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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The End

Well, today is the official end of 2016. We, however, carry the past with us in many ways. When all the issues are resolved, the threads of the year simply blend into the tapestry of our lives and become part of who we express ourselves to be. When issues are unresolved, we lug them into the now to be dealt with by either forgiveness, healing and love or with the fire of resentment and negative passions.

My preference, of course, is to cease all negative ways of non-dealing with the issues.  By not dealing with our issues, we keep them active in our now. They only gain entrance when we choose to pick them up and carry them forward.

Let's end this year with forgiveness, generosity, and love for ourselves and others. Let's begin 2017 with a clear heart.

In addition, I was thinking of a different way to reflect on the passing year and looking into the new year.

  • Contemplate the moments when you felt God's Presence.
  • Contemplate the moments of love - unconditional love given to you and given by you (God is Love).
  • Contemplate the times of compassion you experienced. (It is said that without compassion we cannot be said to know God).
  • Contemplate the good deeds you did and were done to you.
  • Then contemplate how you can encourage more such moments in 2017. 
    • What would be helpful to that goal? 
    • What choices could you make that would lead to living in the awareness of God's Presence?
    • What stops you from walking more fully on the spiritual path?
May God bless you and yours every moment of every day. May we join together to create peace on earth and kindness to all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ways of Thinking

I was thinking about modern thought and how it diverged sharply from previous thought during the Enlightenment, which is sometimes said to begin as early as the mid-1600's CE. Before then, it was a general idea that God created everything and that all life is sacred therefore Truth was something that was because it was, self-evident, rather like Joseph Campbell's statement about myth being something that never happened but always went on.

After the Enlightenment, Truth was only true if it were also fact. Much of the great body of spiritual insights became, therefore, suspect or deemed merely ignorance or superstition. They were not fact, not provable by scientific method.

I don't want to explore that more deeply here, only to say that this has created a shift on the planet. We now have a new literal fundamentalism that dismisses much of what has gone before. We see the decline of church attendance. We see many models of society have shifted, one might say, to the darkside. Anything goes for way too many people. It almost seems that there has been a shift to paganism where anything can be one's god. The center most important thing in one's life has moved for many people to a place that would horrify the thinkers who knew all was sacred and saw God in every speck of creation.

I can barely stand to read or hear the "news," for so much of it is ugly.

We are in a spiritually hungry world, where the deepest places of one's being are not being nourished with communion with the Highest Light for far too many people.

If we could turn and embrace what has been known by spiritual lights, our world would become so different and the news would cease being painful.

For example:

  • See each and every person as a sacred life, created by God.
  • See each animal as a sacred life, created by God.
  • Cherish this earth as a precious Divine Creation.
  • Forgive self and others.
  • Practice loving, kind, compassionate, caring behavior.
  • Choose to be the best you that you can be.
  • Unpack the gifts and talents within and share them.
  • Study the words of the great lights in history: Lao Tse, Jesus, Buddha, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechtild of Magdeburg.
  • Study the words of current lights: Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox, John Dominic Crossen, John O'Donohue, John Philip Newell and others.
2017 approaches rapidly. We could make it such a glorious year. Let us love one another and walk in The Way.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dealing With the Blows of Life

It seems that no matter what, we get curves and blows coming at us from time to time in life. Sometimes they come in clusters, sometimes few and far between. The latter is my preference, but it usually doesn't seem to be my choice. Sure there are times that my errors or arrogance set them in motion. There are times, however, they just seem to come without rhyme or reason. Or, perhaps there is something reasonable about them, but I don't see it, or maybe it comes from some time past, some other life. I don't know. I'm not decided about that part. Some experience/effect in my life could originate outside of my memory.

One of the main spiritual ideas about all of this has been about karma/cause and effect/sowing and reaping. I can see that as accurate part of the time. I also think there are general life lessons that come with life on earth. These lessons are learned at various levels, repeated until totally internalized. For example, one such lesson is forgiveness.

I've had a couple of sleepless nights this week dealing with another layer regarding someone I love very deeply. He has hurt me and the rest of our family with cruel and uncaring behavior and ridiculous accusations. He has robbed us of years of joyous memories. After a year of intensive forgiveness work along with grieving (6 years ago), I came to peace with what he did and the ongoing ramifications and released him to God's Care and Keeping. I have prayed almost daily for God's Love and Light to wash away the darkness, the paranoia, the confusion in him. Then this week I learned from what might be called "incredibly credible sources" that he is responsible for the past 3 years of our assets being frozen and the valley we've been walking as we and others work to undo the mess.

To my surprise, forgiveness came easily this time, but there is new grief. Grief has been part of it all, of course, but now has a different focus. My grief is for him and the suffering he has inside that makes him able to behave as he did/does. My grief is for the realization that he can likely never be in my life again unless he is healed. It is not safe for me. I am not as young as I once was, so that the blows upon our hearts are almost too much to bear should they continue. Again, I release him to God's Care and Keeping, but this time without much hope that he will return and be restored. It is a more final release. With the billions of people on earth, I can choose to have in my inner circle the kind, the compassionate, the joyful, the caring good people who live and walk in faith. I acknowledge that God can heal him at any moment, and for some reason has chosen not to do so up until now. It is in God's hands.

The trick to living through such blows is to observe, learn, grow and at the same time do forgiveness work and grieve and pray our way out of the clutches of pain. Then the trick is to redefine its meaning. It is a lesson. It is an exercise to strengthen our spiritual muscles. This too shall pass. How we deal with something is more telling about us than most anything. Our actions speak of our core of being, who we are and who we are becoming.

Who are we on this Christmas Eve? We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and it's all spiritual. In the cradle of our hearts, we can birth the Christ-life and encourage it to grow until we are the shining light Jesus spoke of. The Light deflects the blows. The Light leads us if we so choose.

Have a blessed Christmas. Welcome all of its meaning into the core of your being. Go out and shine your Light.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Alert - if the stories around Christmas are essential to you, to be protected as absolutely literal at all costs, please skip this entry. You would find it upsetting.

I've been pondering the stories, the history, etc. Paul's letters were written first, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth, other than that he was born of woman. Mark was written next, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth and starts with his adult life. John was the last Gospel written, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth. Matthew and Luke tell different stories about the birth, including where their home was - Bethlehem in one and Nazareth but traveled to Bethlehem in the other.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the birth was not important to the early followers of The Way. It was not a topic of prime conversation and teaching.

The second thing that jumps out at me is the "details" that are mentioned in Matthew and Luke could not be accurate not only because the two who wrote about it don't agree, but also because historically they don't match up. Example - there was no census. Can you imagine the chaos that would cause to have everyone (mostly poor people) travel to their family historical birthplace, on foot for the most part, in the coldest time of year? It is not mentioned in Roman history, and neither is the killing of Jewish baby boys. One more example, stars are millions of light years away and are huge. They don't come close to earth and point out a particular place. I could go on and on, but I want to get to a hypothesis.

The people of the Bible were people who were interested in meaning and not historical accuracy. We see that over and over again. They were poetic and tellers of stories. Jesus often taught in parables. Let's consider that perhaps the birth stories are parables that tell us deeper meaning, more mystical and spiritual meanings than possible if the magic were actually the story.

I encourage you to consider what deeper meanings are in this story, once we look at them as parables.

I'll give an example. In Luke the little family had visitors. There were the shepherds. To the history of the Jewish people, shepherds were important. Most of the main men in the Old Testament were shepherds - think Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, David, etc. The shepherds were the caretakers of the wealth of the people - the sheep. They were often doctors and healers and the ones who settled disputes. They fended off thieves and wild animals. They were key to the history of the Jewish people. In a parable, they come representing all of that- and they stand in for his people by bringing welcoming and acknowledgment. First, he came for his own historical people.

Then there came wise men, probably around 3 years later. They confer with the powers of domination in Jerusalem, but they don't stay there for they go to the now toddler bearing gifts. They represent the outside world who later come to honor Jesus' Way. They bring valuable things to the new movement. And importantly also, they acknowledge the spiritual kingdom and the turning from the world powers of domination. Jesus taught the kingdom within and the way to live a spiritual life, he was not about worldly power.

I challenge you to re-read the birth stories and consider that if they truly are parables, what profound and deep meanings are they carrying across the ages to us? I believe as parable they can lead us to a new spiritual understanding that will change our lives and lead us to be more awake and able to walk The Way.

Oh, Divine Presence, open the doors of my deepest place and lead me to understand the messages in the parables. Show me how to walk The Way more fully. Lead me into this coming new year as one who is waking up the Seed You have planted in me. What a glorious feeling flows over me as I see more fully. Thank You dear God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Levels of Consciousness

It has come to my attention that many people are confused about the term "mysticism." I'm going to share briefly my understanding re: the levels of consciousness.

We walk around in conversation in a beta sort of world. We know that energy cannot be destroyed for it converts. Every thought, word, emotion since the beginning are energies existing in some way. Jung called it "the collective unconscious."

When we tune into the collective unconscious, we get psychic impressions amidst a hodge podge of energies. That's why different psychics give opposite "readings." One psychic says your aura is red with anger and another says it is green with oceans of love, etc. One says you are going to meet your soulmate while another says your work is your soulmate. People can go crazy there. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.

But, at another level there is the mystic understanding, the Christ consciousness, the Buddha consciousness.

Let's just imagine there are layers of consciousness. 1. The everyday thinking and speaking. 2. The collective unconscious. 3. And on the top, mystical understanding. The goal of spiritual awaking, in part, is to punch through to the top layer.

In the mystical, there is agreement. The great seekers across history are in agreement about the highest Truths. I wrote a little book about some of these people that shows how simpatico they are. In most cases, if you didn't know who said x, you might guess that anyone of the mystics might have been the origin of x.

Some of my particular favorites include: Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse, Mechtild, Hildegard, Eckhart, Boehme, Rumi and many others.

It has been part of my journey to read the words of as many mystics as possible. I seek The Truth, The Highest Understanding, The knowing of the mystics. My aim is there. I pray for more and more people to aim high and leave ideology and superstition in the dust.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Is God?

This question has been asked most likely since human thought came to earth. There are deep answers and silly answers.

The Infinite God cannot fit into words, of course. Words only point to something that cannot be reduced to words. Say, for example, I write the word "tree" here. This word is not a tree. This word points us in the direction of tree. Then we must ask many questions such as: What kind of tree? How big is the tree? What colors are its foliage? Does it bear fruit? And yet none of these questions nor any of our answers is actually a tree. We can explore scientifically what a tree is - whirling atoms. We can explore it historically - is this an old tree? We can explore it poetically, artistically, musically, etc, but our answers are not the tree itself.

The same is true of God. None of our explorations and none of our answers are God itself.

Jesus told us God is Love, so God is a verb and not a thing. We are told in scriptures that God is Spirit and not material, but created the material so leaves clues in our visible world. We can consider what God is not to find more clues. To define God is to limit God, take away infiniteness.

It seems to me we often get sidetracked by our own word definitions so that we settle for pat answers rather than to engage in the thrilling quest to know God, experience God, live moments of breathless experience of the Divine Presence. 

Let us come to peace with the fact that there cannot be a God who fits into human words, but we can be humans who live within God. 

This day Beloved Divine Presence, I bring all that I am to You. I turn once again to journey the path that leads me on a spiritual quest to come to know You more fully. Awaken me. Show me. Lead me.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Endings flow into beginnings as we walk this path of life. At this time of year, we arbitrarily decide a year is about to end and a new one to commence. We choose to mark time in this way.

As best we can, we mull over the lessons of the year, what was learned and what still needs some work. We lay it down, give ourselves and others a clean slate, take a deep breath and put our feet upon the path of 2017. This may require some forgiveness work, maybe some repentance, maybe some restitution or some other action we need to take. It is a potentially healthy time of year, when we take these steps honestly with clear intention.

Of course, there are some "bad actors" that come into our lives who may need to be released. Not everyone needs to be actively in our lives. But in the release, we can bless them and turn them over to God, with absolutely no rancor. Rancor only hurts the person holding it in their heart.

In thinking about beginnings, I am also preparing a sermon for New Year's Day partially based on the creation stories in Genesis. In the context of beliefs in the area at the time, there are a lot of new ideas. For example, God created Light, the sun and moon, so the various lights were not gods as was thought to be true by other groups. God created them. The power to recreate was placed in the seed, so fertility gods were fired. All of creation was called "good," so the original sin idea of some groups is negated - original sin came into the world via Augustine of Hippo and not from the Bible. There is no idea of God creating the darkness and ugliness. God created, and it was and is good. Come on New Year's Day, and I'll go into detail (Temecula United Methodist Church).

The ideas which we hold as so familiar were huge paradigm shifts back in the day - and I might add for many people today who are stuck in superstition and far from scholarship.

So - all/you/me = created by God, and = good. What is needed is contained within creation. You, me, all of us are children of Divinity. It is our nature to be like our Creator. When we behave in a way less than our true potential, there is already within us the knowing of what the right path is for us.

Let's prepare ourselves to wrap up 2016 with honest reflection. And let's step onto the 2017 path with fresh eyes and heart and see how spiritually awake we can be. This year could the THE year to remember in our lives. Let's go for it!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Two in One Day!

Yes, I know two in one day is unusual for me. But there is something I really want to share and ask you to check out.

Last night on "60 Minutes," a segment was on Columbia. It was about how with advertising, creativity, and research, with a bit of humor, the drug wars were ended.

If you didn't see it, please seek out the story on the internet. I'd like us to consider how those techniques could be applied to today's terrorism problem.

This story gives so much hope. Thinking outside of the box did wonders, and it could again.


It seems to me that the natural flow of life is to go toward the light both physically and metaphorically. But, I am seeing that somehow the natural is far too often given a wave good-bye. I am puzzling how that can be

The seed planted in the soil cracks open, and a sprout works its way up to the light, and continues to orient itself to more and more light. It turns the little seed and the soil and the light into a plant, could be a tree, could be a vegetable plant that also bears edible food, could be gorgeous flowers, all with luxuriant leaves. Often at night the flower closes, perhaps rests. At daybreak, it opens again. Life and light go together.

The great spiritual teachings often speak of light metaphorically. I am the Light. We have idioms about light, my mind lit up with new ideas. We have, at least in the back of our minds, that light is essential. Darkness may be taken as rest, as the time to slumber, or it may be taken as turning from the light/the right/the good. I realize that we have at least some degree of free will (we cannot wake up today and decide to be 10 feet tall for example), so that with a speck of free will we can make some choices such as between light and dark, but why would we choose darkness?

Yesterday, for example, people turned from the light and went to the darkside, as Star Wars has so named it. Coptic Christians were slaughtered in Egypt, Syrians had another day of violence, people in the Southside of Chicago were shot, people betrayed one another, people lied and on and on. Why would darkness seem preferable to the light for them?

I don't know for sure. I am sure that I know a piece of it. As I think of Meister Eckhart's words of the seed of God in us, some clarity lights up my mind. We have some degree of free will as to whether that seed cracks open and sends its sprout up to the Light to become all that it can be.

We have a world that has greatly turned its face to the darkside. That is not to dismiss the good people doing wonderful things. It is to notice how prevalent darkness has become. I wonder, are we now numb to it?

At every turn, we see violence, promiscuity, and wild abandon promoted - in movies, television, books. We see church attendance down. We see crazy offshoots of the various spiritual paths that teach their own made up ideas of what is and what is not true. We see hatred and fear of others promoted as "good." We see attacks on those who see whatever it is differently.
Image result for yin yang symbol
As the yin yang symbol exemplifies, even in darkness there is some light, and even in light there is some darkness. There is redemption, yet perhaps while on earth we cannot 100% be free of darkness. But looking at the symbol, I want to be on the side of light with as little darkness as possible.

We, carriers of the seed of God, recipients of the breath of God, are called to turn to the Light. We are called to be all of the good and great things that shall spring forth from us as we reach for the Light. We are called to evaluate our choices - does this ____ lead to Light or to the darkside? We are called to be of great courage and stand firmly focused upon Light, upon Divine Light. We are called to be all that we can be, all that is in the seed of God within us.

Beloved Divine Presence, always with me, always guiding me, always loving me -- lead me to still myself so that I can truly hear and follow You. Give me courage and clarity so that I can fully turn from the darkside and send Your wondrous sprout in me shooting up to Your Light. Let this be the day of my rebirth in You. In joyous expectancy, I turn to You. Thank YOU.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

E---- go

Ego has come up several times in my reading this week. I've often said that we must address the ego to go away -- e..... go.

There are several ways to define ego, but spiritually I think of it as the part in us that over or underestimates us, and always seems to make us our own gods. I am superior or I am inferior are two sides of the coin of ego. Part of the path of awakening is letting all of that go.

We are one, all of us, at all levels. Our bodies are formed of Mother Earth, made of atomic particles that freely circulate as we share them. Our souls are made of God's Light and Love. We are engaged in a spiritual drama and comedy played out on the stage of earth. We are only here for a time, and when we move on, we are accountable for how we lived and loved.

The nothing is off limits wildness of today's world is pretty much the opposite of following The Way. The ego shouts with glee -- come follow me; whatever feels good, do it, it's all about me, the other person be damned; you absolutely have to agree with my ideology or you are to be shunned and attacked; there's no such thing as too much sex or money or power; etc. No wonder so many people feel empty and lost.

The Way is about Oneness, humility, kindness, caring, giving, living consciously aware of others and of being in the Divine Presence each and every moment. It is quieter. It is profound. It leads to an inner depth for which the soul hungers.

As we take a deep breath, let us turn to The Way and leave the craziness of ego behind. One by one, two by two, ten by ten, hundred by hundred we turn to The Way and thereby change our own lives and the life of all on the planet.

Dear Beloved Divine Presence, I give streams of thanksgiving to You, rejoicing that You are always with me. I let go of the lesser things of ego this very day. I turn to set my life on Your Path. I ask for Your Guidance as I endeavor to follow You. Wash me free of the things of ego, and bathe me in Your Loving Kindness. Prepare me to live aglow in You.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


The day that will live in infamy has come again. And, it seems to me that there have been many before and since that would fit in that category. Awful as Pearl Harbor was, it is one of countless unthinkable days.

My mind is astir with questions. Why is it that such things even happen? What oddity is at work in the minds of men that gives them the idea that violence, murder, torture, the taking of other people's lands, and war are worth dying for? And what strange idea leads them to suppose they have the right or maybe obligation to take away life and limb from others? How do they reconcile it spiritually? How can they rationalize it as even acceptable behavior? Once it begins, defensive behavior has to spring into action for self-preservation, and then acceleration occurs.

This happens over and over and over and over throughout the known and discovered (think of all of the archeological digs) history of humans. Do some of us have a logic chip missing? Is this really a prison planet mostly populated with the dredges of the universe with a few wise ones thrown in just in case someone decides to listen? Is this planet the insane asylum for the universe with a few spiritual psychiatrists showing up from time to time to try to speak sanity?

For almost all spiritual paths --- peace, love, honor, forgiveness, repentance, non-violence, oneness, non-attachment, etc. are tenets. So we know at least some people have had sense enough to write down those ideas. The problem seems to be that not enough people have taken these to heart and lived them. Even supposed followers of spiritual paths have done dastardly deeds.

Since it has gone on so long, is there really a chance to make this planet the kingdom of heaven on earth? I've spent a lot of time and energy aimed at just such a goal. I wonder if the task is not possible, but that the attempt is what is needed. The attempt changes a person interiorly, so that spiritual awakening is possible one by one.

I weep for our planet, for our people, our brothers and sisters all created by the One, all made of the same substance. We are the people of God. Some of us seem to have forgotten or not gotten around to the spiritual path yet.

I pray for a wave of true spiritual awakening to sweep across earth. I pray for Light and Love of the Divine Presence to spark awakening across this planet. I pray that people put down the ways of darkness and turn to the Light. I continue to pray for peace on earth, for peace in each and every heart. So be it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I'm in the middle of reading a book about Jesus' last week, starting with Palm Sunday. It states something I've not heard, or at least remembered. At the same time Jesus was processing into Jerusalem and being celebrated with hosannas and garments  and branches waving  -- at the other side of Jerusalem, Pilate was processing in with his impressive horses and guards and weapons. Pilate lived in Cesaria where the weather was more pleasant, for it was on the water, plus it was a new and more modern town. He only came to Jerusalem when there were Jewish High Holy Days, which made it more likely there might be uprisings.

It is suggested that Jesus timed this entrance as an instructive drama. On one side of town came a humble procession celebrating the inner kingdom and the great spiritual leader who touched the hearts and minds of the average person, the man who called them brother and sister and opened the Kingdom of God to all. On the other side of town came the procession representing domination, oppression, violence and ego in all its pomp and circumstance.

The drama was soon followed the next day with a showdown in the temple grand courtyard. The high priests were no longer holy men in the line of Aaron but were selected by the Romans. There were many changes of priests, for they had to fully cooperate with the Romans to stay in power. The minute they did not follow precisely, they were thrown out. So they sold out.

I can see it in my mind's eye. Can you?

History is rife with those who ruthlessly dominate. In fact, there has been domination as a way of life in most of history for most of humanity. Liberty is a rare thing, even today. The temptation to dominate rears its ugly head over and over throughout the hallways of time.

I suppose it is quite seductive to go for the glam and glitter over the quiet and humble. So, I'm wondering which procession are we in? Do we chase after power and attention? Do we humbly serve to make the world a better place? Are we cheering the dramatic procession of the oppressor? Do we have the courage to quietly shine the Light in every little corner?

Who do we follow? We can check ourselves out by noting how much time, energy, talent and money we spend in our lives --- for what? What are our genuine priorities? All we have to do is observe ourselves impartially. and it is clear.

Lord, I lay down the bright shiny objects that draw me into the procession that leads to oppression of anyone. I open my heart, my mind, my life to the humble Shepherd and do my best to follow in His Footsteps.