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Monday, September 28, 2015

On Being Oneself

I read some quotes this morning that seem to me well worth considering.

    1. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde
    2. I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself. Rita Mae Brown
    3. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.  Oscar Wilde
    4. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living some else's life.  Steve Jobs
    5. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. Bernard M.Baruch
    6. When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.  Lao Tzu
For some, it is a long journey to finally be at home in their own skin. I think there is no inner peace until we finally accept who we are, keep refining that, and live from an inner core. God created each of us to be unique, knowing that the unique talents/gifts in us are needed, or at least helpful, here on earth. 

I have often counseled - Be yourself, you are the only person who can be you, and if you do not live fully as who you are, there is a hole in the web of life. No one else can be you. That is your job.

In my understanding of life, I think our uniqueness is required to come together with our brothers and sisters and their uniqueness in order to create a life on earth for all that is glorious. It is our job to bring the high consciousness, compassion, kindness, and love to earth and transform earth to be that. In other words, part of our job here is to bring the kingdom of God to earth, to heal, to lift, to care, to be a light --- each and everyone of us is needed for that. Our authentic selves are needed desperately. 

As so often it happens across the history of this planet, we come to a crucial pivot point. We see old values disintegrating. We see long rationalizations for horrific things. We see breakdowns all over the place. Instead of playing music as Rome burns, we watch television or play games while the ugly and the hateful take over more and more of earth.

Somehow let's reach deep within to our authentic selves and participate fully in whatever ways we can to bring this planet and its life to peace and love and light. As I see it, we must stand up or the darkness will spread and it will be a long time, centuries possibly, before we have another chance to pivot to the kingdom of Light. 

Today let us each think of being a bearer of Light and Love to wherever we are and to whomever we meet or even just see. Let's make a positive difference today. Let's pivot the direction of life on earth from the darkside to the Light. Let's be who we were created to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Yesterday was the parable workshop led by my friend. It was a joy for me to be in that setting again and to see my friend well enough to lead a workshop.

Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meaning, she shared. I think they are archetypal too. That is, for example, the prodigal (a person who extravagantly wastes) story puts forth some characters that represent the human condition in all times and places. There is the forgiving, magnanimous, loving parent. There is the willful, spoiled, wasteful, runaway, returning contrite. There is the self-righteous sibling who stands with resentment, jealousy and judgment. There are the pigs who for some reason often are representative of hitting bottom. From time to time, we find ourselves in these various archetypal situations and roles.

Reading the parable and also living it are very instructive. We of course have to pay attention and be very conscious of ourselves and the dramas around us.

It seems to me that deep, genuine spirituality can lift us out of archetypal patterns to a freer life.

The Methodist perspective (that is where the workshop was) has a square to depict its point of view.
I changed the solid lines to the dotted lines as I see these 4 points interactive.
For me, this is a reasonable foundation. I would say all this also stands upon critical thinking, study, exploration, and developing that which is one's own unique path to awakening. 

Read all manner of spiritual things, listen to all the spectrum of thought and reasoning,think and sort through ideas (are they congruent?), sing the hymns, say the prayers and go beyond to seek the personal experience of God that is only found in precious moments of sincere seekers. It is that being with God and knowing that changes ones life. 

That's my experience. Seek the Holy Presence. Open to live in the Presence. Go beyond wherever we have gone before. God is Infinite. Expand.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


It has been on my mind this morning. One of my friends for decades is leading a workshop on the parables this weekend. She asked me if I had available some of my spiritual quilts to adorn the walls, but they are still in containers waiting for our new home.

So I decided to make some for her. My Picasso style is quilted. My one on the shroud is ready to make the quilt sandwich and quilt later today, as is the drawing I made of Jesus.

Why am I doing this? Because she is my friend. Over the years we have lifted each other up.  We have gone through deep valleys with one anther. We have worked, danced with joy, wept and laughed together. She is part of me. She needs something from me that I can do, so I am doing it, just as she has done for me many times over the years.

I share this because I want to celebrate the blessing of friendship, the joy, the miracle of it all.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Having A Buttonnectomy

I have often talked in sermons, classes and counseling about the need to have a buttonnectomy. That is, if someone can push your buttons - THEY ARE YOUR BUTTONS. So many people are covered in buttons like a snack machine. Push this button and you get anger, this button and rage, this button and love, this button... The button pushers have done you a favor by directing you to the place that could use some Light and Healing. Of course the goal is to have no buttons that someone can push  - peace of mind, non-judgementalness, acceptance of self and others, observer of life.

Jesus told us we need to take the log out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of another's eye.

How do we get to the place that we stop being reactive and can come to peace?

Well, I've found a lot of ways. One of the beginning ones I like is to practice something that is a variant from A Course In Miracles. Take time each day to let our eyes fall randomly on things and people around us and think to ourselves - there is another way to look at _________, there is Another way to look at _______, there IS Another way to look at_______ ... And just silently consider how else can we look at a door knob, mother, a glass of milk, a traffic jam or whatever. What if we've never seen it before, what could it possibly be? This mind-stretching exercise is a marvelous self-teaching technique and a giant leap to mental freedom from living in a box covered with buttons subject to others.

I'll share one other exercise here. In the mall, in the airport, in the grocery store, in church, at home or wherever you are that there are people, silently say to yourself about the people present - I salute the Christ in you. You are my brother/sister because we have the same Divine Parent. I salute the Christ in you. How can we be judgmental and upset with a person like that?

By working with ourselves, gradually, gently, we move into a Light-filled mindset and heartset. And life becomes a different place because we are different. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


For me, conflicts are painful. I am not by nature angry or of fighting mind. Yet conflicts do come from time to time, I have some observations on this.

The history of humankind, indeed of life on earth, is filled with stories of conflicts. So, this is not personal as much it is part of earth's curriculum, at least up until now. Even the spiritual greats such as Buddha and Jesus had conflicts in their lives.

Modern technology makes for a new kind of conflict. Text, email, Twitter, etc. in which we send words but not tone or facial expressions (the cutie little cartoons really don't count). Words can sound harsher when sent forward than if they had been heard, so that the tone of voice and the look of the eyes could be taken into account. There is no back and forth, eye to eye communication in these technological communications. Lots of misunderstanding can ensue.

When I am stretched thin, stressed, worried, etc. I am more vulnerable to conflict's pain and agony. Sometimes when I walk a valley, it seems that extra arrows are thrown, as if to test me and see if I can stay true to my core self. Maybe we just have to have experiences that require us to flex our spiritual muscles so they stay strong just as we have to flex our body's muscles to keep our body strong.

Once a conflict begins, it is hard to get it neutralized. Maybe its partly inertia. The rolling ball as it bounces down a hill gains momentum and keeps going until something dramatic stops it. This seems to be accurate for nations and for interpersonal conflicts.

There are a lot of "balls" rolling down the hill globally right now. I hear a lot of talk and concern about them. The big question is how to stop the momentum to avoid catastrophe.

I don't know the answer at this moment. I think it is worth some time contemplating and seeking Guidance for a solution or two.

There is a place within that is the Temple of the Most High, always in tune with the Infinite. I turn to that place today and listen for sacred Guidance. Lord, I see momentum in negative directions moving in many ways that seem from human perspective almost impossible to stop. I ask for the leaders of this world be filled with Your Guidance so that the good may be revealed and the negative disarmed. I also ask for personal Guidance for conflicts in my life. Lead me to be a peacemaker. Lead me to see conflicts for what they are at their root and know what You would have me do in order to bring peace. I am Yours. I listen....

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Know About God or Know God

This morning I was contemplating some of Meister Eckhart's words in the book "Meister Eckhart, From Whom God Hid Nothing."

Eckhart was making the point that no words or human abilities can speak of God in the true sense. One of his points in particular struck me: We make statements about things by means of similarity. Therefore one cannot really speak of God because nothing is equal to him.

We weakly try to speak of God in the best ways we can think of. But Eckhart is right - there is no equal so no accurate way to speak of God. Yet we try.

I believe that more attention might be given to meditation, prayer, spiritual readings, small groups sharing, etc. because I think that our focus really would be best spent on knowing God rather than knowing about what other people say about God.

We can easily see that the spokespersons for the huge number of factions of "religions" say a wide range of things and rarely agree except on a few points. Wars, strife, and all manner of negative things occur as a result.

Yet, if we read the words of the mystics, those who have been in The Presence, they are a harmonious whole. The words of Lao Tse are harmonious with the words of Jesus, or the words of Rumi and the words of Julian of Norwich, or the words of Dalai Lama and those of Eckhart, and on and on. Name any mystic in any culture, and you will see a harmonious flow of agreement.

The mystics do not speak of killing off those who disagree with us, or shunning them, or shrink from meaningful discussion,They stand on what they KNOW from spending time in illumined moments in The Presence. They try to put it into words, but just being in their presence touches us deeply without words, for the glow of The Presence is there

What our world needs now is more actual mystics, those who KNOW and shine the Presence of God in their corner of the world. God is calling. Who will answer?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Silence, Peace, His Word

Meister Eckhart said: The very best and utmost of attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in you... If God is to speak his Word in the soul, she must be at rest and at peace; then he speaks in the soul his Word and himself; not an image, but himself.

The only way I know of to cultivate that inner quiet and peace is meditation in its various forms. In this crazy, busy, fast-paced, electronic age of information, meditation is perhaps needed even more than ever before.

I want to share, for example, 3 of the forms that I practice. There are others of course. Meditation helps bring to heel the wild monkey mind that flits from this to that and gives the Higher Self more control - rather than the random rantings of the day to day mind running your show. In meditation, whenever the mind strays (did I unplug the coffee pot, did I mail the electric bill, I need to call so and so, etc.) just gently bring the mind back to whatever form of meditation you are practicing.

  1. Contemplation: Take a verse or even a word and repeat and mull it over, and then listen, and afterwards write stream of consciousness for the length of time you contemplated. This is a short meditation, not over 10 minutes but at least 5 minutes. I find a great one to begin with is: Be still and know that I am God. Say the entire verse to yourself, then one word at a time with a pause between in the silence. At the end, say the entire verse again. Then just write in your journal quickly, without editing, stream of consciousness. Finally, re-read what you wrote. I suggest you stick with the same verse for several days. I think you will be surprised at how profound the writing will become. Do this daily. It is amazing what begins to happen.
  2. Breathing: I like the meditation I learned in Aikido. Maybe I can share it with you in person one day. Basically you sit comfortably, gaze softly at a spot on the floor a bit ahead of you, breathe in to the count of 4 as if you draw in life force from the center of the universe to your one point, 2 fingers above your navel, and then gently breathe out to the count of 4 back to the center of the universe. Don't try to take in too much air,be gentle. Do this 15 to 20 minutes daily. Your peace and stillness increase and connectedness to something Greater expands.
  3. Mantra: A mantra is a word or short phrase that focuses the mind so that it loses its restlessness. The simplest and oldest is Om or Ohm or Aum - same word, but spelled differently by different teachers. It is said to be the constant sound of God, and if you listen to wind, the waves, the rustle of leaves, etc. you will hear this sound. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and simply slowly say Om. It helps to say it out loud a few times first and then quietly and finally silently. Set a timer for the length of time you wish, not over 20 minutes. When the mind strays, simply go back to Om. Be gentle with yourself.
Peace be still.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Memorial to My Memory

I grew accustomed to having a clear and quick mind. I could remember large amounts of things in detail. I was a very good student. I was what they called bright, intelligent, IQ blessed.

The downside was I remembered most details of my life in complete mental and emotional terms. The agonies were present long after they came to torment me. Sometimes I suffered them as a backdrop to walking my life. There were some very dark things that happened, and they came with me in all of their glory. They walked side by side with some very lovely things that came along too.

Somehow, I either came with the ability or developed it early on to be an observer. I usually observed without totally being in the shifting scenes of my life. I observed those around me and strangers. I saw patterns. I learned to look and see in such a way as to know things that others seemed to miss.

Observing was practical. I could observe the patterns that were about to lead to violence and sometimes sidestep so that the blows missed or were lessened. Later in life the ability to see patterns was extremely helpful in ministerial counseling as well as life itself.

I learned to meditate, either in the late 60's or early 70's. Meditation helped me with peace and increased my ability to observe without judgment. I did extensive forgiveness work that definitely helped snap the the dark ties to what once was (see my forgiveness book on Amazon).

Now in my, what they call, elderly years an interesting pattern is emerging. The details of the past fade away. Names dissolve. Memories soften. It is easier to live in the present moment without walking with that which was. It's rather like a good pot of stew, the second day the flavors of all the herbs and spices blend and it is even more delicious, All the dark memories contribute depth in a sort of anonymous way. The light memories blend into the dance of this time of my life.

Senior moments remind me that the gift of old age includes the softening of long ago memories. I remember being brilliant, and I am now content with just a gentle glow. This time in life supports movement to deeper spiritual life without the distractions of what once was or seemed to be.

Thank you God for granting me a great memory in my youth, and thank You for softening it so that the dark memories rarely torment me in my old age. Lead me, Lord, to fully observe and take in the remaining days I have on earth in such a way as to bring me closer to You and walk in Oneness. Help me remember the words of Meister Eckhart:

God created all things in such a way that they are not outside of himself; as ignorant people falsely imagine. Rather, all creatures flow outward, but nonetheless remain within God. God created all things this way: not that they might stand outside of God, nor alongside God, nor beyond God, but that they might come into God and receive God and dwell in God. For this reason everything that is is bathed in God, is enveloped by God, who is round-about us all, enveloping us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


In my spiritual quest, I consider the ideas of a wide array of those who speak spiritually. Today I read "Black Elk Speaks," and I feel led to share one of his prayers that touched me deeply. Please read it and consider what it says to you.

Hey hey! hey! hey! hey!hey!hey!hey!
Grandfather, Great Spirit, you have been always, and before you no other has been. There is no other one one to pray to but you. You yourself, everything that you see, everything has been made by you. The star nations all over the universe you have finished. The four quarters of the earth you have finished. The day, and in that day, everything you have finished. 

Grandfather, Great Spirit, lean close to the earth that you may hear the voice I send. You towards where the sun goes down, behold me; Thunder Beings, behold me! You where the White Giant lives in power, behold me! You where the sun shines continually, whence come the daybreak star and the day, behold me!  You where the summer lives, behold me! You in the depths of the heavens, an eagle of power, behold! And you, Mother Earth, the only Mother, you who have shown mercy to your children!

Hear me, four quarters of the world - a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.

Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike With tenderness have these come up out of the ground Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet.

This is my prayer, hear me! The voice I have sent is weak, yet with earnestness I have sent it Hear me! It is finished. Hetchetu aloh.

I hear the universal mystical knowing that all is One and everything comes from the One Spirit, God. We on this planet are all relatives, our bodies springing from earth and our souls from God. It takes faith and strength to stay awake to this, and to walk earth aware of the knowledge that all we meet are our brothers and sisters. As I re-read this prayer, I hear more and more to which I can relate. My words might be different, but I do express the same sentiments.

Once again I see that the great mystics of all people, all times, all places, all religious orientation - come to the same common highest conclusions, Sure the details may be different, but in essence they have each touched the Holy Presence and know the same principles from the same Source.

Oh how I wish the people of earth could know this and stop the senseless quarrels, violence and hatred that come from being separate from one another, or I should say that come from the illusion that we are separate.

The details may be different. I say Christ Consciousness, you might say Buddha Consciousness, or whoever consciousness, but we speak of the same kind of life lived in kindness, love, compassion, forgiveness, etc. We must not let the details keep us imprisoned, frozen, paralyzed so that our brothers and sisters are fair game to shun, torture or murder. We must rise up to live the underlying principles.

Let us commit ourselves to be aware of our selves and practice moment by moment to show up as kindness, love, compassion, forgiveness and all that we know to be holy and right. Practice practice practice and become kindness, love, compassion, forgiveness walking