Monday, June 27, 2016

Mindful Monday- Abigail In The Old Testament

     This month I have focused my mindfulness on my relationship to God. Meditative prayer has been my vehicle. I study a passage of scripture and then meditate for a time, not necessarily to review what I have read what to let what I learn from the spirit rise to my consciousness. Here is what 1 Samuel 25 teaches me.

                                   The Abigail story

Nabal- rich with possessions, important in the eyes of man, churlish-rude and rough (He railed, swooped down like a bird and attacked)

David- Someday to become a king. He is confident in the Lord and in the reputation of his men. In the previous chapter he spared King Saul's life even though the King Saul wanted him dead, He is quick and determined to defend against the offense given his men

Abigail- she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: (What kind of understanding? Her own, acquired from going through a tough life with her husband or higher understanding, acquired through the spirit of God? )

   David is in the wilderness and he and his large band of men need provisions. He sends ten of his men to ask for assistance from Nabal, thinking that they worked beside Nabal's men in good faith before, so he should want to assist him. They are rebuffed and swooped upon with force, 

1Samuel  25:10 ¶And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master."

    When reporting this rebuff to David he is deeply offended at this reaction. He tells four hundred men to saddle their horses and ride to Carmel to confront Nabal and his household. Meanwhile, Nabal's servants overhear his response to David's men and they come to Abigail and tell her of their fears.

Free to Choose
 "As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation." Elder Bednar 2006

We can choose to act with the Natural Mind or with our Spiritual Mind.

Characteristics of our Natural Mind
    1- protects
    2- desires the good opinion of others
    3- it has many fears
    4- it harbors untruths
     5- it relies on its own strength 

Characteristics of the Spiritual Mind

  1- responds the power of the spirit
  2-it is awake to realities known only through the spirit
  3- it seeks the character of Jesus Christ

The Natural mind is strong and access to the Spiritual Mind comes through practice and humility.

How do we engage our SPIRITUAL MIND?

Here is what I learned from the Abigail story-

-Know (become aware)
-and consider what to do (pray and counsel with the Lord)
-make haste
-prepare to serve beyond what is expected
-don't talk with those who might feed your offense

  The servant speaking to Abigail is explaining what he thinks will happen.

1Samuel 25:16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

18 ¶Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

Abigail rides the road to Carmel to intercept David. If we see her through the Natural Mind we might assume she is going to go throw herself on the mercy of David and ask him to stop his revenge.

But Abigail comes with a Spiritual Mind. She is coming in humility and love but, is she coming to save her husband or is she coming for even a greater good?

1 Samuel 25:24 And (she) fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.

25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

Abigail sees her actions as an attempt to prevent revenge on her household but more importantly to stop David from shedding blood. With King Saul, David acted with a Spiritual Mind and refused to kill him. Now, he seems to be letting his emotions overcome his Spiritual Mind

1 Samuel 25:27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

Abigail is acting in similitude of the savior, Jesus. She will take upon herself her Husband's trespass to prevent David from committing sin. She is providing power to David. The power to act with his Spiritual Mind comes from her invitation. He receives this power as he realizes that she is innocent and he cannot let her take this sin. If he let her take this sin he would have to kill her which is unthinkable. His Spiritual Mind floods him with compassion and grace.

  "Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165)."

June is a month to be more mindful of God.
You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Into His Rest

Into His rest
Freed from all doubt
Heart open now, from inside out.

Into his rest,
Nothing to hide
I come to Him, arms open wide.

Photo by Gregg Erickson

  The beauty in this photograph is only a few minutes from my home. Isn't the sky magnificent?  If the sky represented God's mind I wish that the water would represent my mind. To reflect back what I feel from the presence of God would be just as sublime as this image.
   Each day I wrestle with my Natural Mind, the ways of thinking that I have gathered in over the last 60 years which encompass fears, frustrations, and negative views of my reality. But I am finding refuge in my Spiritual Mind. Rest from these ways of thinking comes from spending some minutes every day in meditative prayer. Just like on the Sabbath Day when I rest from my normal everyday labors, these minutes in contemplative prayer provide a rest; a practice of rest from my Natural Mind.
   Dear reader, I am so very new to this practice. I speak as if I know something but in reality I know very little. Nevertheless, I have felt His Presence, and it has given me incredible comfort.

"For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
   Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the example of unbelief."
                                              Hebrews 4:10-11

             June is a month to be more mindful of God.
              You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.


   I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join? 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mindful Monday- A Spiritual Journal

                 Looking Back May Be A Habit of Happiness

    A group of objects sitting next to me caught my eye. A card from a friend, a current book which is joyful and funny, and my little, bitty, spiritual journal. I started that journal in 2008. Whenever a spiritual insight or experience graced my life, it would be recorded in this book. Towards the middle I recorded some insights from a book by M. Catherine Thomas, called Light In The Wilderness. To my surprise I found details of my desire to learn to develop a spiritual practice of mindfulness and meditation.
   I wrote so many years ago, "I can connect to Spirit through becoming quiet and mindful and then I would find my own real self."

   Why, I ask, did I fail to follow through on these amazing insights? Was I just lazy or forgetful? Yes, and no. I was forgetful,  but to be truthful, looking from hindsight, I didn't know how to develop a spiritual practice beyond prayer and scripture study. Meditation those years ago seemed too difficult because I couldn't sit still. My mind would go careening over thoughts and plans and it seemed more frustrating than productive.
    So what is different now? Learning from others, who are successful at a daily meditation, has given me new focus. Explanations about how the mind works are making more sense. I have a spiritual mind which is my divine DNA, from my Heavenly Father. Because there is a veil of mortality between me and my Father I have forgotten how to think with his mind. Mortality has promoted a "natural mind" which often gives me incorrect information. Take for instance how I perceive others. Someone might comment to me about my behavior and I might be taken back by their seemingly prejudiced point of view. My natural mind begins to hedge up against an intended attack. It warns me that I am in danger of being being maligned or at least being misunderstood. My back literally "goes up" in defense. A story begins in my head about how I have been wronged. I live the feelings over and over and with each review I feel more hurt.

                                     There is another way.
      We can choose by which mind we experience life.

To access the spiritual mind I need to quiet the voices in my head and stop. Do you remember what you were taught about crossing a busy street when you were young? Stop, look both ways, and listen is still valuable advice. When I listen I often hear in my mind the question, "what do you want?". Wow, what a good question. My natural mind wants to feel safe and loved. My spiritual mind wants to know things as they really are. It feels the draw of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He gently entices me towards long-suffering, meekness, and humility. He floods me with His love which is monumentally more powerful than approval of other mortal friends and family. That is what I am learning right now. I feel like I'm back on the floor again, starting over and learning anew. I am becoming so much more aware of my Heavenly Father. 

"Inquiry begins the path to being free from the natural mind. Is there a possibility that the opposite of what I am thinking is true? What might be a truer way of looking? How would I feel if I did not believe this thought?"
 M. Catherine Thomas 

 June is a month to be more mindful of God.
You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Lose Your Mind or Fill Your Mind

I am on a quest to be more mindful this year but there is one part of my mind I am trying to lose. Do you know the voice of your ego, or natural mind? It is the part of us formed throughout life which concerns itself always with what is best for our well-being. It warns us of danger, argues for us when we are wronged, rationalizes away our failures when we are overcome, and gives us endless chatter about what went wrong in the past and what will likely happen in the future. It gathers facts in our defense based on how things should be if we could control all things. In my quest to pay attention I want to lose the attention I give to this "Natural Mind". 

    So, to what shall I give attention? You can certainly find information from more qualified sources but here is what I think. The "Spiritual Mind" is quiet. Spaciousness is an adjective I would attach to this sacred place. It feels and moves to allow light within my skin and bones. At the center it searches for Jesus Christ. Like a magnet, feeling the pull of truth, it searches along the inner path to be taught. The Holy Spirit resides in this sacred space within my soul, or heart, or quiet mind. Whatever you call it, it is life rejuvenating.
   To lose the "natural mind" is not simple, neither is it difficult. It is simply lost when I choose to pay attention to spirit. Oh, but, it is so difficult because I am so comfortable with the "it's all about me" stories I treasure up to my chest. Today will my mind be filled with me or with Him?

The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, 
unless he yields to the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ, The Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love 
willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, as a child doth submit to his father.
                                                 Mosiah 3:19


   I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join? 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mindful Monday- The Inner Path

                   "....until Christ be formed in you."
                                                                                                    Galatians 4:19

       The inner path to more awareness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in my life can so easily postponed. It takes time, stillness, and patience. For that reason I create a comfortable, happy space that invites me to come. Once my outer world is inviting I try bringing variety and interest to the inner world.

   Study- The devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge

   Reflect- To think deeply and carefully 

   Ponder- To consider quietly, carefully, and intently

   Visualize-Form a mental picture, imagine

   Meditate-quiet the thinking self to allow the presence of the spirit to come

In me, He, the spirit and presence of the Savior, rests under my conscious awareness. I desire a practice that will allow him to form in my heart.

   "He is "formed" in us, if we open the door, He will enter. If we seek His counsel, He will counsel us...This prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind, which which may make each of us a channel of peace."
                                                   Howard W. Hunter

  In many ways all my mindfulness pursuits so far this year have been leading to this pursuit. 
I feel excited to invite him every morning and this past week, every evening. This is so much more than the spoken prayers I give, sometimes without making contact at all. Contemplative prayer and meditation is allowing Him to teach me, not about what I need and want, but about what He is and what He wants.

   "As adults come to understand the workings of their own mind and then undertake exercises to shape their mind into a tool for their own spiritual development, their divine attributes and powers inevitably develop. These exercises include exploring awareness, consciousness, mindfulness, and meditation. Even though some of these areas may be unfamiliar to many readers, they are entirely resonant with scripture and appropriate for greater spiritual development."

Catherine Thomas

 June is a month to be more mindful of God.
You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, June 10, 2016


                             To Be Found Wanting

             The princess couldn't sleep because a pea was pressing into her hyper-sensitive back.  She was found wanting. There are little irritations pressing on everyone. Like tiny rocks in our shoes, we writhe in discomfort at small plans gone south, misunderstandings blown out of proportion, and splintered relationships refusing to mend. Our life is found wanting. 

It happens to everyone. Nephi was a strong, spiritual man but after years of strife with his brothers, he found his life wanting.

2 Nephi 4:17   Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in 
showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.  O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?  And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way--but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.  O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

   Why should our soul sorrow and our strength slacken? Awake! Awake to the path our Savior has paved. Awake to the blessings he holds out to each child of God. Awake to the inner path that leads to his heart, by way of our heart, where he desires to abide. There is nothing there to find wanting.


   I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join? 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mindful Monday- Mindful Of God

     It is June. In January when I roughly sketched out twelve ideas of what I wanted to become more mindful of, I chose June to explore how I could become more aware of God in my life. It sounded important and I certainly did not have a plan for how I would go about this important endeavor. Here is where I will start.

   I want to travel an inner path towards feeling more of the presence of Jesus Christ.

I am not entirely sure where this path will take me but this is my intention. Creating sacred space, just for Him, inside my heart is the goal. An image of the underground life nourishing the roots comes to mind. Above ground the world is unaware of the light and life going on underneath.
Here is another image to explain my thoughts.

I believe we walk an outer path in our worship of Christ and an inner path. In my experience, the inner path supports and gives purpose to the outer path. This month I want to learn more about my inner path, my inner life, so that I can serve others more compassionately. I believe that will happen.

                       June is a month to be more mindful of God. 
              You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, June 3, 2016


    A haven where I come to quiet my mind quiet and where I reach out to feel the presence of God.

    Each morning I climb the steps to my office before dawn. It is getting harder as the sun is almost winning the race. I sit before a beautiful view out over the forest . The awaited sound is the dawnsong of the birds. They still my ragged breathing and with each breath I go inside to wait.

The Dawnsong by Gabriele Burgess

   I wait to feel the presence of God within me because I believe he wishes to abide in me and I, in him. My thinking mind wants to wander over the stories of today and of yesterday but I bring the endless chatter back to my breath. Most times, I will be truthful, my mind wins. But, I continue to come and wait. Because, I have felt him and He is a haven worth waiting for.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.