The other day I forgave someone for something that caused a deep sadness inside of my heart, a lingering pain, even though we had had an “everything is fine now” status for years. Afterwards, I noticed a considerable change. I was more relaxed, and felt happier (even still) than I have been. We can have an intellectual knowing of forgiveness, but when it comes down to it, the feelings and the thoughts that come from the heart are the main substance of our existence. I'd pretended that things were “fine” for a long time, in hope that I would eventually believe it. But the action of forgiveness of self and others most definitely tips the scales for the good.

Now maybe some of you think that this sounds too religious. I'm not very religious, actually. In fact, I don't belong to just one religion. Recently I read Mahatma Gandhi's quote “God has no religion.” This was comforting. I'm not against religion, I just wasn't raised with one. Along the way, I've learned about God through nature, since I grew up in the country, and was in nature a lot of the time. Sometimes I think that religion can divide us from each other, like having a strong and steadfast pride of one's belief or nationality. Although, here in Southern India I've been accepted by people of all religions. I'm so humbled.

Do you remember from childhood what it is like to look into the eyes of an animal and observe the divine spirit? Have you ever had that experience? I have since I was little, and thought that everyone believed the same way that I did: that each animal has a soul complete with emotions and thoughts. What I didn't realize until I was in my mid-twenties, was that these kinds of experiences put me out on the end of a limb in certain social circles. So I stopped talking about this. But times have changed, and I feel free to make my own statements about God's presence.

Sometimes I think that animals are closer to God than humans. Their brains don't worry, or fret, or obsess, or intellectualize, as much as ours. When animals are not domestic, they live according the rhythms of nature, of seasons, and of food and water availability, or predator threat. When domesticated, they live according to their adopted humans, sometimes taking on habits and behaviors of their human “parents,” their socializing and domesticating role models. Wild animals don't have an opinion about God, they just do as God intended. They don't hesitate to think that maybe now might be a great opportunity to take out a life insurance policy first. They receive their cue, trust their fate, and jump in with four paws and claws, or slither, or hop, or gallop, or swing. Their whole body is attuned with God.

I could only wish to be like a wild animal. To trust my instincts and the messages that I receive from God. The best way to be close to God is to forget everything that you've learned in a book. Don't even believe what I'm writing. It's useless. The deeper you go inside of yourself, the more information you will learn. You will find a whole universe there. You will feel God within your body. When this happens, our prayers and questions are answered quickly, sometimes instantly. God and his divine helpers guide us to each step of the path, regardless of the terrain or circumstance. Our hearts grow and attune to our surroundings.

Spiritual power and maturity come from knowing oneself on the inside. Once we have the spiritual guidance, a God-force that we trust and believe in, then life makes so much more sense. Knowing becomes instant. We listen to our thoughts and throw out the thoughts that border on questionably “not good.” With this vigilance, we are able to take an honest look into the depths of our hearts, even parts that have been closed off for years, or parts that had been carrying some sort of resentment for some reason. This I know. And I've understood now, how sometimes relationships play certain roles in our lives for personally understanding the variety of dynamics and events of a bigger cosmic picture. Say, it's like reading a movie script. Only now, you don't have to play the villain, the victim, the double or the stunt man. You can be yourself. This is God's present.