brian j plachta
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by brian j plachta on June 13th, 2019

“How much do you want for the bicycle?” the garage sale shopper asked.

“Ten dollars,” I said. “My daughter used to put Barbie dolls in the basket.” As if it were yesterday, I envisioned my little girl’s pigtails helicoptering above her head as she pedaled around the neighborhood. “That was twenty years ago. She’s married now. Lives in California. And, boy, do I miss her.”

“I’ll take it.” The woman’s eyes glimmered from behind round spectacles, revealing her grandmother heart. “It’s for my five-year old granddaughter. She loves Barbies too. We’ll have lots of fun.”

I sensed Garage Sale Grandma knew the joy and excitement of watching children grow. Her crinkled face suggested she understood how quickly those tender years pass—and how important it is to let the memories of our children continue to play sweet songs in our hearts.
 
I tightened my hands around the handlebars for a few seconds, but then helped Grandma boost the bike-full of memories into her van. As she pulled from the curb, she turned back to smile with joy and understanding. I waved to her. My heart smiled too.

Garage sales foster a special flavor of kindness among people. One person lets go of clutter filled with timeless recollections; the other receives worn-torn treasures with which to build new memories. There’s an unspoken respect—a silent sacredness—that connects kindred spirits as one lets go of the past and gifts it to another’s future.

I wish we could sell the kindness that permeates neighborhood garage sales. But kindness has no price and can’t be sold.

Kindness is the generous spirit of love we build every day by the attitudes and practices we adopt. It begins with the way we treat ourselves. Can we allow ourselves to make mistakes?  Can we laugh it off when we  pour motor oil into our lawnmower—and then see our error announced when clouds of smoke sputter out the muffler?

Can we take time for ourselves to ease into the day rather than rushing into it? Meditation, prayer, time in solitude as we talk with God and sip morning coffee, these practices that nurture us, can turn our hearts into the precious gold of love multiplied.

Take time to experience kindness today. Feel its softness when you care for yourself by praying, meditating, reading, talking with God, taking a long, hot shower. Slowing down.

Practice the Zen of garage sale kindness. It’s contagious.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on June 6th, 2019

“Focus on the problem, and the problem increases. Focus on the solution, and the solution increases.” Twelve-step programs offer that tidbit of wisdom to help work through life’s challenges.

Chris, a spiritual friend recently had an opportunity to put this problem-solving tool into practice. Over a cup of coffee, my friend complained he was overwhelmed by problems with his spouse, his children, and his job.

“I feel like I’ve got a huge snowball building up inside me. Troubles keep rolling at me like a growing avalanche. I’ve tried to talk with God about all this stuff, but I get confused about what to do. I feel stuck. Lost.”

After he vented, I invited Chris to close his eyes and silently ask God to help him identify each problem he faced.

After sitting for a few moments in silence, Chris opened his eyes.

I handed him a blank sheet of paper. “Draw a circle for each problem troubling you.”

Chris drew five circles representing the snowballs that made up his emotional avalanche. Next, he wrote a word or phrase in the center of each circle to name that problem.

Finally, Chris sought Divine Wisdom so he could discern which fixes were the best for each situation. He then wrote down a list of possible solutions.

As he came up with concrete resolutions for each problem, Chris’s tight jaw relaxed. His eyes brightened and he grinned.

“Wow!” Chris held up the paper. “It worked. I named each problem, and then shifted my focus to solutions. I now have positive steps I can take to resolve the troubles I’m facing. I don’t feel stuck anymore. I feel free.”

This practice might sound simplistic. But it works, especially when combined with prayer. It’s surprising how simple habits can resolve the problems life throws at us.

The next time you feel an avalanche of problems rolling over you like a huge snowball, pull out a blank sheet of paper, identify the problems, and then shift your focus onto solutions.

See if the twelve-step adage rings true: Focus on the problem, and the problem increases. Focus on the solution, and the solution increases.

—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on May 30th, 2019

Give me three!” my grade school football coach shouted when he caught one of us guys fooling around at practice. We knew what that meant—we had to run three laps around the track at full tilt.  After a few times of messing around and suffering our self-inflicted punishment, we typically shaped up.

In a similar fashion, a spiritual direction client at the rehab center where I volunteer, told me he and his three roommates noticed how much negative talk they engaged in throughout the day. Whether they’re bashing themselves or judging others, he said, they noted how the negativity became habit forming and dragged down their spirits.

Focusing on a solution to alleviate their negative spiral, the guys declared a “positivity week.”  Every time they caught themselves or one of their roommates grousing, they’d stop and demand, “Give me three!”  The one caught, then had to declare aloud three positive characteristics about the person he’d trashed.  

After several days, the guys noticed their negative behavior softened. Like my grade school football coach, the “give me three” practice instilled a more positive attitude and spirit. This positivity flowed into their day, allowing them to experience gratitude regardless of the day’s events.

Their practice struck me as simple, yet profound. I noticed how often I trash myself with self-doubt and criticism. I wouldn’t treat my best friend the way I treat myself, I observed.

I declared my own positivity week. I vowed every time I judged myself or others, I’d stop and name three positive characteristics about the victim.

Initially, I resisted this new practice and defaulted back into negativity. After several days, however, I noticed how “give me three” reshaped my thoughts and perspective. I realized I was retraining my brain to become more optimistic.

I likely must watch my self-talk for the rest of my life to avoid slipping back into negativity. I’m going to use the “give me three” practice to help me maintain a positive spirit that’s much more life-giving. It’s a practical tool I’m putting into my life’s toolbox.

What if you and I declare a “positivity” week? Every time we notice negativity rearing its ugly head in self-doubt or demeaning judgment, we train ourselves (and perhaps our family and friends) to go full tilt and “give me three!”  It could be the start of something new—something life-giving for all of us.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on May 22nd, 2019

Order. Disorder. Reorder— A Pattern for Spiritual Development.

When my wife and I were pregnant for each of our four children, we noticed a certain pattern, a predictable cycle, unfold.

During the nine months of pregnancy, an initial order developed as my wife nurtured the baby and herself with vitamins and a healthy diet. Joy saturated our hearts as we picked the lemon hues and sunshine theme for the baby’s room, set up the crib, and pondered the name we’d give our child. And as I laid my head on my wife’s bursting belly at night, the baby’s kicks lulled me into knowing everything was right in our world.

Then came the disorder of labor, transition, and delivery. The quiet nights of eating ice cream on the couch as we sang lullabies to our unborn child gave way to my wife’s thrashing on a sterile hospital bed after she’d thrown a pillow across the room screaming, “You did this to me!” Contractions rocked her body. She grabbed my shirt collar and shrieked with pain. Fear and confusion whirlwinded through our minds as we wondered if we’d be able to endure.

Just when it seemed the labor and transition had no end, the doctor whispered in my wife’s ear, “You can push now,” and the birth of a beautiful infant ushered reorder into our lives. As I cut my child’s umbilical cord and held him to my chest, everything changed. Our fear and pain disappeared, replaced by a deeper peace and joy than we’d imagined possible.

 Order. Disorder. Reorder.

That pattern, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr teaches, is the pattern for all human growth. It’s the growing pain of how we mature. It’s the life-giving cycle of spiritual development.

Jesus modeled this pattern. For thirty-three years, his life was mostly one of order and predictability as he preached and spread God’s love through his healing words and actions.

Then came the disorder of his passion and death. He endured the agony in the Garden, the piercing with thorns, the whipping, and finally the crucifixion on a wooden cross. The suffering he tolerated taught us that pain is the springboard for growth and resurrection.

Once Christ pushed through Good Friday, past Holy Saturday and into Easter Sunday, he returned with a new order and poured the Light of Love and Wisdom—the Holy Spirit—into our hearts.

Our lives also reflect this pattern. We go to school or work. We tend to our daily chores. There’s comfort in the order of ordinary days.

Then something happens that disrupts our orderly lives. It might be something big—a loved one dies, we get injured, we develop an addiction, or our marriage crumbles.

It might be something less traumatic. We’re overwhelmed by life’s busyness. Our lives seem to lack purpose. An unnamed inner yearning haunts us.

Regardless of the size of the disorder, its pain sets in like an ominous gray cloud as we experience loss, confusion, or even depression.

Society teaches us to distract ourselves or numb our pain. According to the blur of television and magazine ads, there’s always a pill, a car, a video-game, or some glory-halleluiah seminar that instantly will take away our pain.

But just as seeds have to push through the pod, grind through the crusty ground, and reach for the sun to grow, we too must pass through and push beyond the suffering towards the Light to experience inner growth.

If we resist the disorder of suffering, if we try to blot it out or numb it, we stay stuck. We don’t grow.

But if, as St. Ignatius tells us, we gently push against the desolation of disorder by seeking deeper wisdom and connection with God and our Inner Selves, we find the transition—while still painful—often leads to a life-giving reorder of our lives.

Ask yourself occasionally: what part of life’s cycle am I in?

If order---continue on your path of growth.

If disorder---don’t run from it. Embrace it as an invitation to grow. Find your Garden of Gethsemane, and in the solitude ask God to lead you through the transition.

Once you experience "reorder" know it’s the Light that brought you through the darkness—and that it will continue to do so time and time again. This is how we do it.


--brian j plachta
brianplachta.net
originally published in Converge Magazine

by brian j plachta on May 17th, 2019


“Change the channel,” my mom or her friend Louise would say whenever negativity clouded their conversations. 

Like a “Thanks. I needed that” wop across the cheek, “change the channel” reminded them to stay positive. It helped them switch the television station in their heads from the blare of negative complaining and gossip to awareness of what was right in their worlds.

Neuroscientist Rick Hanson in his podcast, Hardwiring Happiness, reports that several studies suggest our brains may be hardwired to focus on problems instead of solutions.
We dwell on bad experiences long after they’ve passed, and worry about what might go wrong well before it happens.

Hanson’s studies show that positive thoughts or feelings quickly disappear from the mind’s radar unless we consciously hold them for at least fifteen seconds, the time needed to leave an imprint on our neurons.

By holding our positive thoughts and feelings in our mind’s eye for just a few seconds, we create positive memory traces in our brains.

Maybe Louise, Hanson, and my mom are onto something. By changing the channel in our minds and intentionally training our brains to hold onto positive words, thoughts, and feelings, we can alter our moods. Eventually, if we practice positive visioning over a period time, the direction of our lives moves toward lasting peace and happiness.

Eastern religious traditions call this practice centering ourselves through a mantra. We literally train our brains to quiet, connect with our hearts, and seek deeper inner compassion.
Phrases like, “I am love and loved; I am God’s Beloved; I am at peace,” keep the mind focused and positively affect the mind, body, and spirit connection.

St. Paul called it “Rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4-9). Today we might call it contemplation, centering prayer, or mindfulness.

Regardless of what we name the practice, it points in the same direction the book of Proverbs instructs: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

I tried this change-the-channel practice. One of the daily inspirational emails I receive offered this affirmation, so I ran with it, and held it in my mind’s eye:

"I now affirm that life is good and unfolding in miraculous ways."

Following Hanson’s instruction that the brain needs to retain the positive thought for at least fifteen seconds for it to take hold in our neurons, I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and savored the words.

My jaw untensed. My breathing slowed. Calm came over me. I felt connected with God and myself.

As I went about my day, I noticed my mind would ricochet back to its negative thought pattern. I had to train myself to become aware when the negative thoughts creeped back in, and then use the affirmation to re-center and ground myself in the “good medicine.”

Critics might say this practice is simply new age mumbo-jumbo. They can even claim we are not trusting God if we rely on our own will power.

I suppose if we take God out of the practice, it does become an ego-centered way of trying to feel good.

But, when grounded in a prayerful, grateful heart, and steeped in a deeper awareness of God’s love and acceptance, it actualizes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
"Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."


Put simply—when negativity sets in, change the channel.

—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net


by brian j plachta on May 9th, 2019

Most of us experience self-doubt, writes Debbie Ford in her book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. There’s something wrong with me. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable, worthy, or deserving.
We poison ourselves with self-loathing words that taint our psyches.

If we repeat the negative thoughts enough—or others slam us with them—we either come to believe their untruths or turn and run away from ourselves. These instinctive self-defense mechanisms undermine our feelings of self-worth, leading us to believe we have to be perfect to become whole.

However according to Ford, being “whole” consists of owning both the shadow and the light sides of our personalities, because they each contain their own wisdom to teach us—if we’re willing to pan for their gold.


The shadow is our growing edge, the part of us that’s fearful, selfish, prideful, or a multitude of other negative traits. It’s everything we resist or try to disown about ourselves.

The light consists of our good qualities. It’s those things we like about ourselves such as being compassionate, creative, and courageous. The light allows us to experience love not just for others, but also for ourselves.

When properly understood, the shadow and the light unite the human and divine parts of our being. They teach us wisdom and allow us to embrace our unique self-worth.

Most people are afraid to confront their shadow side because it’s the unacceptable part of our personalities. So, we often try to hide our shadow, or make it behave and go away.

But like panning for gold in a muddy river bed, when we take time to understand our whole self—both the darkness and the light—we find the happiness we’ve been looking for. We become enlightened.

The other day I was walking my dog Riley in subzero weather. The tips of my gloved fingers stung from the bitter cold. I wanted to retreat back to the warmth of my home to unthaw. But Riley wasn’t having it. He wanted to sniff every snow bank and leave his mark.
Fine for him, I thought. He’s lined with fur. I angrily snapped his leash as I grumbled, “Come on, Riley. Get going.

Riley stopped. His ears flattened. He tucked his tail beneath his legs as he looked up at me trying figure out what he’d done wrong.

My shadow side, my impatient self, had reared its ugly face again. What is my problem? I stood in the pelting snow searching for the light in my darkness.

I’m worried about everything and everyone. I let myself be overwhelmed by work, family, politics, and all the problems in our universe. I’m bent-over double with anxiety.

Remembering Ford’s invitation to ask ourselves what’s the light we’re being invited to embrace in the darkness, I realized I needed to let go of others’ problems. I needed to trust all is well—that was the gold nugget of wisdom waiting for me to discover.

In that moment I embraced my shadow self. I turned to the light within me, and whispered a prayer asking God to give me the grace of patient trust.

I then smiled at Riley as I patted his head. “I’m sorry, buddy,” I said, and we continued our journey home.

If we want to experience wholeness, we have to accept both the shadow and the light within us. Once the shadow is embraced by the light, it can be healed. When healed, it becomes love.
We let the light and the darkness within us become our teachers when we follow three simple steps of self-awareness:

Name the shadow—the negative emotion or trait we experience when we come face-to-face with our inner darkness.

Ask ourselves what is the opposite—the positive virtue—the light invites us to learn.

Introduce light into the shadow by asking the Creator for the grace to integrate into our lives the gold wisdom we’re panning for on our pathway to wholeness.

Don’t resist your shadow side
. Be as open to it as the light within.

Let them transform you as you allow the light to shine more and more in the darkness.

And let yourself be Whole.


---brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

originally published in Converge Magazine.



by brian j plachta on May 2nd, 2019

On Easter morning, when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside the empty tomb, she was shocked. She wanted to touch him and make sure he was real. Her trembling fingers stroked his wounded feet.

Jesus drew back. “Mary, don’t cling.”

Mary was baffled. Why would Jesus tell her—one of his most faithful disciples—not to touch him? Was he rejecting her? Or did his response mean something more—both to her and to us?

When I cling to someone or something, it typically means I want to control it, put it into my conceptual box. I want to cling so I don’t lose it. I want to be as close as I can so I can understand it. I don’t want to be abandoned. I want to feel safe and good about myself.

But trying to capture God is like trying to capture the wind. God can’t be put into my box. I can’t control or fully conceptualize the Creator.

I use words of endearment like Teacher, Maker, and Divine One to draw closer to God and deepen my relationship with him. But no word or image can fully describe God.

There’s always more he wants to provide in our relationship. Deeper Mystery. Divine Wisdom. Infinite Unconditional Love beyond human understanding.

Ironically, it’s not us, but God who performs the action. God puts the moves on us because he loves us and wants to be closer to us. He desires intimacy (in-to-me-see) with you and me.

Why wouldn’t the Spirit of Love—who scripture calls the Bridegroom—want to sweep us off our feet and carry us across the threshold of life closer into Divine Union so we can experience heaven on earth? Here. Now.

There’s nothing we can do to make that Union happen or deepen. It’s God’s work in us that brings about this miraculous, unfolding relationship.

Our job is to get out of God’s way. Let the Maker have his way with us. Not cling to some magic word or image that makes us feel better about ourselves, but open our hearts so that in the emptiness, God can fill us with Divine Wholeness.


My mind doesn’t grasp that truth. Like Mary Magdalene, my first reaction is to cling.

I want to be in control and be the driving force in my relationship with God. That way, I can set the boundaries. I can determine how far and in what ways I’ll let God have his way with me.

Fortunately, God’s a patient lover. He waits for us, gently nudges us, and when we’re ready to open the door of our hearts a little wider, he comes in and reveals the depths of Unconditional Love more fully.


We can only pray for the grace—the gift—of an Open Heart.

And somehow our prayer is God’s love praying deeply within us.



—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net


by brian j plachta on April 27th, 2019

Risen

We’ve entered the season of Easter in the Christian church. We’ve moved from the mia culpa of Good Friday, through the empty tomb of Holy Saturday, and, for the next fifty days, we are invited to savor the victory of unconditional love completed on Easter Sunday.

We might be tempted to view the Easter season as a mere remembrance of Jesus’ death—something that happened “back then” but isn’t happening now. But the resurrection is much more than a historical event. It’s an ongoing incarnation of God’s love in and through each of us.

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection demonstrate we are continuously transformed by Divine Love. Through the reoccurring cycle of death and resurrection, we move through a pattern of order, disorder, and reorder. Day-by-day, bit-by-bit, we come out of our empty tombs into the glory of human wholeness.

Something must have happened in that tomb on Holy Saturday. As the Father and Spirit entered the cave, knelt and wept beside the cold slab of stone upon which Jesus’ beaten body lay, they experienced the brutal death of their Beloved Son.

And rather than endless mourning, the Trinity then unwrapped the bloody burial cloth, lifted Jesus’ lifeless body to their chests, held his broken flesh next to their hearts, and proclaimed, “We will bring him home. We will lift him up. And we will place his Spirit of love into every human heart so that they too may rise with him.”

The fifty-day stretch from Easter to Pentecost is designed as a time to connect with the power of resurrection, to pause and reflect on simple questions such as:

How have I changed—been resurrected?
Since last Easter, what’s different about me? 
How have I come out of my empty tomb?  How have I Risen?

Jesus’ life unfolds in an intimate way through the eyes of those closest to him in the History channel’s drama-documentary presentation of Jesus—His Life. As my wife and I watched the series, I was struck by the realization that Jesus didn’t know who he was in his early life. As he grew into adulthood, he slowly evolved as his mission unfolded. He came face-to-face with his spiritual self and ultimately accepted the role of Messiah, Master Builder for which he was created.

When his mother asked him to change water into wine at the wedding feast, Jesus told her his time had not yet come. He was uncertain if he could perform miracles—unclear if he was the Son of God.

As he stretched out of his comfort zone, he invoked Divine power and grace to transform ordinary water into extraordinary wine, foreshadowing the many other miracles he was to perform. He began to realize who he was.

Jesus didn’t play victim. In the balance between human pride and divine humility, God graced his son with the courage to embrace his human and divine natures so that at the end of his earthly life he proclaimed he was and is the Son of God, the Son of Man. From that place of self-knowledge, self-discovery, Jesus came into the fullness of himself in God, and moved from bloody death to glorious resurrection.

As I ponder Jesus’ life, I wonder, How have I Risen? How have I grown in the past year?
In meditation, I realize God invites me to let go of my poor me, life’s tough, and I’m a victim attitudes and rise into the truth of who I am—God’s Beloved.

It takes courage and grace to accept God’s unconditional love and step into who and what God says I am. My overthinking brain can’t wrap itself around this reality. It’s much easier for me to rub my nose into I’m-a-sinner and I-mess-up-a-lot as my lips kiss the cross on Good Friday.

But resurrection power is not about guilt and shame. Resurrection is about God’s unconditional love and how we—as we allow the power of Divine Love to embrace us—are transformed. We step into who we are—God’s Beloved.

That is on-going resurrection—allowing God’s grace to hold us in the balance of human pride and divine humility to receive the courage to step into who we are.
We are not the Messiah. We are also not victims. We are human beings with unique personalities who God placed on this earth to be sacred vessels to create more love in the world.

This Easter season, I pray God will continue to teach me who I am. I ask for grace to silence the unholy voices that try to rub my nose into who I am not.

Resurrection is something I cannot do on my own.  My head can’t make logical sense out of it. But, as I open my heart and allow God to reveal Divine love to and through me, I am changed, transformed.  I am able to proclaim, I believe. My heart understands. And my feet are catching up.

This Easter season, consider pondering the question, How have I Risen?


As you do, know that through God’s resurrection power, the Creator continually makes all things new.


 
—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net



by brian j plachta on April 18th, 2019

Making decisions in life can be complicated, sometimes overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a simple test to help you make the right decision—a way you could know which of the competing options were best?

Centuries ago, Saint Ignatius gave us three simple tests to help make a life decision.


The first is a simple question:
  • Will the choice I make lead me closer to God or further away from him?
The second is more of a reflection:
  • At the end of my life, when I stand before God and explain why I made a certain decision, what will I tell him was the basis for my choice?
The third tool is a pros and cons list.
  • Make two columns on a sheet of paper and write the pros on one side and the cons on the other of a decision you’re considering. Then, add up each column to determine which one outweighs the other.

It might seem odd to use Ignatius’ tests to decide whether to ask your girlfriend to marry you, but years ago, I figured if these tests worked for him, maybe they’d work for me, too. So, as I was discerning whether to ask my girlfriend—whom I’d been dating for a year—to marry me, I pondered Ignatius’ tests.

Would marrying my girlfriend lead me closer to God? She was a faith-filled person. She believed in God, went to church regularly, and wanted to raise children in our faith tradition. Given these facts, I was certain she passed the first test.

What would I tell God was the reason I asked this lovely woman to marry me? That one was simple, too. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her so we could raise a family and share our love with each other and the world.

The pros and cons list was tougher. As I jotted down my thoughts in each column, both columns were almost equal in number. Balanced against the con of giving up the freedom of being a single guy was the pro of having someone with whom to share my days. A life filled with raising children outweighed a life of celibacy. But, one simple item on the pros side tilted the balance toward seeking my girlfriend’s hand in marriage—I loved her.

I was excited to show my bride-to-be the results. “Look, honey, you came out on the winning side of my pros and cons test.” I proudly handed her the list. She glanced at it, breathed one of those are-you-kidding-me? sighs, and then rolled her eyes. My heart sank as I realized this wasn’t the “Oh, Romeo” moment I’d hoped.

But when I got down on bended knee and gave her a heart-shaped box of candy with an engagement ring in it, she still said yes. And after thirty-five years of marriage, our unfolding love story continues.

The ancient wisdom of Saint Ignatius still applies in our modern age. It provides a time-tested approach for discerning which way to turn.

So, when you’re faced with a life decision—or a simple choice between two competing options—consider Ignatius’ three tests as a handy tool to help you walk down the path of right living.


---brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

originally published in
Converge Magazine.



by brian j plachta on April 12th, 2019

The popular song by Michael W. Smith, “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” echoes the timeless wisdom of Saint Augustine, who invites us to see ourselves, God, and the universe through the lens of our heart.

Could it be our heart has an eye, a lens? If it does, how do we access it? And what blocks us from heart-sight?

Our hearts contain our souls. We’re connected to God through this soul-space. It’s a sacred space within us where the Light of Christ, the Holy Spirit, dwells.

This lifeline to the Divine provides us with wisdom, guidance, and courage. It allows us to move into an awareness beyond the physical world.

We access the heart-space by becoming quiet, resting in stillness, and seeking the deeper Self created and held by Infinite Love. The landscape of our hearts has no horizon.

Our ego—which sees only the tangible physical world—is the block that prevents us from living from the heart. The ego helps us survive, but it tries to understand and control the world through the limited view of the mind. 

It’s as if the ego—with its mental clanging that rattles through our heads—says to the heart, “Step aside. I’m in control. I’ve got it all figured out.”

The heart then smiles back. “How’s that working out for you?” 

 “Not so well. I could use a hand,” the mind reluctantly responds.

When the mind and heart shake hands, the mind sinks into the heart and they become dance partners learning the steps of life in unison.

I wish to see with the soft eye of the heart that Smith and Augustine describe. I want to view life from the gaze that unites us with Infinite Love.  I wish to live from the vast landscape of the heart that has no horizon.

But my heart has no physical eye with which to see.

Somehow, in the quiet, the Divine finds me. When the cluttered clouds of my thinking-mind part and grace flows in and through me, I sense the Eye of my Heart. It’s placed by the Creator in the center of our chests.  It sees life from inside out. It experiences wisdom far beyond understanding. It forgives others for the hurts they inflict. It allows the Creator to heal and transform us.

Give me your grace, Divine Wisdom, to let go of my thinking-mind. Let the thin veil—the illusion we are separated from each other—blow back gently in the spring breeze to reveal what my heart already knows—You and I and all Creation are One in Infinite Love.

Open the eyes of my heart.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net





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#God #blessing #contemplation #distractions #faith #father's day #father #fear #growth #i deepen #inner growth #inner peace #interruptions #peace #prayer #rise #spirituality #wholeness Arise Creator Divine God is good God loves me God revealed God with skin God's Blessing God's voice; true voice; experience God's voice God-nudge God Gurdjieff Heart Space Holy spirit I am good I love God Is God Real? Jewish Tradition New Year Now One Onieng Present Moment Quiet the Mind Resolutions Rohr Science Soul of America Soul Time addiction advent alive am I enough? animal spirts antidote awake balance believe belonging beloved bird feeding breath of God breathe breath calming the mind cats centering prayer center charisms choosing our thoughts christmas christ civility common good community connected contemplation conversations with God daily tension desire difficult people discernment divine embrace divine presence divine reading do your best dog doubts dreams drop the stones easter election embodiment embraced embrace enjoy enough eucharist exercise faith fake news false self falsehoods family fear find your voice flip the switch flow theory flow forgiveness forgive freedom gifts gratitude grow up growth grow grumpy guide happiness harmony heart mind connection heart-brake heart hear heaven held hidden holy nudges how much is enough? humanity i okay imagination imperfect incarnation injoy inner grump inner journey inner peace inner strength inner touch inner work innocence inspiration integrity joseph journey joy law of three laying down our life lectio divina lens let god let go life is good life's purpose life-giving life light of the world listen live love live love ourselves love you prayer love me time meaning meditation mentoring mentor metaphors for God mind chatter monkey mind morning mystic nature nudges nudge okay open your heart open ordinary life original blessing original sin peace phoenix plastic jesus poke politics positive practicing presence prayer of the Self prayer pray presecne presence prodigal son purpose quiet time quiet real presence reflection relationship remember resurrection retreat rhythm of life right brain right living running from God running from myself sacrament samuel screwtape scripture seeds self esteem self respect self-giving self-love self-respect self-respec self-talk separation silence simplicity solitude solomon soul's voice speak spiriitual spirit of God spiritual gifts spirituality spiritual spirit strength stroke suffering survivor talents teacher tension the voice of God the voice of the soul this moment transfigure transformation transform true self trust jesus truth unconditional love virtue voice of God voice of love voice walking meditation walking we are the second c coming of Christ what i believe whisper who is your teacher? wholeness why am i here? wisdom keeper wisdom worry wounds
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