As the earth swings in its elliptical arc around the sun and approaches the July 4 aphelion, its farthest point from the sun (94.5 million miles), you’d think the earth would be colder than at other times. But because the North Pole tilts toward (or away from) the light we have our seasons, including the long summer days we love. I was thinking of this the other day when a friend mentioned Summer Blessings, meaning, of course, her pleasure in iced tea on a hot afternoon, or cotton candy at the Country Fair, and children swimming in the local lake or backyard pool, all crying to their mothers: LOOKIT ME! as they make a splash, a dive. The earth’s tilt is a blessing we rarely think of — as well as its eternal travel round its star.
Summer Blessings. My mind immediately swerved and crashed on the 120-degree heat in India or Oman, and what blessing it might bring to an impoverished worker lugging concrete on his back to a construction site. That’s the binary way my mind works. I remember being in India in July where the heat was so intense that when I returned to the strangling 95-degree humidity of Washington D. C., I had to wear a sweater not only in air conditioning but out of doors.
All this started me thinking of blessings. I believe in blessings. I believe in gratitude, joy, optimism, happiness, and that Thought — an energy in itself — is so powerful it can affect even inanimate random-operating machines. Christ said that faith can move mountains. It turns out to be true. For some forty years, the Princeton University Engineering Anomalies Research lab (PEAR) studied the power of thought. I wrote of it in my book, The Art of Intuition. Ordinary individuals, with no particular psychic abilities, would sit before one of four or five different random operant machines and THINK at the mechanism: “Go high, go low, move the needle this way, that way…” and at statistically significant levels, it was determined that their thought affected the machines. Distance makes no difference. You could be in Australia, sending your intention, and the mechanisms responded. Time makes no difference. You could send your intention five or ten days early, before the machine turned on, and still your desire — Thought–had statistical significance effects. Two people working together had a greater effect than one, but two people who are deeply in love — erotic, passionate, romantic love — had seven times the effect on the machine than a single individual.
It’s worth reading about in detail for what PEAR scientifically demonstrated is the power of Thought combined with Love.
As I get older, no blessing seems greater than Love–that, and perhaps a deep humility before the Mystery of Being. I remember my beloved mother-in-law telling me once that where she used to think she understood things and held strong opinions of good and bad, the older she got, the less sure she became, until in her seventies she could not say whether any event was good or bad.
At the time it puzzled me. But I have come to agree. What I think a blessing often has such thorns I can hardly hold it in my hands, while what I judge as terrible turns out to wear a golden crown.
In Medieval times every star and every month, every tree and day of the week, was governed by an angel. The angel for June is Muriel (of all odd names), who governs the sign of Cancer– and yet as I write this, her sweet springtime is already giving way to July’s Verchiel and the blessings of corn and raspberries and verdant greens that soon will turn to the drought-ridden August browns of the angel Hamaliel.
Yet in each month and no matter which angel governs, blessings pour upon us: spiritual blessings of unexpected joys, of coincidences and time warps working mysteriously in our favor, and demonstrations of kindness, tolerance, patience, equanimity, honor, goodness. Not to mention simply happiness. That’s a blessing. William James the philosopher, remarks that the word sane (from Latin sano) means health — and health is defined as happiness. The sane person is happy. It does not require summertime, for happiness comes from inside, and it’s found in every season of the year.
But here’s the secret: It all begins with Thought. Do I want to be happy? Then I must watch and guard my thoughts. What am I thinking now? Am I filled with gratitude, a sense of the adventures of life? Am I trembling with fear or boiling with anger at the friend who offended me, drinking the poison of my indignation and expecting her to die?
The gifts of intellect and critical faculties are also blessings. And we should use them. Yet when I give in to fearful righteousness (as happens sometimes, to my shame) when I start believing that I know that this is good and that is bad — instead of noting — and loving— that it merely IS–I block the blessings pouring onto me.
© Sophy Burnham, 2018.Washington, DC – Writer In Residence for 2018
Author of fifteen books, Sophy Burnham has written award-winning novels, plays, children’s books, journalism, nonfiction books, essays, and poetry. Her works appear in several anthologies and are translated into 26 languages. Three of her books were New York Times bestsellers, and most have won literary awards and recognition. She is best known for writing on spiritual matters, including A Book of Angels. Her favorite award is “Daughter of Mark Twain” (for The Art Crowd), her next favorite book review, “A contemporary Jane Austen.”
Her latest books are Love, Alba, a romance novel (Forewords Book of the Year Award); and a book of poetry: Falling: Love-Struck, the God Poems. See www.sophyburnham.com