21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.

And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ 

At the outset of his public ministry, Jesus had an intimate and powerful experience with God.

Jesus experienced this event as a physical (“bodily”) presence and an audible reality (“a voice”).

How often do I miss the work of God in my body?

I become so distracted and preoccupied with my mind that I lose touch with the “bodily” sensation of depth, richness, and beauty that signify the presence of the Divine. I fail to hear the “voice” that speaks to me of love. I am so full of the noise of my own needs, wants, desires, plans, and schemes, that I become deaf to the gentle sound of God’s Spirit.

It is while Jesus was “praying” that he sensed the bodily presence of “the Holy Spirit” and heard the “voice… from heaven.”

In prayer I put aside the distractions and preoccupations that render me insensitive to the subtle moving of that Spirit who I perceive in moments of quiet and stillness. The goal of prayer is that, just as “the heaven was opened” for Jesus, so my heart might be “opened” to the stirring of the divine.

When I awaken to the presence of the Spirit, I hear the voice that Jesus heard speaking of my true nature. God says to me as to Jesus, “You are my child, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

This is my true identity. It resides in nothing I have done or accomplished. It rests simply in God’s designation. Once I come to trust in the secure identity of my true nature, there is nothing left for which to strive, no more kingdoms to build, no great achievements to accomplish. I rest in that identity that exists outside of time and transcends any reaction to me or assessment of my life.

When I stop regularly in prayer and hear the voice of truth speaking of my true identity, I will live more fully from that deep embodied place of strength and peace that guided Jesus throughout his life.

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