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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020 and Good Riddance

Although the end of a year and the beginning of a new year actually happens every day, we say that this is the last day and tomorrow is the first day. 2020 ends today and 2021 begins tomorrow. It can be a psychological shift, a mental opening to newness.

2020 has been globally horrible in many ways. There is not only the grief of so many dying, there are also the many side effects. There are businesses lost, dreams stomped upon, isolation and depression, leaders who let their egos make them mini-despots, confusion and fear and so forth.

There us another side though to consider. People have grown closer with one another in their homes. Many have slowed down. People have learned new skills from gardening to cooking to crafts to sewing to Zoom. People have learned to pray and meditate, and a considerable number have began to explore spirituality.

In a practical manner, there has been government and private cooperation to work to get a vaccine, medicines, equipment and facilities to handle Covid. Nations have shared medical knowledge and meds and vaccines. Unusual partners have worked together.

As with most things, it is not all bad nor is it all good. Perhaps it is a spiritual opportunity or even a test. Maybe it's not so much what happens as it is how we respond.

As we begin 2021, I hope we come to it resolved to not let ego lead us, but rather to respond with love and kindness and compassion to all people and events that are ahead in our paths. Let us be the best version of ourselves.

God bless you and keep you and lead you through 2021 and beyond.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Colliding Worldviews

I regularly deal with someone I care deeply about who has an opposite worldview. His view revolves around My way or the highway. My worldview revolves more around There's another way to look at this, and another, and another... He seeks, and believes he has found, clear and irrefutable truth. I seek truth on a journey of awakening, knowing Truth is infinite and not containable in words or anything else - Infinite.

The clashing of worldviews can be painful, or in some cases exhilarating, depending on the people involved. We can have good natured debates, irate arguments or just walk away as we shrug our shoulders.

In some ways, because we each have a unique life, all of our worldviews are unique. Sometimes they are close, and we can share together. Sometimes they are so far apart that it seems the other is speaking an unintelligible foreign language or even gobbley gook nonsense.

It's difficult to give a one size fits all solution to this. For me, I listen for The More to guide me. I am shown that along this path there are souls at every level and there are many paths. Just as I cannot argue a two year old into being a 30 year old, I cannot force someone to drastically shift their understanding. So, for those whose language is barely intelligible to me, those behind me and those ahead of me, so to speak, I realize it's not up to me. It's between them and God. 

Evelyn Underhill said that God's pull in our lives is like iron shavings to a magnet. We are all drawn. We'll all get there. And we do well to remember that there are many paths to Oneness, Awakening, Enlightenment to full Awareness. Bless us all on our journey.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Our Christmas Life

Evelyn Underhill spoke about most people's lives being lived conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do. Craving, clutching and fussing on the material level, keeps most busy and also feeling like something is missing. The fundamental verb, the essence of spiritual life is to Be.

As I mused on the above, Christmas came into my mind. Many have spoken about the subversion of Christmas with materialism and sentimentality. That is so obvious that my mind slid quickly by that. Meister Eckhart's words jumped to mind. He asked basically, what good is it that Christ was born to Mary those many years ago, if Christ is not born in our hearts today? Now that seems to me to be the crux of it all.

In Christmas Eves past, in my talk/sermon, I often spoke of the Christ being born in the cradle of our hearts. Early Christianity spoke of metanoia, of transformation, of spiritual birth.  

So, what would it Be to birth the Christ personally, to Be transformed, to Be all we are intended to Be? Shackles would fall from all parts of us, from eyes, from heart, from ears, from mind... We would know that all is Spiritual. God is breathing creation every moment, including us. 

Jesus taught us, now we can have eyes to see and ears to hear the message. Finally the Universe sighs.

It's not about being politically correct, wearing the right clothes, seeking a promotion, giving or getting the "right" gift, or anything superficial. It's about genuinely Being forgiving, loving, lifting, caring, living compassionately. It's about living the Way, the Message in such a way that the Light streams from us and touches others and sets their Light free too. That's what Jesus did. Reread His words and hear them personally. You are sitting at His feet and soaking up His Way and taking it on as your Way too. That's what He asks of us.

May the Christ be born in the cradle of your heart this Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Strains of Thought Follow Me

It seems so anywayπŸ€”. Maybe it's because great ideas are thought by multiple people. 

This morning I was reading Gurdjieff again, and low and behold he stated something that I read decades ago in a book by Stewart Emory. That very idea was a significant pivot point in my life. I'll try to paraphrase it.

  • If someone calls you a fool or criticises you or says some negative thing, you have two choices as an aware person. 
  • Hint - One of them is not get upset.
  • If the criticism is false, it is silly to get upset. It is irrelevant.
  • If the criticism has any grain of truth, it is silly to be upset. You should be grateful that it was pointed out so that you can grow and improve.
Upset is the sign of ego, not of an awakening person on the spiritual path. Upset is the sign something not worth protecting is trying to be protected.

Just observe yourself and others to see this. It can be a key to your freedom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Information and Disinformation Overload

Bombarded with television voices, internet notices,  social media, etc. - with no way to assess the accuracy of any of it - I need silence time, a sanctuary space to be still and contemplate and listen to the wee small voice.

As we begin to look for our next home, sanctuary is a key word for me. I seek a place away from the whirling egos and their opinions. I seek a place where my feet can touch the earth, where there are trees to sit with, where the sounds are of birds and rustling leaves, natural sounds. I seek a home that gives spaces for contemplation and also creativity - a spacious studio, a great kitchen, a library. I seek a home that is beautiful, for God's creation is beautiful, and I endeavor to align my life at every level with God.

This will likely be our last home. Even the thought of the actual move is a bit exhausting. This move will require lots of helpers. I'm no longer as energetic and strong as I was once. Don't get me wrong, I'm full of vim and vigor in many ways, but I cannot bend and lift as I once did. One more move is enough, before I move on to the next dimension at some approaching point.

I wonder about the information/disinformation bombardment. Did it just develop, or is there some purpose the powers that be have for it? It seems to keep many people away from deep introspection and actual engagement with spiritual practises that lead to Knowing. It keeps people busy with the meaningless. Some become outraged over people and events with which they have no personal experience and no means of verifying. It keeps people off balance, which makes them easier to control. It is fascinating to observe, and at the same time it is disturbing. Where is all of this leading I wonder?

My wish is that all of us find some quiet time in our own personal sanctuary, disengaging from the mad ego circus and finding The More. 

Be still...and know...that I am...God... the Scripture enjoins us.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Automatons

So many have hypothesized that we are automatons, walking our lives asleep, hypnotized. This can be seen a number of ways, it seems to me.

  • True believers, those who are totally enveloped in some belief, whether it be political or religious, that any contrary view sets them off in some sort of tantrum. 
  • Frequent cognitive dissonance.
  • Those who are slaves to habits of any sort.
  • Those who have triggers that others can set off, buttons that can be pushed, and always a canned reaction pours forth.
  • Those who walk life with no sparkle in their eyes, often a bit slumped in posture, having given up and just going through the motions.
  • And so forth
The first step out of this dilemma might be to notice ourselves such that we can observe our own areas of walking asleep. Follow the old injunction Know thyself.

Then we can consciously work on waking up. I have personally done a myriad of things along those lines. I heartily recommend you begin with meditation and journal writing. Deeply explore yourself, as no one can do it for you. Observe yourself and write it down, observe as neutrally as you can, not justifying yourself, simply noticing. When insights come, write them down. I have a lot of notebooks full of my writing about my journey of awakening. Don't stop. Keep waking up, keep waking at levels beyond your present awareness. The journey is thrilling at points of aha and paradigm shifts. 

It seems to me, because you read my blog, and hopefully tell others about it, something in you is calling to be awakened. What a glorious adventure, scaling inner heights and depths. There's nothing like it.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Gurdjieff

This morning I am reading some thoughts of Gurdjieff. 

Every religion points to the existence of a common center of knowledge...

In the end, knowledge cannot be forced upon anyone, and an impartial survey of the average person's life, of what interests him and fills his day, will show immediately that the whole trouble is that people either do not want this knowledge or are incapable of receiving it...

No system or school can do our work for us...

Change of knowledge comes from change of being...

 In this teaching the first principle is that nothing is to be taken on faith. One should believe nothing that cannot be verified for oneself.

 I can see how this is easier to apply in simpler times, where people were more directly interacting with nature and one another, when there were quiet evenings spent pondering the stars and conversations were about "real" things.

Today we are bombarded with a constant stream of words and pictures and sounds. This opinion or that opinion - is it really their opinion or are they just reading a script written by some person somewhere? How can we verify anything? How can we take the anonymous opinions of a talking head as fact or truth or what?

It seems to me, I need to peel back this veneer of noise, propaganda, and distortion and look again at what actually matters. 

To me what matters includes love, kindness, truth, The Presence/The  More and knowing and being authentically me. What really and truly matters to you? Seek that.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Life Continues

A dear friend, soul sister, frequently says, Life Continues. 

This morning, after my devotional time and breakfast, I was sitting at the table, thinking about the things I want to do today - make a sugar free chocolate pie, wash my hair, finish the Christmas tablecloth I'm making, sew some more presents, etc.

An awareness suddenly opened in me beyond our little quarantined world, an awareness that contained everything all at once. People are dying today... People are being born today... People are losing their homes, businesses, and dreams, while others are having their dreams come true... Life continues in all of its joy and sorrow. All over the world, in every city and countryside, life continues.

With that continuing flow, comes choices. Do I let go and release my iron grasp and finally learn non-attachment? Do I let my awareness shift from my head to my heart? Do I focus on what is actually important rather than on my ego? Do I listen to the deep inner knowing more fully?

This time on earth, this slowed down pandemic time, offers us more quiet time to reflect, open, grow, read, meditate, love and just be in the flow of life as it continues. Yet, we must choose to receive and be in this gift, rather than to rush on by.

I send love to my soul sister, Evelina, on the other side of the world, yet fully present in the everything of this moment, as are you. 

God is indeed with you, in you - Living Presence in whom we live and move and have our being. Thank You, God. You show me more than simple words can ever convey. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Influencers of my Influencers

There are people, current and long since passed, who have influenced my life and understanding. Meister Eckhart and Ralph Waldo Emerson are two examples of those who have influenced me. Recently, I discovered that they both, plus others I regard highly, were influenced by Hermes. So, you guessed it, I began reading Hermes.

Right now I am reading his Asclepius, and I am finding it fascinating. I can see threads of it in many places in metaphysics, mysticism and various current teachings.

Some examples to consider:

There are not many, indeed so few religious men or women in the world that they can be counted. Thus it is that evil remains among the people through the lack of wisdom and knowledge of what really exists...

So God made man both good, and capable of immortality, because of his two natures: the divine and the mortal...

Man not only receives light, but he gives it. Not only does he progress toward God, but he forms gods.... So just as the Father and Lord has made the eternal gods to be similar to Himself, so humanity has made his gods in the likeness of its own features. 

His words, at least many of them, strike a cord of recognition in me. I think about Jesus saying his teachings fall on various grounds, few are fertile and produce fruit. I look at the many, many religions and sects and see how gods are created in the image of some manmade dogma. I see little emphasis on a personal relationship with God that is authentic and produces transformation. Most are in ruts, busy protecting their ruts and not seeking awakening/enlightenment. The view from the rut is not of what really exists and what really matters.

In all of this I can sadly see the why of the mess our world is experiencing. My continual question in my heart is about how to help us all/most/some shift to what really matters. Consider these things with me. God bless you.

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Freedom - Liberation

What does living out of freedom mean, look like, feel like? 

Most of us are protecting ideologies, egos, image, status quo, programming, family stories and on and on. It is exhausting.

One of my aha moments came from Ram Dass's book, Be Here Now. It was long ago. We were vacationing at Lake Tahoe. My husband and children were trout fishing. I was lounging and reading the book. A flash of a moment burst in with such clarity that it shook me. If we are not present each moment, just as it is, we are missing our lives. Be where? Here. When? Now. These became my mantra until it was actually my experience, most of the time at least.

Later I studied Aikido, which focuses on now, now, now. The attackers are not coming all at once, but this one, this one, this one. Then est taught me also about successive moments of now.

What did this add up to as far as my life experience?  By being fully here now, it is easier to keep my balance, harder for events to throw me. It makes me resilient. I have nothing to defend, protect or hide. Life flows, I observe, I respond, I continue on. 

Without this life has to be changed and structured according to our beliefs or we're not happy. We manipulate. We react. We get stuck. The opposite of be here now happens in our experience.

By being able to keep my balance, be resilient, by observing, responding and continuing on, I am liberated and free, and  I simply continue on my journey.

I was led to share this today with you. I hope you will take it into your heart. God bless you.

Friday, November 20, 2020

A Note on Heresy...

I just read this interesting idea that heresy says "I can do it," or "You can do it." While orthodoxy says, "We'll do it for you."

This points to the way of mysticism, knowing God, and the codified theology that talks about God.

And to me that is a succinct delineation of the distinction between the traditional American Way and socialism or communism.

A crossroads presents itself. Frost comes to mind, " Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..."

Future history depends on our choice. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Heresy or What?

This morning I read about Bruno, who thought he'd found original Christianity. He read Hermetic writings from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. He was so excited that he dashed to Rome to share with the Pope. The Pope was Pope Innocent, who was so anything but innocent that I can't imagine why on earth he chose that name. He was responsible for wiping out most of the Cathars and much of the people in the South of France. So, of course, he wasn't welcoming to Bruno. He threw him into prison and had him tortured for 8 years before he had him burned alive.

What was the horrendous heresy that earned Bruno such a reception? He was excited to discover ideas such as we came from a spiritual dimension and can remember while here and discover God within. 

I would have been right there with Bruno in prison, for I agree. Today those ideas are no longer dangerous heresy, so I'm relatively safe. But I am led to ponder how ideas become so dangerous to the mind of the powerful that such extremes are enacted with their approval and at their behest.

Religion has become less important to most people these days, so there's no talk of heresy there anymore. Heresy is standing on shifting sand right now. It's about climate or politics or maybe sports. It's about correct words or sex or image. What was heresy last year has been replaced by the newest heresy this year. It's hard to keep up.

My solution is just to be as authenticity me as possible, seeking truth and interiority, and how you define me is not relevant to who I am. Let's stop the treadmill of trying to stay off some stranger's naughty listπŸ˜‡. Just be authentically you and me.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Soul and Body

Alfred North Whitehead, we used to attend the Whitehead lectures at Claremont School of Theology, had so many fascinating ideas. I relate to his ideas around process theology, for example, but today I want to consider soul and body. He felt that Western philosophy was a series of footnotes centered around Plato. Why would he think this?

Before Plato, the soul was thought to be the spirit of the body. But Plato shifted this into prisoner of the body. This laid the framework for the development of the idea of the need for salvation of the soul from the battle with the body. A negative dualism was born and enshrined in orthodoxy.

Plato said, We should make all speed to take flight from this world to the other, and this means becoming like the divine so far as we can..

Now the soul, being understood to be separate from the body, could go and do and be what the body could not. The soul was positive and the body negative. This has created all sorts of problems, especially for people of the West. It also created some pretty strange theology.

As a person who relates more with the mystics of all backgrounds rather than with theologies made up by unenlightened and out of touch with Spirit, mostly men, I often cringe at the convoluted dualisms taught as truths.

Also, as a person who has had multiple direct experiences with The More, I feel a certain sorrow that people are taught to believe things contrary to actual Truth, rather than to be taught how to experience Oneness themselves. 

I would say that the soul and body are partners in being able to experience life in this earth school. They are to be treasured, nurtured and set free to learn and grow and draw sustenance from this opportunity to be here for a time. Life is a gift, a treasure and full of surprises. Yes, one day we will give our bodies back to earth and shift into other dimensions, but for now our bodies are to be celebrated.

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Mystics that have touched me include, but are not limited to: Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Jacob Boehm, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, Rumi, Hafiz, William Blake.... I invite, urge you to explore the mystics. Also the Perennial Philosophy, especially the book of that title by Huxley.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Suddenly Freud

Freud said that We know and we don't know, and we play this game of hide and seek all of our lives.

I used to ask people who came to me for counsel, and who seemed stumped about this or that, What would you do if you knew? or some variant of that. I did this because it became clear to me we really do know, but we hide it from ourselves, or we play hide and seek with what is actually going on. In some odd way, we have often/usually disconnected from our full selves.

I was reading a Russian novel this morning, "Petersburg," and there was a curious manner of speaking - Suddenly broke in. I thought, that's what happens when we step out of the game of hide and seek - suddenly breaks in and we see and know, we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

As I look around the current state of things, a huge game of hide and seek seems to be going on. We actually know what is destructive and a danger to us, but suddenly has not yet broken in for very many of us so far.

I think we know because we are one with Spirit, the all-knowing, infinite One. But we have not stilled our busy lives and minds sufficiently to see and hear fully, so we take glib answers and bumper stickers and other people's points of view and get back to our busyness. There is no time to examine our inner knowing, get on with it, hurry.

I pray for suddenly to break the spell of hide and seek. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Shadow

This morning I was praying for someone who sees life through the veil of paranoia, and therefore is unhappy, has difficulty with relationships and is alienated from many. I remember him before the shadow blanketed him. He was so delightful, sparkling with life and curiosity and joy.

Suddenly I saw a vision of the shadow on him. I've read a lot about our shadow selves and how it us difficult for some people to face their own and to be free of them. But this morning I saw the paranoia as just a shadow, like the one cast when we take a late afternoon walk or when we make shadow figures on the wall to entertain children. What do we do to get rid of shadows? Light. Shadows have no powers in themselves, they are just light obstructed.

Then I saw God's Light casting away shadows, even the ones we have named and made real in our minds. This includes so many things from irrational fears to yes paranoia.

So now my prayer:

May the Light of God shine fully in the heart of my loved one, casting away into thin air the shadow named paranoia. With a thankful heart, I turn him over to God's healing Light. I celebrate the revealing of his true nature set free from the shadows. Praise fills my heart.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Bend of History

This morning I've been reading about human history's separation from animals (not pets), from emotions, from our bodies and all things soft. In addition, history itself is the story of the hard things that did not disintegrate - tools, weapons, statues, etc. We know nothing, except by conjecture, about the meaning in the long gone lives. One study, for example, tallies the church attendance in a village from church records in the middle ages. However, it does not and cannot say why these people went to church (social connections, custom, fear, hope, seeking, religious experience) nor what they experienced there. All hopes and dreams are banished from history.

Prior to about the 1600's, humans had animals around, even sometimes horses in the house. Animals were regularly part of human life. There were no stuffed animals for children, for they had real animals in their lives. Connection to the past was through emotions evoked in dramas, comedies, poetry, myth, parables, storytelling, etc. 

After the enlightenment, scientific method, industrialization, urbanization, all things shifted away from the life experience of humans for hundreds of thousands of years into a new life cut off from animals, emotions and all things not hard facts. Humans began to feel alienated from the rest of the planet and from themselves.

So we find ourselves in this awkward position - animal species dying off, planet polluted, at odds with others different than us, self-destructively building more and more extreme weapons, addictions of all kinds on the rise, meaning stripped from our lives in most areas.

Can we bend the arc of history back toward meaning? Can we find more of a balance? Can we reunite with Spirit, with animals, with deeper meaning in the stories? Can we ignite in ourselves the full quest for love and life and deep meaningfulness? Where shall we go from here?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Hafiz

I've long been moved by Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz. Recently I purchased I Heard God Laughing, Poems of Hope and Joy," by Hafiz rendered by Daniel Ladinsky. Each page is a work of inspiration. Here I'm sharing two for your contemplation. Warning, your life might be changed and you might need to get a copy of the book.

Keeping Watch

In the morning

When I began to wake,

It happened again ---

That feeling

That You, Beloved,

Had stood over me all night

Keeping watch,

That feeling

That as soon as I began to stir

You put Your lips on my forehead

And lit a Holy Lamp

Inside my heart.


A Golden Compass

Forget every idea of right and wrong

Any classroom ever taught you

Because

An empty heart, A tormented mind,

Unkindness, jealousy and fear

Are always the testimony

You have been completely fooled!

Turn your back in those

Who would imprison your wondrous spirit

With deceit and lies.

Come, join the courageous

Who have no choice

But to bet their entire world

That indeed, 

Indeed, God is Real.

I will lead you into the Circle

Of the Beloved's cunning thieves,

Those playful royal rogues ---

The ones you can trust for true guidance ---

Who can aid you

In this Blessed Calamity of life.

Hafiz,

Look at the Perfect One

At the Circle's Center:

He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,

Beyond all that is rational,

To show this dear world

That Everything,

Everything in Existence

Does point to God.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Dream In Galilee

Last night I had a vivid dream. I was in Galilee. It was dark, at night with little moonlight. As my eyes adjusted to the low light, I saw a figure at a bit of distance walking slowly, touching various plants, rocks, etc. It was more like a loving caress.

I heard a voice saying, "This is how he did it. He knew the Divine is in all things, and you can hear Divine Wisdom everywhere, once you know how to listen. Honor each rock, each scrub, each tree, each animal, each person. Tenderly observe and touch. Be open. I am there, waiting to speak to all who would listen."

My mind went back to the 7 year old me who make friends with the first snail I had ever seen. I spent a long time observing and listening and learning. I thought about the tree that gave me relief in my grief (I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago). I thought about one of my techniques for teaching homiletics. I used to let my eye fall on anything, I mean anything - from a door knob to a trashcan. Then I'd say You have 5 minutes to put together a 5 minute sermon using the ____ as your inspiration. It always worked.

So, I affirm from my life experience that God is everywhere, and when we are teachable, of pure heart and above ego (except as you become like a little child) God speaks from every speck of creation, and astoundingly, we can hear.

The first task is emptying ourselves and finding the pure openness that has no agenda. Come to life's moment as a teachable being. Nona Brooks said that we begin with - it's all me, then it's mostly me with a little God, then its both, then it's mostly God and a little me, and finally it's all God.

As we honestly look at ourselves, we know where we are in that process. Onward...

Monday, October 26, 2020

Job Again

I've read and re-read the Book of Job uncounted times in my life, seeking clues to my own life situation. It has seemed to me that I have had and have an extra generous allocation of challenges. It may be I'm to get on with it via a condensed version of earth's opportunities to develop one's interiority. 

Job had a heap of challenges, not the least his pious friends. They came to him when he was at his lowest point, piling platitudes and theological theory upon him, always blaming Job for his situation. They go on and on about God, with no hint they know God. Job keeps wanting relationship with God, for God to see him.

I can see this as a societal situation too. Some of us really want a deep relationship with God. Most seem satisfied with talking about God, with having second hand thoughts about God, thoughts from the invisible past, from faded images of "thinkers" posturing and pretending to know. For many, religion is something you do - go to church, give money, celebrate various churchy things and go about life unchanged.

To walk The Way is to be radically changed, to touch the Presence, to go deep into relationship and far from surface trivialities. 

As Jesus said, Life is more than what you wear... The Kingdom of God is within you even though you have looked everywhere else (my translation).

As I walk this path of seeking to be in an ever more full relationship with God, I wonder how to encourage others to set foot on this path and discover this other way for themselves. I hope and pray you who read this blog are walking with me and bringing others too.

God bless you and your journey.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Prayer for Earth

Oh Divine Presence, penetrate the hearts of the hard-hearted, lift the hearts of the sorrowful and downtrodden, inspire us in ways we need in order to open ourselves to Your Wisdom and Guidance. Flood awareness of Your Presence upon the people of earth. Open our eyes to see one another as brothers and sisters of one human family. 

At this pivotal time here on earth, lead us to follow Your Ways and be the best we can be, the images of You. You show me that awareness, enlightenment are just a blink of an eye away. But I see also that darkness and violence are also just a blink of an eye away. 

I know only You can lead us out of this predicament that we ourselves have created. May Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen, Amen and Amen

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Republic Is Saved!

I heard a resounding voice that woke me up this morning, The Republic Is Saved!!!

I have been concerned. So many strange things going on from the pandemic to vitriol to riots to two opposite worldviews presented by the media to now the hard drive with awful stuff on it. But the rejoicing voice this morning brought hope.

I've been reading Richard Rohr's book on the Book of Job the past couple of days. I've read and reread the Book of Job itself, looking for clues to help me understand my strange life, so I eagerly looked forward to his view. As it turned out, his book is sort of my biography. I can relate personally to what he wrote about Job. It occurred to me that our nation, maybe the world, has also been playing out the story of Job.

The Rohr book is called, Job and the Mystery of Suffering, and it ends saying: 

If there is no voice from the whirlwind, no calming eyes in the heart of the tempest, humanity can only "sit on its dungheap  picking its sores." But we - we few, I'm afraid - have heard a story that is always true. A story that makes all wounds sacred.

It took me a long time to be able to hold my wounds as sacred and cease fighting them, blaming those who brought the wounds, denying there were wounds, etc. As I began to be thankful for my wounds, I could also be thankful for those who tested me by their gifts of wounding. The wounds opened me to a closer walk with God, to deep faith, inspiration, and peace.

Society, at least here, too has been denying our collective wounds and are in a position at this moment in time to embrace them as sacred, therefore able to open to The More. We are in a threshold of possibility. What will we do?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Flip Side

This morning, in "What Do We Do With the Bible?" by Richard Rohr, I read,

Just remember, your gift is the flip side of your "sin," and your "sin" is the dangerous side of your gift. You must accept and recognize both, which will always keep you both humble and wise. 

Although I'm uncomfortable with the universals, (must, always, preferring something like will tend to keep you) I found this idea quite interesting.

My mind began applying this idea to some traditional "sins." I know we look upon many things formerly called "sins" nowadays as illnesses. But the original meaning of sin was an archery term meaning to miss the mark. So let's look at a few as missing the mark of a full and meaningful life.

  • Alcoholism. The attempt/danger is often to drown one's sorrows, to forget without resolution. Don't solve problems, bury them in an alcoholic haze. The gift is is the option open to us all to turn to The More to actually be able to heal, forgive and move onward with life. 
  • Getting high. The danger is substituting a chemical high for a genuine spiritual high. It is a quick high, but a false and addictive high that risks life itself. The available gift is a spiritual high which does takes time as we develop ourselves in prayer and contemplation, but it is a permanent shift that transforms everything.
  • Thievery, looting. The danger is reinforcing false emotions and stories such as rage and victimhood and destroying blindly. The gift is God's open heart ready to enfold us so we can hear at a deep level with new meaning, "It is the Father's good please to give you the kingdom."  Doors can open for the restored soul, doors of hope, of opportunity, of peace.
You can continue to muse with other missing the mark choices, and maybe consider some places where your life is missing the mark. I think for me, hitting the mark is loving without restriction, forgiving fully, sharing generously and showing up authentically. What is hitting the mark for you?



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

An Odd Dream

Last night I had an odd dream, rather metaphysical. I suppose it was generated from yesterday's reading of quotes across history and countries about reincarnation.

In the dream I was observing the flow of history and said, "reincarnation only works for the past, not the future." That is, I can see all the array of people I've been, but the future is yet to form, so cannot be seen. 

But then a voice from somewhere said, "That is only if this realm is not a drama/comedy. If you are all playing parts, then the next turn is already written." In a combination of horror and fascination I thought of all the recent talk of this being virtual reality, maybe a hologram. Could that be the root of precognition? Many questions come to mind.

It's not often that a dream gives me such a challenging thought, shaking my reality. 

But then, it was just a dream, but was it?


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Be Not Afraid

Be not afraid is the single most common statement in the Bible. It makes one wonder how this can be lived. There are scary things on this planet. There are angry and violent people. There are large carnivores. There are cliffs with sheer drops. There are droughts and famines. There are crazy dictators and ideologies. There are horrible diseases, and of course death ahead for us all. There are thieves and murderers, traffickers, cheats and on and on.

I have found wisdom about this and so many things offered by Jesus, variously described as rabbi, teacher, savior. We are more than our bodies and more than our life here. 

He urged us not to judge what we see by appearances only. I see an angry person, but I cannot see the deeply wounded heart that leads the person to cry out in anger. I see a person coming from ego selfishness, but I cannot see the path that led them away from wholeness to this anguish of living an ego driven life. Do not be afraid, care, love, see more deeply.

He modeled the experience of being tempted and overcoming that temptation. Be not afraid of temptation. Say "no."

He assures us we are loved and welcomed with open arms by the Father such as in the parable of the prodigal. Be not afraid of losing God's love.

He showed us to not be afraid of death, for it is a doorway into something more. It is not final.

In his wisdom, in so many places, he points us toward compassion for ourselves and others and 180' away from fear. He showed us to walk this life with our eyes open, with God, with forgiveness, with love, in faith. 

Wherever we are, look to God, to The More, listen and follow guidance, and be not afraid. We are not alone. We are enfolded in a Love Divine.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Turning Point

Richard Rohr says that once you see a tree filled with light and angels, you'll never see a tree the same again. That is so true for me.

It was the spring of 1977. My husband had an aneurysm in his brain on Christmas and died New Year's Day 1977. His therapist invited me to a retreat in the mountains he was holding. He told me I didn't have to participate, just to be there would be good for me.

At some point, I was outside, sitting on a rock, just observing a tree. I watched squirrels run up and down, birds briefly stop for a rest, another bird making a nest, butterflies flitting in and out. Life was happening in a myriad of ways in this lively and lovely tree.

Then it happened. I heard a voice. It said, "You are like this tree. People and experiences come to you. Some come briefly, some stay for a time, some for a long time. They carress your branches, they are part of your life, but not your life. You are the tree, rooted in Me. You cannot hold onto the dance of life visiting you for a time. They move on to other places, other trees, other lives. Breath, relax and enjoy. Let it be. All is well."

And, yes, I've never seen trees the same since.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Richard Rohr Gets Me Thinking - Always

This morning, as I was reading, his writing put into words thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind and got me thinking from a slightly different angle. 

Basically our grandparents (and me because I was born in 1940), and people before them, thought in terms of responsibility, used a language of responsibility. Sometime after 1960 the language people used changed into an egocentric language...you owe me, you hurt me, you did it to me, you offended me. The language switched to victimhood. Lawsuits skyrocketed. Forgiveness was what was called for, but became, I don't know, out of fashion. The fragile ego screams out for justice, but there is nothing that satisfies the ego or can ever satisfy it. The ego cannot rule us if we are to have any degree of freedom and spiritual awareness.

The questions I've been pondering today are - Is there a way to get back to the language of responsibility? Is there a way to get people to want to heal the ego and be able to set foot sincerely on The Path? Is there anything I can do to be of service?

I invite you to join me in contemplating these and associated questions. This is our time on the stage of life. How shall we use it?

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Just One Little Thing

The stories and sermons of Jesus emphasize action. Take care of one another. Love one another. Value others more than things. Shine your light. Be generous with all things, from forgiveness to bread. Enter the Kingdom of God here and now by thought, word and deed. And on and on.

So, I was thinking, if we truly want to follow Jesus, if we actually seek enlightenment, if we want a more meaningful life - do one little thing (or more) everyday, one little Kingdom of God thing. 

Reconcile with someone you're out of sorts with. Clean out your closet and take clothes to a shelter or charity. Take a bag of groceries to a food bank. Make a quilt for a sick or grieving friend. Give someone who needs encouragement a call. 

Every little thing can be a big thing to someone. I often think of the man running across the parking lot to catch up with me. He appeared homeless, and I had given him one of my gift bags made up of things like granola bars, water, wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, etc. Breathlessly he thanked me profusely. He said, "You have no idea how much I needed a clean pair of socks."

If we each did one little thing each day, the world would be a better place, and we'd have one foot in the Kingdom.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Stewardship and Restriction

 A passage in Amy Jill Levine's book, "Sermon on the Mount," grabbed me this morning.

Only the meek, those who would not use the inheritance to reinforce their own already privileged position, are worthy to care for the land. They understand stewardship, they understand restriction of activity (for what one can do is not necessarily what one should do), and they understand their responsibility in turn to pass the land to others.

What reached out and grabbed me particularly is the line about what we can do not being necessarily what one should do. We humans are capable of so many things, both for good and for evil. Perhaps me would do well to stop and think, I can  ..., but should I ...?  We would do well as an individual, as part of a community, as part of a nation, as part of earth, as a person on a spiritual path, to ask, should I, should we?

I think this grabbed me this morning partially because I am on the cusp of making some decisions that are potentially major. Whichever decisions I make lead to new paths that would have surprises, unintended consequences. Neither seems wrong from the vantage point of now. Not being able to see into the future, I must pick between several seemingly good choices. I can pick this one or that one, but should I?

And I see on my news feed and television a bunch of people doing things they can do, but surely shouldn't do. It occurs to me stewardship and restriction are not often taught. Total freedom and hedonism are played out. A person can do anything, but there are consequences, legally and karmically. Has someone forgotten to teach this?


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Confucius Says

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is bitterest.

The great moral thinker, philosopher, and contemporary of Lao Tse , Confucius, said many things that lead us into contemplation and insights. I was pondering the above quote this morning.

A quick survey of the state of humanity at this moment in time shows a dearth of wisdom. Maybe Confucius can shed some light on where we find ourselves.

My observation is that we are generally stuck in the bitterest, experience. But we have not learned from experience enough to shift to wisdom. Hyperbole, violence, manipulation, greed, envy, ego, etc seem to lead our leaders into an endless circle that doesn't seem to have an off ramp. Those not in power look on in dismay.

The second way to wisdom, he says, is by way of imitation. But who do we imitate? Christians tell us Jesus. I agree, but for most of the last two thousand years Christians have done the opposite with "holy" wars, pogroms, inquisitions, concentration camps, slavery and other horrors. I still have a bit of hope that it is possible to follow and imitate the Christ way and be led to actually walk it.

The highest way to wisdom is reflection, according to Confucius. The world, however, has gone into the busyness spin of frenzied activity, most of which is meaningless. The blessing and curse of technology leaves us little time to reflect. There are pockets, of course, retreat centers, etc. But most people go to a retreat for a time and then return to the frenzy. 

It seems to me,  we can carve out a regular, daily time for reflection. My daily practice is to start the day with a cup of tea, reading inspirational material, reflecting on it and prayer/meditation, sometimes journaling either here or on paper. 

We can also find our heroes to imitate. My heroes are the spiritual lights strewn across history. I look to Jesus, the great mystics of all faiths, Buddha, Lao Tse, Confucius and others.

And we can objectively look at our experiences and discover which lead to wisdom, and which lead astray. Learn from our mistakes and let them go.

With a three prong approach, we have a good chance of entering wisdom and leaving the frenzy in our rearview mirrors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lifter, Leaner or What?

Jesus told us the poor will always be with us. The Torah, in Deuteronomy 15, says, Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, 'Open your hand to the poor and needy in your land.' Mores, rules, customs, religious imperatives across time call those who are able to share, to lift those who are for whatever reason unable. Reincarnation teachings generally say we experience different kinds of lives for development of our souls.

There is no teaching or ruling or custom that tells us to be selfish.

From whatever vantage point we view life, we are called to be lifters of others. When we find ourselves down and almost out, we are asked to graciously accept help. However, there is no teaching to just let others take care of us forever, if we are able in any way to recover. There is no teaching that tells us to be perpetual leaners.

There is a breakdown in this understanding nowadays, it seems to me. And I think think it might be partially due to the flight away from spirituality, not only in Western Cultures, but generally across the planet. So many people seem to forget the nature of the journeys of life. It's a soul adventure. It's more than it appears on the surface.

We're not here to wear the latest styles. We're not here to give up and let others take care of us. We're here to learn and grow and be all we can be. We're here to release the imprisoned splendor, to give up excuses, to rise and overcome and shine our inner light. This is a spiritual journey, a spiritual school. If we reframe our lives in such a way, it's almost magical, well it's spiritual, but it's so far from the materialist's frame that it seems magical.

Monday, September 21, 2020

A Vision of Now

This morning I saw a vision of our politics as if a caricature of a Shakespearean play. There are basically two teams in this play who are acting out their parts in the extreme. There are fans who cheer their team on as if home town football teams in their tie breaking final game of the season. There is frenzy. There is hyperbole. There is the ridiculous. There seems to be no extreme too far.

The purpose of the play is to entertain, to call forth strong emotion, and keep people busy so they don't see behind the melodrama. Most of the power is in the background with the permanent class. Actors come and go, but directors, producers, writers, costumers, camera crew, make-up artists, special effects experts, etc stay on for many decades.

If they can rile us up enough, they can control us, our emotions, and our actions. The most controlled resort to violence, especially violence against their own interest, such as destroy small businesses that serve their community, destroy statues of cultural heroes like Fredrick Douglass and General Grant, and even maim and kill those on the other team.

Philosophers and theologians have long spoken about removing the concept of "other." We are all part of the human family. Compassion is often a description of a spiritually awakened person. 

However, the play performed for us demeans religion, reignites racial hatred, and takes us to opposite corners, ready to square off.

I suggest we look at this fiction for the last time and turn to reality, jumping off this wild ride. With calm minds we can discern what is most kind and helpful. We can remove outside controls and turn to what we already know is right and just and do that. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ah, Yes, C. S. Lewis Again

 A quote from him grabbed me this morning.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly right harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And we can't go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. 

This analogy seems to me to be apt in a number of areas. 

  • Personally, we are called to heal our wounds, move beyond ego driven lives, explore new ideas and become all we can be. We are to own and use wisely the power of our minds and our very being.
  • Politically, we are to rise out of tribalism, extreme polarity, and move to embrace one another with compassion and kindness.
  • Spiritually, we are to move out of musty ideas of long gone thinkers and theologians, to a fresh way to know the Divine experiencially and then to live generously out of our knowing.
The old egg of ego and division and second hand religion simply won't fly. Let's crack the shells of our lives and learn to fly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

No One Is An Island, Yet We All Are Islands

In my half-awake moments this morning I saw a parade of the Presidents during my lifetime. My life began with FDR, before we joined WWII. At my count, 12 men were in this parade. There are many written words about what happened and didn't happen during these 80 years. We have some shared history that we can point to. But then, most of what transpired did so in the privacy of our own minds.

Our private thoughts constitute a one of a kind world. No one knows all of our experiences, how we interpreted them, how they changed us, our musings, our deepest hopes and fears, our doubts, our certainties, our secrets. We are each an island, a unique island, with the waters of our shared history washing our shores. Each island takes in these waters in different ways though, with different understanding.

It is a strange feeling to realize no one really knows us fully. No one else has access to the bizillion thoughts and experiences of a lifetime. In fact, neither do we, for we have forgotten most if it. We couldn't function if every second of our lives were front and foremost.

We have memory clusters that can get triggered - groups of decisions, of painful times, of useful and practical information, of failures, of successes, etc. Some are neutral, just information such as, don't touch that hot oven. Some are highly charged. It is these highly charged clusters that need healing.

Say you shout X at me. All X type memories pull us back to that spot in our subconscious where X memories and reactions are stored. We react automatically, as if all these X's were happening all at once. Our reaction is over the top. There is a rubber band effect, pulling us backward. 

Once we realize this, we have choices. We can defend our reaction, thereby reinforcing the automatic reaction and making the rubber band stronger. Or we can notice we are reacting out of proportion from some deep place in our island. Then we can begin to heal. We can do affirmations, we can meditate and journal, we can talk about it to a confidant, etc. The thing is, we can make our island healthier and kinder. We can move towards freedom from automatic clusters. This means psychological healing and movement toward spiritual awakening. As long as we have rubber bands pulling us into robot like automatic responses, we have work to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Forgiveness and Onward

Our Pastor talked about forgiveness this morning on our live streaming church service. Those who know me know I even wrote a book on the topic, often quipping that I had become an expert on forgiveness because I had to do so much of it.

I found myself, long ago, as a young women with deep conflicts and pain that I dared not say out loud. I was told I was exceptionally bright and talented, but I knew I had irredeemable faults that I didn't know how they were born or how to overcome them.

Let me share the basics, hoping the power of forgiveness can illustrate how even one such as me can be restored by its power.

I knew something major was wrong with me. I knew because my mother and grandmother told me, and my dad didn't contradict. He was mild and kind and helped me with my school projects, made me things like desks, and helped me with algebra homework, but there was a problem. Mother told me repeatedly she almost died when she had me, and daddy was sorry he made her pregnant. That's how the story of my life began, as a potential mother killer and a regret in my father's heart. Her beatings of me with yard sticks that broke with the strength of her blows and her red hand print upon my face verified over and over how I was essentially a hated problem and at best a nuisance. There were also the many dramas when she locked herself in the bathroom, my dad coming to me, "your mother is locked in the bathroom, crying, saying you hurt her feelings. Come apologize." I always said and believed I didn't know what I'd done, but there was something terribly wrong with me, that had been established. So, there I was, again, apologizing to the bathroom door for some unnamed awful thing.

Her mother, my grandmother underscored it all in so many ways. She once cornered me in the laundry room, held a knife to my throat and threatened me. The 8 year old me managed to trip her and lock myself in the garage till someone came home. But she remained for sometime in my bedroom until my father built her a room and bath on the back of the house. She told me awful bedtime stories like the man in Pittsburgh who chopped a bad little girl up into inch cubes and was coming for me. She sometimes would rock in the wicker rocker, digging in her fingernails, face turning purple as she screamed she was dying and I was killing her, and I would burn forever in hell. I cried at her feet. I didn't know what awful thing I'd done and certainly didn't want to burn in hell, even though the adults in my life seemed to think it was a given.

I think you got the picture. I was extremely insecure, filled with heart ache. I tried to figure it out and get out from the heavy burden of being me. I read and read and read my little New Testament, underlining with colored pencils until it looked something like a rainbow. I still have that little treasure of a book, some of the colors dripping from tears long past. 

I began the long journey of forgiveness. It took some years before I was able to make significant progress. I had no one to talk to about it. It was too horrible. But I soon was able to function so that I did well in school and was able to have friends over (after my grandmother moved out when I was in high school, she could no longer shout out the window at my playmates that we were plotting against her).

I did a deep dive into psychology, philosophy, history, metaphysics, new physics, etc. I absorbed mountains of information. Step by step I found freedom and self acceptance. So, I wrote a book to leave a trail of hope and action so that others were not alone on their journey of forgiveness. If you are on that journey, I hope you'll go to Amazon and consider my ebook, "The Key, Forgiveness and Beyond." 

Always remember God loves you, and so do I.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Story

Once upon a time there was a woman, a woman who questioned and quested.  Pat answers did not satisfy her. In fact, they urged her more profoundly to search, thinking those pat answers were only screens to stop the quest. They were non-answers to keep her from continuing on.

There were many along her path that tried to divert her. Some temporarily succeeded. There were quite a few scary teachers, a few comforters, and a lot of onlookers.

She persisted. She read just about everything, and met oh so many people in oh so many lands. She found some answers. The answers led to more questions in what seemed like a never ending series of partial answers leading to ever more vast questions.

Urged on from a deep spot within, her interiority expanded. Some more full answers peeked around the corner of her path, as if to tease her. And then, plunk, a few fell into her life.

She saw life as a school for soul development, an opportunity to expand so much that more and more of her True Self was set free. She saw the freedom from the shackles of ego, the bondage of false ideas, and the haze blown upon the path of life, a purposeful haze so that a person could stay in the haze for as long as they chose and then choose the time of beginning the awakening. She saw the job is to walk out of all of that and be the True person, the offspring of another dimension, the spiritual dimension, and to shine the Light from there to be a beacon for those still wandering in the haze.

She remembered the call of her brother that echoes through the tunnel of time, "let your light so shine..." That call is for us all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

C. S. Lewis and Jesus and Love

 C. S. Lewis wrote many wonderful thoughts including:

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

The words Jesus was reported to have said include many around the word and action of love:

Love one another as I have loved you... Love God with all of your being and love your neighbor as yourself...

This morning I was melding those words and thoughts together. C. S. Lewis was a great Christian thinker, radio personality and author. Jesus was the foundation of Christianity. They were, you might say, on the same wave link.

My mind said to me:

Love one another with a steady wish for the highest good for all people. If you can love as Jesus loved, you tenderly hold all people in your heart, not just your inner circle, but all people. 

The key, the summation, Jesus gave of his insight into Judaism and its application, was what we often call The Great Commandment. With steadiness, with all of your being, live from the position that loving God is the required action of people on the spiritual path. To love God is to be walking, talking love, shining light from the hilltop, true to the highest love, even in hidden places. Realizing God is Creator, know that all are created from One Source, all are rays of the same Divine One. All of us are siblings, brothers and sisters. We are to wish the highest and the best to everyone, no exclusions, no excuses.

Let us pray for such an awakening to breathe across this planet, caressing every heart, igniting such love. Just imagine it with me for a moment. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Mystery of Parables

If we believe Mark, the disciples were a bit thick-headed. Jesus complains they don't understand. Jesus, at times, seems exasperated with them. They try to take his parables literally and get confused by their own confusion. At one point, Jesus says he teaches in parables but teaches the deeper explanations to the disciples in private. But we don't really have any of these private teachings. Probably the disciples didn't understand them either, so it's just as well.

The nature of parables, myths, poetry etc is surplus meaning. When Robert Frost wrote, Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..., for example, he was not talking about a specific yellow wood. When he declared he took the one less travelled, he wasn't talking about a hike in the woods and a Y in a specific path. When the Psalmist wrote the beautiful songs, they were poetry with surplus meaning, way beyond literal.

The purpose of surplus meaning is to make us think, to think about what this parable/poem means in our life, to consider it from all sides. It is not possible for it to have only one meaning. It has a universalness to it that can speak to a first century peasant, a medieval monk, the titan of industry, man and woman from all ages and all strata of society.

Make an experiment for yourself. Pick a parable to live with for one week. Read it every morning and every evening. Roll it around in your mind and heart. Take notes. At the end of the week, read over your notes and see a part of the parable's mystery that has unfolded for you. There is more for the Divine Mystery is infinite. The journey into The Mystery is thrilling each step of the way.

God walks with you.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Chards of My Life

This morning I had a vision of shards, as if of broken pottery, coming together all around me, towards me. Bits of my life scattered and strewn here and there coming together. Literally with my belongings in multiple places in boxes, as we wait for releases of our assets. More profoundly, bits of my heart and soul. Something is spiritually astir. I have seen and felt it.

And I feel it in my body, a tugging in my heart. A newness ready to unfold is present before it is tangible. I have felt it before. I know without knowing. Words are so frail in the attempt to communicate. Nevertheless, I know something is on the horizon, not quite yet visible.

I stand ready and open for God to lead me into where God calls me. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Filter Escape

It is well-known that humans look through individual filters, worldviews, biases. Reality for each of us is different, unique. There are overarching tribal/group biases that have some common ground, but with variations. Right now, the biases/filters are extremely polarized. There is little sympathetic attempt to understand other ways to view things. 

Extreme attachment to any particular filter can be dangerous. Think of religious wars, killing one another in the name of "God." Riots are sharply different filters colliding. Behind violence is a clash of worldviews. Estranged families are acting out the collision of filters.

So, how do we escape this dilemma? Can it be escaped?

Empathy, compassion, kindness can be first steps to ratchet down the dangerous levels. As a child I often heard, "Try walking in another's shoes." We can ask ourselves how to peek into other filters to understand how others "see" any situation. We don't have to agree, but we can grow to understand.

We can actively do this. If you are politically very left-wing, listen with an open heart to conservatives. Switch to Fox News once in awhile, for example. If you are a born again, evangelical Christian, listen to some progressive Christians such as those using modern discoveries about history and archeology, such as John Dominic Crossen, Marcus Borg, or ex-Christians such as Bart Ehrman, or Jewish Biblical experts such as Amy Jill Levine. Enter other filters respectfully with the intention of understanding.

In most cases it is difficult to know who or which position is totally correct, if that's even possible to know. It is humbling to realize our worldview and therefore filter, only contain a tiny fraction of reality. It is strange to realize that we tend to create our own reality.

Let's create a more loving and kind reality.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

A Little Walk

Sometimes songs play in my head, I can't carry a tune, so I rarely attempt to sing them out loud. This morning I heard - Just a little walk (actually its talk, but I heard walk this morning) with Jesus, tell him about my troubles...

That led me to consider an actual walk with Jesus. 

We're in the hills of Galilee, strolling, appreciating nature, the warm sun upon us. His presence is felt as a unique profound peace. He holds himself and walks as a man with inner confidence and strength. Kindness shines from his eyes. The words he speaks are totally congruent with his behavior, and so I know he believes whatever he says, and I too believe. His theme, the ideas he returns to most often, revolves around love. Others have taught love, but there is a specialness in his way. No one is excluded from this love. It cannot be earned nor can it be lost. It just IS. And his eyes particularly shine when he talks about the kingdom within producing a glorious earthly kingdom, if only we would walk with him fully. He sees the possibility of human life if aligned with God's Love and expressed as a ray of that Love. There is a sadness too. He knows how hard it would be for us to give up our dark sides. He sees the sorrows ahead for us as we refuse to love one another and love God with complete devotion. He realizes that what he knows is a seed that falls on various grounds and will not sprout in some hard places, and will not sprout generally for centuries or maybe never. Yet he loves, and loves still.

Amen 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Predicting the Future

For thousands of years spiritual practices involved being here now. Of course, our bodies have no choice but to be in the present moment and at the actual current location. Our minds can stray here and there, so spiritual here/now teachings are directed to the mind. For example, Jesus told us to take no heed for tomorrow and to not lay up treasures that perish.

I was thinking about this, this morning and sort of looking over the paths I've taken. I really could not have predicted the incredible twists and turns I've experienced. From even just the vantage point of a year ago I was clueless as to the coming year- macular degeneration came into my life, a pandemic raced around the world and shut much of it down, riots destroyed parts of major cities, politicians started defunding police, a candidate for President is obviously in some stage of dementia, Marxism is being funded and promoted, the press is largely supportive of negative attacks on our Constitution and way of life. It is as if we've gone down the rabbit hole with Alice.

So I see not only value of the spiritual practice of being here now, but I also see the practical aspect. No matter how intelligent we are, we cannot predict much of the future accurately. Yes, there are intuitions and maybe psychic flashes, but for the most part, the future is not known, at least the details. We know we will leave this planet one day and move into another realm, but we don't know the exact time or place of our death.

Perhaps it would be best to make this very moment the best we can, for actually this moment is all we have.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A New Idea Came to Me Today

I can't get it out of my mind. Jesus and his close followers were not among the 95℅+ of extreme poverty of the time. They owned boats, houses and land, and they had a treasurer. Jesus told them not to take gold, silver and copper when they travelled - and of course you don't need to say that to someone if they didn't have any anyway.

I'm going to have to mull this over. I'll get back to you.


Monday, August 10, 2020

The Problem of Violence/Evil

I'm reading a book about Sri Aurobindo (Sri Aurobindo, or the Adventure of Consciousness) who was an influence on someone who deeply affected my life. I want go discuss a bit of it. He was writing this in regard to WWII and actually all war. After WWI, he wrote about not actually defeating Germany for the same or worse would rise again. So his point is basically about all wars and violence.

In order to cure the world's evil it is first necessary to cure "what is at its root in man."  Nothing can be cured outside if it is not first cured inside, nothing can be controlled outside if it is not controlled inside, for inside and outside are the same thing. There is but one Nature, one world, one substance, and as long as we approach problems outwardly, we will get nowhere. And if we find this solution too difficult for us, then there is no hope for man or the world, because all of our outward panaceas and saccharine modalities are ultimately doomed to annihilation and destruction by those hidden inner powers. "The only way out," Sri Aurobindo wrote, "is through the descent of a consciousness which is not the puppet of these forces but is greater than they are and can force them either to change or disappear." It was toward this new, supramental consciousness that Sri Aurobindo was progressing in the midst of his revolutionary work. (He worked for India's independence)

We may find when all the rest has failed 

 Hid in ourselves the key of perfect change.

So many over history have sought a way to end violence and the sanctioned violence of war. Obviously it has not been found, or maybe found by a few who have been unable to lead enough others to see the solution and implement it.

I agree with him that violence begins within the unawakened person, a person wrapped in ego, in self-centered life. One can hardly imagine Jesus, Buddha. St. Francis, Meister Elkhart or the Dali Lama acting violently. Because of such people, we know it is possible to stop being a puppet of the dark energies. What we don't seem to know is how to get a sufficient number of people awake to tip the scales away from the darkness, away from violence. 

Yes, hid in ourselves there is the key of perfect change. Let's meditate on this profound truth.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Grieving Globally

This morning in my meditation, I saw how so many people of earth are grieving, grieving for so many losses in so many ways. Of course there is the massive grief from the deaths of huge numbers of loved ones in the pandemic and its side effects. There is the grief of all kinds of losses such as: loss of employment, loss of businesses, loss of home, loss of trust, loss of stability, loss of freedoms, even loss of hope for some.

Then I thought of the stages of grief: shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance. 

There are individuals and whole cultures going through these stages this very moment, not in unison of course. In any given moment, there are people in each stage. It has been shown that we do not go through these stages in an orderly manner, I'm done with shock now so I am going into denial. We go through all of them, but not in order or once and for all. We can be depressed and find ourselves back in shock, for example.

As I observe others, personally or in the news, it is clear to see people in stages of grief. We frequently see the anger stage in full blown expression. We even see people paid to express extreme anger. We see the guilt stage quite clearly as we watch one group blaming the other.

So I guess the question might be, how can we go through the grief of this time on earth without blowing up our way of life? How can we help one another grieve and pick up the pieces and still have our cherished freedom?

Please think on these things.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Gracious Living

James Finley, in talking about meditation, wrote:

It takes time, but little by little we enter the social dimension of the mind of Christ in awakening to how perfectly we are one with everyone living and dead. As this awareness slowly seeps in, we are able to grow, day by day, into a more patient, gracious recognition and acceptance of and gratitude for others. Little by little the graciousness of Christ's empathetic mind of oneness with others is translated into a thousand little shifts in the way we think about people, our attitudes toward them, and the way we actually treat them day by day... Inspired in this way, we are moved to act, to see what Christ might be calling us to do to help those around us.
The thing about regular meditation and spiritual practices is that we are changed (or our true selves are revealed) into more of who we actually are, beyond the ego. The frantic dictates of ego fall away. One day we notice we are calmer, less judgmental and more loving. Our foot is upon the path of spiritual awakening, the path walked by our spiritual heroes. 

The path leads to living graciously. The path takes us into the Great Mystery.

Let the mind of Christ be in me.

Monday, July 27, 2020

I Will Give You Rest

This morning, during my meditation, I found myself spontaneously using a sort of mantra - Show me The Way and then simply -The Way. At some point a new energy flooded me.  I felt a kinship with those first century followers, walkers, of The Way. I felt their joy and celebration. I felt their sincerity. I felt a part of them.

Then I heard a gentle voice saying Follow Me and I will give you rest. 

Although it may have seemed difficult to actually Follow, it is not actually all that complicated. Pare away the convoluted, often  contradictory, dogmas laying over The Light of The Way that have been deposited by various men during the 2,000 years

Requirements are then few. The next step is to let go of ego's hold and relax into meditation daily. In deep meditation we find communion with More and peace. We rest in the ocean of Oneness. We are in touch with another dimension of life. We open to inspiration, to the wee small voice, to a life connected, awake, at peace. We rest in the bosom of The More.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Temper Tantrums

The realization came to me that much of the chaos we see could be identified as temper tantrums, much like a 3 year old kicking and screaming and demanding its way. My next thought, where are the adults? Who is teaching self-control, civil debate, effective strategies and adult ways to make change?

Then I turned to consider spiritual ways. I think, for Christians, we are called to follow the ways of Jesus. The first followers called their path "The Way". We are to be peace makers. We are to live love. We are to be gentle, kind, and compassionate to all, including ourselves. We are to have integrity, let our yes be yes and our no be no. We are to live from the center of our being, walking in the awareness of God with us, in us.

Oh how I wish for the darkness to fall away and the Light of God to be seen, the Light that has always been there, but hard to see with ego covering the heart and eyes.

Oh God, enfold Your children with such overwhelming Love, and awareness of that Love, that they turn to You. Unshackle them from ego and help the imprisoned splendor to be set free. May this be the day of awakening. Never the less, Thy will be done.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ladder to Enlightenment From the Past

This morning I became acquainted with a 12th century monk, Guigo. I want to share a little that seems to me so relevant to our 21st century plight.

He says the ladder to heaven has 4 rungs: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation. By being faithful daily to these 4 things we open ourselves to God's Graces. We receive inspirations throughout the day while doing our chores, or taking a walk or in the shower.

And the ground upon which the ladder stands is also important. The ladder will fall over if it does not stand in our responsibility to ourselves and others and our faithfully carrying out out daily chores. According to James Finley, in his discussion of Guigo in his wonderful book, "Christian Meditation,"
There was a daily emphasis on learning to be a decent citizen of the earth, one who could be relied on to tend to what needed tending to...The lesson we are invited to ponder is that meditation embodies a desire for God that brings us back full circle to a more clear-minded, Christlike compassion for others and ourselves... The whole journey, from start to finish, is inseparably bound up with how we talk to the woman next door. It is bound up with how we talk to our self about our self when we wake up in the morning and go through the day. The ladder to heaven will topple over if it is not firmly established in a sincere love and concern for ourselves and those around us.
As I look around, it seems to me quite a number of ladders lay fallen, strewn in our path. Guigo may just have the antidote to the chaos we see in this moment in time, or actually for all time. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

National Parks vs Amusement Parks

My husband has Ken Burn's "National Parks" PBS special on the television. We've seen it before, and it is worth seeing more than once.

I was listening as I got ready for the day. This time I heard something that led to other thoughts. It said that in the 50's, with more prosperity, families took off in cars to see the wonders of America and to feel what it means to be an American.

Growing up we visited the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, Yosemite, sequoias and redwoods and more. I got to see, feel, breath, feel and appreciate nature. I was in relationship with it, and still feel close and in Love with it. As I've often said, I have some very dear tree friends. We also went places like the Smithsonian, Mt. Vernon, and Congress. I saw history. Those who walked before me had meaning to me, and were role models of courage, valor, patriotism, and vision.

Today's youth are more likely to vacation at a manicured and manufactured theme park. They are perhaps more bonded to Mickey Mouse or some video game than to a redwood tree. Of course there are those still vacationing in nature, but the other choices are quite seductive.

It just makes me wonder about the vastly different experiences and their effect on mind and body. It seems to me that to be grounded in reality is a very different influence than being rooted in fantasy. Could that be a part of the confusion of today's youth?

Go spend time with a tree or a flower or a weed today. Hello Gods creation. How beautiful you are.




Saturday, July 18, 2020

Wrestling With Life

We wrestle with life - with life as we suppose it should be and how it is for us. As Theresa of Avila said, the Lord asked two things of us, that we should Love our neighbor and love God. She boiled it all down to the Great Commandments as many of us have. But the way she wrote about it in Let Nothing Disturb You, sears into my heart.

She asserts we may not be able to know if we Love God well, but we know if we Love our neighbor well or not.

As I look at the world this day, I see some love of neighbor and some hate of neighbor. I see some convoluted excuses for not loving others and bizarre reasons justifying unloving behavior.

The simple solution that has been offered us, that can bring peace, that can calm the troubled heart, has scarcely been employed.

Love has freedom in it. We can see our differences and accept them. Everyone is not required to be in lockstep with us. We can look at one another and seek to understand how it is in that person's journey.

We can begin by refraining to do anything hurtful. In that I mean actually hurtful, not the recent wimpy idea that other ideas than mine are hurtful and triggering, whatever that means (Actually, I think it's just a control mechanism of a sort of temper tantrum).

Then we can begin to explore loving our neighbor, relative, stranger. Eric Fromm in "The Art of Loving" had a list of four characteristics that has stuck with me for many decades. Care, respect, knowledge and responsibility. Briefly: Care, if you love another, you take care of them, if you say you love your cat but don't feed it, it cannot be said you actually love your cat; Respect, if you say you love someone, you must see them as they are, if they are allergic to asparagus, you must not give them a bushel of your favorite asparagus; Knowledge is learning and listening, discovering about this person and accepting them; Responsibility is responding to them appropriately, with honesty and compassion.

It takes courage, dedication and inner work to grow up spiritually, and to be able to know we can pass the simple test question - Have you learned how to love?


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Salvador Dali

I have long admired his work, his creative and quirky work. In fact, I have a couple of his lithographs. This morning I read about his belief in reincarnation for the first time. It is quite extraordinary.

First, he was sharing about his Tarot cards. There is a butterfly on almost all cards. "It is present because to one of the greatest Spanish mystics, St Theresa of Avila, the butterfly was the symbol of the soul. The ugly, ungainly caterpillar, our body, enters a form of the grave, the cocoon. Out of this death emerges the butterfly - beautiful, free, no longer earthbound. To me, as to St. Theresa, the butterfly is the soul of man."

When asked if he was a mystic, Dali answered, "All Spaniards are both Don Quixote, who is pure spirit, and Sancho Panza, who is pure materialism. That is why "Don Quixote" is the most Spanish of all books. As for me, I am not only a mystic; I am also the reincarnation of one of the greatest Spanish mystics of all Spanish mystics, St. John of the Cross. I can remember vividly my life as St. John, of experiencing divine union, of undergoing the dark night of the soul of which he writes with so much feeling. I can remember the monastery and I can remember many of St. John's fellow monks. "

 Quite an astounding assertion.

Most of us drink of the river of forgetfulness, so to speak. There are, however, quite a few people throughout history who remember something about before we came here. There are modern researchers at universities who are collecting data, especially on young children who spontaneously remember a past life, and on those who recall one or more past lives under hypnosis.

The idea of us being able to grow and refine our souls over many lifetimes has made sense to philosophers and keepers of all things sacred back into antiquity. I don't think we can prove it beyond a shadow of doubt, but there sure is a mountain of anecdotal "evidence." We'll all find out one day. In the meantime, it is comforting to entertain.

Monday, July 13, 2020

I Feel Led

For much of my life, I have felt led. There are nudges, intuitions, internal or external ideas that seem to come from elsewhere, as do visions and words of counsel. I have come to know, that by the living of this life, the More is vast and somewhat a mystery, or maybe mostly a mystery.

As a student of history, I notice that this has been the experience of some people at all times and places. Maybe it is so of all people, but not everyone cares or is able to share in such a way that their lives can communicate with future people. Not everyone could read and write for most of history, plus for most of human history there was no written language. There were first cave artists who tried to say something meaningful about their lives and beliefs. There were mountains of written tomes that are lost, destroyed or not yet found.

But of what we have from our long ago brothers and sisters, I can declare that they too felt led from time to time by something Other, something More. Various people in various cultures spoke/wrote in different words with different images, but with an underlying agreement that there is another realm which touches our lives in varying degrees.

It seems to me, that some of the touches of the More have been crowded out by mechanistic science and the hustle and din of "modern" life and the turning away from the sacred.  And what happens when we are not open to that guidance of the More and turn away? We get a century like the 20th filled with demonic leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao, etc. The demonic archetype is let loose. That very archetype is rearing up today. The violence it promotes is evident and horrifying. The adrenaline rushes it provides are addictive. The disconnects from the higher brain are evident, and even more evident is the disconnect from all that is spiritual.

Somehow we need to make spirituality fashionable again in order to commence a turn back to the spiritual understanding that inspires and lifts. Instead of giving in to public figures denigrating believers and promoting division and violence, we who still can hear the whisper of the More must stand up and stand for all that is good and holy. Those who stand for violence are attuned to the demonic archetype. No good, absolutely no good can come from the shadow of the demonic archetype. (see Carl Jung re: archetypes and their effects)

Pray and meditate with me for we the people of earth to arise together being led by the More into living Oneness, Caring, Love and Peace.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Adventure of Aging

I was in physical therapy this morning, I have a bone spur in my hip and deteriorating spine, and I heard myself say Old age is quite an adventure. I'd not had that thought before. Sure I'd repeated things I've heard, old age is not for whimps for example, but not the adventure thing.

The idea jumped through me and got my attention. It really IS an adventure into new territory - new ways of being, new ideas, new challenges, yes to an unknown world of adaptations for physical decline, food to avoid GERD or other problems - on and on.

I have to consider things that I didn't used to even give a second of my time. I have to be careful about all sorts of things I used to simply sprint by gleefully. No more walking on uneven paths. No more red wine. No more late nights. Etc.

But then I no longer spend time in frivolous upset. I'm not concerned what others think of me. I can be totally me without concern, because how you take me is your business. I can walk away from stupidity and dramas in other people's minds. I can wear white after labor day and stay in my nightgown till I'm done reading and meditating, even if it is 11:00. I can decline being on a committee or refrain from things I really do not want to do/ be/buy/spend time on.

The Adventure of old age is restricted in some ways, yet it is freedom too. It is perhaps all the more precious because I know there is an expiration date for this particular life. At some point in the future I shall have the grand adventure of birth into the next life, into the realm of Spirit. Maybe I need to re-read "The Tibetan Book of the Dead." 😁

At any rate, I plan to enjoy this old age adventure with zest and goodwill just as I have entered all previous adventures. I plan to continue as far as I can on my lifelong spiritual quest. I will live until I die and make my grand exit here and entrance there.

Long live us old foogies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Skin Encapsulation

It seems to me this morning that a part, maybe a big part, of human woe is staying in the ego position. From the vantage of one's ego, we live encased in skin and that tiny kingdom is the most important thing in the universe. It is as if we are each monarchs. As rulers of such a precious kingdom, we are at odds with our "subjects" - with others who are different in some way but are "supposed" to bow to us and our ideas. Therefore, we are justified to do whatever to these others. Our egos take aim and ugliness ensues.

As I watch the news, I see ego gone mad, leading people into frenzy, flailing around seemingly unaware of the spiritual. These are the skin encapsulated units of humanity who have forgotten who they really are. They run around, shout, and destroy, lost in their tiny kingdom.

So I ask myself, how can they be opened to spiritual Reality, to understand their eternal journey, to remember their purpose, to be at peace and live in Oneness? How can they be restored? How can they find their inner core?

Each is a precious child of the Universe, of God. We are called to treasure all life and this sacred adventure here on earth. With wisdom, we can solve most anything. With ego we make everything worse.

Oh Divine Presence, lead us out of the prison and tyranny of ego. Lead us to higher ground. Help us remember sacredness. Let the shackles of ego fall away. Open our deepest self. I rejoice in life with You.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Kindness Initiative

During the night a seed of an idea came to me. I'm going to ask you to help water and nourish it.

As we can all see, there is, and has always been, a lot of turmoil and pain on earth. We have the power to turn that around with a simple decision:
From this day onward I will do one or more acts of kindness every day. I will refrain from being hurtful.
This pledge to join the Kindness Initiative means we will do our best to be beneficial presences here on earth. If we do this, invite others to do this, if this catches on, we can shift into a place that nurtures and lifts. Imagine with me how it could be.

I realize that this simple pledge sounds easier than it is. It is easy to occasionally do an act of kindness, but to pledge to do so daily for the rest of our lives is a bit daunting. To refrain from doing any harm is perhaps equally daunting. Many of us have formed a numbing wall around us so that we are not always/often aware or caring of the impact of our actions on ourselves and others. We tell ourselves stories that get us, in our own minds, off the hook. But, we must emerge from the numbing wall and become aware of our own selves fully and honestly.

Those of us who choose The Kindness Initiative as a path are people of courage who open up new ways to walk this earth. Come walk with me dear one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

My Thinking Pathway

Since I have declared for many decades that I am a seeker of truth, and I am guessing so have you, how does one go about such a daunting quest? What is Truth, and how do we find it?

I was thinking about this partially because I'd been having a theological email dialogue with a clergy friend. One of the things I wrote was, "The God I know wouldn't torture anyone for a minute, let alone for eternity." I was taking exception to Anselm's 11th century idea of substitutionary salvation that got added to official theology. The idea had been debated since Paul, but was not "settled" until Anselm, at least the way I read history. My idea of salvation is that Jesus saves me from a lot of unnecessary pain and angst by showing me how to be in relationship with God and with one another. He is a sacred bridge.

So how do I know this or anything else?

First, I have a touchstone or two of things I know with certainty. In this case, God is a loving, living Presence, always with us, never absent, even if we forget for a moment, we are not abandoned. We live in a state of Grace, even when we stumble. Since I really do know this, anything to the contrary contains falsehood, confusion, willful deceit, or maybe just comes from a shallow thinker. Part of this involves my moral sense, is the idea a lifter, a helper and does it lead to goodness without harm?

Then I look from where and from whom did the idea I'm considering come? How credible are they? What do they benefit from promoting the idea? (As in Anselm's salvation scheme, the church gets control of the seekers wanting to be saved from hell, however imaginary it all might be.) The same could be said of politics and other areas.

I double check, as does this sound like the original and do I agree with the original? Would Jesus have likely agreed with, whatever bit of theology we might consider? And am I in full or partial agreement with them. Is this (whatever) aligned with my experience, knowledge and common sense?

I look with clear eyes at myself to make as certain as possible that whatever it is that I see and am considering is not confirmation bias. I don't want to falsely shore up false or partial truths, even long held ones.

After prayer and meditation, with willingness to let go of even my most treasured ideas in order to seek and find Truth, I arrive at my working hypotheses. Because I am not infinite, I do know I can not arrive at all Truth, but can be sure I am or am not in the right track aiming at my goal or gone astray.

So I question, whatever it is, whoever it is, they have to pass my tests in order for me to take them seriously. I chose not to live in a mental prison. I chose to be free.

Holy Presence, Lord of my soul, guide us gently to Your Truth. Help us to let go of all out of sync with You. Open our eyes and ears and mind to You. Lead us out of mental prisons to freedom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dismay

I am watching in dismay the expressions of out of control emotions. Seemingly crazed and ignorant youth attack statues of our cultural heroes like Abraham Lincoln. In a frenzy they shout slogans and carry pre-printed signs. They don't know how erasing history has worked out in other countries (really, really badly). They don't know we learn from history, even the bad stuff. But we have to study history to learn from it, that is, not with a spin on it, but with real intent to understand.

My mind began to contemplate extremism. I saw a circle. Extremists, right and left, meet and are basically the same. Intolerant. Wanting everyone to agree with them, or else. Violent and destructive. Ruled by emotions and prejudices. Easily manipulated by others who want them under their control. One dimensional in thinking. Willing to destroy all in their way. Sure they, and no others, are absolutely right.

Aristotle popped into my mind. His influence in Western culture has been huge. One of his thoughts that has stuck with me since Ethics class in the University is 'The Golden Mean." The happy and healthy way to live is the middle, neither too far to the right nor too far to the left. Balance. Freedom. Oneness.

And, we are all children of God. Time to grow up, give up sibling rivalry and love one another.


Monday, June 22, 2020

I'm Right - No, I'm Right

The who is right struggle goes on constantly. Mostly, the arguments are one dimensional. The argument often assumes there is only one or maybe two causes or variables that produce the outcome being "discussed."

I hear political "pundits" and "experts" on about any topic arguing one-dimensionally. We'll get to religion in a minute. Let's start with climate change. The one-dimensional argument is carbon emissions are THE cause. Let's add texture to this topic. Sun flares and storms and quiet periods have the largest effect on earth's weather. But, of course, we have no known  control over the sun. Trees and plantlife in general take in CO2 and give back oxygen. We do have control over the protection and planting of trees and other plantlife. Climate has continually changed, sometimes drastically, even before there were humans. Volcanoes and meteorites can create huge climate changes. For various reasons, the ozone hole is closing. We could go on, but hopefully we see the need to go beyond one-dimensional thinking here and on all topics.

My particular interest is in spirituality. One-dimensional thinking is rampant in many areas of religion, especially in what is called the organized religions. My personal preference is to look for spiritual principles found in a wide range of places. However, for many people, it is heresy to go beyond the bounds of their group's (tribe's) dogma. So I hear things like, God said it and I believe it; If you don't believe Jesus is God you will go to hell; You are condemned from birth because of original sin, etc. Strange dogma upon even stranger dogma.

I have been on a quest for Truth for most of my life. I have studied history in order to know how these dogmas were formed, asking questions such as: when were these ideas added to the official line, who originated them, what was their purpose, how do they relate to the beginning inspiration and person, who profits from them, how freeing or how manipulating are they, how do they fit with actual personal experience, how universal are they, etc etc etc????

It would be accurate to say, that upon close study and observation, almost all dogmas can be discarded, and should be discarded. They create a mental prison. Instead, in order to free ourselves spiritually, we need to reset our spiritual quest and vision.

Spiritual goals can be explored. For example: I want to draw closer into personal relationship with God; I seek Truth; I want to know God as the Great mystics knew God (of all times and cultures); I want to be as spiritually awake as one can be here in earth, etc.

I truly urge you to go for it. Find the kingdom of God in your very soul.