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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Heroes With Clay Feet

My husband and I were discussing one of my favorite movies today, "Amazing Grace," the British one about William Wilberforce and William Pitt and their fight to end the slave trade. The bill to end it finally passed in 1833. And there was John Newton, who used to be a slave ship captain, became a monk and wrote the song " Amazing Grace." It gives me Godbumps every time I hear that song and think of him, his life and his transformation.

Their fights to end the slave trade, their defeats, their willingness to try again and again, touch me deeply. A few inspired and determined people can turn the world around. And they don't have to be perfect.

Wilberforce became addicted to laudanum, an opium powder containing morphine and codeine. Apparently, it used to be used by quite a few people, most of whom became addicted. It caused him frightening hallucinations including ones of chained children in slave ships.

William Pitt became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24, and was the first Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. In spite of his position, he was not able to stop the slave trade during his tenure.

In spite of their foibles, they overcame and changed history. These three imperfect men are heroes of mine. And we too can accomplish the great things that call us, foibles and all.

Sunday, May 24, 2020


We've been watching the episodes of  "Murdoch Mysteries," all 13 seasons. This is my first experience of binge watching, several a day. Quarantine therapy perhaps.

In the shower this morning I realized my life is lived in distinct episodes. It was a startling revelation. Most of my friends and acquaintances seem to have lived in an undulating curve that is not divided so sharply as mine. I can see distinct separations between the episodes, with one being drastically different than the next. And when complete, the episode ends abruptly, and a totally new and seemingly unrelated episode commences.

There are some themes/lessons that are related, but the script/story is unlike any of the others I've lived in this life. One theme, as you likely know, is spirituality. Wow! How different in each episode though. One theme is betrayal/attack, also experienced in weirdly different plots. It's almost like I'm trying to tie up loose ends from a lot of previous earth experiences here in this life. I don't even know if that's possible, but it certainly is a working hypothesis that fits my wide ranging episodes. Pondering it all.

At any rate, it appears my current episode is winding down and a totally new plot is about to unfold. As always, it will be interesting, fascinating and chock full of soul refining lessons. Onward...

Friday, May 22, 2020

A One Time Offer or One of Many?

At some point in our lives, many of us begin to ask questions about unresolved issues around human life. If God is good, how is suffering explained? How is birth into some awful place or terrible family explained? How are horrendous deformities and illnesses explained? Why do some die very young, yet some angry person lives to old age? Why do some, who claim to be religious, do violent things such as inquisitions? Etc etc etc....

There are several possibilities. God is not good and loving afterall. I reject this possibility. Another is that this life is not a one time through experience, but one of many, each teaching us different lessons until we are finally refined, shedding all that is not Godlike.

I began a serious look into the possibility of rebirth many decades ago when I read an article in "Psychology Today" magazine that featured the research of Ian Stevenson at a university. He had several thousand cases of small children remembering their previous lives, often with exquisite detail, and also verified. Now there are numerous studies, anecdotal accounts and a pile of books and YouTube videos on the subject.

I urge you to look into this important subject. I'm personally convinced that this is not a one time event. From my studies and personal experiences I know there is more than one current life.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hold Onto Your Seat Belts

I know it sounds strange, maybe even bizarre, for someone who has not yet had the experience, but we are part of All that is. I am certain this is so. In the material mindset, we are just biological units. From the point of view of our egos, we ourselves are of paramount concern in our decisions. But from the point of the All, the More, the Divine, we are expressions of the Divine, as are all others. Anything antithetical to you is to me also. "Do unto others... Or refrain from doing anything harmful."

At the beginning of awakening we have connecting experiences. Maybe it begins in a state of awe as we are moved by a sunset or a redwood forest or the birth of a child. We may find ourselves resonating with compassion for someone, surprising ourselves. We may have tears in our eyes over a special moment.

We may begin to meditate and touch more and more deeply something opening within. We may begin to talk with others about it, read some spiritually oriented books, go to some retreats, etc.

For many of us, it is rather like remembering. We knew it before and forgot, it seems, because it doesn't feel foreign to us. All those experiences have led us gently to remember that we are interconnected, not separate, in this life school to learn love.

Then the Light comes. We are fed truth by Spirit Itself. We fill with knowing not from books, directly, clearly, and we will never be the same.

This is a peek at our journey of awakening. God bless you on this amazing journey.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tolstoy Speaks to Us Today

Epoch Times sent a quote from Leo Tolstoy today.
If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
 The citizens of earth have certainly had a time to cease our work and look around, courtesy of Covid19.

Many of us have risen to be helpful to others, refusing to grasp selfishly at the transient things offered in our materialistic culture. It is my hope and prayer that the consciousness of us being in this together, the kindness, the compassion, will continue as the choice of humans everywhere. After the virus, may we still care for one another.

As we rise above our challenges and open to others, let us remember we are all spiritual siblings.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Whose Reality?

It is said to people things such as: "face the facts" or "just face reality." Those words wafted into my mind this morning as I lay half asleep and musing. Then suddenly the thought came to me, whose reality?

Charles Manson's reality or Mother Teresa's? The homeless person's or the rich politician's? The witch hunter's or philanthropist's? The philosopher's or the scientist's?

There seem to be clusters of realities with some individual variations within the clusters. Perhaps the cluster is an archetypal thing. I was thinking of people who are examples of the same sort of reality.

Witch hunters, Nazi SS members, East German Stase, Caligula, Nero, Stalin and other ruthless dictators, Inquisition torturers, etc. In some ways it seems to me they share the same reality cluster. They were/are vicious, without compassion, power-greedy, narcissistic, villains.

Fundamentalists of every stripe have a lot in common. They have strong tribal identity that assures them they are the only ones who are right and all others have to be converted, shunned or destroyed.

On the other hand, there are great spiritual clusters such as Lao Tse, Buddha, Christ, mystics of every kind from Rumi to Meister Eckhart and some people who live quietly in the quest at all times and places of history. They are filled with compassion, seek Truth, seek connection with the Divine, and strive to be loving and a beneficial presence.

A strong identification with a particular reality usually screens out the other ways of viewing life. Occasionally, we read of or hear of someone who breaks out of a gripping reality, an escaped cult member, for example. In general it seems quite difficult to break out of a strongly held reality. I suppose this might be the background of wars, globally, locally and within families.

One of my goals is to be able to live freely, to explore and seek, to remain unstuck in a cluster and move ever more closely to the Central Reality of what we often call God.

Lord, lead me out of falsity of all kinds. Help me to unbind myself of all unlike You. Fill me with Your Compassion and Your Light and Love. I seek to be a beneficial presence here in earth. I go onward knowing You are All. I meet you in the sunrise, in the blade of grass, in the touch of a small child's hand, in everything and everyone, for wherever I look, wherever I go, You are there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Principle is not Bound by Precedent

One of the ideas that came to me many decades ago via Thomas Troward's writing, is Principle is not bound by precedent. So let's consider the principle of electricity as an example.

Throughout the course of this earth there always existed the principle of electricity. Nobody knew of it, however, so it was not useable. Then static electricity was discovered by William Gilbert in 1600. The electricity of lightening was discovered by Ben Franklin in 1759, and electricity was off and running as a newly discovered principle. It had always existed in principle and potential. Because humanity didn't know that, did not inhibit our use of it once it was discovered. The precedent of ignorance did not stop the amazing whirlwind of devices developed that use electricity once its principles were known.

You and I also are not bound by whatever precedents have formed in our lives, limitations we have accepted. Our self-talk may be the binding agent that ties us to our outworn precedents. Every "I can't, I'm not good enough, it's too late" ties us to the ignorance of who we are.

My use of electricity would seem fantastical to a person just a few decades ago. From my electric mixer, to electric cars to this Kindle Fire, precedents are broken forever. A few decades hence, these things will be archaic remnants from the viewpoint of new and wondrous electric uses we today cannot even imagine.

Once we know its principles, electricity works without hesitation in a huge number of devices. Nevermind these devices didn't even exist just a few years ago.

Let's flip this example to Spirit, The More, Creator, God. Spirit expresses through everything and everyone. It is unlimited. The universe, the tree, the flower, the giraffe, the baby, you and I = Spirit expressing. The great religions, philosophers, poets, artists have known this throughout history.

Knowing this, you and I can uncouple from limiting precedents in our lives. The Principle of Spirit quickened in us is not bound by precedent, by the stories of our lives. Rich or poor, tall or short, man or woman, God calls us to be all we can be.

With God all things are possible. God and I are a majority. Greater things than this you shall do.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Death and Living

Reading Stanislaf Grof's "Psychology of the Future" this morning, I came across a line that triggered some thoughts I want to share.
Another important consequence of freeing oneself from the fear of death is a radical opening to spirituality of a universal and nondenominational type.
He writes a mountain of thought provoking ideas for sure. This one hit me as something I need to explore with you today. I had a vision while reading this seemingly simple line.

I saw a giant diamond, each religion but one facet of the radiant whole. Each facet is tied to a particular time and place and point of view. I saw that some worshippers latch on to one facet so fiercely that they deny or fight any other facet. They cannot, or are not ready to open to Oneness. They are firmly bound by their particular culture, history and time, not able to see that if born elsewhere, they would be looking through a different facet. I saw the magnificence of the whole diamond. It was breathtaking radiance.

The Holy Presence is not, cannot, be bound by human limited understanding, by distorted thinking of those strapped tightly to a tiny facet of the Whole. Perhaps it is time to move from religion to spirituality.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Data Dilemma

When we make decisions based on data in any area of life, it behooves us to make certain that it is accurate. If there is no apparent way to prove accuracy or inaccuracy, then we should say this or that is our best guess.

Historically people have made many disastrous decisions based on false data. Everything indicates the earth is flat. More than one bath a year is dangerous to your health. Bleeding a person makes them stronger. It's  a fantasy we could ever get to the moon. This woman has been proven to be a witch. Women have no soul. Hitler will rule the world. The world will end New Year's 1000. Etc.

We currently find ourselves in a data dilemma over the pandemic. We have not lost 2+ million people here as was predicted by the early data, yet our Civil Rights are trampled in so many ways. People's jobs are designated nonessential, implying they are nonessential. Everyone has been treated as if there is a hot spot next door. It is confusing at best.

I learned in statistics, one can prove many different things from the same data, some mutually exclusive.  In order to make wise decisions, we need to use common sense in regards to our decisions and look carefully at any data presented to us. Question it - who is presenting this, what questions were asked and how was it organized, etc? We need to look not only to someone else's data, but seek truth no matter who or is what is speaking. Let us look with clear eyes and hearts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Focus on Symptoms

I just read a sort of parable shared by Fritjof Capra. I'll paraphrase it. You are driving along in your car and a red light comes on. It is the warning light that the oil in your car is very low. You know little about cars, but you know that a red light signals a problem. So, you take your car to the mechanic. You tell him the red light is on. He says not to worry. He finds the wire to the red light and cuts it. There, he exclaims, the red light is off.

I just love this little story. It so plainly exposes the problem of dealing with trivial, outer things as if symptoms can be solved by manipulating them, rather than finding underlying causation. The car  obviously needed oil, not the signal cut.

Looking around our world, I see this very problem in many, maybe most, situations. People are fiddling around with the trivial in an effort to diminish the symptoms, while ignoring the underlying causes. For me, the most germane to my life is religion.

I am certain that there is a deep spiritual yearning in the hearts of most/all people. For the most part, churches are not satisfying that yearning by offering real spiritual experience. The leaders play around with externals such as decor, hours of service, newsletters, bulletins, music, prepared homilies, etc. But they don't get to spiritual leadership that offers spiritual experience. Maybe part of that is that they have no way to lead there, as they themselves have not experienced The Holy One.

On top of that, genuine teaching is obscured by illogical teachings around scriptures. The rich and meaningful myths are taught as fact. The ignorance of history and archeology treat scriptures as if they are historical accounts.

Some examples. Pilot, one of society's more vicious people, is turned into a kinder, gentler version in the Gospels. He killed thousands of people, such as Simon, the Samaritan prophet, and 30,000 of his followers, among others. He was not a nice, kind man. Gospels were written between 70 and 120 CE by Greek speaking people who were far removed from the actual events and after the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. They had an interest in not upsetting Rome, and by that time were mostly gentile and anti-Semitic.  We don't even know who wrote them. They were called memoirs until the 150's CE when they were finally given names. We don't have any original copies either, the first a small fragment from the 5th century. You can see just some of the problems.

So, in my opinion, there are two main causes of shrinking churches. 1) They do not provide or lead to genuine spiritual experience, partially because the leaders don't know the way. 2) They teach without regard to history and archeology, promoting fantastical ideas that anyone with Google can check out.

There is a huge downward trend in church attendance. Shall we address the causes or continue to fiddle around with the trivial? Will the people have to find their own way to God? Will people give up? Will religious leaders step up? We'll have to see.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Another Paradox

In our spiritual quest is the desire to find oneness with God. The paradox is that even in the most faltering life, that desire is God calling us. We may somewhat obscure that call with our frenetic life, yet it lingers in the back of everything, nudging us onward. We come to know that God is wholly present with us every moment.

T.S. Eliot's poem, "Four Quartets", includes this famous line: the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

Years ago, when I first read that line, it made little sense to me. I grew to understand that what I seek is seeking me, always, and that, if I could see through the glass darkly (Paul), I would know I already stood on holy ground. Once the dark glass is cleaned with meditation, prayer, study, experiences, etc, I see face to face (as per Paul). So, I was already there, but could not see clearly. Now I see.

So the paradox of our journey is that we are there but don't know it.

Open my eyes, my heart, all of my being to You. Wash the lens of my life so that I see clearly. Help me be alert to Your nudging and answer Your call.