The Immortal Garden

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There is a secret garden where immortal beings grow. No one is allowed to enter unless they have shed a certain number of tears. You see, these tears water the soil there, insuring that the plants are wiser than the visitors to the garden.

You might imagine that a lot of people crowd into this garden, but that would not be true. Some days no one enters to cast a human shadow there. Even so, the plants and flowers nod and bob in the saintly breezes as if they were quite enough and plenty.

I was only there once and it was due to an overwhelming loss, the loss of my youngest child, a beautiful daughter.

The entrance that I found was not by accident. After the required quota of tears was shed, it appeared directly in front of me and I was at home alone and it was deep night in my soul.

I looked up to find a heavy red wooden door swinging open and an aroma drew me through to the other side.

What I found there was the Lord Himself, at home with his angels.

He did not speak a word, only motioned with a hand towards the garden in full bloom. The sun was shining and a lake was bejeweled with dancing beams of light.

My soul was freed in that moment and a lark sang.

I cannot tell you anything else about this garden because my memory of it was wiped away. I only tell you in these few sentences that it is true.

Be still and know that you are loved and that the garden exists outside of space and time.

It is the Garden of the Soul and you maintain it. You, the official owner and operator of this inner grace. You are the one blessed by its aroma. You are the one who benefits from the touch of His Hand on your upturned face. You are home and there is no place else to go.

Vicki Woodyard

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What Works for Me

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I tend to do what works for me. The Fashion Police want me in one size smaller than I favor. I might look better, but I hate being squeezed by my clothes. Nothing personal, clothes, I just like to not even feel myself wearing you.

I like my own company more than being in a social setting where I have to play by the rules. I mean, some of the rules may be okay, but Vicki lets Vicki be Vicki. No one is vetting her to see if she belongs when I am alone.

I grocery shop about once a week and mostly eat a mixture of things both good and bad for me. I am no purist when it comes to food. Snacking is a sin of mine but I keep a trim figure, if I do say so myself. I moderate my diet so that I don’t outgrow my clothes. It is okay to outgrow them when you are twelve. In adulthood, it usually means you are eating too much.

Sleep is my biggest challenge. I am a natural insomniac. But I got to bed before eleven and get up around 8. No late nights; they don’t work for me at all.

My phone stays in the Off mode unless I know someone will be calling me on purpose, to set an appointment, etc. Otherwise, the machine takes the message and I reply when I get them.

I get my hair cut once a month at a generic clip and go place. I used to spend the requisite amount for an expensive fashionable cut, but the stylist was snooty and I finally left for good. Now I enjoy my silver hair and pay almost nothing to maintain it.

This whole note is about doing what works for me.

I write constantly although I have been advised to focus more on myself than on others. That is a hard thing for me to do. The words come tumbling through my fingers, not even having a chance to be thought about. I could slow down a bit. I tend to be impulsive.

By the way, I am the only way who gives a rat’s you-know-what about how I live my life. Why not do what works for me, I say. In the words of the Master, “My kingdom is not of this world.” I agree. This world is for the Kardashians apparently.

Vicki Woodyard

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Prayer

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Someone asked me what prayers I said and my answer was one that Vernon Howard taught, “God help me right now.” I also say The Jesus Prayer because it is so ancient and can be used as a mantra. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

The esoteric work of G. I. Gurdjieff was about esoteric Christianity, the practical application of what Jesus taught. This work is done by all types of people and beliefs. One does not have to be a church Christian to do this work of awakening.

The Bible is encoded in such a way that whatever level you find yourself on, you will see meaning in it. There will be higher and lower meanings; it is for you to discover the inner applications of what you read.

Take a verse that my family usually has read at funeral services. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from which cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” On the lowest level of meaning, it can be taken literally, with you and the Lord being separate. You are then begging for His Help and are at His mercy.

But if you take that esoterically to mean that you must take your eyes off your ego and lift them into an awareness that you are a soul, that returns the power to you. It is up to you to make a conscious upward move into the light. Now it has become an energetic application of a scripture verse.

Christ said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” In the esoteric work of Gurdjieff, it is said that “The Work will find a way.” Once again, when you put yourself under higher consciousness, it will help you whereas your ego never can.

And so it goes. The inner work is all that matters. The only thing that works alchemy for you. And it is never too late to start towards home.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Sun Inside

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If the sun is inside me, how does it get outside? If I am inside my house, how do I get outside? I open the door and voila! There is the sun outside. When I am outside, I am not inside.

This makes no sense, does it? And yet we spend all day mucking around in nonsense trying to make sense of it. There is a power called knowing that doesn’t involve proof, logic or anything manmade.

It is called freedom from the known. Krishnamurti spoke of this.

We tell toddlers that dogs go “Bow wow.” They grow up and that knowledge does them no good.

By the same token, when an online spiritual teacher tells you that he can enlighten you, he is telling you that dogs go bow wow.

They will tell you about books written on the subject of enlightenment. They will tell you they are enlightened themselves.

How do you know they are lying?

Because you have the sun inside of you, that’s why.

Vicki Woodyard

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Spiritual Math

There is a plus attached to every minus and a minus attached to every plus.

Vicki Woodyard

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Even the sun….

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Stop what you’re doing….

You might as well stop what you’re doing because it isn’t working. You may be able to apply a product to your lawn that will get rid of crab grass, but I mean those efforts you make to try to get rid of yourself.

Oh, I know, you’re a good spiritual student and you want to make progress on the upward path. Then why is it that you get up in the morning with such a heavy heart? Because you know that you are not on a winning team.

Everyone else is, but not you. Even the Kardashians are ahead of the game and look how shallow they are. And you are certainly a cut above people like that.

Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to rationalize your poor performance.

Something in you is delighted to read this because you know it is the truth and the truth brings sweet relief. In this case, seeing you are a failure means you might as well abandon all your plans to get ahead.

There is no “ahead.” All there is is your poor mind running in circles trying to fix yourself and your family. Your family hates you for it and well, self-hatred is a given, too.

I am telling you all this because I am your Higher Self writing this to you. I have compassion on you when you show yourself no mercy.

I know life is predetermined and it will end in your death. Just read the Bible for that huge clue.

But there is one more thing I have to tell you. The stone gets rolled away, but not by you. Ascension happens but on its own schedule.

In the meantime, I love you throughout all eternity. Take a deep sigh and agree with your enemies. Hating them never helped. And the enemies are inside. It’s all inside.

Even the sun.

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A New and True Beginning

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I got it a long time ago. The message, that is. I just wasn’t able to act on it. That is probably true of you as well, isn’t it? The exhortations reached your ears but not your subconscious mind. I salute us for trying, though, even though trying won’t get the job done. We did our best.

More and more I see how weak I am, how unwilling to stay weak. Actually, I am unable to stay weak. I seem to have to put an oar in, even when the situation will be wrecked when I do. Why? Because the ego does not want to die.

Forget the flowery messages on everyone’s Facebook page. Until you can admit that everyone lies, as House used to say, you will not even be able to begin your true walk up the mountain of awareness.

Vernon Howard said we spend most of our time circling the base of the mountain instead of beginning the uphill climb. That is because no one wants to die to themselves. We were born weak and helpless and told we would grow big and strong. That is one of the first lies. Another one is that if you go to Sunday School, you will be a good boy or girl. What they don’t say is that the Sunday School teachers are unaware of how bad off they are inwardly.

The beginning of the path starts with the understanding that you are feeling miserable and confused. I found a teacher that did nothing but confirm that in as many ways as he could. Oh, he knew how to rub our noses in it. And I found that to be the most healing thing. At last, someone who refused to lie.

And he warned us that when we tried to talk about the classes, we would be shunned. And that proved to be true as well. The system is fool-proof. Sleepers attack and those who want to wake up attack as well. The only man who doesn’t attack is the awakened one. And good luck in finding one.

You know every word I have written is true. You feel it if you don’t know it consciously. You know how hard you try to improve yourself and how little progress you make. One step forward, two steps back.

But unless we begin with the first honest step, we will never do anything but lie, most of all to ourselves. And good luck with that. I haven’t found that anything good comes out of it. On the other hand, when I find it in my heart to forgive myself, that is a real miracle. Out of that comes a new and truer beginning.

Vicki Woodyard

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Perhaps it was because….

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If I didn’t try hard enough
to impress you
make you like me
act intelligent
present myself as kind
to encourage you to be my friend.

Perhaps it was because that doesn’t work.

If you didn’t try hard enough
to be impressed,
to like me
to think I was intelligent
to think I was kind
and you wanted to be my friend.

Perhaps you didn’t try hard enough.

This is the human situation.
Everyone trying to be their best selves
and failing to see that
we are all imperfect
trying to be otherwise.

You should see me late at night
when I have no makeup on
and am crying over something or other.
Feeling abandoned by the universe
and sure that I must do something
to fix innumerable broken things and people.

I should see you some lonely afternoon
when you are wearing your oldest shirt
feeling you have ten pounds to lose
feeling you have things to prove
and no one is believing you
when you say you love them.

That might make for a real friendship.

Vicki Woodyard

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Peace by Peace

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You know what? I am amazed at how many people in spirituality circles want to cram joy down your throat. Not only that, they claim to experience it. Joy is one of the words that my teacher rarely used. Another one was love. He said that he didn’t use words like peace, love and joy because we would have no idea of what he was talking about. Bingo!

Hypocrisy would have us talk about personal possession of these experiences. But in reality, humanity suffers from a lack of peace, love and joy. If you doubt me, read the headlines. We are a declining civilization, not a growing one. We are doing everything wrong. To know that is a necessary spiritual experience. Because now you are being honest. You have to start where you are. If all you have is a broken heart, that is your reality. God can help an honest human being.
Hypocrites, not so much.

I look back over my life so far. Although I took to the path in great earnestness, what I have become an expert on is my own life, a life of caregiving and losses. Lord knows I tried to apply what I knew, but they didn’t help at all. You see, even when we are earnest about the path, we remain human beings. We don’t turn into angels at all. In fact, we get worse before we get better. We screw ourselves up and other people experience the fallout. And vice versa.

But my teacher also said that you always get your spiritual gold. In other words, even when you are messing up and falling down, you are making progress. Because now you KNOW you have nothing to give God but your mistakes. He is the giver of goodness, not you. But until you take up your own cross of bad behavior, you have no hope of experiencing what grace feels like.

These days grace happens in small ways. New young neighbors that I deeply appreciate, a kind word at the doctor’s office, an old neighbor calling to say I had a package on my front porch. Until we appreciate the small graces, we can never know the big ones. Maybe the big ones will never happen. In that case, the small ones will come to mean more and more. Never give up on God. Focus on doing the smallest things consciously. Forget big words like joy. If suffering is your lot, be gracious about it. The alchemy of awareness helps us bear our crosses knowingly. And that can be a big, big grace.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Only Happy Place is the Heart

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If we stopped giving each other advice, what would happen next? Because we can’t solve our own problems, much less anyone else’s! Once this is seen, all we can do is go back inside our heads and shut the heck up. When it gets too quiet in the head, try moving a floor down into the heart. Don’t go too far, or you will end up Lord knows where. Giggle. Just the heart for now.

The heart doesn’t think. It is in the business of being. And don’t ask me how I know. I don’t know. I feel the heart. I feel things that I love and that I don’t love.

Someone was talking about their “happy place.” I tried to come up with what mine was and frankly, I ain’t all that happy because nothing jumped out and said “I’m it. I’m your happy place.” The best I can do is say that when I am working hard crossword puzzles, I am not as apt to be thinking, so that makes me happy. That’s because mechanical thinking makes us miserable.

Being an introvert, I am happy when I am alone most of the time. The occasional social engagement is fine, but I usually have to recuperate from it. I rarely get dressed up and won’t travel unless I am guided to do so. (See Leonard Cohen, Amsterdam 2013).

When I traveled to hear Vernon Howard, it was because I dreamt of a classroom in the desert. It all worked out when I followed the dream. He, by the way, never gave advice on his students’ personal problems. I wrote about that earlier. He said “Never answer a question on the level of the question.” “Who am I?” is the perfect example of that. If you answer it, you are on the wrong level and what you say will be wrong.

In real estate, the expression is “Location, location, location.” That applies to inner work as well. Locate yourself in your heart and see if you don’t feel better than you do when you wander the streets of your mind alone. Thoughts are waiting to mug you and steal your energy the minute you stop watching them. So if you do venture inside your mind, beware! And don’t come to me complaining about how you beat yourself up. We all do it. Learning to yell Stop, thief! is not a bad practice unless someone is in the room with you.

Vicki Woodyard

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