“God is indwelling; and because God is indwelling, I do not have to seek God so much as I have to remember my connection with God.”
Remembering our connection to God—that’s the hard part, isn’t it? The words above come from journalist Karen Brailsford and her new book Sacred Landscapes of the Soul. Comprised of a series of short essays that she calls “landscapes,” her stories have a common thread: the idea that God is everywhere and with us always, just waiting for our acknowledgment.
Brailsford has a unique spiritual background in that she was raised in the South Bronx and attended a Charismatic church as a youth. Today, she resides in Los Angeles, where she is a member of the Agape International Spiritual Center which is led by the influential New Thought leader Michael Bernard Beckwith. She writes for the center’s monthly magazine, Inner Visions.
Brailsford’s notion that the spirit of God is always with us, closer then we can possibly imagine, can be found in many religions and spiritual philosophies. (I’ve also written about it here and here.) For instance, this reference is found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 3:16:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
A similar sentiment appears in this passage from a very different source, the great Sufi poet and mystic Rumi:
Why look for God?…
Look for the one looking for God…
but then Why look at all?
He is not lost… He is right here…Closer than your own breath!
The problem is while we may be able to sense God in this present moment, it is often hard to retain this knowledge as we live our lives. Our minds often seem incapable of going about our daily business while remembering our connection to God. The key may be constant triggers that remind us of the divine presence.
Like the Muslim call to prayer 6 times a day, or the more obscure 5 dings a day spiritual practice, we need reminders that God is there. I think, in a way, Brailsford’s short essays do just that and can be valuable reminders when read in small batches or one story at a time each day.
What I found most compelling in Sacred Landscapes of the Soul were the first-person essays that appear in italics every few pages in the book. They appear to have been channeled or as Brailsford explains:
The words flowed through me as if they were being communicated directly by God, speaking directly to me. And thereby, to you.
What follows are excerpts from her “God stories.” They are lightly edited and I have placed them in a loose narrative.
9 Passages from Sacred Landscapes of the Soul
Lately, it appears that the world is spiraling into chaos. Rest assured—everything is in divine order. When you choose to rest within the shade of my love, to seek comfort in me, you will be relieved of all worry and will go forward in love.
Love stands at the door and knocks. It will be there when you are ready, awaiting your acceptance. Love is who and what I am. Therefore, it is who and what you are.
You are me fully incarnate. You are everything and everyone everywhere. All of divinity and all of humankind is embodied in you.
The highest intention you can set is to reveal me. Let me be the only thing you desire. Let me be that which causes you to leap from bed every morning filled to overflowing with unparalleled joy. And here is what you can expect in return, every minute of every hour: I am going to be with you.
You get to determine where you are going. That’s right! You get to choose—how quickly, how slowly, how painfully, how fretfully, even how soon. You get to make it all up.
Own your mysticism. Know that you are your own greatest teacher. Look within. Find me there. Surrender. Shine your light. Soar. Be the spark for others.
You are drawing unto you the people, the situations, the inspiration and the insights necessary for realizing your purpose. That purpose is to come into full alignment with why you are here and how to best deliver your gifts to the world.
It’s time to take a stand. Are you for you—or against you? Can you see yourself as I see you—lightness and loveliness, poetic possibility and greatness always on the verge of something even more expansive? You are perfect exactly as you are. You know it all and possess it all. You are all of it.
Remember that in between each inhalation and exhalation, I am there. In between the doubt and the certainty, I am there. In between longing and manifestation, I am there. In between the singing of the note and the hearing of the note, I am there. There is no place else I would rather be because there is no other place to be. I am with you.