Nurturing God with Gratitude

How do we cultivate a sweet, personal, devotional relationship with God?

One key, for me, was to realize and accept that God wants our love and needs our love.

“God yearns for our love … what is God longing for? Our love. Our attention. He has made it very difficult for Himself, because He gave man free will to seek Him or reject Him. He says, ‘I am pursuing every heart, waiting for My children to spurn My creation and turn toward Me.’ … unless we choose to go to Him willingly He cannot free us or Himself from suffering.”   —Paramhansa Yogananda

Feeling or imagining God’s need has been a crucial part of my own devotional practice.

When I first started taking daily devotional walks several years ago, I first focused exclusively on giving love to God and feeling God’s pain at my lack of appreciation for Him and His joy and delight for the efforts I was now making.

The relationship we have with God as His children, is reflected in the relationship we have as parents with our own children. How does it feel when our children ignore us? We don’t stop loving them, but our hearts are pained. How joyful and how much gratitude do we feel when our children show us some love and appreciation. God feels the same with us.

Since starting the devotional walks, there have been times, months, even year(s) when I’ve not focused on God’s need and just practiced sharing love with God while feeling God as an impersonal Spirit. This was definitely helpful, but not as sweet as when I felt God needing my love.

Many great Saints have focused on the suffering of Christ as a doorway into deep devotion.

“I used to find myself most at home in the prayer in the Garden, whither I went in His company. I thought of the bloody sweat, and of the affliction He endured there; I wished, if it had been possible, to wipe away that painful sweat from His face.”   —Saint Teresa of Avila

Christmas Nativity scenes can be deeply moving, because they awaken a divinely nurturing spirit in us. A love and nurturing for God as the baby Jesus.

By practicing loving God, we help God.

Lately, rather than focusing on God’s need and pain, I’ve been practicing feeling God’s gratitude to me for efforts made, no matter how small, to love Him.

When taking walks or sitting in contemplation, I feel God & I are making love at the top of every breath, while also feeling the deep mutual gratitude we have for each other. This helps open up a wonderfully sweet, personal communion.

Sitting at my computer now, it is hard to write this. Feelings of unworthiness come up.

How can I be deserving of God’s gratitude?

Even looking at the picture of Master on my wall right now is hard, feeling unworthy, feeling I’m being pretentious.

But God and Master coax me …

“look at Me … it’s OK to accept God’s gratitude.”











Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Visual Processing

Sunday church service is a time when I focus intently on going deep into a loving, joyful communion. In a typical week, it is the easiest time for me. So I’ve been noticing what “activities” during church will optimize going deep quickly.

Surprising to me is that sitting in my car for several minutes before going into church allows me to go deeper faster than if I quickly get out of my car and go into church. Also seated in church, spending time looking around first allows me to go deeper faster than if I immediately shut my eyes to meditate.

When arriving at church, I’ll park my car along the street, look out at the traffic and practice love breathing for several minutes. I realized it is watching the cars travelling along the road that allows me to quiet my mind down quicker than if I just went into church and stared at the still altar. The motion of the cars occupies my mind, helping to keep it from going off on multiple “thought trains”.

My son (when he was taking a biology class) informed me that “2/3rds” of the brain is used in visual processing. This helps explain why it is difficult to go directly into a deep still mediation when in a restless state. As soon as you close your eyes, your mind being restless, will use all that processing power no longer used on visual processing to think random thoughts.

Now my “optimized” approach for going deep into joyful stillness at church is a “four-step” process:

  1. Park car on street. Stare at moving traffic while practicing devotion. ~5minutes.
  2. Go into church, sit and look around while continuing to love breathe.
  3. Start staring at a fixed point on the altar, while still love breathing. Hold this state for about 5 minutes beyond the point where I have an overwhelming urge to close my eyes and meditate.
  4. Close eyes, meditate, while listening to the church service & songs.

This “four-step” process actually gets me to a deep, joyful state much faster than the “one-step” process of immediately going into church, closing my eyes, and meditating. More importantly the coaxing “four-steps” are much more enjoyable and less strainful than trying to all-at-once go deep.

Joyful blessings





Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Triangle of Love Contemplation

A few months ago on a longer “practicing-loving-God” walk, thoughts and inward images of Saint Teresa of Avila came. I found myself contemplating the great love she and Christ shared together. Inwardly I felt her and Christ together, sharing love.

It was very beautiful and inspiring.

Then inwardly and unexpectedly, I felt them both turn towards me. Each extended a hand and invited me to join them in this sharing of divine love,
… overwhelmed … tears …

As the walk continued, random thoughts would pull me away from this wonderful triangle of sharing love. Yet when I refocused on the Saint and the Master together and then contemplated myself being a part of it, the feeling of loving communion would readily return.

Later after exiting into a more rational state, my mind raced to analyze all this. Why was it easier to enter into a loving communion when I first contemplated the love between the Saint and Master first? When I practiced just sharing love directly with a Saint or the Master, it was harder.

I realized when I tried to tune in directly with love between myself and God, Master, or a Saint that my own self-judgements got in the way. Judgements that I’m not doing what I should be doing or I should be doing better,… These prevent me from going as deeply or as fast. Unconsciously, I still feel the Saint is more lovable to the Master than I am. Accepting the reality of infinite love is a long road.

Yet self-judgements don’t block the attunement as much, when contemplating the great love between the Master and Saint.

So after feeling and tuning into this great love, it is much easier to then let yourself be a part of it.

Since this walk, I have used this “Triangle of Love Contemplation” regularly. Even now as I sit and write this post, it becomes easier to tune into God’s love and inspiration, if I first contemplate both my patron saint and the Master together with me, helping me, rather than just one alone.

Blessings on the journey

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

It hurts Me …

“I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.”

While in a very devotional state, at the end of a devotional walk recently, I saw a man on the sidewalk, and a judgmental thought crossed my mind. Instantly I felt God as the man and inwardly heard Him speak to me:

“It hurts Me when you judge Me like this.”

It was very poignant and deep remorse followed. How could I judge the One who gives me so much love and joy, whenever I breathe and focus my heart on Him?

Who was I to judge how God wanted to unfold Himself in the life of another person? The man’s actions were not commendable, but I was judging him as being less worthy than others.

The next morning while feeding my cats, I thought about how God was being these cats. I didn’t judge these cats for being cats. I certainly didn’t judge God for deciding to partially express Himself as a cat. So why should I judge a man for being who he was.

Growing up I had continuously heard the bible passage “judge not, that ye be not judged”. I tried to follow this through mental discipline, but not to successfully. However now it has become much easier. When judgmental attitudes arise, I can feel the heart pain it causes the Beloved and I hear:  “It hurts Me …”

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Seeing God in Everyone

“look for Christ Our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for them all.”

– Saint Teresa of Avila

Have you ever noticed how sometimes when observing a loving act, the observer will feel more love inside than the actual people involved in the loving act. Consider a mother who is giving her small son a piece of candy, both feel the love of sharing. One giving, one receiving. However, the mother might also be thinking at the same time “if only he didn’t fuss so much.” The son may be thinking “if only Mom would give me 2 pieces instead!” So both the Mom’s and son’s experience of love is impinged on by egoic thoughts or desires. However, someone watching this doesn’t have any egoic involvement, so they can just enjoy the display of love more fully.

This effect can be used to help “see God in everyone.”

Whenever I’ve tried to directly see God in someone, two problems have arisen.  One is that ego judgments might get in the way. Second is that it becomes a “mental” exercise where I just visualize God in them but don’t really experience or feel it.

A more effective method for myself is this:

First practice simple love breathing for a moment. Just breath in deeply, energize the heart center, silently chant “God” on the out-breath, while feeling love for Him.

Then, usually looking at the person, I’ll keep energizing my heart on the in-breath, but on the out-breath, feel God loving this other person. Sense God’s ecstatic love for this person’s soul and His sheer delight in their being.

After a moment of this, I’ll shift my perception to seeing God as this other person. God is just manifesting Himself as this person and relishing in the experience of unfolding Himself in the life of this person.

This method of first observing and feeling God’s love for another, helps me feel love for others and see God in them better.

Each day now I’ll try to spend at least a minute to “see” God this way in each of my family members. It has helped contribute to a increasing sense of family harmony. It could also be a useful practice to use with people you work with, have difficulties with, or just anyone you see.

Blessing and Joy


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Learning to love God 10 times a minute

Hello Dear Reader,

Virtually all religions place loving God as the highest ideal. This site is meant to help sincere spiritual seekers of all faiths and religions.
Hopefully what you read here will be practical advice in the quest to love God more completely inside whatever faith you belong to. The leader of my own church has stated “don’t try to convert people to [our religion], try to convert them to God.”

In that spirit,
many blessings,

p.s. Here is a link to the post I wrote on my own church’s blog page titled:  Learning to love God 10 times a minute.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }