Eywa: Someone you should know

Part Two of a three-part series

Sitting here in the balcony, playing with the “Real 3D” glasses I received when I entered the movie theater to see “Avatar,” I am reminded again that each of us looks at Life through different lenses. Some lenses help us see things more brilliantly; others completely block the light.

My first reminder came earlier this week, when I discussed the movie with two friends. What did they think about it? I wondered.

One purred that “Avatar” was a beautiful love story: a man was willing to live the rest of his life on a distant moon, light years away from Earth, wearing a tail and no clothes, so that he could be with the woman he loved. The other friend ranted that the movie glorified the Messiah complex: a brave white man heroically swooped in and saved the black people underneath those blue striped costumes. OMG, was he agitated!

Of course, everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion. The Loud Mouth is no exception: From where I sat, “Avatar” was all about me. OK, ok! It was about you, too—a story about how we treat each other, our planet, and every living thing on it. To me, “Avatar” was about our relationship with the Allness that is God, or as the Na’vi, the blue striped black folk on the distant moon Pandora called it: Eywa.

The Na’vi people were taught that they could tap directly into Eywa and into all life forms because there was only One Source of all life, and everything and everyone was connected—from the most beautiful flower to the most ferocious beast. Of course, the Na’vi had a distinct advantage over us: Eywa was unmistakably present. They could literally see the Divine Source of all Life.

But what if Eywa, their Divine Source, was not visible to the naked eye? What if It vibrated at such a high frequency that It appeared to be invisible, like the individual blades on a fan rotating at high speed? Would they be as reverent and as certain that Eywa existed and that It was a benevolent power that served all, equally?

If the Na’vi couldn’t see Eywa’s full glory, feel Its peace and love, smell Its fragrance, hear Its song, or taste Its nectar, they might easily be convinced that Eywa was, well, anything someone told them It was.

Spinning tall tales has always been a favorite pastime of intelligent beings. Millennia before the advent of the entertainment industry, folks amused themselves by creating and spreading tales. Among the most popular: fantastic stories about gods that no one could see. Typically, these gods lived on top of mountains or beyond the clouds.

These tales fanned wild speculation about what each god looked like and what each of them did. Some reputedly worked for good, others for evil. Feeding on the imaginations of the illiterate naïve masses, these stories took on a life of their own. To this day, many believe them to be true.

Think about it: What if, for generations, the Omaticaya clan of Na’vis had been told that Eywa was a gigantic man who lived on a distant planet called Earth, and knew their every thought and deed? According the legend, Eywa spent all of His time recording the good and bad deeds of each Na’vi humanoid, rewarding good behavior with stuff such as sports victories and wealth, and punishing bad behavior with stuff such natural disasters, poor health and poverty.

What if the Na’vi believed that a wrath-filled Eywa would come to Pandora one day, guns blazing, accompanied by an army of fire-spitting angels? In an instant, He’d annihilate everyone who wasn’t perfect, totally obedient, or hadn’t professed aloud that Eywa was a barbaric bad-ass that should be feared.

You can imagine what would have happened when the gigantic metallic aircraft, bulging with guerilla warriors, noisily descended on the Omaticaya clan of Na’vis that fateful day. Most would have believed that it was Eywa, arriving in fulfillment of the legend. Petrified by His promise of destruction, mesmerized by the sheer size of the space ship, the robot-like “AMP” suits, and armed mercenaries, the Omaticayas would have fled their sacred land and the demonic missionaries from the American military-industrial complex would have carted off all Pandora’s rare and priceless unobtanium minerals.

What saved Pandora from that preemptive attack? Was it really the white guy, Jake Sully, as my friend insists? I don’t think so. Maybe it was Eywa, you say?

Actually, an insightful scene disputes that possibility. More important, it exposed humans’ naïveté about what the Divine is—and what it does. To me, that scene delivered one of the most life altering messages I’ve ever heard. It totally reframed the Divine—and definitively explained why prayers don’t seem to be answered 100% of the time for 100% of the people.

Remember the scene? Jake physically plugged directly into Eywa—into the Divine Itself—and asked for two things: 1) Save the life of Dr. Grace Augustine, who treasured the Omaticaya clan and had been seriously injured by gunfire, and 2) help in defeating the money-grubbing emissaries from the American military-industrial complex were intent upon forcing the Omaticaya clan off of Pandora’s sacred land.

Surely this intercessory prayer would be answered. Jake was asking Eywa to help the good people. The Na’vi had lived harmoniously with each other and with nature for centuries, and Grace Augustine had fought tenaciously to keep the Americans from disturbing that harmony, destroying the balance of nature on Pandora. Besides, Eywa had a vested interest in the preservation of this most sacred land, right? This should have been a slam dunk prayer.

Only humans who believe in God could relate to this scene—humans who, like Jake, believe that the Divine is a being (complete with gender) who can be convinced to do what we want. We act as if God is a wish-granting genie: If we ask “Him” a certain way, perform certain rituals, pay a certain amount of money, and believe with all our hearts that our prayers will be answered affirmatively, we will be blessed. God will grant our wishes.

It doesn’t work that way—on Earth or on Pandora. In this case, Grace the good, died. On Earth, despite our prayers, our loved ones die. We die. Millions of good people die. With every disappointment, we discover that God is not a genie and prayer is not a magic bullet; but we continue to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. And we encourage others to do the same.

Is there something we should know about God and about prayer that will help us understand them better? Perhaps, in that same scene, Jake’s beloved Neytiri revealed it, as she tried to manage his expectations of the outcome of his request: “Eywa does not take sides,” she explained. “Eywa only balances.”

On this side of the Universe, balance is called reaping and sowing. One rabbi phrased it, “Judge not, lest ye be judged, condemn not, lest ye be condemned…” In Loud Mouth vernacular: “Whatever you do will be done to you”—no more, no less. Balance.

Part one of Jake’s prayer request was not granted. What about the other half? The Na’vi did win the battle. Does that mean that Eywa blessed him or them? No, but it might look that way to those who think that God is a wish granting genie.

I think the Na’vi’s salvation was their awareness and belief that they were connected to every living thing. I think it was their respect for the role that every living thing plays in their eco-system and their ability to literally “hook up” with all the other life forms.

Understanding that they were one, everything—plants, trees, animals, Na’vi humanoids, flying beasts, you name it—worked collectively to ward off the enemy and restore peace, harmony and balance to their corner of the Universe. After their victory, did you notice that the Na’vi didn’t establish prison camps? They didn’t torture the invaders or turn them into prisoners of war.

The Na’vi understood harmony. They understood balance. They understood that the only way to avoid punishment and condemnation is not to punish and condemn. Most important, they understood Eywa—what It is and what It does.

That’s something we all should understand if we are to maintain peace and balance in our own lives. When we ask, in prayer, for everything to be resolved and balanced for the Highest Good of All concerned, we will get precisely what we asked for–EVERY time.

Answered Prayer: When Heart and Soul Agree

praying handsFew things are more rewarding than being part of someone else’s blessing.

I recently received an emotional call from a friend (we’ll call her Laura) who was witnessing a revelation. Like many of my friends these days, Laura’s between jobs and her money has lost its elasticity. She can’t seem to stretch it far enough to cover her expenses. In deference to that, several months ago her sister hosted a “wishing well” birthday party to provide some financial support. Friends were asked to contribute.

I was unable to attend, so I bought a birthday card and planned to insert a check. I was in the middle of a move and living in a temporary location; I couldn’t find my checkbook. I set the card aside and obviously put something on top of it. After a while, out of sight was out of mind.

A couple of weeks ago, after I was settled into my new place, I ran across the bright orange and yellow card, but I had a different problem: Laura’s address wasn’t in my directory. I set the card on my not so uncluttered desk and lost sight of it again. A few days later, I spotted it. Determined to get it out of the apartment, I stopped what I was doing, wrote a check and tracked down her address. I walked directly to the mailbox before any other goofiness ensued.

The Purpose Unfolds

The next day, Laura left lengthy messages on my office and mobile phones. The excitement in her voice was a mixture of joy and tears. Here’s why:

She had a mortgage payment due in two days. That day, she was unexpectedly paid early for two small freelance projects and a friend had loaned her a little money. But when she returned home that evening, she was still $40 short of her mortgage. When she opened her mail, she discovered my $50 check. She was ecstatic!

Everything had come together in the most perfect way, at the most perfect time. If I had sent the check earlier, who knows, she might have already spent it on something else. My serial delays had served as an absentminded savings account, belatedly delivering the money to Laura exactly when she needed it: Divine Order. I was almost as excited to witness it as she was.

Chain, chain, chain… 

Last week I heard from Laura again. This time, she was sending one of those lovely email chain letters. At least this one didn’t threaten that Jesus would deny me to his Father if I didn’t forward it. But it did urge me to make a wish and forward the email to a specified number of people (in this case, a dozen plus the sender). On a specified day (in this case, the fourth), the message claimed, something would happen.

chain letterBecause I don’t believe that God or fairies bestow blessings based on the number of emails we shoot into Cyberspace, I did what I always do when I receive these messages: I asked Laura, “Did you ask the previous recipients what happened on their fourth day?” Then I heartlessly deleted it.

A couple of days ago, Laura sent me an update: “On the fifth day, I received an unexpected check for $800!” she exclaimed.

I’m not one to snub my nose at anyone’s cash windfall, but I wasn’t impressed. I was, however, a bit curious about the details of Laura’s $800 surprise. So I pried my fingers from the computer keyboard, picked up the phone and had a human-to-human conversation.

Another curtain rises…

I discovered that the check was actually a refund of the same mortgage payment that Laura had made the week before—a payment that left her only a few dollars to survive.

“I had just decided to let go of this house instead of letting it stress me out,” Laura laughed. “As soon as I released it, this happened.”

What happened was that Laura received word that her mortgage company had gone out of business. As a result, they couldn’t accept any loan payments, and all monies were being returned until the new lender could service the accounts.

Did Laura receive the $800 because she had mentally “let go” of her home? As we know, sometimes when we “let go and let God,” situations don’t always improve, in human terms. Sometimes the possession, loved one or relationship literally goes away—temporarily or permanently. On the physical level, we typically perceive this as “loss.”

Evolving beyond loss

Sometimes we respond by sinking into despair or struggling to hold onto what is perceived as a loss. As we grow to trust God completely, however, we are better able to understand that everything in the physical world is constantly undergoing change. The life span of all physical things is finite. As we evolve into an “egoless” state of mind, as philosopher Eckhart Tolle calls it, we are able to accept all departures as Divine Will. Instead of anxiety, fear, anger or desperation, we feel peaceful because we know that if he, she or it went away, it was divinely ordered and the Divine only works for our Highest Good.

That certainly appears to be Laura’s attitude. She isn’t interpreting her $800 refund as a signal that she will keep her home. All she knows, for sure, is that she can keep it right now. She also knows that the unexpected check did not result from her forwarding the nebulous email. It also didn’t arrive because she prayed a certain prayer, called a certain name or clicked her heels three times.

That money was destined to return to her that day because it was her soul’s desire. Maybe it wanted her body to have financial wiggle room or grocery money; I don’t know. I do know, however, that if the soul had not desired or demanded it, it would not be there.

Final curtain?

Of course, the $800 doesn’t solve Laura’s problems, long term. The mortgage bill will become due again soon. What’s important is that she continues to “let go” and faithfully awaits God’s direction, rather than tries to manipulate the cyberspace, outer space or in every place God to follow her directions.

“Letting go” is not a physical ploy disguised a spiritual tactic to get what we want. It is a divine way of allowing our hearts to agree with our souls. It takes great faith to stop praying for God to genuflect to our human will and start humbling ourselves to honor Divine Will. It takes great strength to still our thoughts and shut our mouths long enough to hear and observe the direction that the Divine is revealing to us.

Where does power truly lie?

Many of us believe that we can change the conditions in our physical lives solely by changing the thoughts that run through our physical brains. All we have to do is say a prescribed word or phrase, or change our actions. Our life experiences have taught us that there’s more to it than that. If our bodies, brains and emotions were in charge, we’d all be independently wealthy, staring adoringly into our soulmates’ eyes and in tip-top physical physical condition.

We are taught to do instead of be, control instead of allow. We think that our mortal selves have to “make things happen.” We act as if we are moving through this world alone, that no one is looking out for our best interest. But we’re not alone. We’re in a serious, committed relationship. Our souls are married to our bodies—until death do we part.

Seeing eye-to-eye

Like all marriages, a peaceful home requires harmonious communication between the partners. What happens when one partner makes important decisions without consulting the other? Chaos, tension and unhappiness—the same results you get whenever your heart and soul do not agree.

At prayer time, do you beg or bond with your partner? Do the desires of your heart conflict or collaborate with the desires of your soul? How do you know? When do you plan to find out?

Whenever you do, chances are that you will start to experience real change, accelerated growth and consistently “answered” prayers.

Answered Prayer: When Heart and Soul Agree

There’s nothing more rewarding than being part of someone else’s blessing.

I recently received an emotional call from a friend (we’ll call her Laura) who was witnessing a revelation. Like many of my friends these days, Laura’s between jobs and her money has lost its elasticity. She can’t seem to stretch it far enough to cover her expenses. In deference to that, several months ago her sister hosted a “wishing well” birthday party to provide some financial support. Friends were asked to contribute.

I was unable to attend, so I bought a birthday card and planned to insert a check. I was in the middle of a move and living in a temporary location. I couldn’t find my checkbook, so I set the card aside and obviously put something on top of it. After a while, out of sight was out of mind.

A couple of weeks ago, after I was settled into my new place, I ran across the bright orange and yellow card, but I had a different problem: Laura’s address wasn’t in my directory. I set the card on my not so uncluttered desk and lost sight of it again. A few days later, I spotted it. Determined to get it out of the apartment, I stopped what I was doing, wrote a check and tracked down her address; then I walked directly to the mailbox before any other goofiness ensued.

The next day, Laura left lengthy messages on my office and mobile phones. The excitement in her voice was a mixture of joy and tears. Here’s why:

She had a mortgage payment due in two days. That day, she was unexpectedly paid early for two small freelance projects and a friend had loaned her a little money; but when she returned home that evening, she was still $40 short of her mortgage. When she opened her mail, she discovered my $50 check. She was ecstatic!

Everything had come together in the most perfect way, at the most perfect time. If I had sent the check earlier, who knows, she might have already spent it on something else. My serial delays had served as an absent-minded savings account, belatedly delivering the money to Laura exactly when she needed it. Divine Order: I was almost as excited to witness it as she was.

Last week I heard from Laura again. This time, she was sending one of those lovely email chain letters. At least this one didn’t threaten that Jesus would deny me to his Father if I didn’t forward it. But it did urge me to make a wish and forward the email to a specified number of people (in this case, a dozen plus the sender). On a specified day (in this case, the fourth), the message claimed, something would happen.

Because I don’t believe that God or fairies bestow blessings based on the number of emails we shoot into Cyberspace, I did what I always do when I receive these messages: I asked Laura, “Did you ask the previous recipients what happened on their fourth day?” Then I heartlessly deleted it.

A couple of days ago, Laura sent me an update: “On the fifth day, I received an unexpected check for $800!” she exclaimed.

I’m not one to snub my nose at anyone’s cash windfall, but I wasn’t impressed. I was, however, a bit curious about the details of Laura’s $800 surprise. So I pried my fingers from the computer keyboard, picked up the phone and had a human-to-human conversation.

I discovered that the check was actually a refund of the same mortgage payment that Laura had made the week before—a payment that left her only a few dollars to survive.

“I had just decided to let go of this house instead of letting it stress me out,” Laura laughed. “As soon as I released it, this happened.”

What happened was that Laura received word that her mortgage company had gone out of business. As a result, they couldn’t accept any loan payments, and all monies were being returned until the new lender could service the accounts.

Did Laura receive the $800 because she had mentally “let go” of her home? As we know, sometimes when we “let go and let God,” situations don’t always improve, in human terms. Sometimes the possession, loved one or relationship literally goes away—temporarily or permanently.

On the physical level, we typically perceive this as “loss.” Sometimes we respond by sinking into despair or struggling to hold onto what we believe we lost. As we grow to trust God completely, however, we are better able to understand that everything in the physical world is constantly undergoing change. The life span of all physical things is finite. As we evolve into an “egoless” state of mind, as philosopher Eckhart Tolle calls it, we are able to accept all departures as Divine Will. Instead of anxiety, fear, anger or desperation, we feel peaceful because we know that if he, she or it went away, it was divinely ordered and the Divine only works for our Highest Good.

That certainly appears to be Laura’s attitude. She isn’t interpreting her $800 refund as a signal that she will keep her home. All she knows is that she can keep it right now. She also knows that the unexpected check did not result from her forwarding the nebulous email. It also didn’t arrive because she prayed a certain prayer, called a certain name or clicked her heels three times.

That money was destined to return to her that day because it was her soul’s desire. Maybe it wanted her body to have grocery money; I don’t know. I do know, however, that if the soul had not desired it, it would not be there.

The $800 didn’t solve Laura’s problems, long term. The mortgage bill will become due again soon. What’s important is that she continues to “let go” and faithfully awaits God’s direction, rather than tries to manipulate God to follow her directions.

“Letting go” is not a physical ploy disguised a spiritual tactic to get what we want. It is a divine way of allowing our hearts to agree with our souls. It takes great faith to stop praying for God to genuflect to our human will and start humbling ourselves to honor Divine Will. It takes great strength to still our thoughts and shut our mouths long enough to hear and observe the direction that the Divine is revealing to us.

Many of us believe that we can change the conditions in our physical lives solely by changing the thoughts that run through our physical brains, by saying a prescribed word or phrase, or by changing our actions. Our life experiences have taught us that it really doesn’t work that way. If our bodies, brains and emotions were in charge, we’d all be independently wealthy, staring adoringly into our soulmates’ eyes and in tip-top physical shape—effortlessly, of course.

We spend a lot of time doing instead of being. We think that we have to “make things happen.” We think we are alone, that no one is looking out for our best interest. But we’re not alone. We’re in a serious, committed relationship. Our souls are married to our bodies—until physical death do we part.

Like all marriages, the peacefulness of the home requires harmonious communication between the partners. What happens when one partner makes important decisions without consulting the other? Chaos, tension and unhappiness–the same results you get whenever your heart and soul do not agree.

At prayer time, do you beg or bond with your partner? Do the desires of your heart conflict or collaborate with the desires of your soul? How do you know? When do you plan to find out? Whenever you do, you will start to experience real change, accelerated growth and consistently answered prayers.

——————–

Love it LIVE—An Upcoming Event in Chicago!

If you missed the three-day Women’s Conference in June, I have good news: By popular demand, authors Shirley Lawson, Stephanie Wilson-Coleman and I will conduct sessions at “The Women’s Conference Follow-Up” on Saturday, September 19. This time, it’s in Chicago, at Power Circle Center, 9350-64 S. South Chicago Avenue.

This special event is presented by the Training, Development and Networking Team of the Alpha Omega Sisterhood, a ministry of the Power Circle Congregation, the Rev. Joseph E. Hill, founder and senior minister.

For more information and to register for only $40, visit Drama Queen Workshops.