relationship with Him, we feel that restlessness. I think there's truth to that. But as to what God's nature is, and ours really too, I'm still figuring that out. ;) Some say it can take lifetimes to figure it out..

    "I feel like I've been through the wilderness and because of that I love everyone fully, without judging. God says to love everyone. That means I love fully. Everyone."

    I think that's beautiful. :)

    Thank you for stopping by and for our thoughts.

    ~ blessings~