September 1, 2013 – From Beauty to Christopher Robin to Presence

9/1/13 Rev. David McArthur
From Beauty to Christopher Robin to Presence

One morning on my back deck I stopped and observed the beauty of the early sun and of shadow, colors, and textures all around me, and I felt something more, something greater. In prayer, I call this The Presence. At times it is so alive, but it is not seen “out there”, it is in here, inside. Then I got it: the questions and thoughts in my mind from years of exploring great teachers and scriptures are about going through an experience but are not the experience itself. This experience that we call “God”, which makes us all misunderstand but which we’ve all felt—this beautiful sacred presence in us which lives through us, is us. Beauty opens us and is part of the journey.

In Winnie the Pooh the images are so pure. One morning Pooh is singing a rhyme and sees a hole in a bank. Could it be Rabbit’s hole? “Is there anybody home?” he asks. “Nobody home!” is the reply. Rabbit is a great picture of mind, always asking “What if…?” and when he lets Pooh in he says, “You can’t be too careful.” He offers Pooh bread and honey. When all the honey is gone, Pooh makes his goodbyes, but cannot get back out through the rabbit hole. He is stuck. Pooh is an excellent image of the soul’s journey—entering into the world and then getting stuck. Christopher Robin is the Christ Self; it’s his Hundred Acre Wood and all the animals are under his care. He said Pooh had to stay stuck until he got thinner. So he reads to Pooh every day until he’s thin enough to get out of the hole. It’s like that moment for us of being with the One, conscious of the relationship with that Presence in our lives. This is a picture of life, with all the things that go down, all the struggles and conflict; there is the intelligence and care there right in the middle of life, which responds. Knowledge supports us in our journey, but it’s not important. What is important is the relationship with the divine.

In the experience on the deck I became aware that I was grateful. “Thank you Father!” for the beauty, for the experience of being in it, of it. My response was “I am grateful!”—one with the gratitude and tremendous beauty that unfolds. I am grateful! I am grateful! I am grateful! In this moment you are immersed in beauty! It is in the people all around you (although sometimes very cleverly disguised). I am grateful for all that’s there! You are beautiful, and for that I am grateful!