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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Body of Truth

A line in a Karen Armstrong book that I am reading caught my interest this morning.
In both Pali and Sanskrit - as in English - the word "body" (kaya) can refer to a group or collection of elements, so the "dharma-body" of the Buddha is composed of those qualities and teachings which represent the Truth that he embodied.

It led me think about the Cosmic Christ, about the qualities and teachings of Jesus who became Christed. Communion says we enter the body of Christ. Some have taken that literally, but it seems much more powerful and helpful to say I enter into the body of the qualities and teachings of the Christ. I take them into myself. I invite them in.  I endeavor to live them. I am aligning myself with compassion, wisdom, and love and all that is in The Body of Qualities and Teachings of Jesus, the Galilean who became Christ, the anointed.

Such an entering offers transformation. We know as He knew that it is the Divine Within doing the work.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Motion Picture?

This morning in my contemplation, I saw my life as a sort of motion picture, one that cannot be rewound, but with smells and sensations. One that only God and I can fully know.

I saw the times I seemed off track, but those times ended up being my teacher. I saw joy and sorrow, hope and despair, beauty and ugliness, flashes of insight and moments of feeling lost, spiritual awakening and knowing contrasted with times of doubt. It was all there and more.

I saw that one of our "jobs" while on earth is to move into alignment with the principles of it all. Life works better when in harmony with and dancing with the Divine and Divine patterns. This requires moving out of superstition, and out of all evil actions such as violence, greed, etc. and out of certainty/closed mindeness, into a teachable and unattached mindset.

We cannot know it all, it's infinite. We must begin nevertheless. Today we participate in shaping tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A Blessed Christmas To You

The potential today is for sincere seekers to birth the Cosmic Christ, to attune to the subtle Presence of the Divine seeded in each and every being. Of course this is a daily possibility, but today with so many focused on the birth of Jesus and his meaning, the energies are heightened.

Without our attention and choices, potential remains potential. We perhaps need to ask ourselves some questions such as:

  • What would my life look like if my ego issues were healed?
  • Am I truly ready and willing to choose peace, nonviolence, empathy, compassion, and wisdom every moment of every day?
  • Am I ready to listen and see and hear at a higher level?
  • Am I ready to spend daily time in the silence, in reading writings of inspired individuals, in contemplation, in nature?
  • Do I welcome the Mind that was in Christ Jesus to be in me?
If so, let's pray.

This day I turn to my inner core, to the seed of the Divine forever within. I pour upon that precious seed the waters of my faith in the name of all that I am now and all that I am yet to be. I wish for the seed to sprout and grow and bear fruit. I align myself with all that is holy and turn away from all that is unholy and false. I am here Lord, committing myself with all integrity to this rebirth.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Confucius Says

I've long appreciated the aphorisms of Confucius. This morning I read this one:
When abroad, behave as though you were receiving an important guest. When employing the services of the common people, behave as though you were officiating at an important sacrifice. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire. In this way, you will be free from ill will whether in the state or in a noble family. --- Confucius 551-479 BCE

The goal he set for himself and his students was transcendence of ego and therefore birth of kindness and compassion.  I remember years ago reading a similar thing of his where he suggested we act as a gracious host/hostess wherever we are. I have endeavored to live in this mindset. It has made me feel at home in widely divergent situations.

Today is Christmas Eve, so it may seem strange to you that I quote Confucius on such a day. I believe awakened people tune into the same Divine Presence and so mostly agree with one another, with some slight variations due to culture and times. It seems to me that Jesus would agree with the above quote, for example.

In this special day, what if we all lived kindness in every interaction - the Christian Golden Rule and Confucius ' aphorism? What if we realized the holiness at the center of all creation? How quickly could this world turn around?

On this holy night, may the spark of God ignite in me and lead me to live as a person awake in You. Flow the glow of Your Love through me to all. Let the Christ Presence live and move through me. Lead me beyond ego to You.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Plato and the Internet

Plato wrote about life in a cave, watching the back wall and thinking flickering images dancing on the wall were reality. Genuine life was sacrificed to these shadows. All one had to do was to turn around and venture into the world that created these shadows, life with its joys and terrors, with its hopes and dreams and challenges.

Today, it seems to me, some/many people are looking at the back wall of the cave via the internet, television and various social media. Twitter mobs irrationally form over false assertions. People watch other people having adventures. Fictional characters and celebrities people our lives as if real neighbors and friends. Some talking head is upset over this or that, and we become upset too, never mind they were upset about the opposite last week and they will be upset about something else next week. Some politician rants this is constitutional and next month argues the opposite. People, in some/many cases swallow all of this and avoid a real life, real thoughts, real experiences.

My all time favorite mystic, Meister Eckhart, had a lot to say about it all, not the internet of course, but the back wall of the cave life.

Detachment from the shadows is necessary in order to know the Presence of God, to awaken to the fullness of life. Awakening is what we long for, even when we are not yet aware we need to awaken. Attachment to how we think things are has to go. All of our precious ideas, that have been set as if in stone, have to go. Exploration begins.

This day, Divine Presence, I come to You  to ask help in detaching from the illusions of this world. My soul cries out for awakening. My soul hungers for You. I come humbly, realizing I know so little and realize what I thought I knew is likely just shadows on the back wall of the cave in which I have dwelt. Open all of me to You, dear One. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

I've Given Up the Christmas Spirit

On tv the spirit of Christmas is about buying things, about romance, about some kind of magic. It is not about the Christ within, not about the birth of possibility, not about spiritual connection and holiness.

I'm not about what Christmas has become on tv.

I cherish the vision once given to me and still vibrant in my memory. I saw that our hearts are potential cradles for the birth of the Light of Christ within. When Jesus said we would do greater things, he was challenging us to attune ourselves to the same Presence of God that led his life. He humbly said what he did was the Father within, not puffing himself up.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if everyone gave up tv Christmas and opened to an internal spiritual Christmas that led to attuning to God.

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Holy Spirit Is a Terrible Nag πŸ˜‡

Today a friend said to me, "I don't know how you can constantly create. I have to be in the mood." I answered her with the above title. I know it's an odd way to put it, but it is actually sort of like that.

For as far back as I can remember, I've received incoming inspirations on an ongoing basis. It's a regular occurrence. It could be about most anything - recipes, quilt ideas, garment ideas, spiritual insights, things to write, solutions for this or that, places to go, etc. etc. etc....

I believe inspiration is always broadcasting from the Holy Spirit, but not everyone is tuned in. Just this very moment there are dozens and dozens of radio shows beaming in this place, but I don't have the radio on, so I cannot hear any of them.

The way we tune in to the Holy Spirit is by tuning up our instrument with regular spiritual practices, and with psychological healing of ego issues. Ego is crackling static and creates distortion, preventing our hearing Spirit clearly. Introspection, observation of self and counseling can help move out of egotistical life perspective. Regular prayer, meditation, contemplation, quiet time, time in nature, spiritual reading, spiritual conversation, practising the Presence all lead to awakening to what has always been there, if we would just turn to It.

Within us, original equipment, is the receptor to Spirit, the Christ Presence. We don't have to acquire it. We have to nurture it. All of us can live with inspiration on a regular basis. The Kingdom Is within.

I wish for you a life of inspiration.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Enlightenment

I just read: true enlightenment is free of animosity. 

To observe the world now and historically, we might conclude there is and has been very little enlightenment happening. It's more like hysterical attacks on one another and on oneself.

There have been just enough enlightened beings to let us know it is possible. We might be asking, is it possible for me, for my family, for society? Where do I go, how do I find it, who can teach me?

I think each must find our own way. For Buddha it was going all over the place and then finally sitting down under a tree, being still and receptive, maybe surrendering. He came to know our attachments keep us bound to the wheel of suffering. Jesus spent time alone in the wilderness and came to know the Kingdom of God is within and love is essential. (And of course they came to know much more).

It seems to me that we would do well to notice the testament of their lives. Our world is not easily conducive to quiet days of reflection, contemplation and listening within. We have to find our own version of wilderness.

Suggestions: turn off electronic devices for an hour or more a day and be still;  turn them off one day a week and be still; go out in nature and be with the trees and all that is natural; meditate daily; read inspirational thoughts and journal on them; practise the Presence of God as constantly as you can.

And, of course, we have to ask ourselves if we really and truly are willing to let go of all animosity, and if we are really and truly seeking enlightenment. Each answer "yes" lifts everyone a bit. Together we make a difference that is geometric, 1+1 is more than 2, and at the same time,  it is one.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Maybe Not Human Beings, Rather Human Becomings

For a moment let's loosen our grip on certainty.

We are always, constantly becoming more. Our life is not static. Change is a fact of life. Who we were at age 4 is light years away from who we are today. Who we were yesterday is at least a smidgen different from who we are today. Who we shall be tomorrow is yet to be determined.

Our bodies change, new cells form, neurons connect in new ways, we heal scrapes and cuts, we develop muscle in our exercises. Our understandings change. We hear new things, meet new people, read new ideas, engage in conversations.

It's all interconnected. Our new cells form out of nutrients from foods we eat which come from different parts of the world, nurtured by water and sun. It could be said we eat sunlight and rain. Our minds take in ideas from across history, from Moses to Plato to Jesus to Hildegard of Bingen to Thomas Jefferson to Einstein to the wisdom of Snoopy and everything in between.

In other words, we are in a constant state of becoming. In this dance of life, we do best to just relax and dance the dance, letting go of ego's urgent need to hold on, to grasp, to try to control. Our insistence on having it our way, our attachments/addictions, bind us to the impossible, and keep us from awakening and in a state of suffering in varying degrees.

Let go and let God. Judge not by appearances, but with righteous judgment. Let the mind/energy that was in Christ Jesus be in you. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. These and more words come to teach us from early Christianity. Let's listen and enjoy becomingness.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Defeated?

We just returned from doing a variety of errands in several parts of town. I spent some time observing people, and was sad to see so many unhappy, angry or defeated faces and bodies.

The majority of people had no sparkle in their eyes or spring to their steps. I saw sad faces, downcast, shoulders stooped, and stomachs as if punched in. I saw angry faces, disgusted faces, blank faces. I saw so many who looked like they had given up on life and were just going through the paces.

Of course I also saw some sparkly eyes of people full of the zest of life. However, they were definitely in the minority.

I wondered what made the majority give up??? Was there a final straw? Were they more sensitive to negative experiences than those who hadn't given up?

I certainly have had a ton of deeply distressing experiences over the entire course of my life, but I refuse to let "them" win. Perhaps it's my faith that lifts me through it all. Perhaps it's all the forgiveness work I've done. Perhaps I have an optimist gene.

I'd like to be able to lift the defeated, heart-sick, downcast sisters and brothers. That's not the way to live on this gorgeous planet. Every moment is pregnant with possibilities. No matter the current circumstances, there are positive choices that can be made. Hope can bring light into seemingly dark corners.

I send love and light to all co-inhabitants of our beautiful planet. May the Joy of the Divine fill one and all. May defeat turn into celebration. This is the day to shine. Walk into the day as The Light. BE contageous with uplifting energy. Let's lift each other. To God be the glory.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In All Things Give Thanks

I am thankful for you who read my words and are partners in the quest for spiritual awakening. Have a blessed and fabulous Thanksgiving day.

There is so much for which to be thankful. I suppose I could go on for hours if I were to list all of my blessings.

This morning, as I was thinking about all of my family being elsewhere, I had a new way to look at it. My memory can take me to Thanksgivings past. In my heart of hearts we are together. I can see my kitchens past filled with busy hands, laughter, and amazing foods. Hugs and kisses long past still live in me. In the realm of memory,  we are together.

This is a new Thanksgiving with opportunity for new memory-making. We are blessed to share it with some of our spiritual family. It is storming right now, a huge storm for California, but the feasts will go on.

Each day of our lives we have the power to choose to make memories that are with us the rest of our lives, warming and nurturing us. May your day be blessed and filled with glorious memory-making moments.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why Are We Here?

Depending on our worldview, our answers tumble from our understanding, often in a haphazard way. I addressed this in some detail in my book, What On Earth Is Going On - Spiritually Speaking. Some thoughts are urging me to say a bit this morning.

What is going on here is opportunity for spiritual growth. Each person, each event, every moment, all of it is our teacher. How we react or respond is feedback, although often ignored, that can mirror for us how we are doing in our process of spiritual awakening. It could be said that we currently inhabit a giant biofeedback device.

Really what is needed is the view Jesus suggested when he said to look beyond appearances. It's not the obvious thing shouting in your face. It's a check to see if we can love, even then, even in the face of this person shouting, even with a major challenge presenting itself, no matter what life throws at us.

Buddhism and Christianity agree that compassion, unconditional love and non-attachment, free of ego, are signs of awakening. As we look into the mirror of our lives, we can see how we are doing in these areas. And we can change, heal, grow, for we don't have to stand and defend ourselves as we are. We are in process. It's not only okay to be in process, it is necessary. We are not going to ever fully be perfect or fully comprehend The Infinite. SO, let's get comfortable with the ongoingness of our journey of awakening.

This is a golden opportunity to move more and more into the joy of love, compassion and freedom from painful egos. Look into your life mirror today with an open heart, with love and compassion for yourself and your life.

Let the life, the Spirit, that was in Christ Jesus be also in you, so said Paul and so say I.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Is Peace Possible?

My heart aches for this question. Contrary to my prayers, violence, anger, control dramas, hatred, judgmentalism, ugliness, etc are alive and well - even among those who claim to be working for peace and justice. I  have observed that many people think that by using these negatives they can control others and get what they want, but it doesn't work that way. The means and the end are together.

I have long known that we can only create what we are. Anyone with hate in their heart cannot truly love. Anyone with anger in their heart cannot produce peace. etc. etc. etc.

To turn the ugliness around that we see in this world, we really have to look in the mirror. We need to ask ourselves questions such as: what in me needs to be healed; how do I root out that which does not reflect my Christ nature; how can I bring peace, if I am not living, breathing, walking peace? How can I become what I know is my highest self?

I am sure we have to be the change we say we want to happen.

To get there, each of us needs to take responsibility for who and what we are. We need to do the interior work that leads us out of the maze of darkness. We need to clear the energies springing forth from us.

We need to attune ourselves to the pure Spirit of the Most High, welcoming It fully into every moment of every day of the rest of our lives here in earth.

Then we can be the peace.

Dear and Precious Lord, show me what needs to be healed in me and realigned with You. Grant me the courage and wisdom to face my dark corners and welcome Your healing Light in. I wish to be ever more like You and walk with You ever more fully. I wish for peace on earth, therefore I wish to be that peace. Lead me there. Lead us all there.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

What Is Prayer?

Tomorrow I'm to give a 3 minute talk on prayer to kick off our stewardship campaign for 2020. So, I've been thinking about prayer, its many forms, how it can lead to meditation, how it changes as we mature. etc.

My first prayer was a scary one, which may have been its point: Now I lay me down to sleep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. I think it's a bit of child abuse to insist on her/him saying that every night at bedtime.

The Santa Claus/God as errand boy phase of prayer is thankfully past - God give me (the doll, the car, the stuff).... send me. (goodies).. let me pass the test... etc.

Nowadays my prayers are more practicing the Presence, more silent communion, with the requests being for God to reveal Itself to me, to guide me, to help me remember we are One and therefore to walk my life that way, to fulfill my purpose for being here.

I think spiritual awakening involves growth in prayer life until all of life is an expression of prayer.

Oh Divine More, I come open and willing to know You more fully and serve You more consistently. Wash away all in me that is unlike how You made me to be. I feel Your Presence in all parts of my life, in Your whispers, in the beauty of this world, in the quiet of the morning, in the words of those You have inspired -- when I stop to realize it, You truly are everywhere. I cherish Your Presence. I am thankful for You, dear One.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Message

Yesterday morning I randomly opened my Message translation of the Bible. I opened to Paul's first letter, I Thessalonians, to the verse that said You are the message. In fact it was presaged by We don't even have to say anything anymore - you're the message.

It struck me so fully that it has been constantly on my mind ever since. I thought of Gandhi saying that if you wanted to know what he believed, just watch how he lived his life. I thought of my challenge to myself to be as congruent as possible, the same person no matter where I might be or with whom I might be. I thought of Celtic Christianity saying you could find God in the scriptures and in nature. That led me to think of everything, every being, every tree, everything, being a message, all connected to The Creator, all bringing a message.

Sure, some messages are garbled by unhealed messengers, but then that is a message too. There are warning messages and lifting messages. There are all kinds of messages.

So, I stood outside of church yesterday in its gorgeous garden-like setting, contemplating a tree, with beautiful music floating out of the sanctuary. I was outside as our tables were set up with a variety of handmade items for our annual Prayers and Squares fund raising boutique.

One particular tree caught my attention. It stood there with its' newly trimmed leaves forming an almost perfect upside down bowl, but its' branches, trunk and roots were unique in their twists and turns. They showed me a dance of twistings and turnings. It was beautiful.

I think of people. No matter how perfect we may be dressed and coifed, under it all are many twists and turns of life. Some were painful, some delightful surprises. None of us have walked a straight and perfect life. Those moments come together to form the me of this now moment. The totality of who I am is a message and so are the zillions of experiences that come with me to this moment.

Wherever we are, it is not permanent. If we objectively look at what we teach by how we live our lives, and see that it is less than our potential, we can change. We can choose healing to become more fully engaged in living the message of a child of God, a message of compassion, of unconditional love, of cherishing and blessing. We can set free the imprisoned splendor within so that It might be the message of our life.

This day I look honestly at my life, and ask for Guidance and Insight that lead me to live Your Message, God. In my observing, help keep me from discouragement, grant me courage. Let Your Light shine through me so that You and all that You are is what my message adds up to be. Wash away the darkness. Lift me from earlier turmoils. Clear my lens. I am thankful, for I know You hear my prayer and my sincerity. You know my heart.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pointing to the Moon

This morning I have been contemplating the old adage that the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon. At first glance, this is incredibly obvious. Yet, in some ways it is not.

For example, various religions have scriptures and
rituals that are aimed at the spiritual moon, so to speak. Their purpose is to guide us to our own spiritual awakening. They tell us what has and has not worked for others over history. The nudge our conscience, they stir our souls, they both trouble us and inspire us, and they teach us.

They, themselves, are only pointing and are not that for which our souls long. However, a large number of people look to that which points rather than to what it is pointing. Idolatry happens. The scriptures and rituals are worshipped. They are taken literally, robbing the deep truths they are meant to convey.

I believe and know that we are each called by something magnificently More to awaken and to live as awakened beings. We are to be love and compassion. We are called to join hands and hearts as one family. I believe all of our scriptures and rituals point to these things, some point elegantly and some crudely, but they point to the same spiritual vision.

Look at your own tradition and ask yourself - to what does it point? Take your eye off of the finger pointing and shift focus to the Infinite More to which it points.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

"Return From Tomorrow"

Today I read the book as named above. It's the story of a man's life after life experiences. I could relate to so much of it and had tears in my eyes several times.

One time when I got chocked up, I want to share here. He asked himself if he had fully shared what God had given him to know and if he was able to love the immense unconditional love shown to him???

I asked myself those questions, and I realized I have more work to do. I'm still not certain how to communicate experiences that enter the Mystery of God and in no way fit into words. I also notice I'm not able to so fully love that all in my presence feel the immense unconditional love of God flowing through me.

So it seems I have a lot of work along spiritual growth lines yet to do. I don't at this moment know the next step that I must take, but I can feel it getting ready to reveal itself. As always, I am here Lord, I do hear You calling and I will definitely hold Your people in my heart.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

That Silly Snake

I just read a great alternative to Augustine's original sin idea πŸ’‘!  The Adam and Eve story is about ignorance, about how dumb and silly it would be to believe someone dressed up like a snake and what happens when this decision brings its consequences.

All of a sudden I saw a parade of snakes: com men and women, snake oil salesmen and saleswoman, propogandists, uneducated "teachers," manipulators, purveyors of magical answers, out and out liars, etc. ....

Then I saw those who walk as if dead, those who followed the snakes and took them as true, those who are ignorant of critical thinking. I saw hysterical people, holding onto the snake/s in their lives, for dear life. I saw desperation.

Then I realized ignorance can be overcome, it is not an eternal given. While some may be so hypnotized by their snakes that it might not be easy to break the grasp of ignorance on their lives, others are ready to let go with a tiny nudge.

As for me, I fervently want to let go of all ignorance remaining in me. I seek Truth. I seek compassion towards all. I seek a deep and abiding relationship with The More. Let it be so.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Change Is In The Air

It is often said, the only thing you can count on is change. I've sure seen tons of it in my lifetime. Practically nothing is the same as it was in my childhood. Some of the changes are positive, as the medical breakthroughs. Some are very negative, as terrible weapons. Most are somewhere in between.

There have been many times in my life when Spirit whispered, occasionally shouted, that something was up, newness was coming soon. This is one of those times. Snipets are coming to me about this is the last this or that. Something is unfolding and getting ready to make itself known. Perhaps another adventure is gearing up.

Lord, I hear Your whisper. Attune my ears, my mind and my heart to fully receive Your Guidance. Grant me the courage and the strength to follow You always.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

My Pain and Your Pain

This morning I had an insight that I want to share with you. I realized a selfishness in me I had not seen before.

Regularly I pray for someone dear to me who is angry, judgemental, paranoid and estranged. I pray for the Love and Light of God to envelop him and heal him, restoring him and setting him free from the darkness. I feel emotional pain deeply because of the situation.

This morning I realized that there are many who have such pain and sorrow in their hearts and many who live in dark and fearful corners of their minds. Of course, this is obvious to us all at some level. But, my realization is that it is more appropriate for me to pray for all, not just my tiny corner. In fact, we are all family, offspring of God. We share this life, this planet, this air, this water, this joy and this pain.

Luke told a story of a rich man who did not help the man at the gate, covered by sores which dogs licked (it was thought long ago that dog saliva was healing). In the after life, the man at the gate with the sores is held in the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man is in torment out of reach, but not out of sight. He wants someone to go to his brothers to warn them so they can avoid such a fate.

This is the same as my realization this morning. The rich man was concerned for his immediate family, not for the suffering of humankind. While I have been concerned since childhood for others, I have not prayed as deeply for them as I have for my estranged love one. Let's pray together.

Lord, Divine Presence, may Your Love and Light engulf, restore and lift all those suffering from broken relationships. May Your comfort soothe the wounded. May Your Wisdom guide the lost. May the experience of You break through the static and be fully known. For all of my brothers and sisters, I lift this prayer to You, asking in the name of Christ and sealing it with the ancient seal, Amen Amen and Amen

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Great Grandson Visits Me at Church

Image

I was sewing on prayer quilts and my precious granddaughter, Naomi, came to visit with Isaiah, our great grandson. What a wonderful surprise it was. It was a day of joy. He just turned one and is so bright and curious. I hope I get to see him grow up and express his unique self in wondrous ways.

Family experiences for most people range from beyond fabulous to dreadful. This was obviously beyond fabulous.

It is useful to ponder ways to make all, or at least most, family times positive and uplifting. How can we reach the family black sheep, long lost relative, the angry and judgmental with our love and care? It seems to me that being on a spiritual path requires us to come with open and loving hearts, not only to the easy to love, but also to the most difficult to love. 

We are each responsible for our own input into life. How we show up is important. I have come to know/believe that everything, every moment, every person is a spiritual opportunity to refine our walk and to lift others. 

Oh Divine Presence, open my heart to fully love as You call us to love. Help my ego diminish so that more and more of You can shine through without distortion.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Power Over Own Life?

Once upon a time, I thought that my thoughts, beliefs and attitudes were the major determiners of my life. The typical sayings were such things as: speak your word and the universe moves, I have dominion over my life, etc.

There are a lot of problems with these points of view. With billions of people speaking billions of words, many of them contradictory, only chaos would be possible. Then there is the guilt. If I totally determine my life, then what was I thinking to make this illness or this financial disaster or......?

Today, my understanding is a bit different. I know my tboughts, beliefs and attitudes have a great effect on how I experience/interpret life and on how others respond to me. But I also realize other forces play upon my life. My energies sort of bump into the energies of others. There are soul lessons, there are spiritual experiences, there are disasters not of my own making such as terrible weather, there are needs and desires of others, there are national and global happenings, there are a myriad of surprises.

What I am in charge of Is my own inner and outer speaking, actions and reactions, attitudes, interpretations of what is happening and have happened, and how I come to each day. Am I spiritually grounded and prepared? Am I forgiving and giving? Am I being my best self?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Question of God

In my musing today, I began to wonder how deeply people in general explore and experience God. Is God discussed vigorously with others seldom or regularly or never? Are a wide array of thinkers about spiritual matters read and considered? Is time spent daily in spiritual practises? Is God thought of first thing in the morning, during the day and at bedtime? If we were observed, would others generally think we put God into our regular days and lived as one who walks with God?

Let's say we say we believe in God, and moreover as God being Present as a divine Presence. We imply then that our lives are lived in the Presence of God. If we deeply and truly believed this, how would that show up in our lives? How would we be changed?

I think this is worth considering. Stop a moment and look into yourself. Bare faced honesty is needed for us to actually see ourselves.

Do you, in fact, actually, really and truly believe in God's Presence, in God, Him/Herself? If so, what comes next?

For me, it is a challenge. I challenge myself to be open, congruent and to grow each day more and more fully into walking The Way. What challenge do you give yourself?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Lingering Memories

There are countless memories, of moments in my life, that live only in my mind. No one can know my private memories. They only have sway when I bring them to this moment. Most of the moments of my life, however, have dissolved into a sea of nothingness. I cannot remember every detail of every moment of all that I have lived over these many years. Yet, they do have meaning, sort of as a group, in that they have bent the trajectory of my life and participated in developing my consciousness.

I find myself drawn to Irenaeus ' idea of this earth as unfinished, imperfect, in order for those who come here to refine and develop their souls. What matters is not one tiny detail, but rather the overall spiritual growth of each of us.

I can look at my past as an observer rather than as an emotional ego. This or that happened. I interpreted it this or that way. Each is a piece of who I am today. I see patterns. Each time an instance of a pattern enters my life, I see my evolving self more and more able to respond spiritually, at least more and more often. I can see my growth and/or my need for more growth.

All the water under the bridge lifts me onward.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Reality?

For a couple of days now thoughts about reality have been bouncing around in my head. What is it? Do we share the same reality? Can we explain our reality fully to someone who has a different reality?

In my book on forgiveness, one of the chapters is "Marlene Colored Glasses." We see everything through who we are, at least who we are in that moment. If we are in an extreme emotional state, for example, how we interpret something varies according to that state. If we are angry or happy, life looks different. If we have unhealed wounds from our past, our view of now is distorted.

Let's say we see an agitated person. One person responds with compassion, another with disgust, another with anger - to the same person in the same moment. Is there an actual reality, or is there merely a reflection of our own consciousness?

Is our view unique to who we are in our stage of development? Do we form groups of friends, maybe without knowing it consciously, on the basis of having the same or similar versions of reality, thereby reinforcing our view and excluding others as false or wrong or dangerous?

Is our life a mirror showing us how close or how far we are from walking a spiritual walk? What yardstick can we use to measure ourselves? For me, there are several ways based on what Jesus is reported to have said.

First, "by their fruits you shall know them." What might be the result of this choice? Does it lift others? Does it produce love? Does it foster peace? If not, what would be a better choice?

Second, "what you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me." Would I really say or do this to Jesus? Would I exclude him? Would I hurt him? Would I treat him In this way? In the spiritual understanding of Oneness, what we do touches all. What would be the highest choice?

Third, paraphrased, "Love God with all of yourself and love your neighbor as yourself. This fulfills all of your requirements." So, I must ask myself and answer honestly, am I thinking, speaking and acting from unconditional love in all instances? What do I need to heal, restore, uncover in myself to fully walk in love?

For many of us, it is time to heal and rise to a more inclusive and loving reality. Look in the mirror of your life and see the smudges on your reality, and wipe them clean with love.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Good News Should Not Be Based On Bad History

Oh, my goodness, I could not have stated it better. Amy Jill Levine's line summarizes one of my key points I've been making for years. Context, history, and actual study are essential to understanding most anything. Yet so many seem to gloss over these essentials and make stuff up. They then require everyone to just believe whatever it is they've made up. It's no wonder confusion reigns in so many areas.

It has long been my contention, for example, that to understand religion, we have to understand the times in which they emerged. My particular focus has been on the first centuries, BCE and CE. If we don't at least try, we miss the meanings of the events, the parables and teachings. We fall prey to every charlatan, to every misguided speaker, to contorted ideas, inaccurate translations and out and out cons.

I feel strongly, as you can tell, about the necessity of us getting involved in our own spiritual journey, not just taking some person's word without examining it. I think that is part of our job to be actively engaged in the search, the quest.

Wars, anti-Semitism, violence, exclusion of some, anger and hatred, all are children of religious ignorance.

The Good News of The Way of Christ has been smeared with bad history. In some cases, only a tiny ray of the original peeks out. I challenge you to go on the most important quest of your life. Search for history, for what it all meant to people of the day. Go on a time travel adventure, through the muck of ignorance to the bedrock of truth.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What About Angels?

I just read an interesting analysis of Old Testament/Jewish writings regarding angelic beings. There are several (Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, etc) who are described as being God's agents to people on earth, carrying divine power and authority, second only to God. They are described in magnificent ways with glorious appearance. But they are not God, and are not to be worshiped.

That led me to think about angels possibly being with us, maybe along the lines of a guardian angel or angels, or the cloud of witnesses, maybe even the oversoul.

I do know we are not alone. From personal experience, I know we are connected in some way to the divine. There have been moments in my life when the "veil" has been lifted, at times transparent. There are divine beings aware of us, helping when we let them. I cannot conjure them up on demand. They appear as they choose.

When we spend regular time in the silence, we become more attuned to all things divine. Our lives take on a special depth, an expanded interiority. It is a new way to be on earth when we know more than meets the eye is as real as things that are earthbound.

What if God and God's agents really are here? How would we live out our lives knowing this?

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Thought About Paul

Maybe I should say, a new to me thought about Paul, that I read in a new way this morningπŸ˜‡.

As you may recall, Paul wrote his letters/epistles starting somewhere between 49 and 51 CE, continuing to write for another ten or so years. A general idea about his writing was that it gives us a glimpse into Paul's theology and his counseling to groups he started, as well as a bit of understanding of where and in what direction The Way had developed by 20-30 years after the crucifixion and resurrection. This is still true, yet there is another nuance also.

Before he had his dramatic vision on the road to Damascus, he was a persecutor of the followers of The Way (followers of Jesus). So to be a persecutor, he had to know what upset him. He had to know something of what was being said and taught in the fledgling movement.

So, some things included in his letters are from prior to his conversion. Some things he wrote give us a window into the first 20 years of the movement. There are hymns, for example, that predate Paul's entrance into the sect.

I suppose this is a little thing, but to me it is a significant point because I have sought understanding of the first century for such a long time. This is another piece of the puzzle for me✨.

Most people seem satisfied to overlay post first century understanding over the actual first century. This doesn't work for me. Putting what we now know on top of what they couldn't possibly know distorts the whole thing. Ideas like the trinity, atonement, mandatory creeds, original sin, etc did not live there in the beginning. I know It is so very challenging to try to look without 21st filters, but we can try.

So we have Paul telling us his theology, and giving hints of developing theology beginning with the years before his conversion. Maybe we can read Paul with clearer lenses. Maybe he can still surprise us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hyperbole

I love that word, it sounds so important, but I dislike what it describes. Plus, I have concern that many people can't seem to notice the difference between hyperbole and truth, or maybe accuracy.

Sometimes the overstatement and exaggeration are silly - I am so full I feel like I just ate a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes it is prejudice - putting a judgement on an entire group, as all .... (fill in the blanks) are....  Sometimes it is used to whip people up emotionally, often in politics and religion.

This morning I read an outrageous article that stated our Attorney General had said that he was concerned about our long held values slipping into secularism (I agree). The writer then jumped to an illogical conclusion, stating that our Attorney General was advocating a theocracy. The two ideas are not related and trying to tie them together is ridiculous.

I think we need to be alert, as there are sooooo many exaggerations flying around that, if we're not thinking, we can be led far astray. I can almost hear my old Zen meditation teacher shouting WAKE UP!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sometimes I Feel Sorry for Myself

Yes, there are days it is hard to go cheerfully into the world. But, I have antidotes for getting off the pity pot. One of my favorites is to read and contemplate a prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is error truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
These are our marching orders. Go forth and express love and light freely. Don't go out needy, wanting to receive. Give.

May I suggest we read this thoughtfully several times a day this week? Watch how attitude and choices of action change, seemingly on their own. As Paul said, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Wake Up to New Seeing

I am thinking this morning about how parts of life can become rote, thereby missing subtle, or maybe not so subtle, meanings. I think this is especially true of religions.

Let's just look at one example using a line from what is called The Lord's Prayer or Our Father:
Give us this day our daily bread.
If you are a Christian, you may have said this a thousand times or more. You may hardly ever really think about it.

First thing we might see is a redundancy. Read the line again. Do you see it?

This day and daily mean the same thing. What might be the reason to repeat? Emphasis maybe? Or...?

The next thing we might see is something God doesn't actually give, though we ask for it in this line? Do you see it?

God is not our personal baker. God gives grain, and we make the bread. This line speaks of how we co-create with God. We take the raw materials given to us and change them. We make good things like bread or bad things like bombs. This speaks of our personal responsibility.

So, we could go on with this line, or most any line, but I am hoping you understand the process I am showing you. Think and ponder and discover what we might miss when we just go through the paces unconsciously. Try it with some of your favorite verses.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Downside of Worthiness

Recently I encountered the relationship of testing and worthiness in the Bible. The worthy were often/always tested. Abraham was tested. Joseph was, as well as Adam, Moses, Noah, Jonah, etc... and the quintessential testing story was of course Job.

In the story of Job, we are told an accuser, a member of God's heavenly court, tested him in order to see if he would stay true to God or not. Giant wave after wave of disasters befell poor, unsuspecting Job. He lost all earthly things, and his friends blamed him - What did you do to upset God and deserve these disasters? I can imagine the attitude of his friends was a knife to his heart.

Eventually, Job passed the test, or maybe the accuser got tired of the game too. Anyway, finally all good things came to Job, even better than before.

My life has been strewn with test upon test. I joked the other day that I wish I were not so worthy. But seriously, I can see and appreciate that each has been my teacher. I can see how each has sculpted me into stronger, more flexible more compassionate forms. I can see my faith is deeper and more integrated into my life. I am thankful to be here today in the form l am in, Marlene 79.5. I know each day will bring more sculpting. I hope to be able to recognize the lesson quickly and cooperate fully with God, and not resist. I must admit, in the past, there have been times I questioned God - Really! Are You sure this is absolutely necesssary? 

Help me to recognize Your hand in the lessons of my life. Lead me ever closer to You. Bring me at long last into the valley of peace and safety and freedom.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

If We Don't Know History

The old saying says - if you don't know history, you're condemned to repeat it.

I must say, I see lots and lots of ignorance of history going on. I'm not sure if it's because history is poorly taught, is taught with extreme bias, or it is willfully skewed for reasons of manipulation and control. It seems to me, whatever the reason, it leads us down dark and unnecessarily redundant alleys.

Instead of reasoned study, it appears that emotions are in charge. That old limbic brain, void of logic and reason, is in charge in many places.

A quick survey of history shows us countless stories about what has and has not worked. It shows us the arguments of great minds. It shows us the processes of great artists, philosophers, theologians, warriors, leaders and ordinary folks. It gives us a foundation upon which we can build.

Let us build upon the best of human history and throw the histrionics, hyperbole and ignorance aside.

A song from my youth has been playing in my mind this week - it only takes a spark to get a fire burning, that's how it is with God's Love, once you experience it, you want to pass it on... Let's be a spark for truth and turn on the light of reason in the midst of ignorance.

Oh Divine More, guide Your people. Let loose a hunger for truth and reason. Calm the troubled souls caught in the tide of emotion and ignorance. Help us rise to be who You created us to be and step into the Light and out of the shadows cast by the addictions to emotions. Help us plant seeds of Your Highest and best. May Your Will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Past vs Present

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
This quote from the novel "Go Between" just came to my attention this morning. I think it is profound. I was just sharing, a few days ago, with a discussion group I lead, how difficult it is to understand the first century. We cannot really go there sufficiently to see as those who were there saw. Hence, today we see widely and wildly divergent opinions of whatever we focus upon in the past. Even the recent past falls prey to this because things are changing so fast and are under the influence of dishonest spinners.

Try to imagine it. In Palestine there was something like 95% iliteracy, and about the same over the Romanworld, maybe up to 92% in some areas. It was less in Galilee. Modern logic had not been created. Science was primarily superstition. God or gods punished or rewarded with weather, health, prosperity, etc. Women's wombs were opened by gods or God to incubate the man's seed. Bare subsistence was the life of most people. The Romans ruled with no tolerance for resistance, think of the thousands upon thousands who were crucified for sedition. Life expectancy was in the 30's.

Such would be your life under Roman rule. You couldn't read or write. You were very superstitious, hungry, tired, worried and so poor it is hard to imagine.

Many people try to look at the first century, or any time past, by overlaying current knowledge, systems and values. This can only get a skewed result, even crazy theories. Some young people are so distorted in their thinking, primarily because of being taught spin and abhorance and distrust of discussion to find truth. Free thinking and logic are under attack in such a way that could lead to first century thinking returning, thinking that is stifled by not having logic, scientific method, or ethics.

The old saying comes to mind, my mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts. 

Let us quest for truth in all ways, about all things, always. Jesus told us the truth will set you free.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Individual Spirituality

"A Religion of One's Own" by Thomas Moore is an interesting book. It got me to thinking about how everyone really does have some unique way of relating spiritually. Each of us who are sincere about our spiritual path somehow create our own variation, including those who are part of an established religion as well as those who are not. Some of us create a very distinct religion.

My understanding comes from a lifetime of study, external and internal experiences, touches from something More, serendipities, epiphanies, life itself.

My wounds have opened me in unique ways to beyond where I might have gone without them. My teachers are legion. My interior connections run deep. My creativity comes from something greater than me alone. I know I am a part of the More.

I must confess that I am bored, sometimes irritated, by those who have walked shallowly through their lives, missing the grand adventure of growing into Oneness. I am saddened by those who profess one thing yet live another. I am appalled by those who use their religion as a weapon.

I think a helpful exercise is to begin to clarify one's own religion by writing in a journal. Questions to oneself are a good way to start. What do you know about God from your personal experience? What spiritual practices are most dear to you? What spiritual questions do you have? Where do you feel most connected? Who are your teachers? What do you actually believe? Who are the people with whom you can discuss such things? Where do you want be in your spiritual life? etc....

I urge you to write about these and other questions.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Crossroads

We are always at a crossroads. Frost's poetry speaks to me, two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by...

It seems to me that we stand every moment at that crossroads. Each choice brings with it a different experience, a different world. If I turn right, I cut off what might have been on the path to the left. If I buy a house, it comes with its unique set of neighbors, for example, different from any other house I might buy. So I am not only buying a house, I am buying a particular and distinct life.

Here in this 21st century, we have a bewildering array of crossroads never before possible. With this Kindle Fire, I can write words that go around the world, inspiring and maybe confusing or even infuriating those who choose to read my words. Readers can take the ideas to heart or not, come back another day or not, read through my past writings of not, etc. Each choice creates something different for each person.

We not only have libraries, we have most of humanity's knowledge, philosophy, religion, superstition, myth and history in our handheld devices. We have choices about what to read of this vast storehouse and choices of how we interpret it
and use it.

What we choose depends on a number of factors such as: our values, our woundedness, our search either for truth or confirmation of our biases, and so forth.

It appears that there are quite a few choosing a way that is hurtful to self or others. Apparently there is a dramatic rise in addiction and death because of it; a rise in murders, small in size and mass, but both massive in size for the soul; huge amounts of abortions, killing off future generations by the milions; verbal assaults usually laced with half of no truths; loneliness and lack of genuine connection to others; wars and wars looming. And whatever it is, via media it instantly is known around the world, especially if it is negative. We have to dig for positive news for the most part.

Questions I ponder are many.  How can we help people make wise, life affirming choices??? Can we find a way through this modern maze to lives well lived and celebrated? Can we find our core, our spiritual kingdom within? Can we focus on beauty, love, wisdom and all things that lift and heal? Can we touch the soul wounded and be a healing being to them? Can we love as spiritual brothers and sisters?

What happens if we don't?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Yeshua

The book I'm reading on first century Judaism fascinates me, "Reflecting On the Rabbis, Sage Insight Into First Century Jewish Tbought." As you may know, the first century has been one of my focuses. What happened and what didn't happen? What was life like? How can I understand these times?

One of the chapters in the book I'm reading is on Yeshua (Jesus). It seems he acted and taught as a Pharisee of his time and place, especially along the line of Hillel. At the time, there were seven different Pharisee schools, broadly in agreement and debating fine points only.

Yeshua's followers behaved much like the students of other Pharisee sages. They lived with him, ate with him, questioned him, tried to emulate him.

He  taught Torah, extended parts of it, such as thought and not just action was to be brought into alignment (love your enemy, don't think with lust). He used storytelling and parables to make points, just as other Pharisee sages did also.

He debated other Pharisees, as was common practice. He was not fond of Sadducees, nor were the other Pharisees. In fact Caiaphas, the leader of the Sanhedrin that condemned Yeshua and turned him over to the Romans, was not only a Roman appointee, he was a Sadducee. Yeshua numbered Pharisees among his friends, such as Nicodemus/Naqdimon and Joseph/Yosef of Arimathea. His followers are reported to have called him rabbi.

Yeshua's followers, after he left, called themselves followers of The Way, and continued to meet in synagogues. There are various estimates of when they split and separated from the synagogues. John Shelby Spong says 88 CE. The book I am reading right now states there are records of followers of Yeshua's in attendance at synagogues and participating at high holy days as late as 387 CE!

Yeshua was way more thoroughly Jewish than most people think. Perhaps we need to revise and update our thinking. Perhaps with broader understanding, we can stop the tide of antiSemitism that seems to be rising currently.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Peace or Pieces

Ever since I can remember, I've prayed and worked for peace. Sadly, it seems the world is fragmenting into pieces rather than coalescing into peace.

The values evident in my youth have frayed. In fact, it appears that all we have held dear is now under attack. Telling falsehoods to achieve a desired result seems to be in. It's the end justifies the means on steroids. Tearing down our way of life has almost become sport, a team sport at that. Unlikely teammates join to shut down other points of view, float ideas about how to drastically change our time proven institutions, flood our country with unchecked immigration, even open borders, and change our Constitutional rights.

Instead of thoughtful dialogue and debate, people who want to be our leaders speak with foul mouths and promote socialism, even communism.

Our freedoms, our Constitution, our traditions are important to me. I pray our people open their eyes in time.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Imitation

I'm reading an interesting book about first century Judaism. One of the points is that, if one entered a school under a rabbi, it was expected that the student would imitate his teacher in every way possible, even his idiosyncrasies.

That point seems to me to have been taken up by the early followers of The Way. They were not students who were working to be actual rabbis. They were a cross section of ordinary people who wanted to be like Jesus. In some form, this desire has continued down through these 2,000+ years. In fact, Sunday we sang, I want to be like Jesus...

Yet, as Jesus said, by their fruits you shall know them. As I look at history and today, I see only a small smathering of Jesus-like behavior. Do we follow with clouded hearts only? Where and why did the understanding of following Jesus stop being to strive to be like Him?

Can we recapture this Way? Can we say in all sincerity our love and life in God is paramount, coupled with our love of others? Can we say that we guard what comes out of our mouths more than what we put into them? Can we truthfully say we are kind and generous and forgiving? Can we claim to be a light in this world? If not, can we claim to be a follower of Jesus?

Lord, clear my heart from all cloudedness. Open me to You fully. Lead me in Your path. Guide me to be ever more like You. From the core of my being, there comes a fountain of desire to follow Your Way. I answer Your Call this day. Here I am, Lord...

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Creating God

Each religion, each subset of religion, and each person, each has a different version of God. There is a wide, wide array of thinking and believing about most anything, in particular about the Higher Power. Most people get their version from a combination of places and people, from Sunday School and Christmas pagents or their equal in all religions, from parents, from long dead theologians, from scriptures either understood or misunderstood, from occasional experiences, etc.

Some say God is in the high heavens looking down, some say God is present with us, some say in us. Some say God has all the human emotions, sometimes ferociously angry, sometimes loving, some say loving period. Some say God is constantly judging us, some say God is resting and this is the 7th day. Some say God has a triune nature, some say God is one, some say there are many Gods. Some say their version of God is the only true one, and others are dangerous, some say truth is scattered everywhere. Some say We create God in our own image. We could go on endlessly with this list, but let's not. I hope the point is made. We all put God, The More, in a box, often a well defined box. Let's open our boxes and with breathless anticipation walk out into the vastness of The More.

My version of God, my understanding of God you can read more thoroughly in my book, "Seed Ideas - This I Know About God." I want to discuss just a bit of my version here.

It seems to me that the word "God" is packed with meanings that may or may not apply now. Let us set aside for just a moment our myriad of definitions and try to come fresh to whatever God is and is not.

Let us consider God as Creator. We can see incredible patterns within creation, intricate, immense, tiny. These patterns are true to themselves, discoverable, and amazing. The Intelligence in this ongoing creation is staggering. This led me to believe that there is no God who would be offended by my intelligence and quest.

Let us consider God as Communicator. In all known history, people have experienced guidance, insight, inspiration that seemed to them to be Something More than human. Of course the Communication was/is filtered through our consciousness, culture, present level of understanding, etc. So there are variations across time and place.

Some common items include such things as: there is More, there is God/gods; we can have relationship, I can know a bit of God; God is safe to approach and is Love Itself; there is something like a constant signal calling us to God, a yearning, a knowing, a hunger for returning home. Meditation, prayer, time in nature and quiet help develop our consciousness and relationship with The More.

God calls us to a mature spirituality, one devoid of superstition, inconsistency, and rigidity. Let us walk together with The More.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Trust or Not

It seems to me most of the time we trust. When we trust, we don't worry, we just know it's okay. We don't worry about gravity working, about earth falling out of orbit, about our house flying out into space, about whether or not we will wake up tomorrow, about waking up forgetting who we are, etc. We trust so much, we don't actually even think about it.

We worry about little things mostly. Often we worry about tiny things such as, is my hair ok? Some people have actually big worries - is my child going to survive cancer? Or am I going to get a job? Or is my family safe from the drug epidemic?

When we strengthen our spiritual life, trust takes us through all of these things. I often think of Paul's assertion that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.

I believe all are called, but all do not listen. Even so, viewing everything as a teacher, it all leads to good. We learn, we grow - at least eventually. Every event in my life has taught me something - how or how not to live, what works or does not work. It leads me to know I can choose wisely or poorly, and there are consequences. Do I want the consequences of this choice? If not, I can choose again.

I trust the process of my life. I can say, thank you for testing me and teaching me. I know I'm not alone. I trust God's presence and Guidance. What a ride it's been and is likely to continue to be.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Reflections On Time

From time to time, I find myself musing about time. Not being a physicist, my reflections are amateur and personal.

Sometimes it seems to me to be something like a corridor through which I can only walk in one direction, away from my life's "past." I can turn and look back, viewing an assortment of my experiences. I can reevaluate what I see. I can mourn long gone-by moments. I can celebrate again precious moments. But I cannot go there.

Time seems to be a relative thing. When I was 7, the week before Christmas was so very long. Now it seems like the wink of an eye. I think part of this is because a week relative to 7 years is a larger segment than relative to 80 years.

Time on earth in this dimension appears to have a beginning and an end. We are born and we die, or are born into a new dimension or place or something not conceivable from this viewpoint on earth.

I usually look for patterns when I counsel someone. And, as I look back at my corridor of time, I see patterns too. In my close contacts with others, I see a rather large number of extremely mentally ill people, I would guess far more than the average person experiences. I, fortunately, see only 2 alcoholics. I see amazing spiritual experiences. I see surprising doors open and others close. I see protection and guidance, craziness assaults and terrifying experiences, hope and love - therefore, survival. I see a strong call to creativity, spirituality, and curiosity. I see deep grief, doubt,  and overcoming. I see charisma. In other words, I see my unique, varied, incredible life. I see the life that prepared me for this valley through which I've been walking.

As I turn to look to the future, I can see possibilties, but there is as yet no specific form.

I suppose, if I had known what was ahead when I was still young, I might not have had the courage to walk forward. So, looking from here forward, it is probably best to walk in faith. One thing I know from my life, I do not walk alone.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Little Important Things and Big Important Things

Little things are important. We have to earn money to buy food and clothes and pay mortgages or rent. We have to remember to return that phone call, to take out the trash, to go to the parent teacher conference. We have to handle a thousand little things a day.

In addition to all these important little things, there are big important things that call to us. There are questions. What is the meaning of life? What about God? Did I exist before this life, and will I exist after this life? Which, if any, religion is true, or do all of them have some of the truth? If so, which version?

We pretty much have to deal with the little things, or we won't be long on this planet. There are various approaches to the big important things:

  • Try to ignore them and just keep busy.
  • Wait till retirement, when there is more time.
  • Just accept a religion as is, and ask no questions.
  • Go on a serious quest to find answers about the big important things.
In my experience, people have an inner yearning directed toward the Divine. Since the beginnings of humans, that yearning has led to many ways to attempt to touch the Divine. What an amazing array of religions and philosophies have strewn the path of history. Some have been quite bizarre and some brilliant.

Once touched, once experienced, the yearning for The More increases. The edge, so to speak, of The God Experience draws us as if an irresistible magnet. At some point, we become close to the Heart of God, at least from time to time, and we are never the same. We also are protected in surprising ways. We feel warnings about this or that: that is false and a dead end, and this is true and a step in the spiritual direction. Also, surprisingly, our relationship to the little things is changed. We deal with them in a more flowing manner, with less irritation, with more joy. New doors, both inner and outer, open as if on their own. Truly astounding life opens.

I wish for you the thrilling, satisfying, meaningful walk into the important big questions. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Lot Going On We Don't Experience

Science tells us phenomenal things are going on that humans by themselves cannot detect here on our planet, let alone out in the universe. Atoms are whirling, subatomic things are behaving in astounding ways, etc. Invisible things may turn out to be the most important. Anybody seen love lately?

Right this moment, wherever we are, radio stations and television stations are beaming programs. This room is full of potential that can only become useful if we have a radio and a television which we turn on and tune to one of them. Whether or not we tune in is up to us. If we choose to tune in, we can choose most anything from beautiful music to horror movies.

I propose that The Presence of God is in this very moment too. We can choose to tune in or not. Whichever choice we make, makes a huge difference. God may not be visible, but that does not mean God does not exist. There is the rich and full Presence available for everyone.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Thing About Guidance

Like a telephone signal is available for all who have a receiver, whisperings of Divine Wisdom are everywhere available to all prepared to tune in.

Guidance is present because God is present, in all, through all and the essence of all. At every level, there is an organizing Principle. Look at any object around you, say a cup of tea. The cup, you say is porcelain, not divine. Look more closely. It is made of whirling atoms and other non-visible things that move thousands of miles a second, and yet it remains a silent cup as it sits before you. The tea comes from water that has travelled many times from ocean to cloud to rain to river to cloud, to snow to river to reservoir to pipe to this morning's cup of tea, all the while remaining H2O. The tea leaves come from earth and water and sunlight to be nestled in your teapot this morning. What a miracle your cup of tea is, being so much more.

As I cannot help but realize some God Principle organizes the visible world in such amazing ways, I turn to the non-visible. I realize God creates, re-creates and participates in everything, whether or not my receiver is tuned in and aware.

Tuning in is a process. I'll share a bit of my process, but of course yours will be tailor made for you.

As a child, I had spiritual experiences that led me to know a loving Presence was with me. Some very hurtful and ugly things happened to me, eventually making the Presence fade to a certain dimness. From time to time I was lifted out of harm's way, so I knew God was there, but not as immediately as I had once known. I stopped going to church, feeling the Truth was not there. Eventually I was led to a church that helped me begin healing the wounds of my life. I realized the wounds were open places where new Light could enter. I learned to meditate, learned affirmative prayer and began study of mystics. I found God again. Guidance was once again operating more regularly in my life. I began to teach, moving me more and more in awareness of The Presence. My studies and process continue daily.

There is so much I want to say about Guidance. I will just add a warning today. It is imperative to give the credit to God for all. Once ego enters the door, a lot of backtracking is needed. A truly attuned person is humble. Even Jesus said It is not I, but the Father within doing the work.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Seed Ideas - This I Know About God

Yesterday I decided to re-read my book (see the title above, originally it was called "21 Seed Ideas").  It was written to be a teaching text in my seminars in Russia and Ukraine for the attendees who came from a wide variety of religious and nonreligious backgrounds. My intention was/is to find some core truths we can all agree upon, and to create experiential ways to enter them.

Part of my quest has always been to find ways for people to enter the experience of God. I know God primarily through moments touched by The Presence, only marginally by reading what others have said. Others have pointed the way, but we can only know by walking the way ourselves.

So, I humbly invite you to download this book and journey through it. I am sure it will lead you to a deeper, fuller walk. As I reread it, I am reminded that it was written as a flow through me, not a product of my intellect. It is quite an interesting experience for me to re-read it, and while recognizing it as "mine," also see more than me.

You can borrow it free or buy it for a nominal cost from Amazon in the Kindle section. It is such a small cost because I want everyone who wants it to be able to read it to also be able to afford it.

May each of us have a deeper walk with The Presence.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

New Ideas Find Me

It's probably that I've been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember, but it is sort of like new ideas chase me down. It's as if they want to be churned through the processes of my mind.

So one of them caught up to me this morning. This first part is not new, but it sets up the second part, so bear with me a moment.

Under ancient thinking, Greek thinking, and some others, the earth was for sure the center of the universe, with all other things out there circling around earth. As the explanation started to fall apart, sub-theories were offered, such as the planets went in smaller circles while going in a big circle around earth.

Eventually it became clear the earth orbited around the sun, as did all the planets of the solar system. The sun was just one of the billions in the Milky Way, which was just one of billions of galaxies. The earth lost its privileged status. It is our home, and so important to us, yet perhaps insignificant to the vast expanses of the universe.

Religion is undergoing a similar shift. The major religions have thought their religion is the right one and all others are distant falsehoods that circle at a dim distance.

Now our religions interact some, with most cities having synagogues, churches, mosques, temples, etc.  Information about each is easily found on the internet. And we discover that each is a path that has led many to the God experience. Our understanding is not the only one. Our religion is not the center of the universe.

So we have choices. Can we honor other approaches to God, while walking our particular path? How accepting and inclusive can we be to other sincere seekers? Can we move beyond the arrogance of having to be the only right one in the room?

We must try.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Drawing Lines

The idea came to me the other day that part of the art of life is drawing lines. Each of us draw them in just about every area of our lives. We draw them regarding simple, even trivial things, all the way up to the most profound and life changing things.

We draw lines as to how much is too much ice cream, how late do the children get to stay up, how much do we save or spend, how much time do we give to worthy causes, who is acceptable and who is not, the amount of time we spend on our spirituality, etc????

Some lines protect us and some go against our better futures and keep us stuck.  Some draw the line so no new information is accepted. I often see this in regard to politics and religion.

This morning I was thinking about Jesus referring to himself as the son of man, a Jewish idea associated with some of those written about in the Hebrew scriptures, (some of which Christians refer to as The Old Testament). This is not related to the concept of the trinity, which started to develop later as the followers shifted from the Jewish understanding to the Greek speaking and thinking world. Few people seem to know, or care, that much of what became Christian theology is Greek philosophy applied to the early Christian writings and teachings.

The Greek/Roman thinking took over, leaving the original teachings in the dust. It is often said that Jesus would not recognize himself in the theology that ensued.

When I first became aware of such things, and discovered what I had been taught was not accurate or even close, I began my long spiritual quest to find Truth. I must say it has been an extraordinary journey filled with just about every twist and turn imaginable.

What directed me was my personal experiences of The Presence of God and my inner knowing that Jesus and the New Testament had keys to how to live. I first poured over my little New Testament, reading and contemplating and underlining. I believed the way to live was there, deep spirituality was there, but theologians had mucked it up.

I found New Thought in the 60's. In those days, it was known as practical Christianity. Emmet Fox, Ernest and Fenwick Holmes, the Filmores, the Brooks sisters and countless others made Christianity come alive. I soaked it all up. I found deep inner healing from the wounds of my life.

Then everything changed. The "leaders" decided Religious Science was not Christian. I went again on a quest. I was led to study and experience other world religions. I discovered modern Christian theologians and archeologists. Things started to make sense.

I was called to go back to my beginnings, to churches, bringing with me my developing understanding of all things spiritual. My old friend Jesus, who had led me thru the terrors of my youth, was the friend of my old age, but in a very different friendship.

I am very grateful for the journey of this life, to the places and people and ideas along the way. I am grateful to realize it is an  ongoing journey, a process of awakening, a process of openness to being awake in The Presence. I am comfortable now living in the process, for I know I am led by God, and God would not lead me astray and would never leave me. No matter how the appearances shout at me, I know all is well, for the Presence is always present.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Essence of a Thing

The essence of a thing is what it boils down to. We might ask, what is the core of it?

Many say the core of Christianity is right living, living the Way of God as taught by Jesus, and not right believing.

Reading the Gospels, I find many examples of what that kind of living entails. It is inclusive, the rain falls on us all. It is forgiving, as the story of the prodigal son. It is generous hearted, as not judging by appearances. There are examples after examples of what Jesus  considered to be right living. There are very few about right believing. Re-read them yourself and check this out.

There are many examples of faith in God. Jesus even directed that faith away from himself, as "it is not I, but the Father within doing the work." Also, his prayers, and examples of prayers we should pray, are directed to God, not to himself.

His first followers experienced the Presence of God in the presence of Jesus, and so simply had to follow his Way. His Way was irresistible to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear. And not all had those eyes and ears, such as the Romans, with a couple of exceptions, and much of the temple leadership. Since we cannot experience all the same as the disciples, we can begin to walk The Way by living as he taught, by right living. That will lead us into a deeper walk where spiritual understanding opens and opens and opens.

May God bless our walk upon His path and lead us ever onward, enfolded in Love. Open our core to Your Essence blessed One.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Which Christian View?

This morning I am reading about two theologies, both from long ago Christians. It is the story of two, mutually exclusive viewpoints.

Augustine looked to the past. He created the view that we come from original sin. The story of Adam and Eve, he decided, shows us that humanity is sinful to the core, and we must be redeemed or we suffer forever in some horrid place.

Ireneous, in the other hand looked to the future. He saw us as works in progress. Earth is not a paradise with humanity as divine robots. It is a place to develop our souls, to find moral ways, to be refined and to choose God and goodness. We have the opportunity to grow toward our maker. If we listen and hear the call, we choose ways that make us more and more like our Maker.

For Augustine, what Jesus lived and taught was less important than he died for us to appease a blood thirsty God who wanted sacrifice. Maybe, if we did what the church said we must do, we might be saved from the fate worse than death.

For Ireneous, Jesus was a person through whom the experience of God was felt and known. He knew the way and called us to walk in His Way so we could be more and more refined until others could experience God through us too.

I'm my opinion, in general, Christianity has gone down the false and nutty path of original sin way  too long. I call us to turn to the saner and more viable path that comes from Ireneous and others who know us to be in process and also in freedom to choose God.

It seems urgent to me. The mess in the world can be solved and healed by sincere God seekers living morally and lovingly, in process of letting the inner light shine.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A Thought On Church Decline

Just a quick thought.

I was reading this morning about a shift I had not clearly seen. It is the life lived in praise, prayer, and focus upon relationship with God vs a life lived studying religion. It is a shift seen post-Enlightenment for sure, but accelerating since the 1950's.

An observer of American culture has noted the decline of the use of the word God and the assent of the word religion. Things in religion can be proven: there is and was a Jerusalem, there was a council of Nicea that made various decisons, there was a man named Augustine who moved away from the Good News of God's Love to the bad news of original sin, etc.

It appears the scientific nature of "modern" humanity has a hard time with things that can be known but not proven. I know God by experience, but I cannot scientifically prove that to you.

I wonder how we as a people can welcome back wholeheartedly the experiential and rich part of life that cannot be proven. Maybe the best parts of life are found there. I know but cannot prove I know beauty, love, sorrow, and God. What do you know but cannot prove that you hold dear to your heart?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Am I a Christian Emisary?

The title is really a question that hopefully leads us to examine ourselves. For some, Christian could be replaced with Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, etc. But I am Christian, so I am writing from that worldview.

First let's consider a couple of quotes.

Pearl Buck wrote about how she came to see how her Christian missionary parents were mostly there for themselves:
... somewhere I had learned from Thoreau, who doubtless learned it from Confucius, that if a man comes to you to do his own good for you, then you must flee that man and save yourself.
Then there is the conversation Ghandi had with a Christian missionary:
Let us think of the bulk of your people who preach the gospel. Do they spread the perfume of their lives? That is to me the sole criterion. All I want them to do is to live Christian lives, not to annotate them.
It seems to me to be something like Jesus asked us to do by letting our lights shine. When you see light, it needs no explanation.

A person feeding the poor generously is glowing and draws in others. Whereas someone trying to save me most urgently makes me want to run away. A gentle person caring for others has that perfume Ghandi mentioned. An angry Christian, one who knows it all, repells me. If you take the words "Bible belt" literally you get a picture of the angry so-called Christian trying to force you to be an angry person too.

Ghandi also called us to be worthy of the message in the Sermon on the Mount. That is truly exuding the Christian perfume.

There is an attractive, drawing-towards energy in those who quietly live The Christ Way. So we can check ourselves. Am I letting my life, my light, shine? Am I an emissary of Christ? If you watch me live my life, does that point to a life of joy and peace that others want too? Is Christ calling to others through your perfume?


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Walk This Way

In Buddhism, there are no people trying to convert others. There is an invitation to walk this way and find out if it is true and a way to live that works.

For me, it is fascinating to learn about the various ways religions teach various ideas. At the same time, I have walked with the ways of Jesus my whole life. I have walked and explored most variations from mainstream Protestant to Episcopal to New Thought to evangelical, leaving out fringes such as snake handlers, ewwe

While I don't agree with quite a lot of theology of others, I agree with the life and teachings of Jesus. Theology is primarily made up of opinions of streams of people. Some are profound, some looney.

To extract ourselves from the looney, we could look at the New Testament's reports of Jesus and try them on for size. What would happen if we walked His Way? Would this be a good way to live a meaningful life? What if we offered this invitation not only to ourselves but also to others?

No hard sell. No canned dogmas. Just an invitation. A welcoming. Walk This Way and just discover it. Find Jesus who has been buried under tons of other people's opinions, some of which have turned to stone or are petrified. Find deep meaningfulness under it all.

Consider yourself invited.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What Unconscious Assumptions Control Us?

The mind has always fascinated me. I've done quite a lot of study on it. One was taking hypnosis classes with a medical doctor who had delivered over 5,000 babies under hypnosis, receiving beginning and advanced certificates. I learned a HUGE amount in the class. I also took many classes on sociology, psychology, philosophy, etc in an attempt to understand more fully. I read and re-read the Bible countless times.

This morning I read a rather old study on priming. Our minds are primed so that we become more receptive to certain things. A simple study involved memorizing a list of 10 words. At a later time, when the list could no longer be recalled, the subjects were asked to do a word association. The answers given were from the original test. Example: stop, butterfly and rough were on the first list. some of the words for association were highway, animal and wood, which elicited the words from the first list from the participants.

Our lives prime us without us even knowing, especially our first 7 years, but also continually. We have a hidden education, that is we are not consciously aware of it. If we had been born in a different country, for example, we would speak a different language, have different norms and values and believe different things. And it is difficult to change them. In the USA we are primed to free speech, for example, but in many countries the opposite is primed. We are open and often fearless. In some places that would be impossible for they were primed for guardedness and fear.

Our nation was originally founded by people fleeing from religious intolerance. Our founders were primarily Christian and very strict about what that meant. Today we have been primed by the underlying premises that began with Pilgrims and our founding fathers and mothers. We are primed to freedom, to opportunity, to hard work, to Judeo-Christian ethics and values, to the importance of faith, etc.

It seems to me that one problem is priming that happens in the negative lane. People can be primed to feel worthless, to be paranoid, to be angry, to live in a drunken way owned by the darkness of negativity. All or most life experiences then are defined by the primed darkness, even when it's a stretch. How to neutralize the destructive within has to be addressed, if a person is to live a joyous and meaningful life.

As for me, I've spent a great deal of time in days gone by to escape and neutralize my negative priming. Forgiveness, study, prayer, meditaton, contemplation, conversation are all essential elements. It's rarely an easy task. It takes dedication and persistence. It involves first seeing yourself, your choices, your reactions, etc from an observer and neutral position, and to decide enough is enough.

Let's strive to be free from the dark cloud of negativity so that we can truly let our lights shine.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Star

We each are the stars of our own lives. Most people are extras that make entrances and exits. Shakespeare wrote of life being a stage.

Some are villains, some are helpers, some switch roles being both positive and negative at different times, some walk a long way with us and some only fleetingly. All are teachers.

There have been teachers in my life that dish out really painful lessons. I am still too sensitive as I am still easily wounded by some. I think it is my expectations that get in my own way. A Christian is kind, loving, forgiving, etc. But that is not actually the case. Some who proclaim Christianity are angry, judgemental and opposite of how Jesus taught.

So when I walk into the wall of hypocrisy, especially in regard to someone I care about, how do I avoid heartbreak? Do I rationalize, all are flawed so don't expect congruency. Do I cry? Well, yes sometimes I cry. Do I ask myself, what would Jesus do? Do I ask myself what am I to learn here? Yes, I do the above. And it can still hurt. Life has no guarantee of a smooth sailing life, so I better get used to it.

How do I get thicker skin? I'm getting there, but I don't want to be callous either. Sometimes it feels like a difficult path to walk somewhere in the middle, caring yet not so vulnerable that I am easily wounded and not numb or distant either.

My touch stone is what I learned reading and rereading the New Testament in my childhood and my youth and continually through my life. Jesus was mistreated but did not mistreat. He was attacked but did not attack. He loved. He forgave. He healed. In my own flawed way I must do my best to do likewise. I cannot control others. I can control myself, I maybe cannot protect myself from outside things, but my heart and mind and soul I can protect.


Monday, July 29, 2019

East vs West and Resurrection

I'm reading a Crossen book that looks at the differences between Western and Eastern Christianity, especially as seen via art. Icons, frescoes, statuary, wall carvings, art in general portray viewpoint. The main focus in this book is upon resurrection.

A simplification is that the Western art shows Jesus in various stages of resurrection alone. He emerges from the tomb with one foot still in the tomb, alone. He floats above alone.

Eastern art shows Jesus holding out his hand and bringing with him Adam and Eve as representatives of humanity along with assorted Biblical characters such as David, Isaiah, etc.

Orthodox or Eastern Christianity sees us as sharing the resurrection.  This is obviously so different from our Western teaching where Jesus alone rises. We are left behind. We have to earn our way into heaven.

There are an incredible amount of assumptions made based on which view is the starting point. Maybe it is time to reexamine our assumptions.

Imagine Jesus is holding out his hand to you. You have not been abandoned. All you need to do is reach out to Jesus and accept his hand.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Mortality

Last week I was diagnosed with macular degeneration. It turns out it is hereditary. My dad lost almost all of his sight, unable to do his beloved gardening or crossword puzzles. It was challenging to say the least.

For some reason, this diagnosis brought to the forefront in my mind my own mortality. I look at these hands, looking a lot like my mother's. One day they will be dust, no longer writing words, caressing loved ones, no longer making quilts or painting pictures, no longer whipping up new and creative recipes. My body will be returned to earth, no longer "mine" and no longer the garment my soul uses to navigate earth. This phase of my eternal journey will conclude.

So I ask myself, I am using it as fully as I could? Are my hands helping always? Is my mind seeking Truth always? Is my heart loving with abandon? Am I the best I can be?

I believe I am accountable for loving unconditionally.  We all are. I believe there is a purpose for me to be here at this time and place. We all are. We have purpose. Can I honestly answer affirmatively to these when I'm done here?

I need to look at myself and keep moving in these directions, for the hourglass of my life has just a little left. I will be 80 next year. of course it is possible I could live to be 100. Even so, the most of this life has gone before and some smaller piece remains. I know I must use it wisely.

Divine Presence, fill me, lead me, guide me to employ each moment in service of Your Highest call to me. Cleanse my heart of all darkness so Your Light shines brightly. May these final years be lived to Your Glory. Let it be so.

My Lyft Ministry

For the last year or so, we've been using Lyft to get around. It has been a fascinating experience. We've met drivers who moved here to our little valley from all over the world, as well as lifelong locals and people who moved here from other states. We've gotten personal insights into all kinds of matters, from personal to global issues.

Most of these drivers share their lives and their issues as if we are old friends. I've shared experiences, counseling, philosophy  and spirituality with these "strangers." I seem to be an unofficial minister to Lyft. It is a blessing to me and hopefully a blessing to them.

It has been a pattern of my life. In my youth, I often heard the words, "You're a lifesaver." There is something that makes people feel safe to talk to me. I often marvel at it all.

I wish the people of this world could feel safe with one another. I wish people of this earth shared genuine caring and compassion with all. It is possible, but so far unlikely. 😒

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Thoughts = Truth?

Our thoughts are not necessarily the truth, especially not The Truth.

I see people acting as if every random thought they have is really important and must be acted upon. I think part of the cause of this predicament is lack of a developed core of values against which all can be measured. We develop our core by filling our minds with wisdom of the ages and by daily quiet times when we still our minds in meditation and contemplation.

When we ask ourselves important questions, what do we answer? Who am I? What is truly important? What is my life? What is the legacy I create with my life? What shall I do in this moment?

What would happen if we journal on these questions for the next month? Let's see. Let's do just that.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another Lesson From History

I read a rather detailed account about what happened in the siege and following destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE. Can we learn from it?

First of all it was more violent than anything in recent history. For example, during the 14 month siege, Titus and his soldiers crucified 500 Jews daily, deforesting the entire area and piling up bodies to be devoured  by wild animals. And that was mild compared to what happened when they finally breached the walls.

The soldiers and mercenaries went into a wild frenzy of horridness. Titus tried to stop them, but it was too late. They already had gone over the edge between humanity and crazed bestiality.

It does seem there is a tipping point for humans, especially in groups. Right now there are those who want to end The Constitution, flinging wild lies at everyone and everything. They call others what they themselves are. They follow Saul Alinsky's formula for bringing down the West and establishing a Marxist dictatorship. There is a clash between Alinsky's worldview and the American worldview, but few recognize it. Many seem to be unknowingly seduced by it. Some are quite aware. I wonder... How close is the current tipping point? Can we learn from history before it's too late?

God bless us and guide us through these perilous days.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Are You Drunk?

The Dalai Lama says that many people are drunk. They are filled with negative emotions such as fear, anger, hatred, greed. It makes them act like drunk people. I certainly see this, especially with much of our political class, our entertainers and entertainment, and actually in many people.

I also see care, kindness and compassion in most people I meet. It seems to me, these positive responses to life need to be taught, reinforced and held up as not only ideals, but also as the way life works best. Religion was once the carrier of goodness training. Now with its decline, we have to either turn that decline around or find another way to inculcate positive values lest we fall into ugly anarchy and chaos.

So much research now verifies our natural inclination for community. Solitary confinement is a dreadful punishment. Our heroes are those who rescue, overcome, uplift, empower and care daringly.

Maybe we need a 12 step program for negativity. πŸ˜‡ We need to sober up from the drunken state of negative emotions and the awful behavior that follows.

Oh Divine Presence, grant me the wisdom and courage to rise out of all negativity. Fill me with awareness that Your Seed is in me and is ready to sprout and grow and expand so that all I am and all I do is as You would have it to be. Lead me to fully shine Your Light.