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Sunday, August 30, 2015

More on who we are

This morning I am reading "101 Greatest Life Lessons" from Thich Nhat Hanh, I want to share a quote that is aligned so much with my understanding.

Sometimes people ask you: "When is your birthday?" But you might ask yourself a more interesting question: "Before that day which is called my birthday, where was I?"

Ask the cloud, "How old are you? Can you give me the date of your birth?" you can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. You can imagine the cloud being born. Before being born it was the water on the ocean's surface. Or it was in the river and then it became vapor. It was also the sun because the sun makes the vapor. The wind is there too, helping water to become a cloud. The cloud does not come from nothing; there has been only a change in form. It is not a birth of something out of nothing.

Sooner or later, the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into grass and the grass into cows and then to milk and then into the ice cream you eat. Today if you eat an ice cream, give yourself time to look at the ice cream and say: 'Hello, cloud! I recognize you!'

Look in the mirror today and say "Hello Holy Presence, I recognize you!"

Friday, August 28, 2015

To Answer My Own Question

At my birth I was/we were enfolded in the Holy Presence, and had some memory of "before."

Some of the words that come to mind re: the once upon a time baby:

  • innocent
  • trustful
  • eager
  • non-judgmental
  • unconditional love
  • hopeful
  • at home in the universe
  • comfortable with self
  • free of fear
  • child of the Infinite
  • essence = spirit
I believe that is still true at the spiritual level of all of us. Under the filters weighing us down, there is that holy being enfolded in the Holy Presence, knowing who we are.

I know this to be true from my own experience and from my study of the mystics and the holy books. 

The filters came little by little over the days and years of our earthly lives. At some point we do spiritual work and remove the weighty filters that distort what we see, hear, feel and know about our lives. Paul spoke about looking through a glass darkly - then face to face. Yes, no matter how cluttered we are with darkness and odd filters, they can be lifted and dissolved into light - then we know what really is so, what the mystical greats have told us from their experience.

If we lose sight of the Holy Presence, we are living in illusion. God is everywhere, always. This very moment and every moment we are enfolded in the Holy Presence. Every step of our journey is in the Light. I know this to be true.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A New Idea for Transformation

Something Emma wrote inspired me to write down a variation on a 3 x 5 card. It is something that is really powerful to contemplate, at least it has been for me.

For a few days, if you are willing, consider this and write down inspirations that come. I think you will be amazed:

What was my spiritual nature at the time of my birth?

Who was I spiritually before events on earth began putting filters over my original nature?

I'll share some of my insights in a day or two. I would love to hear some of your insights.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Emma and Me

Emma Curtis Hopkins has had a fairly large impact on my life. She was a spiritual teacher in the early 1900's and late 1800's. The three main New Thought groups were founded by people who studied with her, so many of her ideas have woven themselves into the 21st century via, not only New Thought, but also the varied positive thinking teachers, evangelists and many middle of the road Christian churches. One can see her influence on Joseph Murphy, Emmet Fox, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, books like the Chicken Soup series, Joel Osteen, etc. They may not know that some of their ideas flew through the years to them by a string of writers, teachers and preachers. They may not teach all of her ideas, but some came through some circuitous route to today.

As I re-read one of her books, I am inspired by the ideas that have touched me deeply and also able to set aside some of her ideas from so long ago that no longer prove out. As I move though, and out of the valley we've been treading, her words encourage me and empower me  I want to simply share a few.

Nothing is sure at all in your life until it has been put through the furnace, which is the meeting of the opposite to it with its noble steadfastness to itself.

Firmness is poise, balance of character. Balance, poise of character is a great healing quality.

When the character is in the light, these four are seen to be: First, artlessness, which is innocence; second, attractiveness, which is beauty and judgment; third aspiration; and fourth, ascension, or the complete absorption of the mind and life in spiritual themes. The transformation of character from the first four to the last four comes when we meet temptation with the right spirit.

A man's word is the weapon with which he cuts out his destiny, or it is the stuff out of which he builds his life.

Jesus Christ taught that we may uplift our life by uplifting our thoughts. Jesus Christ taught that the only uplifting thoughts are the thoughts of God

The true faith gives freedom to all men exactly as to ourselves. You can tell when you have true faith by the pleasure you take in seeing others successful and prosperous in their own ways.

There is an elixir in the words of Truth. Keep them going continually. They will change your entire life and change your powers. You are a miracle worker by inherent right. Give your soul the chance to do all your thinking, all your speaking.

There is good for me, and I ought to have it

Though all around thee courage fail, do thou be strong. Though all around thee doubt prevail, in faith move on.

Faith is the curative principle.

Do not be deceived by your imaginations. Live by Principle.

Thank you, Emma.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stress and stuff

My last couple of years have been tests of my soul. There has been one thing, then another, then three more. On and on it goes. It's mostly "big" stuff too. Some of it quite bizarre, almost unbelievable, except I'm living in it, so I know it really is happening. So often when someone asks how I am, I answer by saying something like "still vertical."

So yes, I'm vertical, above ground, trudging through it, walking in faith. God and I are still on speaking terms.

But I must confess, I do notice that I am somewhat threadbare. I am a bit sharp around the edges sometimes. My pattern has been to go numb as possible to survive dire times, and then just keep on keeping on and appear as cheerful as possible not to burden others. I had a lot of experience in this in my childhood. Well in a high percentage of my lifetime so far actually.

Only a few know any of the details, just a tiny bit really. My close friends and relatives don't know what to make of the dilemmas I am in, so they pull back a bit. I think that some of them don't believe it.

Some of the torments promise to end, but then they don't. We're given dates of this one or that one ending, but it doesn't. It goes on, and has for a couple of years.

I know that God is enfolding me in something very special and my spiritual musculature is getting stronger and stronger. I know there is some sort of a divine purpose in all this torture. All I have to do is keep vertical until it is over. I/we have some exciting plans of the good we can do on the other side of this valley.

Maybe this is the week, and we can move up and out and onto the rest of our lives. Lord, let it be so.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seeds Planted Perverted

There was one a long time ago who planted seeds of love, forgiveness, kindness, eternal life, deep communion with God such that healing and miracles took place. He encouraged all who heard him to do as he did, in fact he challenged the hearers to do even greater things. He was little known except among a small following. The Romans crucified him, as they did so many thousands of people. His small band spread out teaching what he had taught them, on fire with a kind of urgency to tell people the wonderful idea of how life could be.

It didn't take long until men began to argue strange fine points about this simple, but revolutionary teaching. Factions developed. Fights ensued. Strange distortions grew up to be theology. Awful things happened like the Crusades, Inquisition, witch hunts, pogroms, holocausts, etc. Thousands upon thousands, millions died.

Ego had won. The seeds of love, forgiveness, kindness,eternal life, deep communion with God such that healing and miracles took place, these were shoved aside or only given lip service. People did not think that living with the seeds as a way of life had anything to do with the original message. The lower natures of men only wanted to fight and kill over stupid things, such as -  did Jesus have one or two natures?

They sometimes got together in mobs and the amazing phenomenon of group think took over, so that millions over time were slaughtered by wild hoards of so called religious men.

Today it is still going on. Factions upon factions upon factions. Only the people in your faction are "right." Shun the others, fight the others, disdain the others, be smug in the "knowing" you are in the "right" faction.

It is all soooo stupid.What if we ignored the crazies and went back to the original seeds, watered them in our own souls and let them flower? What if  love, forgiveness, kindness, eternal life, deep communion with God such that healing and miracles took place began to flower in us? What if we did  as he did, and what if we took up the challenge to do even greater things? What if we washed away centuries of mess ups by becoming the people he challenged us to be?

Now is the time we have to do our best to become what we are capable of becoming.

Friday, August 14, 2015

More Questions

In my youth, so many of my heroes were assassinated.  One of them, Martin Luther King Jr,. said many pithy things that have gone forward without him to touch the future.

One of his pithy statements came to my attention once again today. He said: Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?

This has come up in many times and places in my life, even before he said this. I was the unusual child who sent her allowance every other week to CARE because I heard $5 would feed a family of 4 in Africa for a month. In youth group, we rolled bandages for the lepers in India. I talked our group into adopting a Korean War orphan. Well you get the idea.

Much later, when I was a minister, when a depressed person came to me, I used to say that depression is the opposite of expression. When one is depressed, the energies are turned inward and are not expressing outward to be a blessing to others. So, I would ask my counselee to make a list about what they might be able to do to help others and then start. Go down the list and keep going until the list was covered, and by that time the passion for service would likely be alive and well and the life force of the person would not be turned inward.

There are other ways we turn the life force inward beside depression, at least it seems so to me. One area is the ego. If I do good and want attention and credit for it, the life force is focused on self and not on doing good itself. If I have to be the center of attention, I try to focus not only my life force inward but also try to get others focused on me too. If I act in such a way as to make myself seem less in order to get others to disagree and tell me how wonderful I am, I'm focusing inward. If I act as if I am a superior to others in anyway, I'm trying to get others to turn to me too and boost up my wobbly ego. That's just a few examples. You can add your own.

Somehow, each of us at some point feel compelled to blast through the inward focus and drop the need to turn the life force inward. We begin to see that it is like Jesus said when he told his listeners that whatever good they do for others, they also do for him. The pureness of Service opens and we no longer focus our entire life force to self, but to the greater Self.

Each person has something to give that would be a blessing to others. Let us do our best to be a beneficial presence here on earth and be awake to opportunities of service that come to us. Dare to look outward and upward. Besides it is so much fun. It isn't fun to focus all to self, and it certainly doesn't lead us to be the best we can be and to be the person God created us to be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Quest

I want to discuss one aspect of the quest, spiritual or otherwise. In the word "question" we find the word "quest." I see clearly how they go together, and at the same time why some hold back from undertaking a quest.

A question can be incredibly empowering, and it can mean the end to false ideas and fears. Let's consider some questions.

  • Why do I believe what I believe about God?
  • Why am I part of the political party that I am part of?
  • Why do I believe as I do about ______________?
  • Why am I afraid of _________________?
  • Why do I love __________________?
So, just these few questions, when delved into sincerely can be incredibly empowering. At the same time, a question can show us how we've gone down a path not really attuned to us or our deeper understandings.It can be the first step on a profound quest

Do we dare to ask ourselves the big questions? What would happen if we did? What would happen if we don't? 

Old saying that I love -- if you don't change the direction you are going, you'll end up where you're headed.

Do you like the direction you are going?

If not, walk out into a quest and find the thrill of life lived freely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

All is Spirit

This morning I read:  By the study of Spirit, we become acquainted with Spirit and realize that the trees are in reality Spirit, whispering great secrets of how to be happy and free. We realize that the men and women on the streets of restlessness are Spirit. In Truth, they are walking secrets of the splendor of God.

Oh yes. God's Presence is everywhere, fully, always. Creation is made of Divine Substance. Trees in particular have always been special to me, having "spoken" to me in times of sorrow and times when Guidance has been sorely needed or at least have been intimately at the center of such times.

The preciousness of life and the gift of life on earth are sometimes overlooked or taken for granted. Yet, if we practice looking in the mirror and at each person who passes by and at each person who is for a time in our lives, if we look deeply, we see sparkles of something amazing, and if we look deeply enough with an open heart, we do see at least a bit of the splendor of God.

I know, KNOW, that God is present wherever we are. You may use another name, Divine Spirit, the One, the Way, the Source, Jehovah, Higher Power or whatever - but it is the same Presence of which we speak.

Let me share one time a tree helped me. My husband had died suddenly of an aneurysm in the brain a few weeks before, and I went to the mountains on a retreat led by my husband's psychologist, My parents kept my children.

I was too distraught to really participate in the psychological games, so I went outside and sat on something, maybe a rock. I spent a long time looking at one particular pine tree, just sort of being with it. I saw birds come and go, I saw one building a nest. I saw butterflies, squirrels, and various insects coming and going. I saw some crawling up the tree and some scurrying around the roots. It was quite an active community centered on "my" tree.

Finally in agony, I shouted out mournfully - "why did he have to leave?" And a voice, from somewhere, maybe the tree, said, "Your life is like this tree. Some just caress your branches and move on quickly, some stay awhile and build a nest, some just scurry around the edge of your life, but none stay for the whole journey. The only person that is with you from birth to death is yourself. And I am with you always."

That was a life transforming moment that I carry in my heart and treasure always.

Let us look deeply and see the splendor of God wherever we are in our journey. Another life transforming moment is being prepared this very second,

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Heart Breaking

I cannot believe the discussions on TV right now. Such things would have been unthinkable until lately. And the fuzzy thinking!!! Is our civilization lost? I cannot help but wonder.

Okay, setting aside for a moment whether or not abortion is okay or desirable even- this discussion of aborting babies in such a way as they can be whole cadavers to sell. WHAT!!! And the discussions about baby body parts, and pictures of arms with hands and tiny fingers torn apart from the rest of the body. And the usual method of abortion of killing the baby before aborting not done as the parts aren't then saleable. And so what does the baby feel when it's being torn asunder?

And then some people trying to make this about a woman's right to choose! REALLY???

CHOOSE! Choose barbarity!!! What is the baby's right?

57 million U.S. babies aborted since abortion became legal. If that doesn't give one pause, then this news about what Planned Parenthood is doing should be making us throw up!

I am heartbroken. It may be I witness the fall of this great civilization. Somebody stand up - enough already.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Jesus kept talking about having eyes to see and ears to hear.

What am I to see and hear? The supreme goal might be to see God in every speck of God's creation, to hear the Holy Spirit in all, sometimes whispering and other times shouting, and to be guided by the Presence of the Christ.

So, boldly look at what is the Spiritual Reality in every person, each situation, each moment of life. Boldly stand with all that is Holy and focus our thoughts, utterances and steps knowing that we live in the Presence of The Presence. Everything we do matters.

Lift up our eyes to the Holy from whence comes our help.