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Friday, May 13, 2022

Just A Gaze

This morning I read about a scientific study that proved an experience of mine, and probably of yours too. You know how it is when you can feel a person starring at you, and you turn to discover they are actually starring at you, or a person turning around when you are starring at them? It actually makes neurological reactions that can be detected. It seems it is a real thing.

In meditation I was shown an expanded understanding of this. It involves our connection to The More. God, Divine Presence. As we deeply turn to God in prayer and/or meditation, God "feels" our gaze, and, if we go quietly into the silence, we can feel God's Gaze being returned. That changes everything, or at least it has for me.

Unhinged from God, people flail around. We can see that most everywhere today and also historically. The evil done by people is done when the people are not connected to The More. Connected people - those whose gaze turns to God and God's Gaze turns to them - are peaceful, compassionate, kind, etc.

Meditation is one of the keys. I can only imagine what a different world it would be if/when a large number of people would daily meditate and open and keep open that incredible Connection.

Oh Divine Presence, lead us to Connection with You. Show us how to encourage others to Connection. Show us how to encourage meditation. Lead us to be the difference the weary world needs. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Violence

It seems that much of our world has plunged into violence. It is heart-breaking! We see horrors of war and butchery, a huge amount of deaths of the pre-born (60+ million since Roe in America), shootings and stabbings on the streets,  drugs flooding in from Mexico and China that kill, trafficking of children into sex trade, cartels controlling so much, people in China being imprisoned in their apartment buildings to starve or die from lack of medication, a shift toward totalitarianism and Marxism, etc, etc, etc.

So, why? Richard Rohr sent out the following statement this morning:

The root of violence is the illusion of separation—from God, from Being itself, and from being one with everyone and everything.

That seemingly simple statement puts it succinctly, and I think accurately. As the people of earth get more and more untethered from spiritual roots, they get farther and farther from living and acting from spiritual understanding. Everything goes when nothing matters.

BUT everything does matter. Some are alienated from the truth of who they are. They are lost and in pain, and act out with reckless abandon. 

We are actually spiritual beings. We are accountable for our words and our deeds. 

We need somehow to communicate that God, The Divine Presence, Creator - is everywhere, in everyone, in every single thing. All is sacred. We are intertwined. We need to honor life, to honor our planet, to honor ourselves and everyone.

We can turn the mess around. We can wake up to the Truth, model it, teach it, be it, share it, shine it. Love our neighbors as ourselves - love yourself, and out of being at peace in your own heart, share that love with every speck of this planet and all upon it. 

Shall we try to save this planet before it descends farther?

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Message from Coptic Manuscripts

The Coptic Manuscripts, that were found in Upper Egypt in the 1940's, give us some insights that had been lost and buried for preservation from the authorities that sought to burn them all. I am reading a new to me book on them, although I have read them and books about them over the years. The excerpt below from thoughts about some words in The Gospel of Thomas struck me this morning.

As John the Baptist said, “One can give only what one has received. Nothing more, nothing less”. Do not let yourself be guided by those who do not have the experience of which they speak. Intuitively, we know to beware of those who eagerly offer “good advice.” As the Indian sage Nisargadatta said, “Those who know what is good for others are dangerous people.” You can bear witness to your faith, but never graft it on another. When this is seen as the luminous truth it is, it becomes an awakening force in itself. All that you can say is: “That which is alive in me is also alive in you.”

The truth in these words struck me deeply this morning. I have pondered and criticized those who are incongruent, inauthentic, just plain phonies. I think this does come from "teaching" what one does not actually know - or perhaps just know a smidgen and try to puff up the ego. 

When one Knows, there is a luminosity that speaks for itself. The light that has been quickened can touch another and seed the quickening in them. It is not what we say, but the energy of Divine Light upon which the words rest. It us not what we do, but the Divine Energy that does it through us. Once seen and experienced in another, we know it is in us too, and we seek to know it more.

Seek the luminous words, deeds and presence. We know it, when it comes to us. Seek to be a contagion of the luminous for others. The weary people of earth are starved and thirsting for it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Can You Tell Me About the Moon?

Experience is essential to knowing. If you have seen the moon, but I have not, none of your words can lead me to know the moon as you know it. If you have tasted a mango, but I have not, none of your words can lead me to know the taste as you know it. If you have known God, but I have not, none of your words can lead me to know God as you know God.

If the moon is reflected in all the bodies of water, and I look at the reflections, I only have a hint about the moon, but also I might think there are hundreds of moons, all living in the waters.

Ignorance can be fed by partial or second-hand information. 

Important things for our successful journey on earth include actually and fully becoming Love, seeing fully, being compassionate and coming to Know God by whatever name you use to identify the Divine Presence.

Others can point The Way, but each of us must walk The Way ourselves. 

Some things are simple. Just get a mango and eat it. The journey of awakening spiritually can be complex. There are many paths, but some lead nowhere or in circles or to dark places. Jesus told us to look at the fruit - what does this or that produce? 

I re-read "Perennial Philosophy" almost every year. I find snipets of the same ideas across the ages, from every corner, discovering the same things. Voices from everywhere tell of Oneness, of all creation testifying to the incarnation of the Divine in all people, all animals, all plants, all of creation singing out the song of Oneness.

I contemplate a flower, and I touch that song. I silently bless a passerby, and I feel our connectedness. I meditate, and I know God in my soul and in all.

Seeking such experience means stopping being controlled from the outside, including the frenzy of social media, news, etc. It is the task of our lives to not get sidetracked by the lures of the shallow and crazed, but to turn to Peace and Beauty, to Love and Eternal Light and let our imprisoned splendor shine as a beacon of hope to the those lost in the frenzy.

May your light so shine.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Aristotle and Me

This morning I awoke thinking of Aristotle's Golden Mean - live neither too far to the right nor too far to the left, but walk the Golden Mean. Extremes lead to dark and unhappy places. Being off balance is not a positive thing.

Then I thought of Paul's comment of looking through the glass darkly, and then face to face. The glass is darkened and distorted partially by extreme biases, closed minds, the my way or the highway mentality.

Extreme points of view held by the extreme right or the extreme left produce the same results - violence, hostility, anger, alienation, paranoia, judgments, damnation of others not in one's extreme group, and never peace and happiness. Extremes are the dark glass of no clarity, distortions, and falsity.

How does one get back to the Golden Mean, if we find ourselves out on the extreme limb. I think we have to first examine ourselves. I often think of Thoreau's words, An unexamined life is not worth living. I agree, and I notice for those out in the extreme regions of life, it is very difficult to get them to honestly examine themselves and their situations and positions. I suggest asking oneself some questions such as:

  • Do I usually/often take the position that those who do not agree with me are in some way dumb, bad, perverse, totally wrong, even dangerous? 
  • Am I sure that I am always right?
  •  Do I get angry/irritated when others speak from some other point of view?
  • Am I ever able to have a calm and civil discussion with someone who sees things far differently than me?
  • Can I entertain the thought that it might be at least interesting to hear the other's point of view?
  • Am I happy, at peace, joyful, meeting each person, each moment with love, curiosity and acceptance?
  • Do I have friends of divergent points of view, accepting their right to see through their glass without angrily trying to make them look out of my glass or trying to shut them up?
These, and other such questions, can open at least a tiny spark of light to begin a more wholesome and balanced approach to life.

As for me, I find it absolutely fascinating to learn about other people, other ideas, other ways. If my current understandings are valid, nothing disturbs them. BUT, if I hold false ideas, misunderstandings, etc, I want to know and let them go. I know that the Divine is Infinite, so I know that I can never know all. I can keep growing in knowledge and understanding only if I do not hold fanatically to any one thing.

In this moment of history, I see far too many who have veered off to the far right or far left, and are causing unnecessary upheavals all over the place. There is nothing to fear from honest debate. There is a great deal to fear from extremes of the closed minded. Let us get back to the Golden Mean. It might just restore and save us all.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Feral Life

 fe·ral /ˈferəl,ˈfirəl/adjective

  1. (especially of an animal) in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication.
    "a feral cat"
    Similar:
    wild
    untamed
    undomesticated
    untrained
    unused to humans
    unbroken
    not broken in
    not house-trained
    not housebroken
    Opposite:
    tame
    pet
    • resembling a wild animal.
      "a feral snarl"

    • A theory began to develop in my mind recently, after I read about feral cats taking over an unused stadium. At the same time all sorts of human news spoke of random violence, shooting, stabbing, pushing under rail cars, illegal this and that, and on and on.
    Then I read a recent poll about religion. 29% responded "none" when asked about their religion. Then I read about the high incidence of single-parent households, disintegration of the family and even demonization of the nuclear family. I read about the immense drug problem, and that being the main cause of death of young adults. Of course, world strife, war, invasions, etc were on every news source. It seemed that a significant portion of civilization was coming apart at the seams (as a quilter, I know how important strong seams are 😊).

The idea that some people are turning feral crossed my mind. Some people were not being "domesticated," that is, not learning the moral code that has been developed over eons, the code that has held civilized life together.

Re-ligeo/religion means to bind to the mores and ways of any particular religion. Since no major religion teaches pushing people under trains or shooting at party goers or zoning out on drugs, it is obvious that these people are not taught how to be part of a functioning human community, so they have gone wild, or feral.

With Pandora out of the box, so to speak, how do we civilize these feral people? Can we civilize them? Can we turn this around?

My first thought is to find a spiritual group that has a long history of teaching love and peace and self-responsibility, and take yourself, your children and your grandchildren there regularly. Whether your heritage is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sik, Baha'i, Hindu, New Thought, etc - find a spiritual home where you feel you can fit.

Stop buying, watching, and playing movies, games, books, etc. that make violence normative. Find others that teach kindness, helpfulness, love, forgiveness, joy, peace, unity, adventure, and all things that uphold the best of humanity.

Encourage and support activities that promote healthy youth from arts and music programs to sports programs.

Decide to be part of the solution.

Together we can do it.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Tearful

I feel so tearful. For a couple of weeks, I've felt tearful, unlike the usual me.

There are some personal things I'm dealing with healthwise and situational too. Yet, it is more than that.

It's as if I feel the people of the world weeping. I hear the cries coming from across the planet. I hear the people in China boarded up in their apartment buildings, starving, jumping out of windows, crying out in fear. I hear the cries of the people in Sri Lanka as their country descends into chaos. I hear the cries of Russian parents by the thousands. whose sons and daughters are dying in Ukraine, and their cries over frozen money and little food and immense inflation. I hear the cries of the Ukrainians in the millions as they endeavor to protect their homeland, as they flee, as they die. I hear the cries of inner cities taken over by drug cartels and human traffickers, and as their sons and daughters are randomly killed by drive-by shooters and by drugs. It seems the people of earth are crying out all at once.

I hear them in my heart. Do you hear them?

Oh Divine Presence, we hear Your people cry out. Guide us as to how to respond, what to do. What are You calling us to do? What can be done? Shine Your Light into our souls and lead us to bring peace to this planet. Surely together we can bring an end to this weeping that is coming from all spots on earth. Your dear children suffer en masse. Comfort Your children and inspire us with Your Guidance. We listen...

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Topsy Turvey

 As I look out upon this world, it appears that there is disturbance of a dark kind in countless areas:

  • Of course the war going on with the brutal invasion of Ukraine and the terrible consequences for both people. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Who could call this "good"? Who could stand before God and explain this away?
  •  There is the attempt to sexualize and groom little children, tell them porn is ok, tell them details about sex and call it school curriculum. It seems that felony child abusers are now approving of how to teach children that they are coming for them. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Who could call this "good"? Who could stand before God and explain this away?
  • Marxists are now using race in the same way the Bolsheviks used class, using the same words, slogans, attacks on free speech, etc, in an attempt to bring down the free West. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Who could call this "good"? Who could stand before God and explain this away?
  •  The government opened our borders, paving the way for a flood of decent people plus cartels with their sex slaves and drugs, terrorists and unknown hundreds of thousands. It appears like an attempt to end America. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Who could call this "good"? Who could stand before God and explain this away?
  • Certain elements of our society have decided that truth is not important, control is important, specifically control to one point of view. Debate is squelched. Lies, big lies are told. People with questions are shouted down. False charges are made. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Who could call this "good"? Who could stand before God and explain this away?

I could go on, and I'm sure you could add your own items to this list. 

It is dizzying. So much is topsy turvey. I feel like I'm down the rabbit hole with Alice.

I refuse to give up.

Lord of all, lead us, guide us, show us the way to peace, to saving freedom, to being the persons You created us to be. Fill us with insight and courage. Shine Your Light in all of the dark places. Let Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, today and every day. May it be so!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Time to Reflect on the Number 82

I awoke this morning to the thought that it was 82 years ago on this day that I drew my first breath as Margaret Marlene Eakin. It was not my first breath ever, but it was for this particular lifetime. It seems so long ago. The world has changed so much it is barely recognizable from the vantage point of 82 years ago.

In many ways, it seems like I've lived multiple lives within this particular life. I've experienced a huge variety of things, some almost unbelievable, even to me who lived it. I've been places and done things that seem fantastic and unreal. I've gone through extreme valleys and beautiful mountain top experiences. I've been loved, hated, shunned, attacked, supported, betrayed, lied about and lied to, in danger, penniless and well off, won awards, educated, and just about anything imaginable. I've had amazing spiritual experiences and dark night of the soul times. I've learned major forgiveness lessons, lessons about taking charge of my own mind, lessons of observation of what to do and not to do. I am thankful for all of the people who have been my teachers for just a few moments or for long stretches of time. I am thankful for the tough, hard, hurtful teachers and the kind, uplifting teachers. They each had their purpose and perhaps assignment.

My life card is full and overflowing with lessons learned, and still learning.

But I'm thinking what matters most is what I've learned and who I've become because of or in spite of it all. What do I know to be true after all of these 82 years of experience?

What matters is my soul growth, my relationship with God, my input into life, loving myself and others, appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of our earth, thankfulness for this amazing journey, appreciation for my kind and encouraging husband of almost 35 years.

It is my hope and goal that when I leave this life, I can answer "Yes, I learned how to love," and "Yes, I completed my mission, my purpose, my reason for coming to earth this time."

I absolutely know that there is a Higher Power - known by many names, but One Higher Power just the same. A different name does not make a different God, it just shows our different ways of approaching God. Much of our approach is cultural - that is where and when we are born and what the prevailing ideas are there. Part of our journey is to realize this and not be bound by it.

I treasure the moments when the veil has lifted, and I have seen beyond and learned from beyond. In quiet moments, in times of trauma, in the mountains, at the ocean, in my home, all over the place, the veil has parted. I know I am loved, guided, and part of the Oneness of All. I know this about you too, even when you don't. I know our soul's journey is continuous - we existed before coming here and will continue when this chapter is complete. I know we are safe at the soul level, no matter what blows life hands us, no matter what accolades we receive. The experience here is our teacher, if we are open and willing to learn. 

Obviously, I have no conscious knowledge, at least at this moment, of how much longer I will be gifted with time here. However long it might be, I will do my best to be the person God calls and guides me to be. 

Thank you, God, for this life and all it has been and shall be. Teach me what You would have me know. Lead me to do Your Will today and every day, every moment. I put the seal of integrity and faith upon these words, Amen, Amen and Amen

Saturday, March 26, 2022

As A Person Thinketh

(The actual quote is - as a man thinketh)

I have taught for many decades how important one's attitude, perspective, state of mind are for almost everything in life. Jesus first taught me that. Many others, plus my life experience, have verified it. 

An article in Epoch Times caught my eye this morning.  I urge you to read it all:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/why-some-people-wont-get-infected-even-after-covid-exposure_4345149.html?utm_source=Top5&utm_campaign=top5-2022-03-26&utm_medium=email&est=C8FWhudjwdlxYKNMGtuLjT69GZII4vp8t%2Bfrp%2BlvAThly11aA452JrwdBz1OQB03jRRN

Here is an excerpt:

For example, when it comes to bolstering the immune system, vitamin supplements, and looking at nutrition is easy for everyone to understand, because the effects can be seen through a microscope.

But when it comes to regulating emotions, relieving stress, and changing what we’re conscious about, people feel it is too out of touch to be relevant.

However, scientists’ research has proved that our thoughts and mindset can affect how well our immune cells function.

For example, as mentioned in many previous interviews with Dr. Dong, people with two different views of happiness—hedonic and altruistic—express different levels of interferons by our immune cells. Therefore, although our mindset is intangible, it still objectively exists and can even affect the state of our immune cells.

I have found several key factors in establishing a positive mindset, for example: forgiveness, self-talk, examining an unexamined life, our associates, and so forth. 

I want to spend a moment discussing self-talk with you. I have found that many people have a negative, self-condemning script running most of the time in their mind. If that is so for you, I have some suggestions.

Talk to yourself as if you are your own best friend. Give yourself wise suggestions and advice. Ask yourself if this or that line of thinking is good for you. Ask yourself if you would say this or that to someone you loved. Ask yourself what you need to say to yourself to support becoming the best version of yourself possible.

So, if, inside your head, you call yourself clumsy, begin to tell yourself you are balanced and graceful. If you call yourself ugly, begin to call yourself beautiful. If you tell yourself you are stupid, begin to tell yourself you are intelligent. If others say negatives to you about you, silently reverse what they say.

Whatever you name yourself to be, you will become. Be the shining light of love and joy. Be all you can be. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Life Continues

My dear soul friend, Evelina in Russia, often says, "Life Continues." I guess that has gotten her through so many dreadful times in Russia. We see many lives not continuing here, in real-time on our television sets and various "smart" devices. The horrors are part of our lives. It is hard to understand.

Meditating the other day, a quote from Shakespeare floated into mind:

  • All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

Suddenly I saw a vision of a grand sweep of the journey of souls. I saw lines of souls signing up for various lessons and experiences in their next lives, usually with a sort of helper guiding the choices. I saw how, in some ways, it is play-acting, and in other ways life's roles are curriculum needed by the soul in order to develop, expand, and be more of who they are. I saw once again how life actually does continue after this little role is played and the stage is exited.

I also saw how it is our calling, our assignment, to play our roles as honestly and as fully as humanly possible. We are not to sluff off and give up. We are to do our best, our actual best.

I saw how grand the exit is, to the Light, to the moment of accountability. There is the time of self-evaluation, of how well one did this time. There are some lovingly asked questions.

And the soul continues.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

My Personal War

This is the first war in my lifetime that war is taking place in towns and streets where I've been. I taught many times in Russia, Crimea and Ukraine. I  know dear and wonderful people there. I feel powerless to do something. I made sunflowers to give away, I made a heart wall hanging in Ukrainian flag colors to hang in our sanctuary. I pray, of course, and I weep. What more can I do?

 I hear all sorts of assorted points of view:

    Zelensky was a comedian. I say Reagan was an actor. I say people sometimes rise to the occasion and surprise you.

    There is corruption in Ukraine. Show me a place without corruption, including here.

    Wars have always gone on. I say, maybe they don't have to go on, if we rise to the occasion.

    Zelensky is a thug. I say he is staying put and courageously leading his people by example.

    Zelensky is a Nazi. I say he is a Jew, how ignorant can one be to call him a Nazi?

    Putin wants to reunite the old Soviet Union. I say we all want a lot of things. Wanting does not mean we can or should get everything we want. I say he has no right to take someone else's country. They don't want to be reunited. They remember how it was under Soviet domination.

    Putin says he is not targeting civilians. I say, I can see otherwise with my own eyes.

    Etc, etc, etc...

So, we helplessly watch apartment buildings crumble, hospitals collapse, piles of corpses, millions of frantic refugees. Our hearts break. We weep.

Yes, we can give money to some worthy group trying to alleviate the agony. 

The bigger question is - Is there a way to stop this madness? Maybe not. The propaganda (talk about fake news) spewing in Russia includes - we have to do this as the West wants to wipe Russia off the face of the earth! The Ukrainians want us to liberate them! Only a few of our soldiers have died. And so forth.

Here, we have a leader who is beholden to Ukraine, Russia and China because he and his family have made a huge amount of money from them. And he is not alone in this. Never mind we promised Ukraine we would protect them if they gave up their nukes - integrity anyone? The bully of the East is threatening nuclear war if we do this or that. No one knows if he is bluffing, and so they are timid. The play yard bully is hard to deal with, especially when he wields nukes. We notice his tanks are not very good. We don't know if he actually has nukes that would work. They could be rusty as much of the country is rusty. But we don't know. Where is the intelligence informing our leaders? Is it whispering things unfit for citizens' ears?

There does not at this moment seem to be a possible winner in this mess. Everyone loses. All I can do is pray.
Oh Divine Presence, hear the cries of Your people. We see the atrocious war, and we don't understand. We see two "Christian" countries acting the opposite of Christ. We are dismayed. I don't think this has a human solution.  Blanket the world with Your Peace. Fill hearts and minds with Your Holy Spirit. May Your Highest Good come forth and bring Peace. We ask this in the name of Christ, and we seal it with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Perilous Times

It is difficult to understand how quickly major changes happen and shift the entire world. The unthinkable has happened, and even more unthinkable things are threatened.

Most of the world is united, at least in prayer and spirit, with Ukraine as Russia violently attacks her and now threatens the entire earth with nukes.

What to do?

For me, as an ordinary person, the main thing I can do is pray. Pray with me please.

Divine Presence, I know You are everywhere there is to be, there is no spot where You are not. We as Your offspring are part of You, even when we seem for forget and behave in opposite ways. Help us remember who we are. On this tragic time and day, help us focus upon You and hear Your Guidance. We ask for Your Peace to blanket the angry and violent, helping them to turn away from evil behavior, helping them to remember You, helping them remember we are all siblings, helping them remember it is wrong to put people in pain and anguish. Strike the invaders with Your overwhelming Peace so that they walk away from their weapons and join arms with their spiritual brothers and sisters. Peace is possible. We call upon all forces in heaven to help us all remember and act as You would have us act. We turn this prayer over to You, asking in the name of Christ and sealing it with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Why Is So Much Out of Whack?

Nona Brooks, in her wonderful little book, "Mysteries," offered this on that subject: 

The Father did not force the prodigal to return, but he loved him all of the time he was away. There is no ruling power that forces us into realization of our heritage. We may wander far and suffer many tribulations before we decide to return to a right attitude—one that will put us in harmony with good. Divine love is always sharing its warmth, glory and beauty. It impels the individual to do better things, but it does not compel us to live to our highest. We are free agents in so far as our power of choice to realize the good that is always ours is concerned. We cannot as individuals by using our personal wills change the truth of what we are in God. Children of God can not change their nature, because it is divine. We can, however, neglect to cooperate with divine activity and thereby retard our own progress.

I think the demise of transformational religions and spiritual practices have left many adrift in the earth experience. The attempt to replace communion with the Divine with all manner of secular things tends to make life shallow and frightening. No worship at the altar of sports or consumerism can give us peace or help us overcome addictions or calm our restless minds. Many seek amiss.

But then, no wonder. Where are the spiritual teachers that teach spiritual practices that lead to awakening us to who we really are and what it is we are doing here?  For that matter, where are those that have communed with the Divine themselves and so can authentically lead us? Far too many are into the letter of the law and not the Spirit of it all. Many just pretend, taking on the hollow role of acting the part.

You can memorize all the rules and holy writings you want, but are you genuinely in tune with The More? Are you a light to those around you, exuding rays of love; are you forgiving, kind and compassionate? You can jump through all of the hoops your group requires, but be no closer to God. 

Without a true spiritual connection, it is my experience that people feel lost, a bit empty and seek in all the wrong places. It's really no wonder. One who Knows is hard to find. Of course, we can read the words of those that Knew. They are strewn across history. We can gather small groups to delve into the writings together. 

We must be proactive, if we really and truly want to know who we are and to connect our lives with the living Presence of the More, of the Divine, of God. "Seek and you will find, knock and the door will open."  

Sunday, February 13, 2022

God's Creation

Yesterday at the meditation workshop, I asked everyone to go outside and find a leaf, a flower, a tree, etc. and spend time just being with it. They then shared insights.

This morning I awoke with a mental picture of a plant, maybe a weed, but with leaves and flower growing up through a tiny crack in the asphalt on a freeway. I thought of the will of life to express, to let.

Then I thought of the power of God's creation and how it is greater than human creation and "wins" at least eventually. Leave a house empty for very long, and insects and animals and weather will start breaking it down. Leave a tiny crack in a road, and soon life will emerge, as if thumbing nature's nose at the mighty road builders.

In this secular world of these times, perhaps it is time to turn from the gods of the secular, which turn out to be temporary, to the Divine, to the Creator, to The More.

Look around and see - and you will see evidence of a Divine Presence. Look deeply into a rose for 10 minutes, and you will know something More. Watch a snail amble across the soil for even 5 minutes, and you will know something More. Sit on the grass and be with a tree for just a few minutes, and you will know something More.

Take the sacred back and let the secular recede.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Insights From the More

In teaching Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) at the beginning of my meditation class, I found myself lifted. The idea came to me that in this process, we are mining for spiritual gold. The process is basically this: find a scripture verse that speaks to you, read it slowly, then re-read it emphasizing one word each time, close your eyes, repeat the verse, listen, then journal. Example from Psalm 46:1:

Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. 

Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God.
Be still (let go, release) and know that I am God. 

I have contemplated this verse many times, each with a variety of insights. Saturday, this is what came to me as I wrote after the above Divine Reading: 

It is in the stillness that I can know God. It is a state of being of pure who-I-amness. I LET go, I can't MAKE it happen. I HAVE to let. I answer - Yes, God. I let You be all and all in me and in all of my life.

Try Divine Reading for yourself. You may be surprised how closely you live your life with The More. Words not from you alone, but word gifts from Something/Someone More, often called God. 

 

 

Friday, February 4, 2022

On the Eve

It's the eve before my meditation workshop's first meeting. The room is set up. The handouts are on the welcome table next to the sign-in, name tags, the extra pens, and some bottles of water.

My mind turns to all the things I've learned and experienced in my years of relationship with meditation. So many moments, so many epiphanies, so many memories. I ask God, How can I communicate what I know and know that I know to those who don't know? The answer came: Lead them to their own experience. Once they know, no one can take that knowing away.

Yes. I will do that. I know how. I've done it before. It's too long that I've been away from the important, essential leading people to know by experiencing. I'm excited.

Thank you for this opportunity. I know You lead me each and every moment, so all is well and will be well.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Myth Is What to Me?

I remember Joseph Campbell saying something like - A myth is something that never happened, but is always going on. Richard Rohr put it this way:

Remember, myth does not mean “not true,” which is the common misunderstanding; it actually refers to things that are always true!

Most of the great truths are taught in myth form. I think of the stories as parables, stories with layers of meaning. They speak to us with many meanings, if we have ears to hear.

For example, let us think of the prodigal son story that Jesus told. The main characters are the older son, the younger son and the father, with some supporting characters like the servants. In case you don't know the story, the bones of  it are the younger son asks for his inheritance, goes away and squanders it on wine, women and song, ends up in a pig pen and decides it would be better to be a servant at home than starving and comes home; the older brother stays home and tends to business; the father misses his young son, forgives him and restores his place when he comes home repentant; the older brother is angry about it all and is self-righteous. You can Google it and read the whole story.

These are not actual peop!e Jesus knew. They are a story about something that goes on in many levels - human family schism and problems;  spiritually in our relationship with God; in our inner relationship with ourselves, etc.

At different times of our lives we can identify with each of the characters in this story. Perhaps we have made foolish decisions and have come seeking forgiveness. Or we have been jealous and judgmental, even self-righteous, about someone else's behavior. Or we have been the worried person and rejoiced when our loved one came back and greeted him/her with forgiveness and relief. Or we have turned away from God and had to walk a long path to come back. Or....

I think that in all great stories we can find the story of humans, including ourselves, and we can learn and grow from contemplating them, especially when we put ourselves in the shoes of all of the characters. They are after all about us, all of us.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Died for Our Sins?

 Richard Rohr, in his book "Universal Christ" wrote: 
For most of Christian history, no single consensus prevailed on what it means when Christians say, “Jesus died for our sins,” but in recent centuries one theory did take over. It was often referred to as the “penal substitutionary atonement theory,” especially once it was developed after the Reformation. Substitutionary atonement is the theory that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of us sinners, thus satisfying the “demands of justice” so that God could forgive our sins. This theory of atonement ultimately relies on another commonly accepted notion—the “original sin” of Adam and Eve, which we were told taints all human beings. But much like original sin, which we considered earlier, most Christians have never been told how recent and regional this explanation is, and that it fully relies upon a retributive notion of justice. Nor are they told that it is just a theory, even though some groups take it as long-standing dogma. The early church never heard of this; at best they had some idea of “ransom” from the many biblical metaphors.

 I hope you read his whole book. It is awesome.

I have been saying much like the above for decades now. My thought always is that I absolutely know that God is Love, pure unconditional Love. This substitute for us, for our sins, makes God like some of the worst human fathers, violent, bloodthirsty, without a speck of compassion. Also, I am clear that the story of Adam and Eve is about original blessing, with God declaring all good. In fact, the original sin idea didn't enter until Augustine of Hippo was said to mistranslate  some of Paul's words.

Also this whole idea that all we are to do is just believe he died to pay for our sins, makes his death the only important thing. What about his teaching of how to live, about the kingdom of God within, about love and forgiveness and kindness, etc. I firmly believe, if I say I am a follower of Jesus, I am called to become as much like him as I can. Originally the Jesus movement was called "The Way." We are to walk it.

I think the theologies laid upon the Original, have obscured the actual. I think this is one of the reasons Christianity has been declining. Let's let go of idiot, manmade theologies that have been laid upon the pristine yet simple, profound, and amazing teachings that, if lived, can truly set us free.

Be courageous.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Finding Spiritual Gold

To stay on the surface of anything is invariably to miss its message—even the surface meaning of our sinfulness. - Richard Rohr

In preparing for teaching my meditation series in February, I had a flash of understanding of diving into the depths and finding spiritual gold. You have to go into mother earth to find precious metals, beautiful gems, useful things like coal and iron and oil, good soil for planting, etc. We have to go within to find spiritual gold, actually touching the edges of The Presence, knowing because personally we've been there with The One.

If we live on the shallow surface of our lives, we will not find the spiritual gold that beckons us. When we are even just a little still, there is a nagging feeling that there is more to life, that there is something calling. Just out of sight, just around the corner, there is something worth finding. 

Shall we find it? Are we ready to go inside? Are we willing to move beyond ego's posturing? Are we ready to say the most dangerous prayer? Thy will be done.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

There Is Another Way to Look at Getting Older

Yesterday I began re-reading Nona Brooks "Mysteries." She is one of my favorite spiritual women and the founder of Divine Science, along with her two sisters. I read her chapter on aging yesterday, and it has been dancing around in the corners of my mind ever since. Here is just one passage: 

Old age does not mean the burden of years; it means the fruition of a life. Years are not our enemies, but our friends, if we live in harmony with the years and think of them as opportunities for development. Each day of the year is in itself an opportunity to realize more of truth, but unwisely, we resist the passing of the years instead of cooperating in spirit with the seeming flight of time... People do not have to go downhill until their process ends, as we say, in death. To be here and not to live is the only death there is.

That last sentence particularly grabbed me. As I pondered this, it occurred to me that some live a predeath, having given up their zest, they shut down parts of themselves. It is almost like they think they are not supposed to face life with gusto anymore. It is unseemly for the elderly to dance and celebrate and create and be filled with unbounded joy. 

I say hogwash. We who are called elderly, and yet fully live our lives, have earned the right to be called wise ones, mentors, examples of the fruits of a life lived fully.  We have had many chapters in our lives. We have been many places, looked in many eyes, heard tall tales and myths and true stories. We have tasted a great deal of cultures from the food to the music. We know how life feels in its crowded corners and its expanses. We lived and are living it.

To you, my dear friends, scattered across this little blue planet, I give you Nona's words again, To be here and not to live is the only death there is.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Homo Spiritualis;

This morning I am reading a book about Teilhard de Chardin. In it there is a quote from an unnamed anthropologist that tweaked my mind.

The cave paintings of France and Spain mark the division between Homo Sapiens (Wise Man) and a new evolutionary step we took to become Homo Spiritualis; a species that is aware of its place in God’s realm.

I don't know if that is completely accurate or not, but it certainly is a fascinating idea. Perhaps it is not just an ancient history thing. Perhaps it is also an every person thing.

I wrote a book to use as a text for teaching, Spiritual Psychology. In it I hypothesized that Maslow's pyramid did not stop at self actualization but continues on like a giant X, with self actualization being the midpoint where the lines cross. We continue on a spiritual journey that finally reaches Cosmic or Christ Consciousness, but the top is open, so that is only the highest we know of. Beyond there is more, maybe in the next dimension.

This morning I am thinking that the journey above the crossing of the lines could be our journey as  Homo Spiritualis. I'm going to ponder this idea and see what comes of it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Plans and Surprises

I have plans, you have plans, everyone has plans.

I'm planning our United Methodist Women's Sunday that we are having on February 27th. I've written a script for 7 of us to present 7 little known women in the Bible. I've spoken to the music director requesting hymns written by women. I have a list ready for sign-ups for women to participate where they want, from one of the 7 to ushering.

I have the agenda ready for tomorrow's UMW board meeting, and I have the general meeting next week planned.

I've gotten things needed into the church secretary for the newsletter, including my monthly article, Servant Volunteer of the Month. This month I interviewed myself 😍, as my name was drawn from the jar of names.

I've made several quilt tops and made some handouts for our Prayers and Squares meeting Friday.

I have the handout almost done for my meditation class in February. It's more of a booklet really, as it has 12 pages so far.

And, I could go on. However, as I've experienced, my plans may or may not actually turn out exactly as I planned. But I do believe they will turn out better than if I had not planned. If all goes well, they will be in the ballpark at least.

There are so many plans written about in the Bible that didn't exactly turn out as the people expected. From surprise pregnancies to detours of all kinds, the people had to adjust to what was. Some grumbled, and some praised God. I hope I can say truthfully that I'm mostly in the praise God group, but there are times I grumble first. I do eventually get there.

I like Paul's thought that all things work together for good for those who are called by God to His purposes. The challenge sometimes is to discern if it is God calling me to this or that, or is it my ego? I truly want to do all things in harmony with The Divine. I've tried most of my life to do so, but not always have I succeeded. But what I have discovered is that even when I go a bit rogue, God uses even that to teach me and lead me back.

I have concluded, up until this point anyway, that it will all work out because God is always with me and always loves me and always sees the best in me and calls that out, even out of my blunders. I am safe. I shall be safe when the time comes to go on to the next life, whatever it will be. God will be there too.

So I think we can relax, and just do our utmost best, and it will all work out. Just love one another as God loves us, flaws and bloopers and all.

Monday, January 10, 2022

All the Moments of My Life

I was sitting and musing. The thought wafted in that I am a container, maybe vessel, for all the moments of my life. I am the only one that knows them all. Even most of the people who knew a bit of them are gone. If you pay close attention, you might see a shadow of some of them imprinted upon me. But you can never know them all, nor can I know many of yours.

The most precious, the scariest, the most perplexing, the sweetest bubble up now and then. They are mine alone. Even if I tried to tell you, it wouldn't be the same. It's a sort of you have to be there kind of thing. Words cannot share the moment that was, not the feelings, the colors, the smells, the immersion of having lived it.

In so many ways, life is a solitary thing. If you were there with me in some moment of import to me, you still could get only a hint of how it was for me, of how I felt it, of how it brought up other memories, or of what it meant to me. And of course, the same goes for all of us.

We learn to treasure the moments of our lives. They are all threads of the tapestry of our lives. When we look closely at one another with an open heart, we can sense some of the threads and feel our oneness in this similar but different-for-each-of-us journey through life on earth. We each have threads of sorrows and joys, of hopes and hopes dashed, of gains and loss. We are remarkably on the same journey, yet a wildly different journey - in the details, in our interpretations, in our decisions, in our willingness to grow spiritually, etc.

So let us just relax and love one another. Life can be grueling, tiring, painful and at the same time exhilarating, uplifting, and joyous. We all go through it. Let's look upon one another with eyes of love and compassion. We're really not all that different. We can all use some love and caring. We know how it feels, all of it. So let's drop judgments and attacks and all things unloving. We understand one another at a deep level. Just remember what your soul knows.

I love you.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

 Prayer is talking to God 

 Meditation is listening to God 

 Free 4 week experiential class on meditation open to all 

 You will learn: 

 Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer 

 Divine reading and historic Christian Meditation 

Focusing Your Energy Bringing in the scattered and busy energy of modern life to focus 

Breathing Meditations 

 Time honored techniques to still the mind 

 Walking Meditations and Guided Meditations 

 Motion and focus  

Plus others 

 The power of meditation to improve mind and body, as well as spiritual depth, has been well documented. Here is your opportunity to brush up on meditation or to learn it. Find which techniques work best for you. 

 This opportunity is offered for the first time in Temecula

 by international teacher, author and blogger, Dr. Marlene Oaks.

 Saturdays from 10—noon February 5, 12, 19, & 26 

Temecula United Methodist Church

 42690 Margarita, Temecula. 92592 1.951.676.1800

 eileen.tumcsecretary@gmail.com 

PLEASE, IF POSSIBLE, PRE-REGISTER—sign up at the church, send a note or email.

Crooked Thinking

We used to say, "Change your stinking thinking." We also used the metaphor that a high jumper had to throw his/her mind over the bar first before the body, and we needed to go ahead in our minds before we took physical steps toward goals. And we reminded ourselves that the word "sin" was an archery term signifying we missed the mark, the bullseye, thereby requiring us to aim again and give it another try. I'm very familiar with this, as I took archery in college for a physical education class, and I spent one semester with a purple arm. Although I eventually got an A in the class, I seemed to inevitably let go of the string in such a way as it frequently hit my srm, no matter where I placed the shield.

All of this told us that our minds are powerful and need to be focused on the highest and best. We need to think through what the result of this or that would likely be, and make adjustments in our thinking.

I see wild and nutty thinking constantly, more so now than any other time in my long life. If you follow these examples of choices to their logical conclusions, what do you find?

  • Let criminals out after arrest the same day or the next day, and don't prosecute them.
  • Defund the police.
  • Open the borders and let anyone in.
  • Let major cities be cartel hubs for human trafficking and drugs.
  • Make everything about race.
  • Stop free speech, decry honest debate, fire or shun those not in compliance.
  • Pay people not to work.
  • Make the press the puppets of the ruling class.
These are just a few crooked thinking items that I hear and see almost every day. If we stop and think, we can clearly understand that they point to a place we do not want to inhabit.

Each of us likely have private, personal crooked thoughts about ourselves and our lives. I suggest, when you find yourself saying something to yourself that is crooked and will lead you astray, stop and tell yourself the opposite. Examples: I am stupid/I am a brilliant person; I can't do this (wonderful) thing/I can do all good things with the Divine as my partner; I don't know what to do/I listen and am guided to know what is best to do.

Let's free ourselves from crooked thinking and the dreadful results such thinking produces. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Thank You

 I am so very thankful to my readers all over this wonderful planet. I hope and pray the ideas I've been inspired to write here challenge you, lift you, lead you to new thoughts, and take you further down the spiritual path.

For some reason all of the emails I receive from this blog simply say "regards" accompanied by the email of each person. I am not sure how to respond. I may be able to put together an email list and send a special email to all who have sent "regards." 

In the meantime, I want you to know how deeply grateful I am to you. It is heartening to know that people all over this globe are deep thinkers and care about spirituality, one another and our collective future.

I send you my blessings and love and joy and prayers.

Always, Marlene

Walking This New Path with New Feet and New Heart

 2022! What will we make of it?

We all enter this new year with our own heartbreaks, dreams, hopes, plans - with the experiences that we have lived. These give us a foundation of compassion, humor, sorrows, losses and wins. If we allow the past to define the future, however, we most likely will just repeat and repeat rather than create.

Let us say to our past, Thank you for teaching and testing me. Thank you for leading me to this new day, new year, new possibility. Let us now turn our face to the adventure of a year never lived before by anyone.

If you could do anything possible this year, what would it be? Would you choose to be more loving and forgiving? Would you travel and explore other ways humans live? Would you learn new skills? Would study new to you areas of human thought? Would you focus on your spiritual journey? Or maybe do all of these and more?

Put on your brand new 2022 shoes, and with an open heart, put your whole self on the path of creating and experiencing a brand new year in a brand new way. Live the adventure. Don't miss it. It will not come this way again.