“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”
~~ Alan Cohen
Spiritual teaching has changed my life. It doesn’t demand that I must believe this or that. No dogma. None of that This Is The Way It Must Be. Spiritual teachers let us pick and chose what is right for us. The words that strike a chord. When I hear or see or read something that I just know, that I know, that I know, is true.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Dr. Michael Beckwith, believes that “God” wants only two things from us.
1) To be acknowledged.
2) To be expressed.
When I read those words in one of his books my breath was taken away. It was one of those, Yes! I know that I know that I know that that is true!
I do think the Infinite Being that is God wants only that really.
To simply be acknowledged. Who doesn’t want that? It isn’t ego. I’m not talking about humans throwing themselves down on their hands and knees, burying their face into the carpet, worshipping, tearing at their clothes, weeping….
I don’t know if I believe God could want that. What would the Creator of Infinity need with that? Why that seems pretty egotistical for a Being that made everything, who keeps planets orbiting suns and atoms from flying apart.
I quite simply mean acknowledgment. Like I was acknowledge at work for a job well done a couple weeks ago or through an email from a fan of my writing or even someone taking a moment to comment here in my blog. My dog likes to be acknowledged. It’s communication. It’s saying, “Hey! I know you exist.” I know I sure like it when my daughter calls for absolutely no reason. Just to say “hi.” Like when she emailed me pictures of the sushi she had for dinner last night and told me how heavenly it was. She knew I would appreciate it.
Acknowledgement can come in that sudden gasp when you see a stunningly beautiful sunset, the clouds all orange and gold and pink and chartreuse. It can come in looking up to see the sunlight coming through the branches of a tree. In a hummingbird floating on the air drinking from the feeder hanging from the ledge of a balcony or roof. Those wow moments where one can hardly believe the beauty all around. I also don’t think it hurts to stop on the way to the car in the morning when going to work and seeing the dew gathered on the roses in the garden and saying, “Wow. Good work God. thank You.”
And how does one express God…?
I think the Creator of Infinity is expressed when we hold a door open for someone. When we say, “Thank you” or more importantly, when we say “I love you.” And not just to a lover or spouse, but to those special neighbors that drive us to church every Sunday or that lady at work that hugs us during overtime and we think we’re about to drop we’re so tired. I think the Creator is expressed when we get the sudden overwhelming urge to create–to sketch something on a napkin, to paint a picture, to write a little story, or even sew a button on a shirt (especially if we are doing it for someone we love and who just can’t seem to do it for themselves). I think the Creator is expressed when a song come on and we cannot help but dance.
That’s what I believe.
And so I so grateful for spiritual teachers in my life that have given me such insight. And once more, I am grateful for a God that loves me just the way I am.
Photograph by B.G. Thomas