From Return to the Garden by Paul Ferrini
Reader Comments About this Book
WOW! I am so glad I found your web site. I had the opportunity to meet you in October of 1999 at Bellevue Unity Church in Seattle, WA. You did the lesson in church that Sunday and then I attended your workshop afterwards. It was a wonderful experience and I especially remember our walk through the labyrinth that day.
I was in some great emotional turmoil that day and could not stop crying inside and some of those tears made their way down my cheeks. I bought "Silence of the Heart" and you gave me a copy of "Return to the Garden" and you signed both of those books for me. Well just like the rest of your books, I have read "Return to the Garden" at least 4 times and have given copies to several friends. Somehow I am moved to share your books with others and it feels great and I love it. Your books all speak to me very deeply and I am so happy to find that you have some new books that I have not yet read. Thank you so much and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of your books and staying in touch with your weekly e-mails. Peace & Happiness to you, Carrie
Finding and reading the Christ Mind series of books has been life saving. With the help of these books, I am learning to forgive myself and pass on to others a legacy of unconditional love. Of course, this is not happening overnight. It takes courage and determination. But I am learning to stay focused on the process and surrender the outcome.
While I feared the teachings of Jesus as I was taught them growing up, I have been encouraged by the "bare bones" essence of these teachings as they are presented in your books.
Thank you for your genuine fearlessness and compassion. Your words are truly "reflections" of the Truth. J. Wiethorn
You and God
You have heard me say that "I am the way, the truth and the life." That statement is equally true for you. The truth, the path to the divine, the life of the witness runs through your heart. There is no way, no truth, no life, except through you.
Please understand this. It is the core of my realization and my teaching.
God does not exist apart from you. God is the essence of your being. S/he is the essence of all beings. God dwells within your heart and within the hearts of all beings.
It is not necessary to seek God, because God is already the essence of who you are. To connect with God, simply remove all that separates you from your own essence. Remove all judgments and thoughts that do not bless you and others. These are not your essence. They are false ideas that you carry around. They are the veil, the illusion that appears to separate you from your own heart and the heart of God. Remove the illusions, lift the veil, and you will rest in the heart. Rest in the heart, and God will abide with you.
Open Heart and Mind
When you are judging another or yourself, neither your mind nor your heart is open. When you are complaining, blaming, holding grievances, pushing love away or finding fault with your experience, you are contracted in heart and mind. Behind this contraction is a simple fear that you are somehow unworthy or not good enough.
Becoming aware of your fear is essential if you wish to reconnect to love. You cannot open your heart or your mind as long as your fear remains unconscious. You must bring your fear into conscious awareness.
When you see the fear that underlies your judgments and your attack thoughts, just let it be. Don't beat yourself up for having these thoughts or push the fear away. Just be with the fear and know that it is okay that you are afraid. Tell yourself "I know I'm scared and feeling unworthy. That's why I'm blaming others or finding fault with my life."
Gently take the responsibility away from others: "It's not anyone else's fault that I don't feel good enough. I don't have to project my fear and unworthiness onto someone else. I can look at my fear directly and see that I need to bring some love and acceptance to myself. I can be with my fear in a compassionate way."
When you are able to hold your fear in a compassionate way, you reconnect to your heart. You open your mind. You feel energy as you release others from blame and open to your own love. Your consciousness expands. You stop seeing your situation in a limited way.
Love is the essence of who you are. Everything else that you think or feel about yourself or anyone else is just an illusion. Illusions are born when you stop loving yourself or another. The only way to dissolve illusions is to start loving right now in this moment.
If you want to reconnect with God, Love yourself. Be compassionate with yourself right now. If you want to reconnect with yourself, love the person who is in front of you. When you love another, you can feel compassion for and acceptance of yourself stirring in your heart and mind.
The friend is always there. You have merely to call on him or her.
I am the one who waits within your heart and mind for acknowledgement. When you acknowledge me, you open your heart to your brother or sister. When you love your brother or sister, you stretch out your hand to me.
The friend is the Christ within you. It doesn't matter what you call him or her. The friend is the one who has your greatest good at heart. The friend is the one who also has the greatest good of others at heart.
The friend is the one who is free of judgment, the one who accepts you and everyone else unconditionally. This friend is within every mind and heart. S/he embodies essence. S/he is the voice of God in your experience.
Some people call the Friend Christ. Some call the Friend Buddha, Krishna, or Ram. Names do not matter. The friend is the embodiment of love. S/he has many names and faces.
God and the Friend are always one. When you reach to the Friend within, God hears your footsteps.
In the Beginning
In the beginning was God, Original Presence/ Intention, Indivisible and Boundless Love. In the act of Creation, God expressed His/Her essence in many different ways. Thus, Love became embodied. Out of oneness came diversity.
In every form born of love, the spark of love inheres. In each of the ten thousand things, the original essence remains. Thus, within your heart and mind right now is the original spark of Creation. It belongs to you and can never leave you. No matter where your life takes you, no matter how far you stray from the path, you cannot extinguish the spark of divinity within your own consciousness. It was and is God's gift to you.
You can forget about the gift but you cannot give it back. You can ignore or deny it, but you cannot uncreate it. The deeper the darkness through which you walk, the brighter the tiny spark becomes. It calls to you like a beacon reminding you of your essence and your place of origin.
When you acknowledge the spark and nurture it, the light within you grows. The more attention you give to it, the more the light within you expands. Soon it seems that your whole being is surrounded by light. Even total strangers feel the rays of your love touching them.
You enter the spiritual path when you acknowledge the spark within and begin to attend to it. That is the moment when you stop being a victim and begin to take full responsibility for your life. The spiritual path culminates when you fully realize your God nature and that of all the other beings around you. Then you too become The Friend, the Christ, the Buddha, the compassionate one.
Attending to the Spark
The spark can be detected only when you are looking for it. It requires a conscious effort. If you live your life reactively, you never notice the spark. You see only the darkness.
To see the spark, you must come to understand that you are not defined by what happens outside of you. Although you have to deal with what happens, you are always free to respond to it creatively. To respond creatively means to choose from a position of strength, from an awareness that you have a number of options.
You cannot respond creatively if you feel attacked by life. When you feel attacked, you respond reactively and defensively. Victims see very few options, nor do they act from a position of strength.
When you are in touch with the light within, everything that you do is done out of the consciousness of that light. Your actions are empowered by the understanding that the love and the wisdom of God abide within you. You know that you cannot be forsaken by God, regardless of how external reality appears to you.
To be sure, your fear can be triggered. You can forget the light within and see only the darkness before you. You can feel attacked/rejected by others. You can even feel attacked/rejected by God. But all this happens because you look away from the light, instead of toward it.
You look away from God instead of toward Him/Her. Is it any wonder that you feel forsaken or betrayed?
When you look outside for proof that God loves you, you find a mixed bag. Sometimes God seems to favor you and sometimes God seems to have forgotten you exist. But remember, when you look outside, you don't find God, because God isn't out there. God is within. God isn't in how life appears. That's just the veil. To see the truth, you must lift the veil.
God is in the truth of who you are. God isn't the temporal, the changing, the inconstant. God is the eternal, the unchanging, the constant, because God is love and never stops being love.
But if you aren't looking within, you can live your whole life and never know that God exists. You can think that life gave you a raw deal. You can be bitter, resentful, angry. There's nothing to be done about this if you insist on looking outside of yourself for validation or approval.
An about-face is necessary. You must turn to the place where God abides. You must look into your own heart. You must find the place in you which is unconditionally aligned with love.
You can't do this while you are blaming others or holding onto grievances. That is still looking without. Nor can you do it when you are feeling guilty and beating yourself up for making mistakes. That is just taking the veil and putting it on the other side. You must take the veil down completely. All judgment must go. All apparent "knowledge" must be surrendered. You must come to God empty, with open arms. To rest in the heart, you cannot bring your judgments, your interpretations, your fixed ideas. They must be left at the threshold. When you enter the heart you must enter softly, with openness and trust.
You can enter the heart only if you are willing to walk in forgiveness with yourself and others, even if that willingness seems only to be in the moment. That is all God needs anyway...just a moment of your time and attention...just a moment when you drop your defenses and open to the presence of love. It does not matter that you have judged in the past or may judge in the future. All that matters is that right now you are willing to lay your judgments down.
Burning Bush/Bottomless Well
When you know that the Source of Love lies within you, you can leave your worries behind and enter the sanctuary for rest and renewal. Your heart is the place where love is born. It is the bottomless well from which you can draw as often as you need to. Every time you come to the well, you drink the waters of life. Your spiritual thirst is quenched. Your sins are forgiven. You are baptized, healed and renewed.
Whenever life shows up differently from the way you expect it to, whenever the problems of life seem to overwhelm you, there is only one place that offers you sanctuary. You must learn to make your pilgrimage there on a regular basis.
Don't look outside of yourself for answers. Don't seek refuge in the ideas, opinions and advice of other people. Don't go into your head and try to figure things out. Surrender all of that, and seek the place where love begins, in your own heart. It is your responsibility to reconnect with the Source of love when you need to. No one else can do it for you.
It doesn't matter what spiritual practice you do as long as it takes you into your heart and helps you connect with the Source of Love. If it does that, then stay with it throughout all the twists and turns of your life. Hold to your practice. It is your lifeline. When storms come up unexpectedly, it keeps you afloat. Ever so gradually, it brings you home.
When the spark in your heart is attended to, it grows into a steady flame. When the flame is fed by acts of loving kindness to self and others, it becomes a blazing fire, a source of warmth and light for all who encounter it. When Moses saw the Burning Bush, he knew that it was God revealing Himself. What he did not know was that Bush was not in the world, but in the heart.
I am the Way
I am the way not because I am special but because I have aligned with Love, the essence of my being. You too can align with Love.
I ask you to look to my example, not because I want you to worship me or put me on a pedestal, but because I want you to understand what is possible for you. I am the mentor, the model. I not only speak the truth; I also embody It.
When I said "I am the Way," I wanted you to go beyond just hearing my words. I wanted you to see how the word became flesh, how what I taught was demonstrated in my life. I wanted you to realize that I offered you a living teaching, not just a set of abstract beliefs. I wanted you to know that to follow me meant more than preaching my words. It meant following my example.
There is nothing special about who I am or what I have done. If you insist on calling me "Lord," do not do so out of envy or littleness, but out of the awareness that this same "Lord" you see in me is within you. If you call me Rabbi, do so because you see the light which is in you made manifest in my presence. Power is not separately vested in me or in you, but it abides in what we experience together when our hearts are open.
Paul Ferrini reading from The Gospel
In this wonderful selection from the Christ Mind Teachings (Love without Conditions, Silence of the Heart, Miracle of Love, and Return to the Garden), Paul Ferrini shares the message of Jesus as he received it over a seven-year period. Here at last is a gospel devoted solely to Jesus’ teachings of love, healing and forgiveness. The teacher we meet here is the compassionate, open-minded teacher we know in our hearts. He rejects the dogmatic, narrow-minded concepts of fundamentalist Christianity that reinforce our shame, intolerance and spiritual pride and instead empowers all of us to awaken the Christ potential within. He is both the gentle teacher who proclaims our essential innocence and the fiery teacher who supports us in healing our wounds and forgiving our trespasses so that we can claim our gifts and come into the fullness of our power and purpose in this life.
Listen to audio excerpts read by Paul Ferrini:
Embracing the Self
Freedom and Commitment
A Formula for Creation
click here to buy the CD Set for $24.95