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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Reflections On Time

From time to time, I find myself musing about time. Not being a physicist, my reflections are amateur and personal.

Sometimes it seems to me to be something like a corridor through which I can only walk in one direction, away from my life's "past." I can turn and look back, viewing an assortment of my experiences. I can reevaluate what I see. I can mourn long gone-by moments. I can celebrate again precious moments. But I cannot go there.

Time seems to be a relative thing. When I was 7, the week before Christmas was so very long. Now it seems like the wink of an eye. I think part of this is because a week relative to 7 years is a larger segment than relative to 80 years.

Time on earth in this dimension appears to have a beginning and an end. We are born and we die, or are born into a new dimension or place or something not conceivable from this viewpoint on earth.

I usually look for patterns when I counsel someone. And, as I look back at my corridor of time, I see patterns too. In my close contacts with others, I see a rather large number of extremely mentally ill people, I would guess far more than the average person experiences. I, fortunately, see only 2 alcoholics. I see amazing spiritual experiences. I see surprising doors open and others close. I see protection and guidance, craziness assaults and terrifying experiences, hope and love - therefore, survival. I see a strong call to creativity, spirituality, and curiosity. I see deep grief, doubt,  and overcoming. I see charisma. In other words, I see my unique, varied, incredible life. I see the life that prepared me for this valley through which I've been walking.

As I turn to look to the future, I can see possibilties, but there is as yet no specific form.

I suppose, if I had known what was ahead when I was still young, I might not have had the courage to walk forward. So, looking from here forward, it is probably best to walk in faith. One thing I know from my life, I do not walk alone.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Little Important Things and Big Important Things

Little things are important. We have to earn money to buy food and clothes and pay mortgages or rent. We have to remember to return that phone call, to take out the trash, to go to the parent teacher conference. We have to handle a thousand little things a day.

In addition to all these important little things, there are big important things that call to us. There are questions. What is the meaning of life? What about God? Did I exist before this life, and will I exist after this life? Which, if any, religion is true, or do all of them have some of the truth? If so, which version?

We pretty much have to deal with the little things, or we won't be long on this planet. There are various approaches to the big important things:

  • Try to ignore them and just keep busy.
  • Wait till retirement, when there is more time.
  • Just accept a religion as is, and ask no questions.
  • Go on a serious quest to find answers about the big important things.
In my experience, people have an inner yearning directed toward the Divine. Since the beginnings of humans, that yearning has led to many ways to attempt to touch the Divine. What an amazing array of religions and philosophies have strewn the path of history. Some have been quite bizarre and some brilliant.

Once touched, once experienced, the yearning for The More increases. The edge, so to speak, of The God Experience draws us as if an irresistible magnet. At some point, we become close to the Heart of God, at least from time to time, and we are never the same. We also are protected in surprising ways. We feel warnings about this or that: that is false and a dead end, and this is true and a step in the spiritual direction. Also, surprisingly, our relationship to the little things is changed. We deal with them in a more flowing manner, with less irritation, with more joy. New doors, both inner and outer, open as if on their own. Truly astounding life opens.

I wish for you the thrilling, satisfying, meaningful walk into the important big questions. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Lot Going On We Don't Experience

Science tells us phenomenal things are going on that humans by themselves cannot detect here on our planet, let alone out in the universe. Atoms are whirling, subatomic things are behaving in astounding ways, etc. Invisible things may turn out to be the most important. Anybody seen love lately?

Right this moment, wherever we are, radio stations and television stations are beaming programs. This room is full of potential that can only become useful if we have a radio and a television which we turn on and tune to one of them. Whether or not we tune in is up to us. If we choose to tune in, we can choose most anything from beautiful music to horror movies.

I propose that The Presence of God is in this very moment too. We can choose to tune in or not. Whichever choice we make, makes a huge difference. God may not be visible, but that does not mean God does not exist. There is the rich and full Presence available for everyone.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Thing About Guidance

Like a telephone signal is available for all who have a receiver, whisperings of Divine Wisdom are everywhere available to all prepared to tune in.

Guidance is present because God is present, in all, through all and the essence of all. At every level, there is an organizing Principle. Look at any object around you, say a cup of tea. The cup, you say is porcelain, not divine. Look more closely. It is made of whirling atoms and other non-visible things that move thousands of miles a second, and yet it remains a silent cup as it sits before you. The tea comes from water that has travelled many times from ocean to cloud to rain to river to cloud, to snow to river to reservoir to pipe to this morning's cup of tea, all the while remaining H2O. The tea leaves come from earth and water and sunlight to be nestled in your teapot this morning. What a miracle your cup of tea is, being so much more.

As I cannot help but realize some God Principle organizes the visible world in such amazing ways, I turn to the non-visible. I realize God creates, re-creates and participates in everything, whether or not my receiver is tuned in and aware.

Tuning in is a process. I'll share a bit of my process, but of course yours will be tailor made for you.

As a child, I had spiritual experiences that led me to know a loving Presence was with me. Some very hurtful and ugly things happened to me, eventually making the Presence fade to a certain dimness. From time to time I was lifted out of harm's way, so I knew God was there, but not as immediately as I had once known. I stopped going to church, feeling the Truth was not there. Eventually I was led to a church that helped me begin healing the wounds of my life. I realized the wounds were open places where new Light could enter. I learned to meditate, learned affirmative prayer and began study of mystics. I found God again. Guidance was once again operating more regularly in my life. I began to teach, moving me more and more in awareness of The Presence. My studies and process continue daily.

There is so much I want to say about Guidance. I will just add a warning today. It is imperative to give the credit to God for all. Once ego enters the door, a lot of backtracking is needed. A truly attuned person is humble. Even Jesus said It is not I, but the Father within doing the work.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Seed Ideas - This I Know About God

Yesterday I decided to re-read my book (see the title above, originally it was called "21 Seed Ideas").  It was written to be a teaching text in my seminars in Russia and Ukraine for the attendees who came from a wide variety of religious and nonreligious backgrounds. My intention was/is to find some core truths we can all agree upon, and to create experiential ways to enter them.

Part of my quest has always been to find ways for people to enter the experience of God. I know God primarily through moments touched by The Presence, only marginally by reading what others have said. Others have pointed the way, but we can only know by walking the way ourselves.

So, I humbly invite you to download this book and journey through it. I am sure it will lead you to a deeper, fuller walk. As I reread it, I am reminded that it was written as a flow through me, not a product of my intellect. It is quite an interesting experience for me to re-read it, and while recognizing it as "mine," also see more than me.

You can borrow it free or buy it for a nominal cost from Amazon in the Kindle section. It is such a small cost because I want everyone who wants it to be able to read it to also be able to afford it.

May each of us have a deeper walk with The Presence.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

New Ideas Find Me

It's probably that I've been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember, but it is sort of like new ideas chase me down. It's as if they want to be churned through the processes of my mind.

So one of them caught up to me this morning. This first part is not new, but it sets up the second part, so bear with me a moment.

Under ancient thinking, Greek thinking, and some others, the earth was for sure the center of the universe, with all other things out there circling around earth. As the explanation started to fall apart, sub-theories were offered, such as the planets went in smaller circles while going in a big circle around earth.

Eventually it became clear the earth orbited around the sun, as did all the planets of the solar system. The sun was just one of the billions in the Milky Way, which was just one of billions of galaxies. The earth lost its privileged status. It is our home, and so important to us, yet perhaps insignificant to the vast expanses of the universe.

Religion is undergoing a similar shift. The major religions have thought their religion is the right one and all others are distant falsehoods that circle at a dim distance.

Now our religions interact some, with most cities having synagogues, churches, mosques, temples, etc.  Information about each is easily found on the internet. And we discover that each is a path that has led many to the God experience. Our understanding is not the only one. Our religion is not the center of the universe.

So we have choices. Can we honor other approaches to God, while walking our particular path? How accepting and inclusive can we be to other sincere seekers? Can we move beyond the arrogance of having to be the only right one in the room?

We must try.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Drawing Lines

The idea came to me the other day that part of the art of life is drawing lines. Each of us draw them in just about every area of our lives. We draw them regarding simple, even trivial things, all the way up to the most profound and life changing things.

We draw lines as to how much is too much ice cream, how late do the children get to stay up, how much do we save or spend, how much time do we give to worthy causes, who is acceptable and who is not, the amount of time we spend on our spirituality, etc????

Some lines protect us and some go against our better futures and keep us stuck.  Some draw the line so no new information is accepted. I often see this in regard to politics and religion.

This morning I was thinking about Jesus referring to himself as the son of man, a Jewish idea associated with some of those written about in the Hebrew scriptures, (some of which Christians refer to as The Old Testament). This is not related to the concept of the trinity, which started to develop later as the followers shifted from the Jewish understanding to the Greek speaking and thinking world. Few people seem to know, or care, that much of what became Christian theology is Greek philosophy applied to the early Christian writings and teachings.

The Greek/Roman thinking took over, leaving the original teachings in the dust. It is often said that Jesus would not recognize himself in the theology that ensued.

When I first became aware of such things, and discovered what I had been taught was not accurate or even close, I began my long spiritual quest to find Truth. I must say it has been an extraordinary journey filled with just about every twist and turn imaginable.

What directed me was my personal experiences of The Presence of God and my inner knowing that Jesus and the New Testament had keys to how to live. I first poured over my little New Testament, reading and contemplating and underlining. I believed the way to live was there, deep spirituality was there, but theologians had mucked it up.

I found New Thought in the 60's. In those days, it was known as practical Christianity. Emmet Fox, Ernest and Fenwick Holmes, the Filmores, the Brooks sisters and countless others made Christianity come alive. I soaked it all up. I found deep inner healing from the wounds of my life.

Then everything changed. The "leaders" decided Religious Science was not Christian. I went again on a quest. I was led to study and experience other world religions. I discovered modern Christian theologians and archeologists. Things started to make sense.

I was called to go back to my beginnings, to churches, bringing with me my developing understanding of all things spiritual. My old friend Jesus, who had led me thru the terrors of my youth, was the friend of my old age, but in a very different friendship.

I am very grateful for the journey of this life, to the places and people and ideas along the way. I am grateful to realize it is an  ongoing journey, a process of awakening, a process of openness to being awake in The Presence. I am comfortable now living in the process, for I know I am led by God, and God would not lead me astray and would never leave me. No matter how the appearances shout at me, I know all is well, for the Presence is always present.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Essence of a Thing

The essence of a thing is what it boils down to. We might ask, what is the core of it?

Many say the core of Christianity is right living, living the Way of God as taught by Jesus, and not right believing.

Reading the Gospels, I find many examples of what that kind of living entails. It is inclusive, the rain falls on us all. It is forgiving, as the story of the prodigal son. It is generous hearted, as not judging by appearances. There are examples after examples of what Jesus  considered to be right living. There are very few about right believing. Re-read them yourself and check this out.

There are many examples of faith in God. Jesus even directed that faith away from himself, as "it is not I, but the Father within doing the work." Also, his prayers, and examples of prayers we should pray, are directed to God, not to himself.

His first followers experienced the Presence of God in the presence of Jesus, and so simply had to follow his Way. His Way was irresistible to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear. And not all had those eyes and ears, such as the Romans, with a couple of exceptions, and much of the temple leadership. Since we cannot experience all the same as the disciples, we can begin to walk The Way by living as he taught, by right living. That will lead us into a deeper walk where spiritual understanding opens and opens and opens.

May God bless our walk upon His path and lead us ever onward, enfolded in Love. Open our core to Your Essence blessed One.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Which Christian View?

This morning I am reading about two theologies, both from long ago Christians. It is the story of two, mutually exclusive viewpoints.

Augustine looked to the past. He created the view that we come from original sin. The story of Adam and Eve, he decided, shows us that humanity is sinful to the core, and we must be redeemed or we suffer forever in some horrid place.

Ireneous, in the other hand looked to the future. He saw us as works in progress. Earth is not a paradise with humanity as divine robots. It is a place to develop our souls, to find moral ways, to be refined and to choose God and goodness. We have the opportunity to grow toward our maker. If we listen and hear the call, we choose ways that make us more and more like our Maker.

For Augustine, what Jesus lived and taught was less important than he died for us to appease a blood thirsty God who wanted sacrifice. Maybe, if we did what the church said we must do, we might be saved from the fate worse than death.

For Ireneous, Jesus was a person through whom the experience of God was felt and known. He knew the way and called us to walk in His Way so we could be more and more refined until others could experience God through us too.

I'm my opinion, in general, Christianity has gone down the false and nutty path of original sin way  too long. I call us to turn to the saner and more viable path that comes from Ireneous and others who know us to be in process and also in freedom to choose God.

It seems urgent to me. The mess in the world can be solved and healed by sincere God seekers living morally and lovingly, in process of letting the inner light shine.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A Thought On Church Decline

Just a quick thought.

I was reading this morning about a shift I had not clearly seen. It is the life lived in praise, prayer, and focus upon relationship with God vs a life lived studying religion. It is a shift seen post-Enlightenment for sure, but accelerating since the 1950's.

An observer of American culture has noted the decline of the use of the word God and the assent of the word religion. Things in religion can be proven: there is and was a Jerusalem, there was a council of Nicea that made various decisons, there was a man named Augustine who moved away from the Good News of God's Love to the bad news of original sin, etc.

It appears the scientific nature of "modern" humanity has a hard time with things that can be known but not proven. I know God by experience, but I cannot scientifically prove that to you.

I wonder how we as a people can welcome back wholeheartedly the experiential and rich part of life that cannot be proven. Maybe the best parts of life are found there. I know but cannot prove I know beauty, love, sorrow, and God. What do you know but cannot prove that you hold dear to your heart?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Am I a Christian Emisary?

The title is really a question that hopefully leads us to examine ourselves. For some, Christian could be replaced with Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, etc. But I am Christian, so I am writing from that worldview.

First let's consider a couple of quotes.

Pearl Buck wrote about how she came to see how her Christian missionary parents were mostly there for themselves:
... somewhere I had learned from Thoreau, who doubtless learned it from Confucius, that if a man comes to you to do his own good for you, then you must flee that man and save yourself.
Then there is the conversation Ghandi had with a Christian missionary:
Let us think of the bulk of your people who preach the gospel. Do they spread the perfume of their lives? That is to me the sole criterion. All I want them to do is to live Christian lives, not to annotate them.
It seems to me to be something like Jesus asked us to do by letting our lights shine. When you see light, it needs no explanation.

A person feeding the poor generously is glowing and draws in others. Whereas someone trying to save me most urgently makes me want to run away. A gentle person caring for others has that perfume Ghandi mentioned. An angry Christian, one who knows it all, repells me. If you take the words "Bible belt" literally you get a picture of the angry so-called Christian trying to force you to be an angry person too.

Ghandi also called us to be worthy of the message in the Sermon on the Mount. That is truly exuding the Christian perfume.

There is an attractive, drawing-towards energy in those who quietly live The Christ Way. So we can check ourselves. Am I letting my life, my light, shine? Am I an emissary of Christ? If you watch me live my life, does that point to a life of joy and peace that others want too? Is Christ calling to others through your perfume?

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Walk This Way

In Buddhism, there are no people trying to convert others. There is an invitation to walk this way and find out if it is true and a way to live that works.

For me, it is fascinating to learn about the various ways religions teach various ideas. At the same time, I have walked with the ways of Jesus my whole life. I have walked and explored most variations from mainstream Protestant to Episcopal to New Thought to evangelical, leaving out fringes such as snake handlers, ewwe

While I don't agree with quite a lot of theology of others, I agree with the life and teachings of Jesus. Theology is primarily made up of opinions of streams of people. Some are profound, some looney.

To extract ourselves from the looney, we could look at the New Testament's reports of Jesus and try them on for size. What would happen if we walked His Way? Would this be a good way to live a meaningful life? What if we offered this invitation not only to ourselves but also to others?

No hard sell. No canned dogmas. Just an invitation. A welcoming. Walk This Way and just discover it. Find Jesus who has been buried under tons of other people's opinions, some of which have turned to stone or are petrified. Find deep meaningfulness under it all.

Consider yourself invited.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What Unconscious Assumptions Control Us?

The mind has always fascinated me. I've done quite a lot of study on it. One was taking hypnosis classes with a medical doctor who had delivered over 5,000 babies under hypnosis, receiving beginning and advanced certificates. I learned a HUGE amount in the class. I also took many classes on sociology, psychology, philosophy, etc in an attempt to understand more fully. I read and re-read the Bible countless times.

This morning I read a rather old study on priming. Our minds are primed so that we become more receptive to certain things. A simple study involved memorizing a list of 10 words. At a later time, when the list could no longer be recalled, the subjects were asked to do a word association. The answers given were from the original test. Example: stop, butterfly and rough were on the first list. some of the words for association were highway, animal and wood, which elicited the words from the first list from the participants.

Our lives prime us without us even knowing, especially our first 7 years, but also continually. We have a hidden education, that is we are not consciously aware of it. If we had been born in a different country, for example, we would speak a different language, have different norms and values and believe different things. And it is difficult to change them. In the USA we are primed to free speech, for example, but in many countries the opposite is primed. We are open and often fearless. In some places that would be impossible for they were primed for guardedness and fear.

Our nation was originally founded by people fleeing from religious intolerance. Our founders were primarily Christian and very strict about what that meant. Today we have been primed by the underlying premises that began with Pilgrims and our founding fathers and mothers. We are primed to freedom, to opportunity, to hard work, to Judeo-Christian ethics and values, to the importance of faith, etc.

It seems to me that one problem is priming that happens in the negative lane. People can be primed to feel worthless, to be paranoid, to be angry, to live in a drunken way owned by the darkness of negativity. All or most life experiences then are defined by the primed darkness, even when it's a stretch. How to neutralize the destructive within has to be addressed, if a person is to live a joyous and meaningful life.

As for me, I've spent a great deal of time in days gone by to escape and neutralize my negative priming. Forgiveness, study, prayer, meditaton, contemplation, conversation are all essential elements. It's rarely an easy task. It takes dedication and persistence. It involves first seeing yourself, your choices, your reactions, etc from an observer and neutral position, and to decide enough is enough.

Let's strive to be free from the dark cloud of negativity so that we can truly let our lights shine.