Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Is Psalm 91 from ancient times just religious words for prayer for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, or are they descriptions of a real place anyone can access if they have a will for it? My wife pulled this Psalm out and read it to me after sharing what my meditations have been like these past weeks. Though I can easily identify with being both Jew and Christian, it is amazing that this is the first time I was exposed in-depth to this Psalm.
She exposed me to the first Psalm about four months ago, which had me peaking at five mediations a day. I wrote about this recently and am joyed to write more about our spiritual adventure. It has been getting too much to keep focusing on COVID, the climate, the massive problem with agriculture and food supplies, pharmaceutical terrorism, and the world’s deep darkness. Much nicer to share beauty.
Though I used other scripture to carve out my refuge, these words describe what I do every day. Psalm 91 is helping me understand what I am experiencing.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
This speaks powerfully about the reward for living close to God or at least visiting the holy of holy places every day in one’s consciousness. This Psalm promises much and, in my experience, delivers on the goods. I am not talking about a religious God, something that we believe in. This Psalm is speaking of an actual place we need to learn to travel to.
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
My wife read me a story about a battalion of English soldiers in the trenches during WWI and that they had not lost a man. When the senior officer was asked how it was possible after two years on the front lines, he answered, every one of us recites the 91 Psalm every day.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
We are living in times that our need for protection is increasing.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Many people feel they have a fight on their hands (and they do) as power-hungry authoritarian politicians and industrial giants trash freedom. But the real battle is spiritual. What matters no matter the situation is our inner worlds of experience and, of course, the safety of our loved ones.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
To keep my sanity during insane times, I daily go to my refuge, to the still light of pure consciousness that not only exists inside of me but everywhere in this super vast universe of ours. I think in today’s world that we need all the help we can get in maintaining our balance.
It amazes me that such beauty existed thousands of years ago when the Psalms were written.
“There is a paradise in this world; whoever does not enter it will not be able to enter the one in the hereafter.” Profound words, which are found in the world of Islam, give us the keys to heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is always at hand, for it is the kingdom of the open and radiating heart connected to the whole.
The Prophet Muhammad said: “Indeed, in the body is a part, where if it becomes good, the whole body becomes good, and that is the heart.” The most difficult subject, after all, is the most simple. It is hard for the mind, which loves argument and complexity, to enter the kingdom of heaven, which was Christ’s way of describing the kingdom of the heart. The deepest mysteries and most significant challenges lie ahead for those brave enough to investigate the hidden depths of the heart. The heart lives in the fourth dimension, and our third-dimensional minds have little ability to cope with its unpredictable ways.
Being a love junky, I am attached to the permanent type of love that comes in like a tide and never goes back out. Anytime two beings touch closely on our planet, it is something of a miracle so hard has it become to establish and maintain real love.
Garden of Love
Eleven years ago, I wrote about “A return to beauty, heaven, and garden that we will create, share and enjoy together. The garden exists; I have been there and fallen only to rise back to its sweet heaven. I have repeated the process so many times, and I tell you the pain of the fall is never any less – though lately, despite my imperfections, I fall less and less and can rescale the heights without too much difficulty, though truthfully never without tears.”
Living with God close to your heart provides the framework of living in paradise, in a garden fenced with joy. So today, I can tell you that, at least for me, there is no more falling, no more suffering in a love relationship that has had all its conflicts wrung out of it.
This essay and Psalm 91 are not about the garden of love but about being like Moses and going up to the Burning Bush. We can sit with God if we can get rid of ourselves, our thoughts, emotions, and physical pain.
We gradually climb the heights by touching on the highest point in our consciousness that we can reach each day. We could say God is that highest self inside us, but it is not the highest we can achieve.