Good Morning Beloved
The Packers and the Vikings had an ice fishing tournament. The first day the Packers caught 100 fish and the Vikings didn’t catch any. The second day the Packers caught 200 fish and the Vikings didn’t catch any.
The third day the Vikings were getting worried so they dressed their quarterback up like a Packer and sent him over to see why they were catching so many fish.
That day the Cheeseheads caught 300 fish and the Vikes caught none. When the quarterback returned to the Vikings, they asked “What’s the deal, are they cheating or what’s going on?”
The quarterback said “You bet they are, they’re drilling holes in the ice!”
White Stone Ceremony
I just saw this quote from T.S. Eliot – “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language; and next year’s words await another voice.”
I thought it was a good introduction to our Ceremony today.
The White Stone Ceremony is inspired by a quote from the Book of Revelation: chapter 2:17… “Let anyone who has an ear listen: To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
This passage refers to a couple of actions and promises:
The first activity is listening: Jesus talked a lot in his ministry, about the value of listening. In Mark 8 and Matthew 13 he said, “You have ears, but you do not hear.” We all have the capacity to hear, but many of us just simply don’t listen.
Stephem Covey reminds us that “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, most people listen with the intent to reply.”
Listening is a very important life skill and spiritual practice. When we don’t listen, we miss out on a lot. We miss out on connecting with people who may be hurting or in need. We miss out on intimacy and understanding of the people in our lives. Failing to listen can also create misunderstanding, disconnect and separation. We miss out on all sorts of insight and wisdom by not listening … because the more we listen, the better we understand, and the better choices we make. The more we listen, the more clarity we have. The more we listen, the more we open ourselves to insight, inspiration and understanding.
How well do you listen? On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you listen to your partner or spouse? To your parents, children and family members? To your co-workers? How well do you listen to your friends? And how well do you listen to yourself? How well do you listen to your heart and body, and your inner wisdom and intuition? How well do you listen to God?
Don’t let the noise of the world keep you from hearing the Voice of God.
We must learn to practice ‘conscious listening.’
The great theologian Paul Tillich said that listening is the first law of love. So, if that is true, look what happens when we apply the word “listen” to the great commandments … the greatest thing we can do is to listen to God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength, and to listen to others as we listen to ourselves.
An ear to hear is not an outer ear, but the ear of the soul; the ear that hears the “still, small voice”. We develop this inner listening quality by getting out of our intellect and into our hearts, through meditation and contemplation. It is a tool to help us quiet our busy mind and listen to the Divine Voice of Wisdom. We open our minds and hearts to a deep intuitive “knowing.”
Another activity or tool is surrender:
The passage says: “To everyone who conquers…” The conquering is not an outer war, but an inner one. To everyone who takes the time to listen to the still, small voice; to everyone who practices release and affirms inner spiritual qualities…. We realize it requires surrendering personal will to Divine Will, and the paradox is that in that surrender of the egoic self is Victory. It is a birthing of the Essential Self, just as Jesus taught and demonstrated.
In this passage there are also 3 Promises:
It said, “To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
The first promise is “Hidden Manna:”
In the days of wandering in the wilderness with Moses, the manna was sent by God. The people only had to go and collect it each day; they did not have to do anything to earn it. If they tried to save it, it spoiled. When we are in “the wilderness” of our spiritual searching, we receive “hidden manna,” not visible to the world. We are given spiritual energy and nourishment that sustains us. It nourishes the soul and the body. It benefits the whole being.
The 2nd promise is a White Stone
Back in the time when Jesus was teaching and someone served time in prison or in bondage of any kind, they were given a white stone when they were released. It served as a symbol that they had done their time and they had been given passage to live with all the rights of a free person. Each of us comes from the bondage of past nonsense – false limitations, old beliefs, our domestication, error thinking that have been a prison. With a release from bondage, comes a sense of worthiness: we are beloved of God, one with the Divine, free and unlimited!
The 3rd promise is a New Name
In Biblical times, a name was a very sacred thing. Every name represented a quality. Every name in the Bible actually means a quality that was in the person who carries the name. You didn’t choose a name for your child because you liked the name. You chose it for whatever essence you saw in the child. For example, Saul – which means personal will – was struck to his knees. He was blind for three days and had to look within. He was given a new name at the time of his awakening. Saul (personal will) was transformed to Paul, which means enlightened will. He is a symbol of human will that surrenders to Divine will, and in that surrender, he claimed Divine Power.
The story of a name change is common in Biblical mythology. The prophet Isaiah wrote Chapter 62, Verse 2; “The lower consciousness shall see your freedom, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.”
Abram, as he grew in spiritual awareness became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob was renamed Israel. Simon was renamed Peter (Faith).
So when we awaken to inner Spirit, we take on a new identity, a new name so to speak. This refers to the new, higher realization of the I AM, a new awareness of our God Self. And this is where the Ceremony called White Stone” comes in. In the passage, we are told “I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
Please select your stone as I continue to guide you through this meditation….
Say to yourself: “I don’t know anything.” Imagine you are an erased blackboard, ready to be written on. For by and large, what blocks spiritual learning is the assumption that we already know, or that we don’t need to know. We have to pray for the immense guidance that is offered us in the beginner’s mind.
I invite you to meditate on what you’re being called to in the new year, and claim that as your new name. Hold your White Stone in your hands
As you hold it, open your mind to “hearing” your new name. At any time in the next few minutes as I am speaking, if the new name comes to your awareness, hold it in your mind as we continue this process. Write it on the Stone when you are sure it is THE name or word for you.
Allow yourself to ask a question: Who am I or what am I called to be in this coming year? What do I need to learn? Where do I need to grow? Where do I need to give?
As I let go of my old habits that I released during the burning bowl ceremony, what is it that I am called to be known as?
This new character Identity that you intend to cultivate in the coming year might be connected to that which you released at the Burning Bowl ceremony. Let your awareness drop from your head down into your heart and gut: from your intellect and into your deep inner knowing. an awareness of Divine Love and Wisdom. Listen for a moment to your still small voice.
While we play some meditative music.
Right now, in this place and time, at the beginning of a new year, I invite you to consciously surrender to the activity of the Divine Mother/Father. – for the next few minutes. Open your imagination, allow Wisdom to speak; give your ego a few minutes off and let that divine holy Voice in you come through. Perhaps there is a new career, a new title, or a new quality that Spirit is manifesting through you.
Give yourself permission to know that as you release that which no longer serves your highest good, you can claim a new quality, a new name.
This is a moment in which you know you are free, free from all that has bound you. Breathe in, live in this new beginning.
And so, as you are guided by Spirit, I invite you to trust in this now moment, ….as Spirit gives to you in this sacred place…in this moment of Truth…an insight into your divine purpose… an insight into your holy essence, and so in that secret place, I invite you to allow yourself to hear the new name that is speaking within you.
It may be a title, it may be something like published author…or clean and sober…or grateful…whatever.
Sometimes people who write the word peace, love, or presence, take on a new essence of who you are becoming.
And, as that name becomes clear, write it on your Stone…
If a name has come to you, remain quiet and allow yourself to ask for a deeper understanding, to ask if there are any steps to take. In this moment allow yourself to simply open to Spirit, to say, “God in me reveals my true essence. God in me reveals my next step. God as me lives a joyous, peaceful, fulfilling life.”
Anytime you look at your white stone realize that you have the gift of choice; the gift to live differently, to live a more fulfilling life, to begin again, to connect with God and create with God.
The white stone carries a new name, the spiritual identity and a deeper awareness of your soul’s journey at this time in your life. No one, in the entire universe except your inner wisdom, knows what this new name is.
But it has come to your awareness to be lived out, to be expressed, to be embodied as you. It is what your True Self, the Divine is calling you to be or do. It is a whisper from your soul that you are so much more than you have ever let come into expression.
A thankfulness flows over us as we receive our new name. Along with it comes the power and guidance to achieve all that we desire. This is our new name. We see it. We decree it. We are on the path to gaining greater insights and awareness and a new beginning.
“Behold, I make all things new…for you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”
“And so this is our sign of a clean slate. Whatever has gone on in the past, we let it go. This is a sign of our ability in this moment to live in this new beginning. This is moment in which we know we are free, free from all that has bound us.”
“Become the leader of your life. Lead yourself to where you want to be. Breathe life back into your ambitions, your desires, your goals, your relationships.” Steve Maraboli
Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this kingdom.“ Accept this consciousness of ever increasing good in your life. I invite you to carry this white stone as a reminder of that promise.