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"Make the effort to achieve the effortless," said my dear teacher Lorraine Sinkler.

For two decades, learning to experience God's presence, I meditated frequently every day. In the past decade, the pattern's changed. Lorraine said that later on in walking the spiritual path, we don't need to meditate every hour, but carry the sense of divine presence as background music; when the music flags, it's a call to prayer. So eventually we don't rely on will power, discipline and regularity. Techniques would not be greater than depending helplessly, effortlessly, on God's loving direction.

Sometimes rushing off to appointments and skipping the prayerful work, my day's still calling after me: "See how it's all flowing; remember whence it springs." Until finally, drifting from my center, the appearance of problems overwhelms me. Paradoxically, falling into my most painful, despairing pit can be the catalyst which bumps me up a notch. This snaking rhythm between the physical and spiritual sense of life is a fecund fertility dance. Our failures and shortcomings are secretly grist for the mill.

Serving its purpose, the ego mislabels us as vulnerable material beings and builds a "protective" separating battlement, fearfully hiding our weaknesses from ourselves. This mechanism boxes in our compassion, which is the spiritual access road to knowing who we really are. Then we mistakenly judge others too, while sensing we've lost our way.

The ego disguises itself as above the fray, waiting until, miraculously, it's genuinely worn down by its struggles. To the degree we're freed, we let go of the captain's wheel, and return to our hidden predicaments, without judgment, dependent upon God. And now, we feel more empathy for our self, our neighbor, our enemy. We see through to heaven on earth, our spiritual home, filled with God being, with God's utter holy beauty.

For everyone's progressing, including when we don't know it. This doesn't mean we reach our next way station without exertion, or superficially. At some point, consciously shifting our level of awareness becomes our priority. We devote ourselves in every way to our missions. As with learning anything, we find the right teachers. Blessedly, the course of an entire life is just enough time for this.

All these efforts are part of a process already rolling, not its cause. Remember, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." Or as the Qur'an says: "Let him that will, take the right path to his Lord. Yet you cannot will, except by the will of God." So it does no good to storm the gates of heaven. Slacken the reins. Yes, we need the effort in the "effortless effort," yet let's also hear: "It isn't easy, but easy does it."

At our core, we're the one, beyond forms. The one life is this ceaseless sea of action and repose. There are no strict rules for the beautiful river bends. With the silence of a flawless motor, omnipotent activity runs in perfect rest. Making a big deal out of nothing, such paradoxes are at the joining heart of reality.

Catching God's rhythm, we're moving between utter relaxation into God's presence and the difficult reconciling work of moving from material sense into the unfoldment of sacred relationship. The caking paste is washed off us, the worry and fears, the hopelessness, the hate and blame.

The blessing ever is now, because of having to work with the many pictures of separation, having to work with the spiritual principles, we at last reconnect inwardly with the one divine self, the one divine love, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, knowing no "other." The veil is rent, and we enter into the kingdom of God, into the kingdom of unconditioned and unconditional peace, love and joy.

"Really Being With You" is the name of Moshe Ross' book, as well as his KSKQ radio program. See mosheross.wordpress.com.

Send 600 to 700 word Inner Peace articles to innerpeaceforyou@live.com.