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Monday, December 27, 2021

The End of 2021 and The Beginning of 2022

This is the last week of the year. It is somewhat of an arbitrary end and beginning. Of course there have been and are other calendars used, but this is the current general calendar. So the end of the year is agreed to be Friday, and the beginning of the new year is agreed to be Saturday.

The endings of things are a mixture of grieving and celebration. Because of so many huge problems in 2021, we might have a Wizard of Oz kind of reaction - The wicked witch is dead. We've all slogged through a pandemic, likely said goodbyes to people we loved, watched in horror as violence rose, been extremely concerned over the rise of Marxism (wokeism, cancel culture, declining free speech, deterioration of free press, artificial divisions of people, etc).  We hope and pray those dreadful things end with the end of the year. Whether they stay in 2021 or come along into 2022 has a lot to do with what we do. Courage and faith are needed to face down evil.

Let's imagine for a moment what a more wonderful 2022 might be like. For me, common sense, critical thinking and integrity become "the in thing," the sought after stance, the thing praised and raised up as ideals. We are able to look at choices and discern what the likely outcomes would be for each, and then chose the one that is the most likely to bring positive results. We are able to look propaganda and spin in the face and laugh as we walk away from it. 

We stand as free people who care about freedom. We love one another and have compassion. We deepen our faith in The Divine Presence and focus on that most important relationship. We are the people God created us to be, aware we are doing all things in the presence of that Presence. 

Let it be so.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas and Easter

 

Excerpts from the 22nd Psalm, The Message and NIV translations 

27-28 

The Psalm begins with the words later put in the mouth of Jesus on the cross:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (NIV translation)

Near the end of the Psalm, he comes up with something hopeful:

From the four corners of the earth
    people are coming to their senses,
    are running back to God.
Long-lost families
    are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge  from now on he has the last word. (Message translation)

I encourage you to read the entire Psalm and in several translations. If you don't have any, just go to Bible Gateway on the internet, and with no charge, you can read a number of translations.

Anyway, I was reading it this morning and thought about the shift in the Psalmist's point of view. At first, he was defeated, lost, feeling his connection to God had gone. He was depressed and desolate. He was on the cross, so to speak, in his own life. But out of the depths of despair, he found his way back to hope and faith.

Each of us here on earth have taken such a journey, maybe a number of times. The darkness lifts, and we can see and hope again.

Right now, the human story on earth looks a lot like the beginning of this Psalm. There is a pandemic, totalitarian regimes are threatening, lawlessness is on the rise, there is a polarization of extreme right and left, church attendance is down, etc etc etc.

There is a glimmer of hope arising. People are waking up from the hypnosis of propaganda. From the four corners of the earth, people ARE coming to their senses.

Let this Christmas time, celebrating the birth of the Christ Light, be our time to awaken in God, to have this Christ Light born in us, to rise up in faith to do and be great things together.

 

 


 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Droughts of Another Kind

Maybe, just maybe the drought here in the West is ending. We've had some rain and now maybe 4 inches today plus rain for several days and snow in the mountains. Perhaps our water crisis is easing.

As I was falling asleep; last night, contemplating the rain, another kind of drought came wafting into my thoughts. For most of our planet, there is a spiritual drought!

In the West, church attendance has dropped precipitously. In some countries, religion is under attack. In some countries, there is death to believers; churches, synagogues, and mosques are destroyed, and there is censorship of ideas. Marxism and totalitarianism rear their heads once again, You know, you can see it.

Questions come to mind. Why? How? What?

It is complex, with no simple or pat answers. It's a combination of a multitude of things stirred into the pot of human life. We cannot undo the past, but maybe we can change the trajectory of the future. To do so, we must be awake - seeing and hearing and thinking and speaking beyond the hypnosis of propaganda. We must be willing to relearn critical thinking, revisit logic, learn how cause and effect work, how this or that has worked out in the past, be open to be instructed by humanity's past follies. 

It seems to me, if a sufficient number of us can rise up mentally, the future might be bright. If not, it has been shown to me that we are on the edge of a long and terrible new dark ages.

Let us rise, seeking wisdom and clarity and freedom. Let us turn to the Divine Presence, The More, and seek Guidance. Let us put on the garment of courage. Let us be our best and brightest selves. Let us avert the darkest of ages looming over us.

Stand with me on all that is holy and good and filled with light and love. Turn from the seduction of dark forces. Refuse to dim your own holy light. Be the light of the world in the spot where you are. Perhaps we can change the dark course.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Virgin vs Young Woman

I enjoy the writings of the Bible scholar, Amy Jill Levine. This morning I am reading a section of her book "The Bible With and Without Jesus." Below is a small section. I do hope you will read the whole book, as this is just a tiny piece.

Since Isaiah clearly spoke of a pregnant young woman, and since the sign clearly addressed the looming political crisis, how did the idea of a virginal conception arise? For that, we need to look at the Greek translation of Isaiah 7:14.

INSTEAD OF translating ‘almah as “young woman of marriageable age,” with the expected Greek term neanis, the Septuagint offers parthenos. And with this one word, centuries of Jewish-Christian debate, as well as of internal Christian litmus tests, begin.

Because of a mistranslation of one word, centuries of theology have piled on top of that one word -  everything from burning at the stake if you said Mary was not a virgin to burned Bibles that translated that word correctly.

As a seeker of truth, I ask myself, Does the brilliant teaching of Jesus suffer because he was born naturally rather than supernaturally? I think not. I think his ideas stand on their own without hocus pocus.

He is my master teacher, my guide, my reference, my example. He has changed my life over and over again. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Have a Blessed Sacred Season

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannuka, or other sacred times, I hope you keep it precious and sacred, keeping out blatant commercialism. Presents are great, especially thoughtful ones giving something special that the person loves to do or enjoys. BUT frenzied shopping, rude fights over an item, going into debt, etc. are not true to the season.

The year is ending, the holidays are here, what a perfect time to reflect on our spiritual journey. What a great time to consider the deeper meanings of the holidays we celebrate. How does the holiday touch our hearts and minds? How has it continued year after year after year after century? How can we honor it and our journey more deeply? And how can we grow into it and the actual underlying meaning?

One little example. I used to always include certain things in my Christmas Eve service back when I was a pastor. I often quoted Meister Eckhart, my favorite mystic, when he said something like - What good is it that Christ was born to Mary those many years ago, if he is not born in us today?  Paul declared it was the Christ within that was our hope of glory. So imagine with me that the spirit of Christ is born in the manger of your heart this very night. How would that change your life? How would that feel? Imagine it with me and welcome the Christ child in your deepest being. Be willing for a sacred, blessed Christmas or Hannuka or,,,,

Divine Presence, open my heart to experience the essence of the holidays. Stir my soul with Your Light and lead me into a new level of my spiritual journey. Quicken my heart and soul., open my eyes. May this the most sacred of holidays. Amen, Amen and Amen

Monday, November 29, 2021

Change the Past?

I read this morning an idea that we can change the past, actually change it, at least "previous incarnations" of ourselves. This seems to be primarily based on the idea that time is illusion and all is simultaneous, and on reincarnation and it being nonlinear.

My mind took that to its logical conclusion. If we could literally change the past, I am pretty sure it would be a wild mess. No life is insular, so changes made here and there affect everything. I get a picture in my head of history books bring rewritten every minute, of current life being whipped around this way and that, of nothing making sense because there is no solid ground.

I do think, actually know, we can change our perception, judgement and understanding of the past, and that changes our now. We can learn of context. We can take another look and make a new assessment. We can forgive ourselves and others. We can let go and open to newness. Something like Jesus' ideas of cleaning the log out of our own eyes before we try to get the speck out of someone else's eye, and also to become as a little child (I hear open and curious and teachable and free). 

I received an email this weekend from a very wise spiritual teacher, Richard Rohr. He said in part:

Carl Jung suggested the whole problem is that Christianity does not connect with the soul or transform people anymore. He [Jesus] insists on actual inner, transcendent experience to anchor individuals to God, and that’s what mystics always emphasize. —Richard Rohr

I find this statement to be profound and accurate. This is the change for which our souls cry out. Let us welcome such actual transformation. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Do You See What I See?

I was musing this morning in that half-awake space. I realized that our senses define and limit our experience of life dramatically.

Our eyes only see a rather narrow band of the spectrum of light and color. Our ears only hear a small slice of sounds. Our nose smells a small amount of actual smells. Our touch tells us things that are mostly empty space are solid. Science tells us that dogs smell many times better than us, some animals see many more colors or only see in black and white, some can hear for miles or pitches our ears cannot pick up, or can smell things like cancer, etc etc etc.

So then I began to wonder the purpose of our physical limitations. To be able to fully see and hear and taste and smell and touch and taste would be an entirely different experience of earthly life. What would it be like to see the whirling atoms in the table and see that they are, relatively speaking, as far apart as the stars? What would it be like to smell cancer or flowers miles away or what would the smell of fear be? Would it be too distracting or disorienting for us? To have our senses attuned to all that is here on earth surely would be distracing from the reason we are here. Does our narrow focus serve some plan for us? What are we to focus on instead, since we don't have the option to fully experience earth with our senses?

My current understanding tells me that we are to seek and find God in all that we can experience. I find something very Spiritual in a redwood forest, a connection with something More. I see the face of God in the newborn baby. I see the struggle to let the Divine express in those that are fearful or lost. I feel the urgency to find God in those seemingly trapped in darkness. 

What we can experience is much more than we have allowed ourselves up until now. Our focus here is spiritual. Our job, so to speak, is to discern The More everywhere and in everyone and live as unconditional love. We are to see beyond appearances, as Jesus told us. Judging righteous judgement means to see spiritually, lovingly, kindly, to see beyond the surface. 

Let us rise to the challenge before us and walk the path of love and light, celebrating God at all times, in all places, in all people. 


Friday, November 19, 2021

Virgin Day

Today has not been lived before - it's a virgin day waiting for us to live into it. Will we drag old ideas and agony into it, or will we take the challenge to fill it with newness?

Will we find new ways to love and lift others and participate in a beneficial way? Will we celebrate being alive here on this beautiful planet? Will we celebrate the flowers and trees? Will we send silent blessings to all who come across our path today? Will we delight in the beauty of this day?

This day, this very moment is our point of power. We are free to choose how we live it. Choose well. It will not come again. The day will pass either fully lived in love and light or in dread and darkness. Live it well. 

The present is a present from God. Open it as a sacred gift. Treasure it. Be all you can be in it. Rest and then do the same with the next virgin day. 

Thank You Dear Divine Presence for the gift of today. Lead me to live into it with love and kindness. Guide me to see and celebrate and rejoice in all You present to me this day and all days. My heart is full and overflowing with joy and thankfulness. What an amazing thing it is to be given this gift of life. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Changing Our Thinking

For a large portion of my life the phrase from Ernest Holmes was paramount - Change your thinking, change your life.

It now seems to me that most ideas about life are true to a point, but not always and without end. Say you start going East and never change your course. Eventually, you will be in the West because we live on a globe.

If I change my thinking, some things can change, but not all things. I cannot become 7 feet tall or younger or be able to leap 30 feet into the air from earth, at least on my own without the aid of some invention. Changing from being a negative person to a positive person can have a profound effect and make life much more enjoyable for sure. But it won't necessarily make us rich or beyond the reach of germs. It's not a magic wand as some have and do teach.

So often I have heard someone say - What have you been thinking? in reaction to someone's difficulty, as if thinking made all disasters come true. I do think our thinking is important and an ingredient in our life experiences. For example, you didn't create the tornado, but your thinking, or lack of it, led you to move into tornado alley where tornados are most likely to happen. And we can change how we think about things, giving them a new name and an encouraging spin, asking ourselves what possible good can come out of this______, whatever it is. What can I learn? How can I do it differently next time? etc.

Some of our thinking needs to be reviewed, updated, and aimed in a new direction. As the old saying goes - If you don't change your direction, you are likely to end up where you are headed. I think, when we stop for a moment of honesty, we can discern the fruit of what we are thinking and doing and decide if that is the fruit we truly want.

We may not be able to change everything by our thinking, but we can change a lot and make life much more wonderful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Our Beloved Bodies

I have a dear friend who is experiencing severe problems with her body, very severe. Currently she is in the hospital.

Thoughts about how precious are our bodies wafted in to my mind this morning. For various reasons, we came to earth. Our bodies are vehicles for our souls to use in order to navigate this place. Our brains are used by our souls, our greater minds, to interpret and connect the earth experience and the soul.

That is my current working hypothesis.

So, we need to take care of our bodies, not because they are all we are and without them we cease to exist, but because they offer our eternal selves this unique earthly experience. Also, our physical selves are divine gifts, who can make one on their own? They are miraculous, mostly self-healing, experiencers of smells, sounds, sights, touch, tastes, and delights and pains of this planet and this dimension. They are amazing.

How do we best take care of them? There are conflicting opinions about that. Eat this, not that. Do this kind of exercise, not that. Take this pill, drink this, etc. Is there a way that is optimal?

It seems to me that we need to listen to our own bodies. For example, years ago my gall bladder was removed, so high fat foods don't work for me. For some people, the Keto diet works just fine, for me it causes pain because of the high fat.

Common sense comes to play, but as Will Rivers famously said, Common sense ain't all that common. It seems to me sticking pretty much to actual foods is the best idea - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins - and avoiding the commercially made  and manipulated "foods" that have unpronounceable long words in the contents label, Franken foods some say. 

I think we should take care of our bodies so that they have the best chance to stay ok and allow us this marvelous experience of earthly life. All we can do is do the best we know.

God bless our bodies.

Friday, November 5, 2021

In Our Old Age

In old age the organism is, in certain terms, preparing for a new birth. The combined events of spirit, mind and body involve not only the passing of one season but preparation for the beginning of another.

I came across this Seth quote this morning that struck me as powerfully relevant, especially to those of us in the "elderly" category, but really to any age thinking-person.

We cannot be certain what preparations we made before birth, although there are quite a few testimonies of what did or might have prepared us. I personally am convinced of the eternalness of the soul - existing  before this life and after this life.

But this quote speaks of this life and its seasons and the season beyond this particular life. It is interesting to contemplate how we are preparing, or maybe not preparing, to pass over from here to there, from earthly life to the next experience, for our new birth. Some people appear to pretend they are not going to die and so no preparation is needed. But, however well we care for our bodies, however positively we think, however active we are, our physical life here has an experation date. No one has ever stayed here forever. We all die to this life and are born to a new life in a new dimension

So how do we wrap up this life and greet the next experience, our new birth, with open arms? Do we handle our forgiveness issues and make amends? Do we communicate our deep love to friends and family? Do we handle our loose ends? Do we spend time in prayer and meditation? Have we made the most of our lives? Is there more we can do? Is our relationship with God, The Divine, The More close and peaceful? Do we trust that the love that greeted us here is love that will greet us in the next experience?

Let's just spend a bit of time getting ourselves right with the world and at inner peace so that whenever it is our time to go on, we are as ready as we can be.

Lord, lead me to do the things You call me to do. Guide me to complete this season with gusto. Help me prepare for my new birth whenever it may be. Help me strengthen my trust in You and always remember Your constant Presence throughout my eternal journey. Help me live each season of my life in step with You. Thank You for hearing my prayer always. And so it is.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

You Are an Artist

You create your experience and participation and input into life.

Artists begin with the same materials and implements - pigments and canvas and medium and brushes and palette knives, etc. They each create a range of paintings. Some create mediocre, dull paintings and some create brilliant and great works of art.

We all begin with our life force and our bodies and our ideas and experiences, our humanity. Some of us create and live dull lives, some magnificent lives, and everything in between. Some start with apparent advantages, yet we see magnificent lives all through history who started with no seeming advantages.

As with artists who only bloom late in life, such as Grandma Moses, as long as we have breath, it is not too late for us. At any moment, we can open to be and do more.

I know that Spirit whispers in our souls always, and when we listen, we are guided to surprising places, doing more than we previously could imagine. 

Imagine with me for a moment that God created you to be here on earth in this time and place to be an artist with your life. Not necessarily be a literal artist who paints or sculpts, but an artist who creates something lovely with your life. Think of your childhood dreams and interests, they can be a clue to what your art is to be. Before family and society may have diverted you, what were your dreams? You can turn in that direction today.

Now imagine your life, from entry here to exit, as an epoch painting with every detail in living color. When you exit earth, you present this painting, this life, to God. Ask yourself, am I creating the painting I want to present to God? Can I proudly say, "I did the absolute best with the tools of life that You gave me."?  If not, this very day begin the next section of your life painting that you will gladly present to God. Because of Grace, of Forgiveness, the shining part will be what matters. 

You are the artist of your life. The rest of your life is yet to be painted. Make it a beautiful ending.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Christmas?

We've been watching some Hallmark Christmas movies. In every single one there are statements like "This is what Christmas is all about." They refer to tree lighting ceremonies or community parties or some kindly event that is lovely but not what Christmas is ALL about. I think of the emphasis of Christmas in the past, in my life, in history.

Christmas is the time to pause and celebrate something spiritual and amazing. If you are Christian, it is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the entry into history of a deeply personal relationship between Jesus and God, some say the birth of God's son in a different way than we are children of God, while some say his is the path to our adoption by the Divine. If you are not Christian, you might be honoring the birth of a wise prophet and teacher. If you are agnostic, you might still say it is worth honoring a man who has changed history over and over again for over 2,000 years and bore testimony with his life of the power of his faith, who has inspired great art and music and architecture and put his stamp upon humanity.

Whoever you think Jesus was/is, I believe the shallow commercialism that has emerged is not healthy and not in line with anyone's view of Jesus and his birth. Let's put a healthy dose of spiritually back into Christmas - the mass celebrating Christ, Christ the annointed one, the Christ in you, the Universal Christ knocking on the door of every human heart.



Monday, October 18, 2021

What Is Truth?

Of course all things are filtered through the biases and lenses of those who see or hear something or the other. It could almost be said that truth is somewhat elastic. I'm not talking about some of the wild stretches of the woke world. I'm talking about normal conversations. One person takes something as a compliment and another as a sarcastic remark. We are told more about the one evaluating than about the situation. I give some examples of this in my book on forgiveness.

When conveying something within the other's decided worldview is usually simple. Each has adopted the same underlying assumptions, so they are basically already in agreement. This is possible in their particular worldview. They know and understand the things upon which the already agree. For example: they have the same religious convictions, they have the same political convictions, etc.

The friction arises when worldviews clash or when something comes up that is way outside one's chosen worldview.

I have found that when something is far outside of a person's usual worldview, they tend to view that as fantasy or untruth. It can be very frustrating, even devastating to the person in the middle of unusual circumstances. To convey the veracity of some thing way outside of someone's worldview may be close to impossible. People can become uncomfortable, even antagonistic.

If you find yourself in such a situation, I suggest some internal questions you can ask yourself rather than jumping into an argument or running to tell someone this person is lying or in fantasy land. Ask yourself, could this be possible? Would this be unlikely, yet still possible? Can I just listen with an open heart? Can I refrain from the personal need to be right? Can I just stand as love and caring?

It might change both lives.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Not Set In Stone

Our lives are lived in constant possibility, pregnant with options. We are limited only by our beliefs, self talk and fears.

We are not given a limited supply of life force at birth that runs down as we age. When I think of this idea, I see the aged Buckminster  Fuller jumping up and down on stage filled with enthusiasm (I was privileged to see and hear him several times). Or I remember Dr. Joseph Murphy rapidly talking with zest in his later years. There are quite a few examples just in my personal experience. My age is no excuse for not participating fully.

If we believe all is lost, for us it is. If we believe there is no hope, for us there is none. We set the limits of our lives ourselves. There are countless examples of overcomers strewn across history. They are our heroes. So I suggest - be your own hero.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Furniture

This week the idea of using furniture as a metaphor for beliefs came to mind. Beliefs may be negative/harmful, or positive/helpful. We can stub our toes or cuddle up comfortably in them.  Our lives are largely created by the beliefs we hold. Our experience of life is according to our beliefs. 

Whatever we believe, we attract experiences of like kind. Joyful, happy, loving, giving people have a far different experience of life than angry, unhappy, unloving, selfish people. Jesus told us that it is done unto us according to our beliefs, that our faith makes us whole. James Allen's classic little book, "As a Man Thinketh," says it clearly.

We may need to rearrange the furniture of our minds, take some pieces out to the trash, refinish some pieces or make various changes here and there. Along with Henry David Thoreau's idea that an unexamined life is not worth living, we really do need to examine our beliefs and whether or not they lead us to a more fulfilling life.

Make a list of your core beliefs, such as for me: it's all spiritual, earth is a learning opportunity, our souls were before this life and continue on after this life, God/Divine Presence is Love and does not have negative human qualities, I'm to be learning unconditional love, I'm to listen to Guidance and act accordingly, what I choose to do matters, I am part of all that is, I am responsible to God for how I live and what I do, I am to endeavor to walk The Way.

From these core beliefs, branches and roots spring forth. If you see some less than life affirming beliefs in your list, take them out to the trash and replace them with higher ones. Keep rechoosing the higher beliefs until they are firmly in place. Watch the almost magical changes unfold.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Fun for Me

I have a different version of fun I think than many others. Saturday I got to lecture and show some of my examples of art quilting and then give a little lesson on how to make drawing simple at our local museum. It was truly fun for me. I felt happy and free. I really loved it.

The past few years have been a time of challenge and therefore spiritual growth.Yet, they have been somewhat tiring too.

What brings me enjoyment varies. I like being with others, I loved being grandma, I like being in nature, cooking, reading, speaking and teaching, and of course writing and all kinds of creating. These have been closed down a bit with the weight of circumstances. I have continued to be fully me and to do the best I can in all of the areas that call my soul. But in some many ways, my life has been shattered. Many of the parts of my life are no longer the same. It is the constant activity of picking up the shards and assessing something else out of them that can be wearing.

This is life's process of diminishing the ego and helping something more come to the fore. I know we all have times of this sort, and it is how we deal with them and allow them to teach us that makes all the difference. 

It is with a tinge of excitement that I again pick up the shards and begin to see a new way, a new pattern, some More.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Dynamo Within

 Paracelsus stated this great truth: “Whether the object of your faith be real or false, you will nevertheless obtain the same effects.”

This morning I was reading something by my long ago mentor, Dr. Joseph Murphy. He quoted the above statement.

Paracelsus  stated this profound truth, expanded upon by Dr. Murphy. He wrote many books, often focused on the one mind and its two processes - the conscious, objective and the subconscious, subjective. In his examples, he sometimes spoke humorously about the subconscious mind calling the conscious mind "boss". The conscious mind says say I really don't like mushrooms. At some point the person is served something with mushrooms in it. The subconscious says The boss doesn't like mushrooms, so we'll create an upset stomach for him.

As we develop our beliefs, they are seeded in our subconscious and accepted without question, ready to act, when any matching situation occurs.  A simple example is the mushroom vignet.

Faith is a powerhouse in us.  When the conscious mind plants seeds of faith in the subconscious accompanied by strong emotion, they become a dynamo.  Those seeds can be positive or negative, good for us or bad for us. The subconscious just receives them without question and then acts them out.

Let's consider the power of faith. I have often said that fear is faith aimed in the negative direction. It is faith in what we don't want. Faith is a powerful energy, radiating from us and seeking its own kind to bring to our experience. It is magnetic. 

So, we  need to sort out our  beliefs and things of faith to clear away any that work against our greater good and greater good in general. We might take a personal inventory. Make a list, an honest list. Begin to release and replace the negatives. Let's say you call yourself by negative terms regularly or even occasionally - I'm stupid, I'm ugly, I'm not deserving, etc. Stop it and replace with spiritual truths - I'm a creation of God, made in the image of God, a magnificent being loved and whole, etc.

In a short time, you will see a difference in your life. Others will respond to you more positively. You don't have to speak your beliefs about yourself out loud, others pick up your energy, your body language, your demeanor, as do you of others.

Have faith in yourself, in the Presence that walks with you, in the dynamo within, placed in you as original equipment. You truly are magnificent. Own it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Strip Theology to Its Core

 "And, in the wider field of religious thought," says a writer in a great international religious paper, "what truer service can we render than to strip theology of all that is unreal or needlessly perplexing, and make it speak plainly and humanly to people who have their duty to do and their battle to fight?"

Sometimes a sermon or a book or one comment or the other literally make me cringe. It may ignore history, or modern discoveries, or common sense or... I wonder how such a statement can come out of the mind and mouth of an "educated" person. 

I do believe that if Christianity is to survive in the long run, the theology needs to be rethought. It needs us to consider what were the premises of Jesus and Paul, when was this or that bit of theology inserted and by whom for what purpose??? We need our teaching to be congruent, that is lifted out of its contradictions. It needs to make sense. It needs to guide our lives to be more and more Christ-like. It needs to be both mystical and practical. It needs to move us, inspire us, touch us at the deepest levels.

As society becomes more and more material, more Marxist, more away from religion and farther away from churches, synagogues, temples, mosques  etc, it does not look hopeful at this moment. It seems this may be the crucial moment in history to turn it all around. I wonder if we are up to the task??? I seems up to those younger than I, and yet they seem the least likely. My heart calls out, "oh if I had only known what I now know back in my youth," but of course that cry is useless. I pray some vital younger people will be called and will answer.

Lord, open our eyes, open our hearts to You. Show us The Way to The Way. Give us the inspiration and the courage to find true spiritual lives and to release the false and the shallow. Our hearts cry out to to return to You.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Clues From Jesus

The injunction that Jesus gave in regard to prayer is unquestionably the method that he found so effective and that he himself used. How many times we are told that he withdrew to the mountain for his quiet period, for communion with the Father, that the realisation of his oneness with God might be preserved intact. In this continual realisation—I and my Father are one—lay his unusual insight and power. And his distinct statement which he made in speaking of his own powers—as I am ye shall be—shows clearly the possibilities of human unfoldment and attainment, since he realised and lived and then revealed the way. --- Ralph Waldo Trine

Such a powerful understanding is shared in this quote. I have often thought such and written about it. Jesus left us clues of how we are to live, if we sincerely wish to follow The Way.

Here is a powerful nutshell. Go apart, be still, commune with God, remember God is always present, live that oneness, let possibilities unfold, give God the credit.

Do this and watch the amazing unfold in and through your life.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Spiritual Ignorance

It has been said by some that humanity's biggest problem is spiritual ignorance. I tend to agree.

It's not that the information has been withheld. It is not that there have been no enlightened ones who spoke from the depth of knowing. It's not that we lack at least a partial spiritual road map.

It is partially because the great understanding of some have not been recorded or have been recorded only in fragments or in distortions. Even so, if we seek in the pile of fragments and distortions, at least some of the spiritual truth can be found.

Humans seem to be easily distracted by shiny objects - as the dog in the movie "Up," who constantly changes focus as it shouts "squirrel." Material things are our Achilles heel, when we make them the primary focus of our lives. That leads to greed, hunger for power and a hefty ego.

I think that it is possible for us to be at least less ignorant, spiritually speaking. Please consider what this might mean in your life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Art

There are so many ways of art. 

  • Our lives are an art that we develop during the journey. Hopefully, we become more gracious, radiant and joyful as we move along the path of this life. We artfully express the inner light, as we open more and more to the Divine.
  • The various physical manifestations of art are huge. The gardener creates a beautiful garden. The farmer creates beautiful fields with delicious foods. The builder creates useful and often stunningly beautiful buildings. The poet creates poems that touch us at many levels. The artist portrays his or her vision. etc etc etc.
  • Indeed, all of our creations are some sort of art, from the ugly to the beautiful, from the macabre to the divine, from the unremarkable to the magnificent.
Last night I was teaching about drawing on fabric. I found myself often saying that I saw the idea in the shower or while walking or..., and then I drew it. The often humorous drawings came to me, rather than than me creating them out of some sort of effort.

This led me to think about how life in general is like that, when we relax and are open to inspiration, ideas come wafting in, or maybe sometimes come in a gallop. But they come without effort. From where do they come? Maybe from various places - from our subconscious, from our superconscious, from the collective unconscious, from spirit guides or guardian angels, from our over soul, from God. It depends on a lot of things.

I can tell you, that the more we honor these gifts, the more they come. The more we spend quiet time, time with a tree or flower or something natural, the more they come. We are a lightening rod for ideas, if we accept rather than reject them.

So once again, I urge you to open to The More, thereby increasing the artfulness of your life. Lighten up with The Light.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Inner Landscape

Just as our garden has layers of soil from the fertile top soil down, so does our consciousness. We know of our everyday consciousness, our dream consciousness, maybe our intuitive consciousness. We have many layers, however.

In a workshop somewhere, you may have experienced a guided meditation and discovered new awareness. You may have learned to meditate, and therefore know of levels of awareness and stillness not available in a busy life,

I think that those inner, deeper, more aware parts of ourselves need to be visited often, accessed, engaged and invited into our lives. Then, even in the busy day of a "modern" person, a deeper guidance can come to us. 

So to speak, we can garden our own inner landscape. Take a moment and imagine going deeply into yourself. Relax, let your breathing be even and slow. Bring with you a scripture verse, or a question, or just be still and calm and at peace. 

If you feel the need of a practical understanding of a current decision, you can visualize the choice before you in life and the path each choice would create. Say you are thinking of moving. In your relaxed state of mind visualize your life as it might be in choice A, then in choice B.

The point really is to cultivate an active relationship with the more of you. You are a carrier of Divine Light, and therefore have much more to you than you have so far experienced, no matter how enlightened you may be. Infinite is Infinite,

Relax and cultivate your inner landscape. Pull up weeds and fears and false thoughts. Tenderly care for your Divine Light. You will find yourself open to your soul in a deeper way, and richness of your inner landscape will flower and shine.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Aha

Friday, yesterday, in my prayer time to heal those whose real self is camouflaged by the darkness of violence and hatred, some flashes of insight came to me.

I heard the well loved words of Jesus as he asked us to let our light shine and not to hide it. Flash - verification of my premise for this particular call to prayer that I have initiated. The light is already within everyone. We don't have to acquire it, buy it, cajol it from some guru, or find it under a rock or in a book. We have to LET the light shine. 

I've known that for a very long time, but I'd not been struck so resoundingly by the implications of this set of Jesus' teachings. He told us that close to 2,000 years ago. He knew that at the center of us all is God's Light. Made in the image and likeness of God, we are seeded with Divine Light. We were made to live gloriously.

Now I feel invigorated to pray to set free those who don't know they carry such magnificence inside. You, me, everyone, every single being carries The Light and can LET IT SHINE, ALLOW IT.

Let us see together the blanket of darkness lift and vanish so the reality of each being can shine so brightly that the world is transformed, set free, free to be light and love and peace and creativity and joy and celebration and more....

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Where Am I?

If we were to decide to explore ourselves, where do we find who it is that we say and think we are?

I can say to you, "I am Marlene." Where in myself do I find this identity? The lips that say the name are made of atoms, as is the entire body. They are not Marlene. The Atomic Energy Commission has shown that in just one year 98% of our atoms are replaced. Atoms circulate constantly. If you sit in a crowded room for an hour or so, you leave with some atoms that originally came in with each of the others, and they all leave with some atoms that originally came in with you,

We obviously cannot find ourselves in our flowing river of physicality.

We cannot be our egos or our personalities. They are formed in the context of culture and home. They change, sometimes dramatically, over the course of a lifetime. The twelve year old ego and personality that I call "Marlene" is almost another species from the ego and personality of this moment in time.

Our souls bridge the divide of this world and eternity, of earth and of a multitude of dimensions, Few people have been aware of their souls, and fewer still have been fully aware of their souls. We can increase our awareness of this true and eternal self, the one we have always been and shall always be.

There are many techniques to assist in disengaging a bit from the limited being we seem to think we are and to enter, at least with some degree of awareness, at a soul level.

It does not involve religion. Religion is made by people, mostly men, with various agendas, a wide array of understandings, mostly in error. As I stated a few days ago, in Christianity for example, most people are taught to believe in Jesus and not to believe Jesus. The shift to believing him is a positive step in the soul direction. He is one of the very few who were awake at the soul level. If we believe what we know of what he said, and then begin to implement those things in our lives, we would take a giant step into soul territory,

The entertainment of the outer world keeps Truth under a veil of camouflage. You might notice that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse and others went apart, into nature, into wilderness somewhat regularly. We can walk on grass, sit under a tree, spend time in a garden, or actually go out into a longer time in nature. We can disengage from our electronic devices for an hour, then a day, then longer. We can be still - Be still and know that I am God. We can meditate. We can listen to our breath, to the sounds of nature, to the silence. We can notice the guidance that comes to us. but is shut out with the noise of usual life. We can come to know the Spark of God that is already within us. We can remember our eternal journey. We can allow our soul to breath, even here while occupying this spacesuit of atoms.

Remember who you are.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

It Depends On the Perspective

 This morning I came across this quote from Seth via Jane Roberts.

It is quite true that your physical senses create the reality that they perceive. A tree is something far different to a microbe, a bird, an insect, and a man who stands beneath it.

These words intrigue me.

I have often thought of how our state of consciousness leads us to interpret everything. This morning I began to think about the millions or zillions of worlds currently going on here, on and in this world. 

Each object, each moment are perceived and experienced differently by every living thing, based not only in individual consciousness, but also by species and by the range and kinds of senses available to each species and to the range of senses sometimes diminished within the species. So a blind or deaf person's perceptions and experiences are different than a seeing or hearing person's. A person living deep in a jungle, unaware of modern civilization, perceives and experiences things differently than a person rushing through Central Park.

A mole living beneath the earth perceives and experiences life differently than the soaring eagle. A gnat has a far different life than a squirrel. Etc etc etc.

Back to the tree in the quote above. Each and every living thing that comes by the tree perceives and experiences it in their own unique way, and perhaps differently on different days. What is the tree? Shade? Home? Obstacle? Refuge? Lumber?

Which leads me to say that reality is relative. And yet, historically we humans have fought large and small wars over our particular versions of reality. Maybe we should employ empathy and endeavor to understand other perceptions than our own. 

Think on these things.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Maps

This morning I was thinking of maps and our lives. We have physical, mental, moral, and spiritual maps ingrained in us. They can be quite challenging to change once they become automatic, habitual and how we show up in life.

Our physical maps help us find our way to the store and to a friend's house and school and church. They are practical, We know how to navigate our part of the world.

Our mental maps can be practical too. Mathematics are very practical, as are the alphabets we use and grammar rules taught to us in school. They can be a problem if we learn inaccurate mental maps and cling to them.

Moral maps are somewhat or very different in different times and places. They can create some huge clashes in our lives. Right now we are seeing clashes between the Taliban's version of morality and that of the Westerrn world. They have a vastly different set of moral maps from when and how violence is sanctioned to how women are treated.

Spiritual maps mostly come from the religion of our families, which also means from the area of the world into which we are born. Occasionally a person changes their religion from that of their family and part of the world they call home, but this is not the usual experience, If I had been born in India, for example, it is highly likely I would be Hindu.

It is helpful to be aware of our own internal maps and maybe update them to a more compassionate life plan. Observe yourself as you navigate your days and take note of what you learn about yourself and your maps. It can be quite surprising.

Ask yourself things such as: what is my automatic reaction to people who are different from me; do I judge critically those with different maps; am I willing to open to more empathy and understanding, etc????

We are called to love, which means we likely need to make some inner adjustment. Being self- aware is essential to updating our maps.

Lord, center of my soul, center of all souls, guide me to develop self-awareness. Lead me to live as walking, talking love. I hear Your call to be more. Here I am, Lord, lead me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Listen, Do You Hear...?

Once again, the words of Ralph Waldo Trine jump off the page to pierce my veil and open me to More.

It was the truth, the truth of this inner kingdom that would make men free that he came to reveal. "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." "My Father worketh hitherto and I work.... For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.... I can of mine own self do nothing." As he followed the conditions whereby this higher illumination can come, so must we.

So must we.

So often, in what accounts we have about Jesus from the last quarter of the first century and beginning of the second century, we are told about the inner God, about realizing without God we can do nothing of consequence. Jesus speaks to us across the long centuries to tell us he cannot do anything without God and even challenges us, Greater things than this shall you do. 

What are his conditions? 

  • Opening and keeping open the inner awareness of God, 
  • Taking time apart to be quiet and listen, prayer and meditation necessary
  • Making God the priority and materiality of lesser import, 
  • Watching oneself and correcting our course as needed perhaps using his yard sticks such as assessing the probable result (fruit) of our direction
  • Love, unconditional agape love
  • Forgiveness and a generous heart
  • Being open and teachable as a child
These are some of the things he shared that will help us walk The Way of God, the path of joy and freedom, the path of knowing who we really are, the path illuminated by God. If this is what we desire, then this is the way.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Believe In or Believe

Ralph Waldo Trine's words really spoke to me this morning:

We have been taught to believe in Jesus; we have not been taught to believe Jesus. This has resulted in a separation of Christianity from life. The predominating motive has been the saving of the soul. It has resulted too often in a selfish, negative, repressive, ineffective religion.

It seems to me that this might be the crux of the decline in churches and church attendance. I know how irritating it is to me when someone wants to "save" me. How superior they sound. How unloving they appear. How shallow they are in their relationship with God, and at the same time thinking they know what is in my soul. They spout some distorted theology that apparently they have never taken to the court of reason and logic. Well I could go on and on, but I imagine you understand what I'm saying here.

On the other hand, I have been an advocate of believing Jesus for a very long time, as long as I can remember. As you know, his first followers called his teaching "The Way." That is, do your best to believe what he said and live it, be it, shine it, walk it. This is the way to whole and true relationship with God and humans and all life. This is the way humans are meant to live --- loving, forgiving, praising, being generous in thought, word and deed.

I urge you to re-look at the Gospels from the mind that says - if I actually believe Jesus, how would I choose to live my life? 


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Who and What Are We To Be?

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." No man could be, can be his disciple, his follower, and fail in the realisation of this teaching. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." And going back again to his ministry we find that it breathes through every teaching that he gave... So a man who is gripped at all vitally by Jesus' teaching of the personal fatherhood of God, and the personal brotherhood of man, simply can't help but make this the basic rule of his life—and moreover find joy in so making it. A man who really comprehends this fundamental teaching can't be crafty, sneaking, dishonest, or dishonourable, in his business, or in any phase of his personal life... He is thoughtful, considerate, open, frank; and, moreover, he finds great joy in being so. --- Ralph Waldo Trine

Yes, this is our calling. Being gripped by the teachings of Jesus, we are made new.

This week, as we begin our prayer for those under the weight of violence and hatred, let us love them so much that they are set free from the horrible burden under which they live. Let the call of Jesus to love and honor one another penetrate their darkness and lift them to the Love and Light of God.

Yes, I know it is not likely, but it is possible. Yes, I know I am an idealist, but it is more hopeful and healthy than being a pessimist. Let us strive for the highest and best nevertheless. Let us heed and live and exude the teachings of Jesus and see if the unlikely just might be possible.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

How We See It

It was Jeremy Bentham who said: "In order to love mankind, we must not expect too much of them." And Goethe had a still deeper vision when he said: "Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though it were his own."

I think we could say these are opposite views of humankind. I have come to know that our viewpoint skews all. The person of positive faith makes it through difficulty with their faith strengthened, while a negative viewpoint makes even the tiniest challenges a horrid time.

This morning I am thinking of this from the vantage of my life journey and from the overall view of humanity and our collective challenges. 

Personally, I think I have journeyed through an amazing gauntlet during the course of my life so far. There have an incredible amount of twists and turns, switch backs, mountain peeks and deep valleys, surprises, shocks, tears and laughter. It has made me stronger and more aware of God in my life, God at all times everywhere.

This leads me to the prayer time I ask you to enter each Friday at noon your time. We pray for darkness that blankets those acting with violence and hatred to be lifted. Looking at life through the viewpoint of no God, of no hope, of fear, people thrash around and make a mess of life. 

I propose that the good people of earth join in prayer to heal the hearts of those overwhelmed by darkness, so much that they have lost their way. With compassion in our hearts and a vision of what could be for these lost souls, let us pray together in one voice for the darkness to be lifted and for violence and hatred to be gone from their lives, and for every smidgen of it to be gone from our own hearts as well.

With God as our companion, our faith is strong and courage calls us forward to walk as Christ walked, to love fearlessly and pray without ceasing. 

God of us all, guide us to live and be as you would have us live and be. Lift all darkness from every corner of our hearts and minds. For those who are acting from the darkness of violence and hatred, hold them close, and help them release their false understandings so that they see and come to know Your Love and Light. Flood us with Your Wisdom and lead us to live together as one human family, seeing and seeking the highest and the best for one and all. I know all is possible with You. I release this prayer to You. May Your will be done. Amen, Amen and Amen

Friday, July 23, 2021

A Wise Thought from Goethe

It was Goethe who said: Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute: What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed.

Let us take this thought to heart and  dare to dream big. I dream of world peace where we can all love one another. I dream of the shadow of darkness, hate and violence lifted and gone forever. I dream of plenty for everyone.

Dream big with me and see what happens. Open the inner door to the Divine and feel the flow of strength and ideas. Today can be such a day. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Another Thought from Nona

Spiritual philosophy teaches eternal progression; there is no final revelation. The Spirit of truth is our guide. ---Nona Brooks

The idea of life being a journey rather than a destination has been taught by many spiritual teachers in many religions.  For me, one of the ways I understand that is, that since God is Infinite, I cannot possibly contain Infinite or fully understand Infinite. Infinite has no edges, no boundaries, no borders. It is this, and more and more and more, ad infinitum. So, I should relax into the journey, celebrating each moment on the path of life. I should endeavor to be here now in this unique moment to fully live and embrace the gift that is here in this fleeting now.

Perhaps a more difficult practice is to let the Spirit of truth be our guide. Discerning Truth is an advanced spiritual practice. Egos get in the way and spin things this way or that. Outside events, other people, the news can grip us, confuse us and lead us astray. Personally, I have sought the Spiritual truth all of my life and have faced many blind alleys calling me astray. 

What is the Truth? How can we be guided by it, if we don't know it? There are touchstones I use to seek out Spiritual Truth. I like Jesus' yardsticks, such as --- By their fruits you shall know them; Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself...

If I do this or that or believe this or that, where does it lead me? What is the fruit, the result, of this? A sincere seeker can usually figure that out. Then do I want this fruit? Does this support loving God and myself and others?

Sometimes we are led to hard choices. These show us how firmly we are on the path, striving to live with Spiritual Truth as our guide.

Oh Divine Presence, lead us in Your Ways. Teach us to know Your Truth and live as shining lights, feet firmly on Your Path. May it be so.




Monday, July 19, 2021

Listening to Sages

One of the sages that has touched me deeply is Nona Brooks. This morning I was pondering these words from her book, "Mysteries."

We live, move and have our being in God-life. By divine power, we are alive now.

At first it seems a simple statement, yet on further consideration, it has layers of meaning that can open us to more. Let's dive a bit together.

Being in God-life, we can never actually be separated from God. Maybe we can ignore God, but wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we exist in the Divine. Just as we can ignore the air, it is nevertheless present with us. In meditation we often are asked to be aware of our breath first, and then the Divine. Right now we can stop and consciously inhale air and also inhale the Divine. We can become aware. Try it.

We are alive, but how? How did we come to exist? We don't have the power to give ourselves life, to continually, day after day, hour after hour give ourselves life. We can do things that support our lives such as eat properly, but we cannot make this life continue. 

There is something almost magical about being alive. Nona Brooks says it is by divine power that we live. That makes our life, all life, sacred. We can ponder what this means to us, how we might behave differently, how we treat ourselves and others once we realize the sacredness of life.

You are a sacred person, endowed by God with talents and purpose, and the gift of life so that you can express them. I urge us all to live out our talents and purpose, knowing full well  who we really are. 

Go in peace dear brothers and sisters.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A Call To the Good People of Earth to Take Prayer Action

 A Call To the Good People of Earth

There is so much talk and dismay everywhere we turn about the rising violence and division and strife. People want to do something, but it seems unknown as to what to do. The vast majority of people are good people. A tiny fraction of people are violent and divisive. Thinking on these things, I had the following idea strike me a few days ago:

This morning I had a powerful directive from the Holy Spirit to initiate a nationwide, or maybe global, call to prayer. Come to our church or go to any place of worship and pray for the forces of good to cleanse us from the darkness seeping in so many corners of life on earth, to cleanse the hearts of those perpetrating the violence. At noon in each time zone, let us lift our voices, our entire beings, our faith in fervent prayer. Let us not accept the rising violence, the resurrected racism, the strife we see rising. Let us not fear this dark tide and shrink from our task. Let us stand up to all this and speak our prayers with strength. Let us put on the full armor of God together.

We are starting a noon prayer every Friday in our sanctuary similar to the samples below. You are invited to be present and to invite friends, as well as let others you know in other churches and towns and invite them to participate, and you are invited, of course, to pray wherever you find yourself at noon. Prayer is powerful. We are not at the mercy of the tiny fraction, we stand together with God, with Love, with Oneness. Let us create a wave of prayer across this globe that will lift the darkness and set free those imprisoned by it. In the old English, hell meant walled off. People acting out negatively are walled off from God, unable to express their divine potential. Even though they are few in number, they create mayhem and fear. Let us pray for God to touch their hearts.

Join us in inviting every church, synagogue, mosque, temple, every good person on earth to pray at noon in their time zone. Help get the word out.

Sample Prayers

Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, we know You are always with us. We stand in this knowing and lift our beloved nation and world up to You. In Your Name, we command the forces of darkness to be gone, vanquished, disempowered, lifted from us. We call forth Your Powers of Love, of Wisdom, of Light to fill us all and lead us forward. Lead us to fully love one another as You Love us. Lead us to cherish and accept one another, to cherish all of Your Creation. Let Love reign and strife be gone. Let hatreds drain away. Let violence fall from us. Let our eyes be open and our hearts attuned to You. We claim Peace here and now. We seal this prayer with the ancient seal of faith and integrity, Amen, Amen and Amen

 

Oh, Holy Presence, in sorrow I come to You. I weep inside for those tortured souls who have gone down the paths of darkness and have convinced themselves that ugliness and violence are right and proper. I lift them to You, and I ask that Your Lovingness enfold them and lead them to drop the pain of hate and open to the joys of kindness and love. Wherever these pained souls are on this planet, I know You are there. Touch them, Heal them. Restore them to the beings You created, to Your very image. I am filled with thanksgiving for I know what is possible with You, what is possible for them, what a future we might all have together as Your children. Let it be so. Amen, Amen and Amen

May God bless us all,

Rev. Dr. Marlene Oaks

Temecula, CA 

 


 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Let The Violence and Division End

 

I am concerned about the rise of violence and division emerging all over. Everywhere I go I hear the same concerns. There seems to be a depression calling from the soul, but what can I do about it? I am only one person. Holy Spirit asked me to get all the good people of earth praying together.  So, I am asking all the good people to join me in prayer. Let the prayers ring around the world. I will share more soon. Join me in this prayer:

Oh, Holy Presence, in sorrow I come to You.

I weep inside for those tortured souls who have gone down the paths of darkness and have convinced themselves that ugliness and violence are right and proper.
I lift them to You, and I ask that Your Lovingness enfold them and lead them to drop the pain of hate and open to the joys of kindness and love. Wherever these pained souls are on this planet, I know You are there. Touch them, Heal them. Restore them to the beings You created, to Your very image.
I am filled with thanksgiving for I know what is possible with You, what is possible for them, what a future we might all have together as Your children.
Let it be so.
Amen. Amen and Amen

Monday, July 5, 2021

Contact

Hello Friends,

I frequently receive an email from some of you that only says "regards." I am not sure what to do about that. I am researching.

I am grateful you read my blog and reach out to me. 

God bless you all,

Love, Light and Blessings,

Marlene

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Pain and Redemption, Restoration

This week has been a week of pain and redemption or restoration lessons.

Physically, I had a tongue biopsy. He took a piece about the size of a nickel; my tongue swelled up like I had a big marble at the spot; and pain, oh my pain! I took his super strong pills the first day, but I switched to ibuprofen the second day. I strongly dislike the mental fog from opiate pills!!! I put numbing goo on the spot several times a day, still today, and the biopsy was Tuesday. But my tongue is forgiving. It is healing. It is redeeming itself with the magical inherent nature of healing. And, all is well, no actual disease, just Covid tongue, one more reaction from the shot, and it will go away on its own just as my red arm went away eventually.

I think of the typical cuts, bruises, scrapes, burns, surgeries etc that happen in the course of our earthly lives. Our bodies waved an internal magic wand and voila, gone. It seems like God knew this earth and our bodies might make a real mess if there were no restoration. Imagine if you could see all of those things at once, if they never went away.  We'd be quite a mess with all cuts, bruises, etc never healed and present for all to see. I am thankful, oh so thankful my body can heal.

Then there are emotional cuts and bruises, maybe a bit harder to heal. We had that this week. We were shown the power of friendship and love as a friend stepped up in a big way as a dire situation hit us. As it turned out, help came from another place that should have prevented the situation in the first place. Our peace and safety were restored.

In the course of life, we have the opportunity to learn and grow and deepen, or to become bitter and take on the cape of victimhood. We are called to have courage and faith, to flex our spiritual muscles, to overcome. This is our time to be all we can become. We are to redeem the challenges by overcoming them, by refusing to be a victim. 

Let us be overcomers, lovers, faith-filled, magnificent beings created in the image and likeness of the Divine. Let's just see how spiritually awake we can be.


Monday, June 28, 2021

In Tune With the Infinite

Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) wrote In Tune With the Infinite, among other things. He influenced Henry Ford, Napoleon Hill and many others. He is often thought of as the grandfather of self-help and positive thinking books. Below are some quotes for us to consider from his above named book:

The great central fact in human life, in your life and mine, is the coming into a conscious, vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow...

For in the degree that we come into this realization and connect ourselves with this Infinite Source, do we make it possible for the higher powers to play, to work, to manifest through us. We keep closed to this divine inflow, to these higher forces and powers, through ignorance, as most of us do, and thus hinder or even prevent their manifesting through us. Or we can intentionally close ourselves to their operations and thus deprive ourselves of the powers to which, by the very nature of our being, we are rightful heirs. On the other hand, we can come into so vital a realization of the oneness of our real selves with this Infinite Life...

It seems to me that the quest to awaken to living at this level of oneness is not the central concern of most of us. Some go to church or retreats or meetings for other reasons - for social needs, to hedge our bets just in case there really is a God, to learn the rules for religion made up by others, etc. Some are busy in the static of social media, wanting to be entertained, seeking empty endeavors and hollow activities, all substitutes for genuine life.

Yet I see a deep hunger in the eyes of people. There is more to life, but they don't know exactly what or how to find it. They don't know where to turn. They haven't learned to turn within to the inner kingdom and deeply connect with The Infinite.

I suggest, if you feel this hunger, find someone to teach you Centering Prayer or some form of meditation and practice it regularly. Walk in nature and open to attune yourself to the vibration there, to feel the tree, the flower, the rays of sunlight. Be willing to awaken to the Infinite. You will be "fed."

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Maniachal

What an interesting word, maniacal. In my life I have had the experience of having someone close to me who had multiple manic breaks, including weeks in a lock up ward. His experience was nothing like anyone else's. During the breaks, his reality was bizarre to those of us looking on and struggling to understand. Bless his tortured soul, he has moved on to the next life where he has found peace I'm sure.

As I look at the current meltdown in our world, it feels to me that much of it seems like a manic break. The values of my lifetime are under siege. It seems like I'm Alice down the rabbit hole in so many ways.

Yet, it also seems like it is a small percent of people who are promoting the destruction of our way of life. It turns out the majority want law and order, our Constitution, our freedoms. Historically, small groups have turned the world upside down. Think the initially small group of Nazis or the small group of Bolsheviks, for example. We need to be informed and aware lest we see history repeat itself.

And we need to stand with our faith. Faith can inform and lead us back on track. Go to church or synagogue or mosque or Buddhist temple or whatever spiritual place calls your soul.

Lord, lead us in Your Ways. Fill us with wisdom and courage. Awaken your people. Save our freedoms.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Me and My Shadow

 In my regular email from Richard Rohr this line grabbed me today:

Usually everybody else can see our shadow, so it is crucial that we learn what everybody else knows about usexcept us!

I've often said that we cannot hide our consciousness, but somehow this way of putting it strikes right at the heart of it. And he's right that we can hide it from ourselves, even though the world can see it.

Our shadow is the dark side in us, the inner dialogue of judgemental thoughts and angry or fearful or hateful feelings everything we don't want the world, let alone God, to know. We need a good inner bath of light and love. It is, of course, ego driven - the part of us that thinks itself superior and so judge and jury of all.

If we are sincere about our spiritual life, we simply must face our own shadows. The great news is that God is merciful and forgiving and calls us to be likewise. We are called to forgive ourselves and others and to cherish ourselves and others. We are not called to be perfect, but to be honest and sincere and loving, always striving for an ever more full connection to all things divine. We are to walk the path of awakening and get back on quickly if we should stumble and step off.

There are no spiritual teachings, of which I am aware, that call us to be angry or mean or judgemental and fill up our egos. Yet so many people act as if that is the natural way to be.

Let us look honestly at ourselves and repair the broken pieces and get ourselves firmly and sincerely on The Path. 

Walk with the Light. Be Love. Gently walk out of the shadow of the false self and be free. All is well with your soul.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Post-Retreat

Yesterday my handouts and experiences centered around the spiritual second birth. As always, I learned from my own retreat. I was filled with joy and remembered again how much I love leading retreats and sharing what I've come to know.

I felt new doors opening in me as I turn to the last chapter of this earthly life. I have more to do, and I am being led. I am excited about where God is leading me next.

I've often said that, if people are in my presence, it is with purpose, and I am to spiritually share with them. So, one of the interesting things yesterday was a woman came who came to our church for the first time Sunday. So while I spoke of the idea of emptiness making anything useful (doors make the room useful, cups have to be empty to receive liquid, etc.), this woman came full, sure she knew everything there was to know about God, Jesus and the Bible. She smugly told me she didn't agree with anything I said and would not be back. Okay, but she did stay for the whole day. So I'm thinking seeds got planted in her soul that will germinate and lead her to a more expansive spiritual life when she is ready, or maybe before she is ready as a spiritual surprise.

What I know is the realm of Spirit, of God, is always calling us. Second birth, or maybe third or fourth or twelfth birth, is there waiting for us to answer the call.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Pre-Retreat

I'm leading a mini-retreat Thursday for the women at church, it's only 10-1:30. As I meditate and pray and  develop the experiences we shall share, I'm experiencing it all ahead of time. I realize that I am having a pre-retreat.

My goal is to lead people to experience The Presence in multiple ways. I hope a major opening happens. I hope for inner moments that transform.

Lord, guide and lead me to present a deeply meaningful day. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Being Helpful

 According to Swedenborg:

Faith apart from good works is just this kind of airy nothing or image, and so are faith and goodwill apart from their practice...

Helpful acts are the good that love does, deriving their essence from the union of what is good and what is true.

It seems to me that my faith almost compels me to act in accordance to its nature. What I hold dear and true directs how I show up in life. Since I strive to live attuned to The Presence and to walk The Way, my actions need to be in harmony with the spiritual realm. When they are not, I see quickly that I have stepped off the path, and adjust myself to what I know to be spiritually so. I seem to live in this dance of on and off the path, with on being more prevalent as I mature.

So, we must evaluate our good deeds. Are they done in love? Are they in tune with God? Do they come from actual goodness? Or are they from ego, from self-glory, a manipulation, or some such darker and less pure place?

It is good to examine ourselves and continue to refine our lives to bring them more and more into spiritual harmony.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A New Thought About Our Bodies

This morning, in that in between time of sleep and wakefulness, I had some musings about my body. 

I saw my body something like a small child or even a pet dog. The "I" that is living in this body has to take care of its body, or it will not be able to stay vital and useful. "I" have to bathe, brush and comb, feed, protect, and be in charge of the body. The body is a vehicle for my soul to be able to be here and learn and grow and contribute. In a similar way to taking care of my car so it can transport my body. I must take care of my body to transport my soul.

Some people do not take very good care of their bodies. They do destructive things like eating way too much so they carry huge amounts of fat wherever they go, or they feed it drugs to numb it, or do all number of things that are opposite of tenderly taking care of the vehicle of their soul.

There are also those who harm the bodies of other people. I wonder if we could clearly see what the body is, if violence against self or others would cease???

It seems to me, it would be wise to care for our bodies so that our souls can get the full experience of human life on earth and learn what our lessons are here in this life. Maybe we could see the sacred job our bodies have as the vehicles of our souls, of everyone's souls. 

Bless the amazing human body, bless our particular human bodies, bless all bodies. Thank You God for this awareness. Help me be a better steward of the body You gave me.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Goodwill Might Not Always Be Good

I'm reading a Swedenborg book this morning, "Regeneration." The section where I am is about who is our neighbor. It is very interesting.

He says our closest and highest neighbor is the Lord. To me, thinking of the Lord as my neighbor is a new way to look at our relationship. He is in me, along side of me and my constant companion, yes I've known that. The neighbor, the most wonderful neighbor, puts a new spin on my thinking. I will contemplate that.

He basically says my neighbors are those in my life, my church my country - at least all who are of goodwill. All of goodwill deserve my love and support, but not those of ill will, not the self-serving, the greedy, the evil behaving people. It is not good to support the darkness. Refrain from supporting those who engage in harm.

He makes sense, in that whatever we support grows stronger. At first it seems in conflict with Jesus's idea of loving our enemies and praying for those who spitefully use you. But on further thought it is not in conflict. It is loving to support the highest and best in ourselves and others. And, conversely, it is not loving to support the lowest and ugliest in ourselves and others. It is, however, to my mind, that being a neighbor of goodwill to those who are in darkness includes praying for them and also not encouraging their darkness.

Looking at all of this from Swedenborg's point, my charity and goodwill are to be focused on those of goodwill. They aren't to be focused on those of ill will, as that encourages more ill will. Here are some of his words:

 Goodwill, then, is an inner motivation that makes us want to do what is good and to do this without reward. Doing this is the joy of our life...

If people have love for themselves and the world as their goal, there is no way they can be focused on goodwill. They do not even know what goodwill is; and they completely fail to grasp the fact that intending and doing good for their neighbor without looking for payment is a heaven inside them—that inherent in this impulse there is just as much happiness as heaven’s angels have: more than words can convey.

  --- Swedenborg

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day/Decoration Day

In The United  States of America, today is our annual honoring of those who have died in service to our country. Let me rephrase that. We honor military deaths in service to our country in warfare. Not included are other categories of people who have died in service, such as medical people or police or fire persons  or construction workers or anyone saving lives or building bridges or doing various heroic things. I add them in my heart and am also thankful for their service.

Our military is important, necessary and vital to protect us from those who would do us harm. We are grateful for their service. We are also grateful for all those in other categories who have died in service.

As always there is another way to look at it. Consider this with me: It is only because of our unhealed consciousness that we need the military. If we actually realized and lived spiritual Truth, we would honor one another as sacred. We would no longer attack one another. We would lift each other up. 

We would celebrate both our differences and our Oneness. Just as my eye is different from my toe, yet part of me, there are varieties of people who are all part of humanity.

Consider how life on earth could be, the potential right in front of us, if we healed ourselves. No greed, no power struggles, no egos leading the way anymore. It may seem far-fetched, unlikely even, but in my heart I know it to be possible.