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Thursday, December 31, 2009


This is the last day of 2009! When I was a little girl, the 21st century seemed as far away as Flash Gordon. 2010 seemed unimaginable. And here it is. Can you believe it?

What a far different world it is at so many levels than it was in 1940. From there to here is a sort of major jet lag. If anyone could have suggested what 2010 would be like, what technology we would have, what the culture would be like, what the world would be like it would have been far-fetched science fiction to us. And here it is.

I wonder what the next decades will hold in store & what impact each of us can have on making the future a good place. I suppose if a future person could come to us today, our future would also seem like science fiction. Things both dreamed & undreamed of today will be commonplace there.

As we bravely move into another new decade, let us take with us dreams & prayers & actions for goodness, faith, hope, joy, love, peace & all things of God. Let us have the courage to live our values & be true to the highest & best in us. Let us be beacons of love & light. Let's be the positive difference we want to see happen. Let's make it so that the visitor from the future speaks to us of a new world of peace & plenty for all, of a God-centered shift in hearts, words & deeds. If we don't try, there is no way we can arrive in the future we desire. I believe God calls us from deep within our souls. The question is really, will we listen & will we act on the loving whispers?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thoughts on Logos

In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos.

In biblical Judaism, the word of God, which itself has creative power and is God's medium of communication with the human race.

Christianity, in Saint John's Gospel, especially in the prologue (1:1-14), the creative word of God, which is itself God and incarnate in Jesus.

Fr. Charles talked about many things yesterday, one of which was "logos." Thoughts about it kept popping into my mind yesterday, off & on through the night, & then this morning. So, I feel I am led to write a little about it.

Logos, this is the Greek word used in John 1:1. Looking at its roots gives some interesting context. The Greeks thought of it as a principle as well as the source of the principle, so since it's their word, we might consider this a moment. The order in & through the universe is amazing, even in chaos there is a certain order. If there were no underlying, guiding principles, all would collide, collapse, be unreliable, be confusing, etc. The coffee table stays a coffee table & does not suddenly turn into a radish. Sure, eventually it will decay & return to earth to be reformed into something else, but this is done in a principled & orderly way. Yes, I agree, in our dimension there is principle & that principle has a Source.

Judaism is important to our understanding here since the people of the Bible are primarily Jewish, including, of course, Jesus & all of his apostles & most of his followers. In this understanding God's Word is creative, in fact creating all that we know in our universe. This idea is established right in the beginning in Genesis. And God speaks to the people, communicates with them/us. We are not far away from God, but so close we can hear God.

John, then, understands this & tells us that this principle, this creative power, this speaking to us is made personal & infused in flesh in the form of Jesus. Now the understanding of the principle behind all, the creative power of God's Word, the speaking to us are no longer limited to prophets, philosophers & to those so attuned they can hear. Now embodied in a man that can be seen, heard, touched by all is the Logos. God becomes available to the masses. Who & what God is, is there for all. We see love, forgiveness, healing, creativity, wisdom, peace, humility, oneness & so much more before our very eyes. God with us in a new & special way opens doors not opened to humans before this time.

It is interesting to me that such an amazing occurrence is now largely ignored. Santa & the Easter bunny seem more important to the world. Facebook & television take more time from us than spiritual inquiry, prayer, meditation & doing good works. I wonder where this secular busyness will take us as a people. I wonder why we go away into the artificial. I wonder........

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spirituality Is Not In Fashion

It's not cool to be spiritual these days. It's cool to be a consumer, the passive recipient of entertainment or a sort of participant in entertainment like video games. We're not supposed to actually do anything real. It might still be cool to go to church at Christmas & Easter though.

But, to talk about our personal spiritual journey, our hunger for God, our prayers & meditations, our questions, this is not cool. We are not supposed to go quietly into a garden to contemplate & listen. We are not supposed to participate actively in spirituality. The joy I once saw in many faces, has been replaced by a certain blankness. It seems to me that fewer people are awake.

If we go into a garden nowadays it's to prove something is wrong with the environment, or toxic fertilizers impair the food or some bug is there to make it impossible to carry the fruit across town. We are grim.

How did this happen? In the 1950's, everyone I knew went to church. All the kids were part of youth groups in their churches. We didn't do drugs or smoke any kind of cigarettes. There were no video games. There were no seatbelts or bicycle helmets, no computers, but there were a lot of real things to do. We adopted Korean War orphans & rolled bandages for lepers. We helped grow vegetables & fruit in the back yard. We learned to sew & cook & be able to take care of ourselves & others. We were taught to think of others, that the stranger might be an angel or Jesus coming to us to give us the opportunity to do the right thing. We were encouraged to use our spirituality in a positive way. We flexed our spiritual muscle.

I have been a watcher of people since early childhood. We used to go downtown on a Friday night, get an ice cream cone, sit in the car & watch the people walk by. Today, I see less light in eyes, less animation of people's energies, more blankness.

It seems to me that it is time for a spiritual awakening. The question is how to trigger & then sustain it. How to get people back participating in life, caring about others? How to get people out of the hypnosis of having to be entertained?

In some ways, the movie "The Matrix" talks about our times. We're not that far gone yet, but more & more people prefer the artificial to the real.

God, we come to You this day with an ache in our hearts. We yearn for You. We yearn for spiritual awakening for ourselves & others. Show us the way. Open us to capital "R" Reality, out of the illusion of the artificial. Open our eyes. Open our hearts. Open our minds. Open all of our beingness to You. We praise You & rejoice in Your action in our lives. We seal this with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen & Amen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas' Thin Spots

It is Christmas time again. This holiday has so much emotion involved with it from memories of Christmases past to family memories made & to be made, to the spiritual dimension for which it is really about.

It's the 21st today, first day of winter! We've already had our family Christmas. Saturday our children & 4 of our grandchildren gathered to share the day, eat good food, exchange gifts & reminisce. It was truly wonderful. We had a lot of fun & loving conversation. It was all a family gathering should be. I feel blessed. Our eldest son & 3 grandchildren will be flying east to have Christmas with their other grandparents. Our daughter will be with her inlaws. Our youngest son & his wife will be back to spend the actual day with us. That will be lovely. We created good memories for the Christmas of 2009.

Probably the worst Christmas was 1976. My husband, father of my children, had an aneuyrsm of the major artery in his brain. He was talking to me & dropped. He was brain dead. On New Year's 1977, we turned off the machines & he passed on to his next life. Many miraculous things happened around all of that. I'll share that one day.

Since we had our whole family time already, it will be interesting to be free to focus on the deeply spiritual meanings of Christmas. Tonight we are having friends for dinner, & then we are going to a performance of "The Messiah" done in the original way that Handel had it done. We will be attending several other things at church too. We probably would have done all of that anyway. The special freedom of time allows me to spend contemplative time around the miracles & meanings of Christmas.

Sunday, Charles spoke of the times when it is thin between heaven & earth, times when we see or hear from another realm. I have certainly had those times & deeply cherish them. I understand that life is so much more than the obvious. God gave us a view of who & what he is through Jesus. I suppose God also got a view of humanity in a new way too through Jesus. For God, the emmanuel experience must have been interesting. For us, it was key to our awakening. We got a major thin spot between heaven & earth. Some people's view of God is so limited. They create God in their own emotionally stinted, mean-spirited image. Jesus told us that God is love & then proceeded to show us that love & how it works. He encouraged us to be that love too. Perhaps in our sincere, authentic, agape love, we help create a thin spot. Living from that love, we are more deeply in alignment & communion with God. There is less between us, keeping us apart.

This Christmas, the gift we could bring to the Christ Child is that authentic love, opening up a thin spot between us. In the cradle of our hearts we birth the Light of the Christ by our lovingness & our faith. I am going to spend some time contemplating this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

As a Drop in the Ocean

Pondering my/our relationship with God, I am drawn back to the drop in the ocean analogy. We are the drops. Each drop is pure ocean, but it is not all there is of the ocean. In the beginning God created us, apparently out of Divine Substance because in the beginning there was only God. In our beginning, we were pure Divine Substance, but of course not all of the Divine Substance. We were but tiny droplets, but made by God & of God nevertheless.

But, we don't look or act like God (at least let me speak for myself) all or even a lot of the time, maybe a tiny, tiny bit of the time. So how could we be at one with God, the Ocean, made of It & not be It?

Pollution, ignorance, fear, faithlessness, separation, etc. are some of the possibilities. Today let's look at pollution. Just as the water that is ocean water, identifiable as such, can be polluted, so can we. We get polluted by negativity, fears, evil, bad choices, resentments, cultural biases, misinformation and all manner of ideas & feelings that we ourselves bring into our pure drop of divinity.

I believe that a lot of time needs to be spent in re-purifying the drops that we are. Our society complicates this process by itself being polluted by a wide variety of things. Our society keeps feeding us pollution, & we take it in if we don't have a good spiritual filter. Our "modern" society seems to be going downhill into the muck & mire, away from the Light of God's Presence. I was thinking of the amount of time many people spend with violent/sexual/ugly movies, TV, games, music vs the amount of time spent with spiritual/loving/beautiful movies, TV, games, music, etc. Wow!!!

Just a tiny example comes in the big box office movie right now about vampires, werewolves, etc. The "sweet" high school girl decides she wants to give up her soul in the name of "love" for her vampire boyfriend. Could be a metaphor for what is happening with so many of our youth.

I watch in amazement as our culture seems to disintegrate before my eyes. It is not the culture of the 1950's of my youth. Some of that change is positive, & a great deal of it is NOT. We don't have a spiritual protection agency refining our culture. It seems that everything goes these days. The traditional filters of family & church have stepped into the background, abdicating from their roles. For the most part, we are on our own.

Thankfully, God is Love. God is forgiving. Jesus redeems us. All is not lost. There is a way to re-purify our droplets & reflect more of our true nature, our spiritual essence that is the center of who we are.

Dear God, we turn to You this day & every day. We seek Your guidance & help. Wash away the spiritual pollution we have let into our being & reveal the person You created us to be. Open our eyes, our hearts & our minds to You & the Truth. Lift us out of the confusion of these days into the Light of Your Presence. Lift our world out of the shadows of darkness. Let this be a time of great spiritual awakening. We ask this in Jesus' name & seal this with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen & Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Here in the USA it is Thanksgiving Day. Our oldest son & grandchildren are on the way here through hopefully not too heavy traffic. Our youngest called, as they are out of town at other relatives. Our daughter called last night & will come tomorrow for she always goes to her in-laws on Thanksgiving.

So, I've made the pumpkin pies & am about ready to make the Dutch apple pie. Soon I'll be roasting a turkey, making stuffing, making green bean casserole, baking yams, making garlic rolls the grandchildren love & finally the gravy. Soon the house will be filled with amazing smells. The table is set. The turkey roaster is ready. Almost time for me to spring into action.

In a few hours there will be hugs, laughter & lots of great food. Tonight there will be grandchildren on air mattresses & cots all over the living room floor. Our son will be slumbering in the guest room. My heart will be bursting with joy.

There is so much for which to be thankful. My list would be pages & pages long. I think a grateful heart is essential for mental & spiritual health. Lately, there have been times that I've been ungrateful & negative about some of the things whirling around about me. It doesn't feel good. It's not even appropriate in the context of my values & who I am & who I am in process of becoming. It stunts my ability to act positively & be the difference I want to see happening.

So, today I once again align myself with an attitude of gratitude.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pseudo Gnostic

I am the blessed participant in a couple of small spiritual discussion groups. Our discussions & prayers help me to grow spiritually. We are engaged in discussion of spiritual ideas, how they relate to our lives & we clarify what it is that each of us believes at this current spot on the paths which we walk.

Yesterday, one of the things I heard myself say was something to the effect: Theology is just other people's ideas/opinions re: God, Truth, scripture, etc. Some of these people were sincere, some were manipulative for various reasons. Also, I think that some found & shared some of the Truth & some were erroneous. Because of the incalculable nature of INFINITE, absolutely no one, not one finite being, can know It all. So, I think it behoves those of us who are sincere seekers to question & think & pray through whatever it is others tell us about things spiritual.

That's why I put pseudo Gnostic as the title. I certainly do not follow the traditional Gnostic line of teaching, thinking, reasoning, etc. But I do follow that part that says we can know intuitively things that are in some ways unknowable. There are things that I "know" from mystical as well as outer life experiences that I am pretty sure are the truth or at least closely approximate the Truth. There are some things in theology that I am pretty sure are not the Truth & do not even closely approximate the Truth.

I want to know the Truth. I want to let go of untruths. I think ignorance stands between enlightenment & me. Ignorance is lack of both Truth & truth. Ignorance of either can lead me into dangerous territory. Ignorance can be the cause of hurt, pain & suffering.

One of the things that I "know" is that God nudges, even maybe nags, me ever toward the Light of Truth. God being ALL Truth, containing no ignorance, calls me to enter the journey toward the Light of Truth that leads to Oneness, to coming home to God.

Beloved God, I come to You this day to renew my promise to You to keep moving the best I can toward Your Light. I welcome Your guidance so that I may walk this path with sure heart. Show me the Way each & every step, each & every moment. Let the mind that was in Christ Jesus be awakened in me so that I know as You would have me know. Thank You, God. I stand in awe & joy before You. And so it is, Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

re: childhood

I just finished watching "Hour of Power." He is always so inspiring. His thoughts re: how it all works out when God inspires us to do something, surely IS my experience.

One thing that came to me this morning was when I was watching Dr.S. with his daughter, Sheila. My 1st thought was - What could my life have been like if I had had such faithful parents who loved me so much? How blessed Sheila is.

Immediately on the heels of that thought came - You were given the exactly right parents for you. Your message is partly that a flawed person, a wounded person, can rise & follow God's guidance & make a difference. You don't have to be perfect to be who God made you to be. Look at King David for heaven's sake!

I received a call from a dear friend in Russia this morning. Interesting timing. Part of her communication to me was that they all miss me & want me & need me to come. I thought of how almost magical it has been for my work there. Doors that opened, experiences had, moments of incredibleness!!! Deep friends, deep insights, deep days. Money that showed up, the right people at the right time, needs met. It has all been sooooo amazing & impossible at the human level. Maybe someday I will tell you about some of the miracles in my life in relation to my Russian ministry. Today I just want to let it be known that none of it could have happened except that God was at the reigns.

Dear beloved God, thank you for the jet stream of Your Love & Guidance that has moved my life. Thank you for then times I have been able to listen & follow. Forgive me for the times I did not. Lift me into more & more of the moments of listening to You. Once again open the doors for me to make a difference with my life. Help me have the courage to follow. Clear my mind, unfog my heart, keep me aware of You in every moment. I am open to go where You lead & do as You call. I once again hear the words of Isaiah - Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night....
Amen, Amen & Amen

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Being Who I Am

It's a lazy Saturday. I've done some sewing, a bit of grocery shopping, some reading & a little walking. I'm about to clean out & reorganize my spice cupboard, maybe helpful in getting ready for the holidays. Once done, I'm going to make some pumpkin butter for gifts.

While walking gently today, many other thoughts drift in & out.

Much of my life I've had to walk gingerly, as if on egg shells. There have been an assortment of characters coming into the story of my life who require me to be someone else other than who I am. To be sure, I have always had others around who celebrated me as me, & fortunately they have been in the vast majority.

Who am I that inspires some people to require me to be someone else while others think I'm fine just as I am? Who am I that even brings out violence in word or deed in opposition to who I am? I've been considering this during the course of this week.

I am a spiritual being having a human experience, as Teilhard de Chardin once said. I like to play at the human part, but sometimes I take it too seriously, as if it were as real as the spiritual being that I am in the larger scheme of things. I guess, the times when I take the human part too seriously are the times I let myself get hurt.

For some people, I am too playful, too happy. My spontaneity & creativity can be very irritating to people who want/need control, organization & clear lines. Most think my creativity & spontaneity fabulous, while one person thinks I have impulse control issues. On the other hand, when I do get serious about some aspect of earthly life or the other, some people think I am too intense & are a bit intimidated by me. When I demand congruity of myself or others, I am out of line. When I am having a day of confusion, I am out of line. Some say I am the sanest person they know, while others find me confounding.

I have an underlying understanding that God is the ultimate, infinite, Alpha & Omega, while we humans are finite. So I question our human understandings, endeavoring to more closely approximate the "truth" not just agreements, habits, traditions, etc. that came from who knows who or where. Because of this incredible God, I know God is not threatened by my quest, my questions, my musings. God, being ALL intelligence, "wants" me to dive into the quest for knowing HIM/HER/IT without reserve, unhindered by what others have decided upon, as if Infinite could be fully known & decided upon. Seems strange to me.

I am eclectic. I am sincerely seeking, exploring, weighing, considering, wanting God.

So, of the 6 billion plus humans currently here on earth in the 3rd dimension, some will celebrate with me, some will attack. Some will demand me to be someone else. Some will be okay with who I am. Some will really "get it."

Whatever the future holds, I want to go fully into it. I have some unknown quantity of time left here for this life. I refuse to waste it on those who want me to be someone else. I have worked long & sometimes hard on healing the shadows of the past. Waking up spiritually is my main priority for the rest of my life. I may not do this in the confines of other people's rules about God, but I am clear that I am beholden to God only. Jesus, the New Testament & God brought me through my childhood & continue to guide me. They know more than some dusty person who wrote some convoluted theology, perhaps born of political expediency long ago.

I walk with renewed vigor into the quest.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We saw the movie about the life of Coco Channel. I was drawn back to my original dreams of my long gone childhood. I had 3 passions: spirituality, sewing & art. Most of the time I wanted to be a fashion designer or a missionary or an artist. My mother & life re-directed me from the full realization of the dreams I held so vividly

I in some measure I did all three, even though not to the fullest expression that maybe could have been. I have taught about God & forgiveness & spirituality in other countries (missionary) & was a senior pastor something like 22 years. I have sewn a huge number of garments & quilts for friends, family & self. I have painted some pretty good paintings.

But here I am in my "old age" & wondering how I can combine the 3 original passions of my life. I have been exploring combining them in quilting. I've pieced traditional quilts, & I enjoy that. But even more enjoyment comes from sort of art quilts. I've done 2 quilts where I printed a picture out of my computer onto cloth sections, pieced them together, made details in various colors of permanent ink, pieced borders, quilted & thread painted them. I've done 2 quilts where I drew an enlarged copy of a photo onto muslin & made collages of little pieces of cloth, then defined a bit with inks, made borders & quilted & thread painted them. I have uploaded these 4 for you to see. One photo my son took in Africa this summer. One photo I took of my husband & granddaughter. The angel & Jesus were originally found on Google images. I don't think they are copy written, but I'm not planning to sell them & am only experimenting.

Anyway, I think I shall explore these things more fully & see how well I can combine my original 3 passions. I think I will have done more of my life's mission if I can succeed.

Musings on prayer

In recent days I have been reading some newsletters from a mystic in the mid 20th century. 2 big notebooks of his letters were gifted to me some years ago, but I was not led/motivated to delve into them until recently.

The first one is from 1954 on prayer. His point of view is that speaking, thinking, writing or anything involving words would not be prayer, but rather preliminary to prayer. Prayer is silence when God is the speaker. It dovetails into my practice of centering/contemplative prayer which I have returned to for several years now. I first learned this Christian practice years ago when I was a minister in Hawaii. Related to this practice are various forms of meditation which I have also practiced. The entering the silence is key to being able to hear the "wee small voice," although I sometimes experience it as a big loud voice.

The mystic basically says that the only kind of prayer that uses words & is still "Prayer," is something along the lines of, Let the mind that was in Christ Jesus be in me. I have been saying this prayer rather consistently now for a couple of weeks & find it to be quite powerful. I don't really like to take other people's word, but instead I like to try out their ideas & see if they resonate in my heart & mind, in my daily walk.

I am deeply committed to silence/contemplative prayer, but I think that limiting prayer to this only is not developing my full relationship with God. While God, being infinite, already knows what I need, I often find it helpful for me to focus it & bring it to God in prayer. My clarity, my faith, my deepening spiritual walk are all facilitated by both silence & speaking. I would not like to eliminate one or the other. I am more of a both rather than either/or kind of person.

Jesus seemed to model both kinds of prayer. He went apart & into silence. He also spoke prayers, the most famous of which has been called The Lord's Prayer. If it is good enough for Jesus to practice both kinds of prayer, it is good enough for me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's been a month since I have written here. I've been going through some inner conflicts re: "organized" religion. I seem to need to have spiritual conversation with others, & I am doubting if it needs to be in the context of a church.

Perhaps it is simply because we the people are flawed, but it seems that in "organized" religious groups there rises politics, need for money, power, ego, control, lack of sincerity in the journey & other issues. It seems that in small groups, there is a more sincere exploration & dedication of the spiritual path.

I had thought that I had found a church where I could grow spiritually, experience the Presence of God, learn to apply Christian principles in my daily life & make great spiritual friends. Maybe I have, but today it doesn't feel that way. Today it feels like church is about the rigmarole, the doingness, the busyness, the control, the ego of leadership. It feels like that which serves the people is not relevant. It feels like a headtrip, without the heart; the intellect without the feelings.

I am a part of a couple of small groups of truly sincere people wanting to know, wanting to be with the Presence, wanting to spiritualize our lives. This where I am challenged & fed spiritually, not on Sundays. So, do I keep playing the Sunday game in hopes it will get "better"? I know that I am too old & too tired to go back into the ministry myself. I ask myself, "Is there anyone, any place where there is organized religion & actual spiritual awareness together?" Are the "leaders" just doing a job, or are there some really exploring their relationship with God & wanting to walk the path & help others walk it?

It occurs to me that maybe walking the path is always a personal thing. The mystics, the great spiritual ones were often to themselves & only marginally part of "organized" religion if at all.

I am somewhere in the last third of my life. I am sort of running out of time for this life. As far back as I can recall, I have known moments with God & felt intense yearning to be there more & more of the time. I don't want to waste the last days/years with form rather than substance. I truly have the goal for consistent enlightenment in THIS life. So, the question presents itself to me, "What is the path to enlightenment?" Jesus told us that "by the fruits you shall know them." So, I ask myself, what organized religion produces those who are enlightened in any numbers? I really don't know of any. Sure leaders claim to be enlightened, but seldom are, maybe not ever. I don't think the really enlightened ones actually claimed that for themselves. They were much more humble.

The closest I have come to an enlightened person that I know is the Dali Lama. I was privileged to spend a week with him in Newport Beach some years back. He radiated joy, humility, & a palpable presence. But Budhism is not my path. Where are the Christian enlightened ones these days? Where are the apostles on fire with God's Presence? Where are the medieval mystics who directly experienced the Light?

Dear God, You know my heart. You know how I have sought You these many years. You remember, as do I, the glorious moments of Oneness we have shared. Lead me to You more fully. Show me the path to enlightenment. Give me the vision & courage to walk it. I am open to Your guidance. Let the mind be in me that was in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Responsibility - Doing All I Can

I've been thinking about miracles, prayer & my part in life. What I have come to understand, as of now, is that I am supposed to do all that I can, which includes prayer, & beyond that there IS Divine intervention that can either be an answer to prayer or can come seemingly on its own. This is based on my life experiences plus my studies. I have witnessed & been part of what I consider to be miracles, & I have experienced being/doing more than I thought was possible for me.

The "all I can" part is bigger than I had first realized, when I began my journey. Clues are in abundance in the Bible & other holy writings. A few include: We are created in the image of God; Jesus told us we would do greater things than he did; Jesus told us the kingdom of God is within; Jesus told us that where 2 or more are gathered & ask in his name, it shall be done; Jesus told us that we are brothers/sisters of the same Father; & many, many more. Just look for them.

I want to briefly discuss the ones listed above. First of all, if we are created in the image of God, it is not physical. We are told God is Spirit & we must worship Him in spirit. That leads me to conclude that our spirits are of the essence of God. The innermost part of us is holy, & we must try to heal ourselves to reveal what is already inside of us. It seems to me that healing is easier than acquiring. That is, if the Spirit of God is within me, then finding it is easier than searching the universes for some outside God.

That we would do greater things than Jesus is quite an astounding statement. As the body of humanity, we have done some scientific & technological things that are way beyond 2,000+ years ago. That of course is impressive. But I think that was not what Jesus was talking about. I think he was telling us that we could awaken to our true spiritual nature & relationship with God just as he did & even go farther in spirituality. His life was about the spiritual, not about physical invention & technology. Over the past 2,000+ years, we have seen some very enlightened people, but so far, I do not know of any that reached the level of awareness of Jesus. So, his statement becomes something of a challenge -- Did he mean what he said? Can we do it? What would it take for us to do greater things? Do we care enough to try? It seems to me that these questions would be worthy of contemplation & consideration.

The idea that energy increases when we agree upon a thing has been & is being proven scientifically. Some even say the energy increases at a geometric rate when people focus together. Laboratories are studying this. Folklore talks about it, such as the 100th monkey idea. Prayer groups give anecdotal evidence. So, I wonder what is stopping us from working together in groups for God's highest good in our lives & on our planet?

If Jesus & the Bible are right in saying that God is our Father, & with Jesus as our brother, what is there to stop us from great goodness? I guess it might be our actual acceptance of this as reality & not just as nice words. What would our lives be like if we actually lived in this Truth?

Dear Father God, You are everywhere, so I know You are here in my life in this very moment, this holy moment. I ask for Your help & guidance to lead me to know who I truly am in Your sight. I ask for Your help & guidance to be & do all I can with my life in service to You & Your highest plan for my life. Open my eyes, open my heart, set free my spirit that is in Your image. Show me the way, for at this very moment I do not know, but am comforted in the realization that You know the way & will show it to me as You lead me ever forward in this journey of my life. Thank You, God, for hearing my prayer & are even now in process of answering it. I let go & welcome Your full working in my life now & always. Thy will be done. Amen, Amen & Amen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Concern for our now

I have long been proud & protective of our way of life, of our freedoms, values & standards. Our freedoms may now be something that can be used against us. I see a paradox & don't know how to address it.

Yesterday I heard a speaker on Islam, Mano Bakh. He wrote the book, "Escaping Islam." What a dramatic speech. I've read the literature, I've read the Koran, I've been in Mosques in other countries, I've known many Muslims, mostly in other parts of the world. The teachings of today threaten our freedoms as they are aimed at making the whole world agree or die. The teachings are something from centuries past with violent laws, degradation of women, strict controls & premises very foreign to our open society & Judeo-Christian heritage, values & points of view.

Because of our open-hearted freedom of religion in the West, the religion that wants to destroy our way of life has relatively free reign. Because of our tolerance, people refrain from voicing concerns about religions opposed to their own. But also this is because the Christians are meek & seemingly okay about being criticised, while Muslims react in the extreme to any even minor criticism.

Then too, our Christian faith has become mild & in the background of most people's lives. Church attendance is down, while violent movie attendance is up. Morals are very different than the ones that guided my youth. Christian life has taken a backseat to all of the fascinating & exciting things in modern life. Progress has become divorced in many lives from the very foundations that made progress even possible. The values that founded our nation are being challenged, with even the President saying our Constitution is flawed & surrounding himself with extremely radical, even Marxist, advisers.

In my considered opinion, we in the West are in danger of falling backward into darkness. We are in danger of losing the goodness that was our underpinning. We are in danger of watching the world go into another dark ages.

There must be a way out of the dilemma. There is always a way, but people do not always take the way.

God, I know you are always with us, available to us when we turn to You. Dear God, help us wake up. Tap the hearts of Your people in a deep & profound way. Help us hear Your guidance. Help us take steps to save our world from the darkness. Lead us into Your Light. Grant us the courage to take the steps You show us so that we actually walk in Your Way. Open our hearts for the presence of Christ to fill us. Make new the Christians all over the world. In this critical time on earth, open our eyes, our hearts & our depths. Let the scales fall from our eyes & hearts. Invigorate us for Your work. Thank You for hearing our prayer. Thy will be done. This prayer is sealed with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen & Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pray First

Prayer is a vital part of life. I've often thought that it must be terrifying for people who cannot connect with God & feel alone, even possibly adrift here on earth with little hope.

I think that God gave us intelligence & creativity to apply to our life experiences, & we should use them to the fullest. That does not mean we don't need prayer. I think that in any serious attempt to live a spiritual life, prayer is an essential component. The main functions of prayer, it seems to me, are:
  • To open ourselves to God's presence, to commune with God.
  • To open ourselves to God's guidance to know how to apply our intelligence & creativity.
  • To ask for help when we have done all that seems humanly possible.
  • To keep current & open the lines of communication between us.
  • In times of trouble, to be comforted & encouraged.
  • In times of joy, to give thanks & praise.
  • And, always to move us into closer relationship to God. We cannot inform the Infinite. We cannot make a deal. We do not move God, we move ourselves.

There are many ways to pray.

  1. Some people simply read prayers written by others. To me, this is only partially satisfying. I think it can be instructive as to how to pray, can be inspiring & can be comforting, but reading someone's prayer can only take me so far.
  2. There are quick prayers for sudden moments such as, help, show me the way, lead me. These prayers can quickly move us out of the mire & turn our direction to a more positive place where we can then say a more complete prayer.
  3. There are deeply felt & spoken &/or written personal prayers of various lengths.
  4. There is contemplative/centering prayer where we become still so that we can be with God, hearing the wee small voice. This is a sort of meditation practice, in the Christian tradition.
  5. There are others, I know, but for today I'd like to say these are the most common.

I'd like to write about #3 for a moment. Probably the biggest prayer step I made was to learn Affirmative Prayer & then adapt it in various ways to be a part of my personal practices. So, let me share a bit of this process, based basically on the Lord's Prayer.

  1. Recognize God - "Our Father who art in heaven." Just as we recognize friends when we see them, we start by recognizing God. We say things we know regarding God, either about or to God.
  2. Unify with God - We remember that because God is our "Father," we are God's child, precious & at one. We say things that help us remember "My Father & I are one."
  3. Realize the spiritual Truth - Jesus told us to not judge by appearances, but judge righteous judgment. Looking beyond that which is facing us, what is the spiritual Truth?
  4. Silence - Be still & know. Listen. Stop the clattering mind. Allow yourself to be with God.
  5. Give thanks - Allow the thanksgiving within to well up & express how joyous you are to know Oneness & know your prayer is heard.
  6. Let go & let God - Take a breath, let go so that God can work in our lives. Thy will be done.

This prayer can be said in at least 2 kinds of ways:

  1. Impersonal: I know there is a God, present everywhere there is to be, including right here, right now. I open myself right now to God's guidance in this situation in my life. (silence....) I am thankful to know that this prayer has been heard & is in the process of being answered. I release this prayer, knowing something amazing is unfolding. May God's will prevail. I seal this with the ancient seal of faith as I say, Amen, Amen & Amen.
  2. Personal: God, I know You are here, & I know that You are always present everywhere. I cannot go beyond Your care. I need Your guidance today in my life. I do not seem to know what to do, but I know You do. Dear God, I listen (silence.....) Thank You, God, for hearing my prayer & lifting me with Your guidance. I am at peace as I let go & welcome Your perfect work in my life. Your will be done. I seal this prayer with the ancient seal of faith as I say, Amen, Amen & Amen.

Try saying/writing your own prayer. They can be any length, short as the examples above, or pages long. They need to be as long as necessary to shift your awareness & lift you to Truth. We can change our lives by enriching our prayer lives. I know this to be absolutely the Truth.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fight or Flight

Still I wrestle with my falling back of last week. During the night I began to think of the fight or flight response of our lower limbic brain. I realized that somehow or other I had experienced both last week.

Trying to unravel my distorted week is painful, fascinating, instructive, embarrassing, humbling, & hopefully eventually helpful. Maybe my downward journey & recovery will be of help also to someone reading this little blog.

Surveying the week, I see my first moment of going toward the darkness rather than the Light. I have known for a long time about how to protect myself from the darkness, but I forgot to do it. I took into myself the fight responses of several someone elses so that they became mine. From then on until sanity began to be restored, righteous indignation took over. For all of my experience, writing, seminars & talk of nonjudgementalness & forgiveness, I was not there for a few days in my life experience. You cannot even imagine how hard it is for me to see this in myself & to admit it. But if I am truly sincere about the spiritual journey, I have to face myself not only in exemplary times.

The first step out of the fight mindset, surprised me, for it was flight. As I dimly began to become aware of how I had gone off course, embarrassment overcame me & I had the most profound impulse to flee, go away, hide from it all. This really surprised me. I thought we had built into us a fight OR flight program that took over when the rational mind faltered. But I was finding myself having to use all of my energy to fight flight. I knew going away would not be a solution, but I found myself powerfully drawn to run.

As I began to rebalance, I remembered something I have known for decades, consciousness is contagious. This is fine when "catching" goodness & light, but ugly when "catching" the other side. I cannot live in a cave in order to stay on the path, although some have tried that. But even then, as Plato told us, shadows can frighten & control us.

So I have only partial solutions as of this moment. I have to fearlessly examine myself. I have to so to speak "eat humble pie," I have to pick myself up & brush myself off & go on. I have to not allow myself to "catch" what I do not want to incorporate into my very being.

My upset was born of several convergences that I allowed to overwhelm me. One came from concerns re: my children; one from the current events that swirled around me last week; & one from relationships.

I was already on the ledge mentally with deepest concerns re: revelations about a number of high level advisers in our government who have extreme views & apparently extreme goals. I value our freedoms & our way of life so dearly, even more dearly perhaps from knowing things from my travels. Even though we are far from perfect, we are basically good & free. Even though we can always get better, we should not destroy the goodness we have achieved. I was also feeling powerless over it all. Then my children had some rather major challenges. Again I felt powerless. Of course, I prayed, but somehow that didn't seem enough. Into this along came some extreme upset from someone else. I went over the edge.

Now all of this is not in the way of an excuse. It is rather an analysis of what happened in an attempt to not let it happen again. I realize I must be alert to not let myself go into overwhelm, as I am more vulnerable there. I realize I must keep God's Light in my awareness much more fully. I realize that reaching out before going over the edge might be able to stop the fall.

It worked the other way around for me. Instead of me reaching out before the meltdown, someone dear to me reached out to me yesterday, after the meltdown, & helped me take a stronger step back into being in balance. The gift of sharing with me what I did not know, was a great treasure to me & I shall be forever grateful.

God, reveal to me all of the lessons You have for me in this moment of my life's journey. Help me see clearly. Help me be the person you had in mind when You created me. Wash away the darkness & help me return to full communion with you. I come before You needing & asking for Your healing touch. I know You hear our prayers always, I give mine to You for Your perfect action.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Troubled Heart

I have taken a couple of steps backward in my spiritual growth. I do not like it. The falling down & backward times are painful, but instructive & helpful in the long run.

It is strange to me how anger can seemingly come out of nowhere & mobilize emotions, bypassing the critical faculties. It has been years since I have experienced the overwhelming anger that I felt this week. In some ways, I could defend the anger as it was at least partly justified. But spiritually I cannot defend it.

My model of how I should be as a spiritual being having a human experience does not include anger & rampant emotions. It may be that my goals are too lofty, not taking into account my humanness. Even Jesus cursed the fig tree & threw over tables of moneychangers. Nevertheless, it seems to me that when I am more spiritually aware, I am able to see things calmly & within a bigger context. I am able to not be judgmental & so can be helpful. I am able to be a positive influence on situations that arise in life. But, when I forget & get deeply troubled & then angry, I am no help at all, plus I take spiritually backward steps, fall down & have to regroup & go forward again. Additionally, I make the situation worse by the blinding effects of anger.

God forgive me & lead me forward to You. Guide me, heal me & the situation & others involved. Help me to learn & grow & be a more effective part of Your people. I am sorry I let you down God. I am extremely disappointed at so many levels. Please touch me with your Grace & give me the courage & strength to move forward once again. Thank you, God. I know You are always with me, even when I forget. I need to know Your Presence so much today. I surrender to You. Let it be so.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Being Christed

Often I think of what Jesus has asked of us. What do I know, or think I know?

I know that when my soul leaves my body, the only thing that I take with me is my consciousness. I saw my husband of long ago leave suddenly from an aneurysm. He left behind all of the things he worked so hard to earn. He also left behind the holes created by him missing important family events due to work & the pains inflicted by his anger. He took with him the scars of anger & rage in the large pockets of unhealed consciousness. It led me to conclude that the most important thing I can do is to live life spiritually & be prepared for my departure by working on myself, on my consciousness.

But how can I do this? As I look back over my life, to be honest, I see a mixed bag, so to speak. I have done many unselfish things. I have served others. I have given much. But, I also have made a huge number of mistakes. It seems to me that the bulk of the worst mistakes have come from the wounds of childhood & early adulthood. By not having a safe haven or safe people to help me work through them, I was thrown into the world to somehow function & work through them by myself. Not knowing what was "normal" behavior, I struggled to find my way.

The saving grace for me came when I was almost 30 & found a new (new to me) kind of church. It was Religious Science, the version of it that saved me, seems no longer to exist by the way. The denomination seemed to have left me & went in a different direction than the one I found in 1969. It is not Christian Science, it is not Scientology, it was not New Age at the time. It grew out of Ralph Waldo Emerson & the American Transcendentalists. It grew alongside the Higher Thought movement in England influenced by their Trine & Troward, touched by Emma Curtis Hopkins, awakened in the Filmores, the Brook Sisters, Emmet Fox, Joel Goldsmith & then Ernest & Fenwicke Holmes who founded Religious Science. Oh there were so many. I cannot possibly mention the thousands of teachers, thinkers & writers in the movement that in general became known as New Thought.

It was often called "Practical Christianity." It was about how to apply Christian principles into one's daily life. It was about discovering how God created things to work & then get in harmony with God's Principles. It was about studying the mystics. It was about embodying Christian principles in one's everyday walk. It was about Oneness. It was wonderful. It was healing me. I was not alone.

I eventually was ordained & served as a senior pastor for many years. However, things shifted. Powers that be decided it was not Christian but more universal. "Everything goes" seemed to be the new motto. It morphed into something other than what I had entered in 1969. In 1994 I left & became independent. I kept searching, wanting to walk more deeply in God.

One of things I have come to believe completely is that we are called to become Christed. The term "Christ" means the anointed one. It may seem like a long way off to be able to be anointed by God & be set free from the shadows of darkness. It is a journey we are all called to make.

Jesus called us brothers & sisters. He told us that the kingdom of God is within. He told us we are the Light of the world. He told us we would do greater things than he did! As we endeavor to lift ourselves out of darkness, confusion & separation feelings, we move ever closer to God's Light. We are all on some part of the path, either walking toward, walking away or sitting down & not moving in the direction of being anointed as God's very own. The Holy Spirit urges us forward, no matter how stubborn we may be (I often say that the Holy Spirit is a terrible nag).

Each day, I look forward to the next step on the path. I ask for God's will & guidance in my life to lead me to waking up spiritually, as fully as is humanly possible. I wish to follow Jesus by being what he called me to be, His sister in God.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Christianity's Progress

I was reading a book recently that had a quote from Albert Schweitzer. I'd like to discuss it a little, so before we do, let me put in the quote:

  • What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weaknesses and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus. --- Albert Schweitzer

So many thoughts come to mind as I think about these words & the man who wrote them. I think of Paul speaking about when a child, I think as a child --- through the glass darkly & then face to face, etc.

My mind goes through the history of Christianity. I think of the early followers who knew Jesus and/or his disciples. I think of the fervor, the commitment, the courage & the faith in that 1st century. I think of the ordinary people who opened their hearts & lives & became made new.

But I also think of the shift into political/military take over of the movement. I think of the non-Christian, Constantine, who used Christianity to unite his empire & wasn't even baptised until his death bed. I think of the warrior popes & bishops & those who lived off the backs of the poor & called themselves Christian. I thought of the enslavement of people with the excuse that they would be rewarded in the next life. So much of "Christian" history has nothing to do with the life & teachings of Jesus Christ.

Of course, the fanatical shifts that took place from time to time are obviously painful to look at. We have the dreadful inquisitions, crusades, witch hunts & other terrible things that come from the extremely cruel, crazy & power hungry who hijacked our faith far too frequently. In this moment, we can see those very same kinds of people hijacking another faith to make it something violent & ugly & not at all Godlike.

But my concern is with Christianity. We might be able to save our future if somehow we could hear Schweitzer deep within ourselves & awaken to full-grown Christianity.

So how can we become a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus? How can we grow up?

Jesus told us that his central message was the 2 great commandments. In fact, he said that by following them, we fulfill ALL the law & the prophets. That is quite a statement! In order to do that, what we need to do is love each other fully & completely & love God fully & completely.

Far too seldom have these 2 commandments been the focus of our spiritual walk. Jesus hung out with sinners, with all sorts of people, & he loved them. His love healed many of them. Many Christians historically & today avoid some of the groups Jesus spent time with, even condemning them & excluding them. Some act as if they are too pious & too good to lower themselves to be with some group or the other.

Jesus didn't say love only those you agree with, only those who behave the way you want them to, only non-sinners. In fact, he said to even love our enemies.

There is an interesting balance between being a sincere follower who endeavors to be congruent while not slipping over into fanaticism.

One of the things that I like about the heritage Christianity grew out of, Judaism, is their historical, & more or less constant, inquiry into to their own scriptures. They dissect, discuss & even argue over meanings & applications of just about every line of what we call the Old Testament. They try to clarify their teaching & their faith.

I find it amazing that some Christian groups in this day & age refuse to discuss anything from the Bible. They have decided they know what it means & it is literally God's word dictated to men. They refuse to consider idiomatic sayings of the days, cultural & historical context, scientific understandings, surrounding myths, actual other words that could have been translated (such as dimensions or mansions from the Greek in in my fathers' house are many mansions/dimensions), etc. These groups, of course, do not & cannot follow all of the directions given, especially in the Old Testament. They do not eat Kosher, do not follow the cleanliness practices & other traditions, never mind the 10 Commandments.

It seems to me, that if Christians could follow the 2 Great Commandments, we could have meaningful discussions that would lead to real, actual spiritualization of our lives. The church has fractured into many groups, most of which claim to know THE Truth while other groups do not. So, at best they argue. We do not have a dialogue across most group lines that discusses our faith, explores our scriptures, allows for various understandings, encourages one another, etc.

I imagine Jesus is not happy with us. We cannot even follow the simple commandment to love. How can we bear witness to Him, if we are not endeavoring to be like Him? How can Christianity grow up if we don't?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More thoughts on the lovely

This morning I was lying awake in bed & musing. The discussion of several days ago on St. Paul's idea of thinking about the lovely & the true came to my mind. I had a couple of new thoughts that I'd like to share.

In meditation & contemplative prayer we are to let extraneous thoughts go by without attachment, such as let them float off on a log down the river. Do not dwell on them. Keep our mind on God, our sacred word, the scripture or whatever anchors that particular contemplation.

In life we could do the same thing with the ugly. Do not dwell there. Do not take it in. Be aware it is there, but do not allow it to enter so that we embody it. Just as when I take the bread & wine on Sunday, I take it into my being as Christ, becoming part of the body of Christ & the body of Christ becoming part of me. My body accepts the wine & bread, & it (Christ) then becomes indistinguishable from me.

I do not choose to take in rotten food, & let it become part of me. I can choose to not take in rotten thoughts & let them become part of me. I can notice rotten food is there. I can do something to remove it, but I don't have to take it in. I can notice rotten things in life & do things to remove them, but I don't have to take them in. I can dwell on the true & lovely rather than dwell on the opposite.

Where our mind & heart are, there will be our life experience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When Life Begins

I've been wanting to say this for a long time. There has been a debate, largely brought on by the abortion argument, about when life begins. I'd like to break this up into physical life on earth as well as spiritual life.
Physical Life Begins
We seem to define death as the event when a person's heart stops & cannot be re-started. That is the end of human life. It seems logical to me, then, to at least define human life beginning when the heart starts beating. Amazingly, this is when the baby/fetus is the size of a green pea!

It has been painful to me to listen to some of the government health people now saying that human life doesn't really begin until after the child is 2, as that child is not human until at least partially socialized. Maybe I should say more accurately that this horrifies me.

This opens the door, it seems to me, to an argument in favor of not spending the $ on a preemie as it is expensive to keep him/her alive & really he/she is not yet human! This makes me sick even more than the partial birth abortion when a viable, almost full-term baby, either has its brains sucked out, is burned by salts or some other barbaric destruction technique.

Sure there are times when an abortion may save the life of the mother, but as far as I can determine this is never or extremely rarely so in the final weeks of pregnancy. How can we justify the torture of an almost born baby or the destruction of a child who is not yet 2?

What have we become? What are we in the process of becoming?

If we do not even honor the beginning of human life, no wonder so many seniors are concerned about end of life care. Great cultures have traditionally honored elders, their wisdom, their depth & who they have spent long years learning to be. Great cultures have celebrated the entrance of a new baby into their midst.

Are we a post-great culture?

Spiritual Life
In my understanding, the life of the soul is eternal. It doesn't really have an end or a beginning. It is of God. It is also my understanding that each of us is accountable for the kind of life we lead. Having freewill, we can do most anything, however for each choice there is a consequence.

Do we grow spiritually to become Christed? Do we think, speak & act in accordance with our highest understanding of God? When our souls leave here, can we stand before God with a clear conscience? How can some stand before God knowing they advocated death & destruction to human life? In what way does expediency get a pass? How does saving money equate in the eternal kingdom?

What are we doing to awaken spiritually? Is that something we might get around to if we get the chance? Do we tell ourselves that we just are too busy? Do we actually do our best to follow the example & teachings of Jesus? Do we welcome the presence of Christ to integrate into every fiber of our being so that we can glorify God here on earth?

Teilhard de Chardin said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. What kind of spiritual/human experience are we having? What are really the most important things to who we really are? What are our actual priorities?

Think on these things

We were driving up the California coast on the way to our son's home. I was enjoying the scene. Sparkling ocean, palm trees, beautiful California, when St. Paul's admonition - whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are true, think on these things - came to my mind. I spent some time dwelling with the glorious views as well as St. Paul's thought.

Then I began to consider how hard it is to keep my mind on the lovely in the normal course of a day. I thought of the news, the awful movie previews, the violent things that flashed by me in the passing of each day. I thought of the views of poverty, war, ignorance, intolerance & inhumanity that are presented to me regularly. I thought of the movie we recently walked out of --- so offensive!!! I thought of personal family challenges. I thought of the path of my life with all of its twists & turns.

What is "true?" How do I keep my mind on the true when it is not always clear what that is?

This "simple" admonition given to us by Paul turns out to not be so simple after all. Even in his day, with the Romans attack on the followers of Jesus, the poverty, violence, disease & filth, it was not so simple.

How can I/we follow this direction? Can I get the movie studios to only make lovely movies or TV execs to only make lovely programs? Can I get sponsors to only make lovely commercials? Can I get politicians to speak only the truth? Can I stop the ugliness of war, poverty, ignorance, or man's inhumanity to man/woman? I don't see how I can avoid seeing things that are not lovely, or how I can be sure I am seeing what is true. I don't see how I can change the world to make it be more lovely or truthful. I'm not even able to make myself lovely & true all of the time. On top of that, not all of the Bible is lovely - wars, murders, betrayals, crucifixions, etc.

What a dilemma.

I try to look beyond the appearance. Was this Jesus' clue on how to do it? Judge not by appearances, but judge righteous judgment. What is the righteous thing to see? I've long told myself that this is the spiritual essence behind the surface. A person might be acting in an ugly fashion, but behind that is their eternal soul trying to express the spiritual truth, but stopped by confusion or hidden by pain or some such thing. But I don't know right this minute. I see people supposedly committed to God, Jesus or Allah doing angry, mean, ugly things. They say they have given their lives to God, but they act viciously toward others. They act pious, but then they attack a loved one. They say "thy will be done," but endeavor to control everyone & everything. The words are spiritual, the actions are straight from ego.

Was another of Jesus' clues re: this his words on the cross? Forgive them for they know not what they do.

In my life I have made a gazillion mistakes. I endeavor to correct them. I try to be congruent. I want to be filled with the Light of God. I am not always able to be what I want & know I need to be. Sometimes I feel guidance re: something, but don't follow it. Most of my regrets fall into this category. I'm getting better, but I'm not there. Is that part of the message? It's a journey; God is Infinite; you can never arrive; you have to start with yourself; you can only keep on trekking; forgive yourself & others because you don't know what you're doing or you would do better.

So, I continue to ponder.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Parable

One of the books I hope one day to get published is my "Vertical Psychology." My friend, Evelina, in Russia said that most psychology is horizontal, but Marlene's is vertical. That inspired me to write the book which has been interpreted & printed in Russian. The 2nd half or so of the book is some modern day parables that I have written along with some discussion about them. I'd like to share one parable with you today. I'd like to ask those who read it to consider its meaning in your life & let me know what you're thinking.

The Dreadful Hole
He had a terrible destiny having to live with a hole right in the very center of his body. He was certain that everywhere he went people were staring at his hole & making all manner of comments not befitting polite society. He never felt comfortable at all, not ever in his whole life, except maybe once or twice when he was very tiny & the hole was not quite so evident.
Nowadays the hole was about a foot in diameter, right in the middle of his body. Without his clothes on, you could see through him like a window. Mostly he kept it covered. There were times when a wind blew up his clothes, or he was at the seashore, or he was taking a bath, or some such thing, that there was no way to hide the hole. The rest of the time, his clothes fluttered tenuously in & out, attesting to the fact that behind them there was a hole.
It was not just that he wanted to look better, but it was also that he wanted to be rid of that awful emptiness, that deep pit feeling created by having a hole. You can imagine that he had tried just about everything to fill his hole. Sometimes he was desperate & sometimes philosophic about it. It depended.
Early in his life, he tried to fill the hole with food. He tasted about every edible thing there was & ate huge quantities of the ones he like best. That was not a good idea because then he blew up like a donut, making the hole totally obvious in his padded condition. It took some time to get rid of the padding. Even so, there are times he still tries to fill the hole with food, even though his experience has taught him that it will not work.
When he was about 10, he decided to try to fill the hole with attention. He became the school clown & was outrageously creative in his behavior. It kept his mind off the hole some, but it did not fill it.
When he was 14, he just knew that the answer was to become a good student & fill the hole with knowledge. He studied ever so hard. His mind filled up & he was able to keep it off the hole most of the time, but the hole was still there, & it felt even worse than it used to. It was always there, just in the background, but there. He was sure the hole was growing & might even overtake him.
The inevitable 19 year old time came, & sex was the obvious answer to the hole. Hormones pointed him to the playful direction of sexual pleasure. He had a wonderful time, but the hole seemed to get bigger & hurt even more. There just didn't seem to be enough sex to fill it.
After trying sports hero, big man on campus, & assorted other roles in college, he decided that success was what would fill the void in his center. He diligently applied himself until he had every symbol of success. He drove the right car, wore the right clothes, vacationed in all of the right places & had a staff of solicitous subordinates. Now there was a fear growing rampantly inside the hole. Not only was the hole there, what if it was always going to be there? What if the hole grew & grew & grew until he disappeared? He noticed that it did indeed seem to be larger with each passing year.
Well, there was one final step. The happiest people seemed to be people with families. He decided it was time to find his mate & create a nest & soon add children. He approached the search with his usual efficiency. Soon he found the beautiful "she." She had all of the qualifications he sought. She was gorgeous in appearance, wore all the right clothes, drove the right car, graduated from the right school & had never been married. They loved the same vacation spots, moved in the same circle of people, & both were tired of the nagging holes in the center of their beings. They silently figured that by hooking together, they would both have their holes automatically filled by the other one.
So, of course, such a momentous occasion as the end of the hole was marked by the biggest ceremony & party anyone could recall. She wore a dress of white stain, smocked with real pearls on the bodice & draped in handmade laces. Her hair was done the THE hairdresser of the in crowd, her makeup by the best team of professionals available, & a manicurist & pedicurist added the finishing touches. The white carpet that led to the altar was strewn with white rose petals. At the end of the carpet stood the handsome "he" dressed in white tails. The in crowd was all there. It was perfect.
When they kissed, they both sighed a big sigh of relief to know the days of the hole in the center were over. They danced & ate & laughed at their party. It was the happiest day of their lives.
They flew off to a tropical island to begin their new life. They swam in blue green waters, drank tall glasses of exotic drinks, & sealed their new life. It was a fairy tale kind of time.
Well, lo & behold, some months down the road of their idyllic bliss, they began to notice a nagging feeling in the pit of their stomachs. Oh no, there were the holes. They had been masked for a time, but they were there all of the time, & now the feelings were back too. The masks were dripping off & running away. A terrible fear gripped them both. At first they blamed each other for not doing what was needed to fill their hole. A sinking feeling of failure swept them way into an ocean of self-recrimination, alternating with blame.
They desperately surveyed their choices. They could divorce. They could have affairs. They could have children. They could try church or therapy or vitamins.
Well, over the years, they tried it all. At best, the holes were masked for a time. They explored church for several years, but it seemed empty. Organized religion had been self-serving & not at all about personal, immediate & real relationship with the Deity, & so it had led them nowhere. Yet, their time in organized religion gave them the hint that somehow the answer was a spiritual answer. Then, finally, many years down the road of life they came face to face with the deep mystery of the cosmos. A light ignited spiritual experiences that transformed them from desperate people trying to fill the awful holes to empowered beings expanding their relationship with the Infinite One, with God. The hole was not a material hole, & so it could not be filled by material things. The hole was a spiritual hole, & could only be filled spiritually. To find the spiritual took them so very long. It was well hidden in the world.
"He" & "She" discovered that people on earth have the common puzzle to solve, a planetary koan if you will. The puzzle involves the spiritual hole & love & the Infinite One. They discovered that each person must go on a quest to personally solve the koan, No one can do it for anyone else, but of course can be of help. The koan is not solved until there is a personal, authentic, deep, & internal knowing. They were so thankful that they were able to share part of the quest together with each other & now with you. They wanted me to encourage you to go forward fearlessly to solve the koan for yourself. The quest is a wondrous adventure with immense rewards.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What About Jesus?

Over the years, I've had a variety of relationships with Jesus. Before I discuss that, let me share where I am at this moment with Jesus.

I think that God showed up in the form of Jesus to show us what He/She is like so that we don't have to infer from varied writings. What did the life of Jesus show us about God? Some of the things that Jesus shows me are the following.

God cares about us & is involved in our lives. God can heal us. God doesn't desert even the lowliest of us. No one is excluded from the possibility of being in relationship with God. Life is not limited to the earthly body - there is life after death. If we do what Jesus taught us to the best of our abilities, we are saved from ourselves, from darkness, from evil. We are to be part of the body of Christ & live Christed lives. He asked us to do greater things than he did by following his model. Each of us can be a face of God to others, however imperfectly, or we can be a face of evil. Each of us has freewill to make that choice, but it is not a one time choice. It is a choice that can be made at any time & for many of us, it has to be made more than once, maybe a huge number of times. A brief look at the 1st disciple's lives shows us how easy it is to fall away, yet how easily we are welcomed back in love.

As a child, I had a deeply intimate relationship with Jesus. I wore out several New Testaments with my reading & also underlining in colored pencils & pens. I still have one that I won in a Bible reading contest when in Junior High. It is colored with my underlinings, some of which have run due to my tears dropping upon the pages. It sits in olive wood carved hands that we bought in the Olive Wood Factory in Bethlehem a number of years ago.

I started to have a challenge in my relationship with Jesus when I was about 12. We had moved to the East Whittier United Presbyterian Church because my mother was upset with the new Methodist minister who did not believe in hell. (Interesting because by the time she was very old, she deemed herself an atheist! She passed at the age of 93.) The church started out as an old brown church uptown Whittier, but built a new church on 2nd Street in East Whittier. I recall vividly a terrifying sermon one Sunday about how we were all sinners & were going to hell. I sat one afternoon in the sanctuary, looking at the beautiful stained glass window of Jesus. I cried my heart out & asked repeatedly out loud, "Please tell me what I've done wrong. I'll change, really I will. I just don't know what I've done wrong!" No answer came. I was heartbroken & a little wedge was placed in my relationship.

I kept trying to be good. I led our youth group to adopt a Korean War orphan. I rolled bandages for the lepers. I got $5 a week allowance for cooking & cleaning & sent $10 a month to CARE because I heard $5 would feed a family of 4 for a month in Africa. I tried to do everything that Jesus told me to do to the best of my understanding. I was active in church & the youth group. One of my backhanded compliments from my mother many years later was, "You've always been so spiritual, it scares me."

Then I went to college. I read "Man and His Gods" by Homer Smith. I was shocked to read of the development of religions, including my own. I began to wonder if the Presbyterians were telling me the Truth. I was having a painful paradigm shift. I read as much as I could get my hands on.

A big turning point was one day back at the East Whittier United Presbyterian Church, a newly ordained woman said to me, "Marlene you are so spiritual, you should go to Africa to save the people there." It struck me strange, & I said, "You mean some goodhearted woman who is a good mother, good wife, good neighbor is going to hell because she's not a Presbyterian?" She answered, "Yes, isn't that sad?" Something in me rose up with great force, & I answered her, "No, that's crazy!" I walked into the church office & withdrew my membership. My father was aghast. He'd been the church treasurer for years & years. I think things were never quite the same between us after that.

I wandered around for quite a few years, disillusioned. How I traveled spiritually back is far too long to tell today. I'll save that for another day. How about sharing your story too?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The tapestry of my life

Ever since I can remember, I've known that God exists. I'm not sure about dogmas & theologies & what others have said about God, but I am sure about what I know about God from the experience of my life.

One of the ways I look at life is that for each of us it is a tapestry, woven thread by thread. Some threads are ugly individually, but woven into a tapestry they create subtlety & depth. Some threads are of our choosing, some seemingly come from out of nowhere. Each moment, each person, each event, all of it becomes part of who we are, or at least of what eyes we look through & interpret life. The good news is that this is an unfinished tapestry. As I awaken more to God, the threads I choose reflect that Light. The texture that is woven becomes finer. The dark, shadow threads get woven in more quickly to give definition & are rarely dwelt upon. Life is made new.

I can remember Light & Peace & a feeling of God's Presence when I was about 3. I vaguely recall what they called "The Cradle Roll" in the Methodist Church in Grove City, PA. I remember a flash of danger in the crib at home & being saved. I saw the Light then too. There are flashes in my aging memory from time to time from those early days before we moved to CA when I was 7. Most of the 1st 7 years are really vague, however. Perhaps in this writing, more will be triggered to be remembered. Maybe not.

I will tell you about the biggest moment with God I can remember in my early life. I think I was about 8. My mother's mother lived with us. Let me just say that she was not right mentally or emotionally. One morning she had me cornered in the laundry room with a knife on my throat. Then I was in the garage, locked in. She was pounding on the door, "Dolly let me in, let me in. Don't tell mommy & daddy." etc... I stood there stunned. There had been a Light. I had been swept into the safety of the garage & the door had been locked. I stayed there all day until my father came home from work. I knew there was a power greater than I, and that was God, and God cared for me & could save me. I have often pondered that day & the radiant thread that it wove into the tapestry of my life.

In retrospect, there may have also been a moment at my birth. One day in Moscow, a friend told me she was psychic & had to tell me something. She told me that when I was born & in the same hospital, there was another baby born who died & somehow it had to do with the need for me to live as I had a big spiritual work to do. I thought this was really strange. One day when I was visiting my parents, what she said came to me. I asked if another baby had died in the hospital when I was born. My father looked nervous & said "yes." My mother denied it vehemently. Finally they agreed that it was true, but they acted very strangely about it all. I had one of those odd, goosebumpy moments. They asked me, of course, how I had such information & were speechless, when I told them about the woman in Moscow. Then they shut off all conversation about it. They would talk of it no more. I have ever since wondered if I was a twin, or at least what was this odd thing all about. I once tried to get information from the hospital, but got no response. My parents & all relatives from that time have passed on now, so there appears to be no one else to ask. This is likely just to be one of those mystery threads. By the way, I'm not one who visits psychics usually. This was an "out of the blue" moment, seemingly out of nowhere.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I was actually inspired to finally get off my duff & try this because of the movie "Julie & Julia." Not that I've not thought of it before, but I never did what it takes to find out how. Last Friday my husband & I saw the movie. I loved it! I can remember Julia Child's television shows. She seemed a part of my own past. It was like watching a movie of an old friend. Meryl really nailed her characterization of Julia too, I thought.

There are a number of books I've written, mostly for my work in Russia. They are translated & printed in Russian. I've always thought someday I'd get them published in the good old American English. Then I thought what if I shared some of the ideas with others & got some feedback? I considered a website, but I don't know how to do that either. I envisioned some elaborate site where people could click on my books or old talks I've done & then interact with me. But, obviously that technology is beyond my current abilities.

Then I thought maybe I could engage in a larger spiritual conversation where we would all be blessed & grow. So here goes.

Let's Begin

This is something my generation never dreamt of --- the internet, blogs, emails, cell phones. We hoped for an electric typewriter & erasable paper & thought it a miracle when they appeared during high school years. Clearly my grandchildren live in a different world & I'm trying to catch up some.

The main focus of my life has been spirituality. Now that doesn't mean I have definitive answers. It means I question, I discuss, I explore, I study, I hope & I continue to quest. Perhaps it is correct that life is a journey rather than a destination,.

So here I am, sorting out my spiritual life. I've been delving into things spiritual ever since I can remember. I've had spiritual experiences, dry spells, times of great inspiration, a sense of mission, confusion, hope, fear and the whole gamut.

Here I thought I'd go over some of my questions, conclusions & maybe some of my experiences too. I've had some amazing experiences of all kinds. We'll see where this takes us.