October 19, 2021
I renew my Faith in Divine Order.
For many years, I was morbidly obese. The doctors said I was a prime candidate for a heart attack if I didn’t take the weight off. After hearing the lectures from cardiologists, I would say to myself, “Someday, I will take the weight off.”
But for me, that day never arrived.
Then one day, while I was teaching a class at the university, I started feeling intense chest pains. I said to myself, “This is the heart attack that is going to kill me!” I was rushed to the emergency room, and the doctors were able to stabilize my cardiovascular system. I was checked into the “telemetry unit” of the hospital, which was right next to the intensive care unit. The next day two cardiologists (one for electrical issues and another for “plumbing”) came into my room. They told me that I had been stabilized, and my heart had some electrical issues which could be fixed. But they said that if I had a repeat performance of this episode, it could be fatal.
Under these conditions – and after experiencing that intense pain – I “got religion” regarding my weight and body. I have taken the weight off and kept it off, and been blessed that my body bounced back into shape.
However, there appears to have been one permanent change that I cannot reverse: I now feel the cold very intensely, and I hate it! Winters are no fun for me. I long for Spring, more sunshine, and heat.
I have started to do something to get through winter and remember that Spring and Summer are coming. I go to flower and garden shows when the weather turns cold. It reminds me of Divine Order and that winter does not last forever.
My favorite flower and garden exhibition is the Philadelphia Flower Show. Longwood Gardens is also an enjoyable visit in the winter and is under 40 miles outside of Philadelphia. Also, in the same neck of the woods is Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library.
I have expanded this practice to other areas in my life. When I face something distasteful, I picture the mental equivalent of a flower and garden show in my mind. This practice reminds me that Divine Order reigns supreme.
For example, say it is tax preparation time. I picture the prosperous and abundant universe in which we live. This image renews my faith in Divine Order and helps me put the current situation into its proper perspective.
I love the saying: “You cannot fail to be in Heaven. You can only fail to recognize it.”
The Buddha emphasized that nothing lasts forever in this world, and this includes our emotions. The problem is that when we are in a funk we can often forget the Buddha’s observation. We can tell ourselves, “This will never change. It will last forever.”
Also, Jesus was leading his disciples across a field in the dead of winter. He said to them, “(L)ook on the fields for they are white and ready for harvest” (John 4:35). Both the Buddha and Jesus taught us to look beyond appearances and stop thinking that our winters would last forever. Myrtle Fillmore, the co-founder of the Unity movement, also repeatedly emphasized that we should look beyond appearances.
In the short term, Divine Order may not flow according to our script or how we would have liked. But I often feel that we experience more spiritual growth in the long run when things don’t follow our original game plan.
Do you have things like flower and garden shows to remind you of Divine Order? When you seem stuck in the middle of your “winters,” are there things that remind you that winter and the cold will not last forever? I think when we have these types of practices, and images, to turn to, our faith in Divine Order is renewed