Is God a continual presence in your life? Or does the sense of the Divine within you, the feeling you have a deep connection to something greater than yourself, come and go?
I believe for most spiritual people, it is the latter. Some days the heavenly spark in our hearts burns brightly, while at other times it seems to flicker and is barely perceptible. It is during these times that we need to fan the flame and there may be no better person to ignite it than the author and teacher Mirabai Starr.
There’s an expression my wife uses when the frigid days of winter arrive here in the Northeast. “It’s so cold I can feel it in my bones.” I think of Mirabai Starr as a person who can feel God in her bones, a presence as steady and obvious as her own heartbeat.
Starr has a new book out that’s on my must-read list titled Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics. This news had me going back to a previous book of hers from a decade ago, an energy drink for my soul titled God is Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Starr comes from a diverse religious background and practices what is known as interspirituality. She participates in not one, but in several spiritual traditions, in her case a blend of Judaism, mystic Christianity, Sufism and Buddhism. She does this because she believes in “the oneness at the heart of all religious traditions” and finds meaning in all their teachings. In her words, which appear in italics below:
When I drop down into these ancient texts, I feel the breath of the God of Love on my face. It makes me crazy. In the very best way.
As you may be able to tell, Mirabai Starr is not your average spiritual seeker. She pursues God with a passion and sensuality that would make a conservative Christian blush. She is a woman on a mission to find God, the “source of Love itself,” and become one with this love.
The soul spends all her life longing for union with the Divine. And when at least she reaches the object of her desire, she disappears into Him.
Starr is bold and daring and her love for God comes leaping off the page. Her enthusiasm is so great, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Through the sheer force of her writing you begin to view God in a new light, as the all-encompassing source of love.
This God of mine is not mere emptiness. It is imbued with the energy of love. It is an overflowing of love into the entire container of the cosmos. I call it the Sacred, and there is nowhere it is not. I am in awe of this God of Love, who breaks through ordinary moments with a dazzling radiance and melts the boundaries of my individuated consciousness and reminds me that I am not separate from the source of Love Itself.
Starr believes in the active pursuit of the Divine in everyday life. Like the Christian mystic she has written about, Teresa of Avila, she says that “what the beloved wants from us is action.” And she takes this advice to heart, describing what it’s like to live a life encompassed by the love of God.
Your heart is so drenched in love for the Beloved that it overflows into everything you do. You are incapable of making distinctions between the sacred and the profane; each act has become an act of prayer.
As she makes clear, the good news is that this divine love is not hard to find. It is with us always and can be accessed by any of us at all times:
We can feed the fire of divine love by cultivating simple practices that expand our hearts and raise our consciousness, such as meditation and chanting, reciting ancient prayers or conversing with the Beloved…each sunrise, each meal, every challenge and triumph in work and human relationships, are opportunities to praise God.
For a life so saturated by so many religious faiths, Starr’s main message rings loud and clear. There is one God and no matter which faith you follow or path you take, we all wind up in the same place.
Each faith tradition is singing the same song in a deliciously different voice. God is love.